Big Ten

Hawkeyes pounded by Stanford in Rose Bowl loss

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Hawkeyes pounded by Stanford in Rose Bowl loss

It was not a good bowl season for the two teams who played for a Big Ten championship.

A night after Michigan State was throttled in the Cotton Bowl, it was Iowa’s turn to take a bowl-game beating, giving up five first-half touchdowns and falling to Stanford, 45-16, in the Rose Bowl.

Christian McCaffery, Stanford’s do-it-all Heisman Trophy finalist, led the charge in the torching of the Iowa defense. He broke the record for the most all-purpose yards in a Rose Bowl with 368 and became the first player to record more than 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in a Rose Bowl. McCaffery had 172 rushing yards on 18 carries, and he caught four passes for 105 yards, adding 63 punt-return yards and 28 kick-return yards.

All in all, the Hawkeyes — which played strong defense throughout the season — allowed 429 total yards to the Cardinal, 206 rushing and 223 passing.

Stanford got things started with a bang. Quarterback Kevin Hogan hit McCaffery on a pass up the middle, and McCaffery streaked down the field for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Cardinal in front, 7-0, just 11 seconds into the game.

McCaffery and Stanford struck again on the next possession, with McCaffery amassing 65 rushing and receiving yards ahead of Hogan’s eight-yard touchdown run. That made it 14-0 before six minutes had even been played.

[MORE BIG TEN: Buckeyes play like champs in Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame]

Iowa finally started to grab some momentum on its second offensive drive. Quarterback C.J. Beathard got into Stanford territory with a 14-yard rush to convert on third down. But a few plays later, Beathard threw a not-so-great pass that was intercepted by Cardinal defensive back Quenton Meeks and returned 66 yards for a touchdown, turning the game into a first-quarter blowout at 21-0.

Stanford didn’t let up in the second quarter, either, as McCaffery scored his second touchdown of the day when he went 63 yards to the house on a punt return to put the Cardinal in front 28-0. McCaffery had a 70-plus-yard scamper for a touchdown called back on a holding flag later in the quarter, but that same drive ended when Hogan ran a fake-fumble play — pretending to put the ball on the ground — and heaving it 31 yards to the end zone for a touchdown that made it 35-0.

The teams traded third-quarter field goals, heading to the final period with a 38-3 score. Desmond King and Beathard provided some fourth-quarter highlights for Iowa, King’s 38-yard punt return setting up Beathard's 36-yard touchdown toss to Matt VandeBerg to make it a 38-9 game after Marshall Koehn missed the extra point.

Iowa added another touchdown on its ensuing drive. After Josey Jewell gave the Hawkeyes the ball by intercepting Hogan in the end zone, Beathard capped an 80-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown toss to Akrum Wadley. That made it a 38-16 score.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Hawkeyes gear right here]

But not content to be leading by 22, Stanford struck once more in the game’s final minutes, Hogan launching a 42-yard touchdown pass to enlarge the lead to 45-16.

Iowa outscored Stanford in the second half, 16-10, but it was nowhere near enough following the Cardinal’s five-touchdown edge in the first half.

The Hawkeyes gained just 287 yards of offense and were held to just 48 rushing yards, a stunning total even worse than their 52-yard rushing output in the Big Ten Championship Game. Beathard finished with 239 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. LeShun Daniels was the team’s leading rusher on the day with 37 yards on 10 carries.

Lost in McCaffery's monster day, Hogan finished with 223 passing yards and a trio of touchdown passes plus 24 yards and another touchdown on the ground.

The final two games of Iowa’s season proved a real disappointing finish to the winningest campaign in program history. The Hawkeyes won 12 games in a single season for the first time, going undefeated during the regular season before a last-minute loss in the conference title game and Friday's bowl-game pounding.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 12 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 12 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Oklahoma (10-1)

Still the team with the best resume in the country, no one can compete with OU’s wins over TCU, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, the latter two coming away from Norman. Baker Mayfield might not be a choir boy, but he’s the best player in the nation.

2. Miami (10-0)

You might think that being down 28-14 to Virginia in the second half was cringe-worthy, but the Canes made up for things by storming back with 30 unanswered points. Now they finally have to go away from South Florida for the first time since almost losing to North Carolina last month.

3. Alabama (11-0)

Tide gonna roll. But this Cupcake Weekend in the SEC has got to stop. While teams in other conferences are slugging it out against rivals, Bama gets to take a day off against Mercer? It’s just not fair. Also, Bama’s schedule is so soft, there’s no way it deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country.

