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Big Ten Notebook: Dantonio Accepts Taylor Lewan's Apology, Takes Jab at Michigan

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio walks the sidelines during the 1st quarter of a game against the Michigan Wolverines  at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew CoppensContributor INovember 5, 2013

To say Michigan and Michigan State currently aren't in love with each other would be an understatement, especially after the latest incident of severe facemasking.

However, on Tuesday during the Big Ten coaches teleconference, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio tried to put a stop to some of the talk by accepting the apology of Taylor Lewan

It didn't end there though, as Dantonio pointed out that the shoe was once on the other foot. 

Remember the set of dirty plays by his own William Gholston a few years back? If not, here's a video reminder:

However, it didn't end there for Dantonio, who had to take one last parting shot at Michigan.

"I had to go through that situation, that exact situation, with (defensive end) William Gholston two years previous, and I know Will was not trying to hurt anybody but things happen on the football field,'' Dantonio said during Tuesday's coaches teleconference. "Some people may refute that, especially if they wear (Michigan) blue, but they can see now how we felt on the other side of the bench.'' 

As the saying goes—rivalries never die. 

 

The 2013 Buckeyes are Just the 2006 Florida Gators in Different Colors

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer can be known for hyperbole from time to time and on Tuesday during the coaches teleconference he laid this one on us all: 

Could it be a case of Meyer subtly doing some early lobbying for his team to make the BCS National Championship Game? 

The numbers suggest that Meyer may have a good point though—Ohio State is getting better as the season has gone on. 

Ohio State Stat Comparison
CategoryOverallBig Ten
Points Per Game48.244.8
Points Allowed1718.4
Yards Per Game530.9532.4
Yards Allowed Per Game280.3336.8
Passing Yards229.8239.2
Passing Yards Against223.4241.8
Rushing Yards301.1293.2
Rushing Yards Against88.295
ESPN.com

Of course, some of the numbers are skewed a bit by the results against a non-conference schedule where Buffalo is the best team the Buckeyes faced. 

However, inside those numbers is this interesting tidbit—Ohio State is the only team in the Big Ten to score 30 or more points in every conference game to date. 

Nov 2, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Dontre Wilson (1) is tackled by Purdue Boilermakers linebacker Sean Robinson (10) during the game at Ross Ade Stadium. Ohio State defeats Purdue 56-0. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As for the comparison to the 2006 Florida Gators team? Well, Ohio State's recent string of blowout wins never happened for that Gators team in conference play. 

Ohio State is winning games in conference by an average of 26.2 points a game, while the 2006 Gators averaged just 8.8 points a win.

Of course, there is also that pesky thing called a loss that the 2006 team had, too. Ohio State hasn't lost a game in 21 straight Saturdays.

Come to think of it, it's hard to see how these two teams are actually all the similar other than hitting their strides after a scare (or loss in Florida's case). 

 

Purdue's "Bright Star" Tells Us Just How Bad the Season Has Gotten

From the "you know you're having a bad year when" department, we give you this from Tuesday's teleconference with Boilermakers head coach Darrell Hazell:

There's no sugar-coating what has taken place in West Lafayette, Indiana this year—Purdue has hit rock bottom.

Yet, Hazell is right about Webster—he is a star punter. 

He leads the Big Ten in punting average (44.8 yards), number of punts (49), total yards punting (2,194) and longest punt (73 yards). 

No matter what position you are playing, when you lead the conference in every measurable category, you are a star. 

Just think of where Purdue would be with out his consistently great performances? It could actually be uglier for the Boilermakers. 

 

Northwestern Looks More Like a M.A.S.H. Unit Than a Football Team

The Wildcats were thin going into the Nebraska game at running back, but things got completely ridiculous as the game went on. 

Oct 26, 2013; Iowa City, IA, USA; Northwestern Wildcats injured running back Venric Mark (5) encourages his teammates prior to game  against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports
Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Venric Mark was once again ruled out of that game, but the depth chart had some good options available in Mike Trumpy, Treyvon Green and Stephen Buckley. 

The only problem? Trumpy didn't make it to game day, Buckley suffered a knee injury after just two carries and Green gutted it out through his own injury for 149 yards and three touchdowns. 

However, that group is just the tip of the iceberg for a team that has been beset by injuries almost everywhere on the field at one point or another this year. 

It's so bad that this is happening for practices this week: 

Then, there's the case of star running back Mark, who's been injured for all but three games this season.

He still has a redshirt available and, according to Fitzgerald earlier this week, he isn't sure where Mark stands on using that redshirt.

As Northwestern prepares for this week, it appears that Mark is still bent on playing this season, and a decision is still to come. 

If he isn't back and Trumpy, Green and Buckley are all out, the Northwestern running game is in some serious trouble. How many programs even carry five or six running backs on their rosters? 

At least Northwestern hasn't packed it in, especially Green, who really gutted it out last week and may be the only viable running option this team has for a few weeks.  

 

*Andy Coppens is the lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.

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