Morning State Sports Briefs: UW's Ball named Big Ten Player of the WeekWisconsin Sports
-- University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was named today as the Big Ten football co-player-of-the-week on offense.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was named today as the Big Ten football co-player-of-the-week on offense.
The senior Ball ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the Badgers’ 62-14 pounding of Indiana last Saturday. Ball tied Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne for the Big Ten career touchdown record with 71 – and Ball needs just two more scores in four more games to become the NCAA’s all-time touchdown leader with 78. He would surpass Travis Prentice of Miami-of-Ohio, who’s the current leader with 77. The senior Ball shares the honor with Devin Gardner of Michigan – who threw for touchdowns and ran for two more in the Wolverines’ seven-point overtime victory over Northwestern. The Badgers are 7-3 overall, as they prepare for their final two Big Ten regular season games against Ohio State and Penn State. Wisconsin will also play in the conference title game December first, and is already eligible for some type of bowl game over the New Year’s holiday.
The University of Wisconsin football team says it wants to earn at least a share of the Big Ten Leaders’ Division title, in addition to the berth it already received to the conference championship game. The Badgers have two regular season games left – Saturday against Ohio State, and the following Saturday at Penn State. Both hold the top two spots in the division. But they’re ineligible for post-season play, and it allowed the Badgers to clinch the Leaders’ berth to the title game with a 4-2 conference record, the same mark that second-place Penn State has. Junior guard Ryan Groy said his team cannot quote, “just accept going to Indy.” He said the Badgers need to prove that they’re worth going to their second straight league title contest, victories over the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions. Undefeated Ohio State is 10-0 overall, and 6-0 in the conference. Penn State is 6-4 overall. To get a share of the Leaders’ title, the Badgers must win both games – and Ohio State would have to lose to Michigan on November 24th. Wisconsin will face the Wolverines or Nebraska in the conference title game on December first in Indianapolis.
The Wisconsin defense is getting ready to face Ohio State and its much-heralded sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller. A year ago, Miller burned the Badgers for 99 rushing yards and 89 through the air – and he produced three-of-the-four touchdowns for OSU in a 33-29 win over the Badgers in Columbus. Saturday’s game will be played in Madison – but the Badgers don’t expect the home atmosphere to dilute Miller, who has produced 29-hundred-19 total yards and 27 touchdowns this season. He’s the big reason Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring with just under 40 points a game. Wisconsin linebackers’ coach Andy Buh says if the defense does not like up properly against Miller, quote, “it’s a touchdown.” Co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge says the Badgers will be up for the challenge of facing Miller – and it will take a lot of discipline. The Buckeyes are undefeated at 10-0, and they’ve already clinched at least a share of the Leaders Division title. Wisconsin is 7-3 overall, and 4-2 in the conference.
Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Norichika Aoki placed fifth in the balloting for the National League Rookie-of-the-Year. Washington outfielder Bryce Harper won the award, as chosen by the Baseball Writers Association. Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout was named the American League’s Rookie-of-the-Year. This year marked the first season in the Majors for the 30-year-old Aoki, even though he was a veteran in Japan. He batted .288 for Milwaukee with 10 homers, 37 doubles, 50 RBI’s, and 30 stolen bases.
Next season, the Brewers will honor Norichika Aoki with a Bobblehead giveaway on April seventh. There will be a total of 10 Bobblehead days, all on Sundays. The Brewers will put out a third doll for Ryan Braun on May 26th. This one will feature his accomplishment as the ninth big leaguer ever to get 40 homers and 30 stolen bases. The first to achieve it, Milwaukee’s Hank Aaron, will have a Bobblehead Day on July seventh. Corey Hart will have a Bobblehead wearing a 1913 uniform to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the old minor league Brewers’ first title in the American Association. That giveaway is set for May fifth. Other Bobbleheads will feature Brewers’ outfielder Carlos Gomez, ex-Brewer legends George Scott, Gorman Thomas, and Ben Oglivie, and 1982 Brewers’ World Series’ manager Harvey Kuenn. Also, the Polish Sausage will have a Bobblehead Day on June 23rd.
The Marquette University men’s soccer team has earned a first-round bye and a home game in the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Eagles were among 48 teams to be named to the Division-One field last night. They’ll play on Sunday at home, against the winner of a first-round contest between Western Illinois and Northwestern. That contest will be played on Thursday afternoon. The Marquette men tied a school record with 16 wins this season, against only three losses and a tie. The Eagles rattled off 12 straight victories to start the year.
Keifer Sykes of UW-Green Bay has been named the Horizon League men’s basketball player-of-the-week. And Milwaukee junior guard Jordan Aaron is a co-newcomer-of-the-week, along with Bobby Hain of Youngstown State. Sykes, a sophomore guard, scored a career-high 31 points in Green Bay’s season-opening win over Chicago State. Aaron had 28 points in Milwaukee’s loss to South Carolina – and he scored 12 in the Panthers’ victory over the University of Mary. Also, the Horizon League honored Green Bay senior Brittany Groth as the defensive volleyball player-of-the-week. She had 27 digs last Friday night against Wright State – and she set a new school career record with 18-hundred-36 digs.