4. Georgia (10-1)

The Dawgs should wrap an 11-1 regular season this weekend against Georgia Tech. But the SEC title game presents a kind of no-win scenario: undefeated Alabama or Auburn, who throttled Georgia earlier this month.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

You didn’t need Wisconsin to do what it did to Iowa and Michigan to prove it had one of the best defenses in the country — but that sure didn’t help. Stockpiling national love with those two wins, a win in the Big Ten title game figures to make the Badgers a Playoff lock.

6. Clemson (10-1)

Why’d Kelly Bryant have to go and get hurt for that Syracuse game? The Tigers would be No. 1 and the undisputed best team in the country. Still, though, a win over Miami in the ACC title game ought to get the champs back into the Playoff.

7. Auburn (9-2)

Great job pounding Louisiana-Monroe, Tigers. You shall not escape the wrath over Cupcake Weekend in the SEC. That dumb game aside, Auburn and Alabama will meet in a titanic Iron Bowl this weekend with a trip to the SEC title game on the line — and perhaps a Playoff spot, as well.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Not that pummeling Illinois is any big deal, but the Buckeyes are still alive in this thing and look like a team capable of making some Playoff noise. First, Ohio State has to win The Game and then the Big Ten title game to knock out undefeated Wisconsin.

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Out of the Playoff chase thanks to that loss at Miami, Notre Dame squeaked by Navy this past weekend. Hope a New Year’s Six bowl game is enough for the Irish. We know it’s not enough for those ND fans. So maybe join a conference? Just saying.

10. TCU (9-2)

The Frogs can still make their mark on the Playoff race, even if they can’t get in themselves. The Big 12 title game will almost surely be TCU’s attempt at revenge on Oklahoma. Unfortunately, if revenge does come, it will probably cannibalize the conference’s Playoff hopes, too.

11. Penn State (9-2)

Why Penn State gave up 44 points to Nebraska, I do not know. What I do know is that probably no one cared because Penn State is going to go down as the most inconsequential 10-2 team of all-time. Such a bummer considering the preseason expectations for both the team and Saquon Barkley.

12. USC (10-2)

Yeah, I guess there’s still a way for USC to make the Playoff, but it’s hard to imagine that madness unfolding, even in the oft-mad college football. The Trojans get the winner of the Apple Cup in the Pac-12 title game.

13. UCF (10-0)

Finally we get our much-anticipated UCF-USF showdown this weekend. Make it count, Knights. This is probably gonna be Scott Frost’s last regular-season game in Orlando.

14. Washington (9-2)

It’s hard to say who has the edge in the Apple Cup, but certainly the stakes are high, with the winner going off to play USC in the Pac-12 title game. Can either team make the Playoff? Well, probably not, no.

15. Washington State (9-2)

Is this it for Mike Leach on The Palouse? He could be a hot candidate this offseason and leave for perceived greener pastures. Winning the Apple Cup would go a long way toward making that happen.

16. Mississippi State (8-3)

A win in the Egg Bowl means a 9-3 regular season for the Bulldogs with their three losses coming against three top-10 teams.

17. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Poor Okie State has been so good all year and had two losses to the two best teams in its conference, and then it went and lost to K-State for some ridiculous reason. The Mullet deserved better in 2017.

18. Northwestern (8-3)

The Cats are the fourth-best team in the Big Ten, simple as that, with wins over Michigan State and Iowa and conference losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. As commendable an effort as you’ll find in a highly competitive league. Plus, Fitz’s team is on a six-game win streak that could end up extending to eight.

19. Stanford (8-3)

Already with a win over Washington, Stanford could close the regular season with two wins over top-10 teams in its final three games. Also Bryce Love is back in the groove after back-to-back 100-yard games.

20. Memphis (9-1)

The Tigers have lost just one game all season, to the best Group of Five team out there. Heck of a season by Memphis.

21. Michigan State (8-3)

A 17-7 win over Maryland couldn't have been the most exciting way for anyone to spend their weekend. Sparty's had a mighty fine season, though, considering how badly things went in 2016.

22. LSU (8-3)

The SEC has seemingly gotten increasingly better as the year has progressed, with LSU and Mississippi State making for a solid-enough middle tier. But remember when LSU lost to Troy? That wasn’t good.

23. South Florida (9-1)

If not for that loss to Houston, USF’s showdown with UCF this weekend would be for Group of Five supremacy. Even without that, though, this should be a highly entertaining affair.

24. Virginia Tech (8-3)

The Hokies have a chance to salvage their tumble at the close of the season with a win at Virginia. But given how well the Cavs played at Miami this past weekend, a VT win is no sure thing.

25. Iowa State (7-4)

I understand the math and all, but can't the Big 12 just suspend its rules and send Iowa State to the title game? We all want to see the OU-ISU rematch. Why are you preventing us from being happy, Big 12?