The Saint Norbert men’s hockey team remains at No. 3 in this week’s Division-Three poll from U.S. College Hockey Online. The Green Knights are 6-and-1 overall, and they’re behind first-place Oswego and second-place Norwich in the new poll. UW-Eau Claire moved up three places to Number-eight. River Falls dropped two spots to 11th. Superior joined the rankings for the first time at Number-14. The Milwaukee School of Engineering dropped out of the Top-15, but received enough votes to be one spot away. Concordia-Mequon also received votes. In the Division III women’s poll, River Falls dropped one place to seventh. Superior moved up two spots to No. 8 . Stevens Point also received votes. Norwich remains at Number-One.
Neither University of Wisconsin team made the new national Division-One rankings. The women came the closest, at one spot away from the Top-10.
Green Bay Packers’ right tackle Bryan Bulaga was placed on injured reserve yesterday. As was speculated last week, Bulaga is out for the year with a severe hip injury suffered eight days ago in the Packers’ home victory over Arizona. The third-year pro dislocated a hip – but early reports indicate that surgery will not be needed. After Bulaga left, guard T.J. Lang moved over to the right tackle spot – and backup Evan Dietrich-Smith moved to Lang’s left guard spot. Coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers have a rotation in mind, but would not immediately disclose it. The Packers’ filled the roster spot by bringing back linebacker Vic So’oto. He was cut September 25th and was signed by Oakland – where he was active for four games but did not get much playing time. The Raiders cut him last week. The Packers may need So’oto if Clay Matthews is out for a longer period than expected. McCarthy said today that Matthews will have some stronger rehab work tomorrow – and the team will know more about him on Wednesday. The Packers had their bye this past weekend, and will play at Detroit next Sunday. Several injured players returned to the field today – but a couple appeared to be limited, like fullback John Kuhn and tackle Derek Sherrod. Receiver Jordy Nelson, corner Sam Shields, and tight end Andrew Quarless also practiced after being hurt.
The U-W Parkside men’s basketball team is 1-0, after winning at Minnesota-Duluth 67-61 Sunday. The Rangers were up by one with 2:39 to go, when they went on a 7-0 run to seal the victory. Jeremy Saffold had 22 points and eight rebounds for UW-Parkside. Jake Hottenstine also had 22 for Minnesota-Duluth, which fell to 0-1. The Ranger men will play their home opener tomorrow night against Indiana University-Dabney.
Marquette is the only Wisconsin survivor in the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament. The Golden Eagles will play Princeton on Thursday evening at Provo Utah. Marquette advanced with a 3-0 home shutout of Illinois State on Friday night. Princeton won its first-round match over West Virginia 2-1. The Badger State’s other two teams lost their national openers on Friday night. The Wisconsin Badgers lost a 1-0 game at UCLA, while UW-Milwaukee was eliminated 3-1 at Notre Dame.
UW-Parkside will play Grand Valley State on Friday night in the Sweet-16 round of the NCAA Division II women’s soccer tournament. The sixth-seeded Rangers upset No. 2 Quincy 2-1 yesterday in the tournament’s second round. Megan Owens scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute, as Parkside improved to 14-4-1. The Rangers’ next opponent, Grand Valley State, has the top-seed in the Midwest Regional, and is ranked third nationally.
UW-Platteville will take on Loras College of Dubuque on Friday in the Sweet-16 round of the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament. Platteville advanced with a 2-1 victory over Carroll of Waukesha in the second round during the weekend. Loras earned the right to play the Pioneers after a 1-0 second-round victory over North Park.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin teams were shut out of the Sweet-16 in the Division-Three women’s soccer tourney. UW-Whitewater survived the first round before losing to regional host Wheaton, 7-0.
No Wisconsin teams made the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III women’s volleyball tournament. UW-Eau Claire and Whitewater came the closest. Eau Claire lost its second-round match to Saint Thomas three-sets-to-none, while the Warhawks dropped a five-set match to Elmhurst in Round-Two. UW-Stevens Point was eliminated in the first round by Northwestern College of Minnesota.
Marquette will host the Big East Conference volleyball tournament from Friday-through-Sunday in Milwaukee. And the host Golden Eagles clinched the No. 2 seed with a three-set home sweep of Notre Dame yesterday. Danielle Carlson earned her one-thousandth-career kill for the Golden Eagles on the final point of the match. Marquette will play seventh-seeded Pittsburgh in the tournament quarter-finals on Friday night. The Eagles set a team record with 13 conference wins with only two losses. Marquette is 24-5 overall.
The University of Wisconsin wrestling team is 1-0. The Badgers defeated 25th-ranked Hofstra 18-13 yesterday in Madison in its season opener. Wisconsin was down by four when it won its last three matches. Jackson Hein won a 12-5 decision over Victor Pozsonyi to put the Badgers in front. And heavyweight Cole Tobin of Hudson sealed the victory with a 4-3 decision over Paul Snyder.
Jerry Kelly of Madison rose six places to Number-226 in the World Golf Rankings. Kelly tied for ninth over the weekend in the PGA’s final tournament of 2012, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Florida. He was hoping to finish at least 125th on the Tour’s money list for a full ride next year. But Kelly fell one place short. He was the only Wisconsin golfer in the PGA finale. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped two places to 78th in the new World rankings. Steve Stricker of Madison remains at No. 12. The top four places are unchanged from a week ago. Rory McIlroy is still first, followed by Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, and Lee Westwood. Adam Scott rose one spot to fifth.