Jones' progression keys 'unbelievable' game-winning TD


Jones' progression keys 'unbelievable' game-winning TD

There are plenty of aspects to this year's Notre Dame team that one could look at and say "well, that wouldn't have happened last year." T.J. Jones' game-winning touchdown catch against Stanford, though, stands out as one of them from Saturday's game.

With the ball on Stanford's 7-yard line in overtime, Jones ran a slant route toward the end zone. Tommy Rees' pass was soft and behind the junior wide receiver, who managed to adjust and make a difficult catch to net the Irish what turned out to be a game-winning touchdown.

"Unbelievable," Rees said of Jones' catch. "It was a bad throw, to be honest, and he did a great job outside in making a play for us and he's done a good job all year coming in."

While Jones' numbers may not be to the eye-popping level of former Irish wideout Michael Floyd -- 19 receptions, 235 yards, two touchdowns -- his growth as a receiver has made him Notre Dame's most dependable target not named Tyler Eifert.

"We don't have another Michael Floyd here anymore," Jones said last week. "Last year, it was him. When we were in a tough situation, and we needed someone to be an example, we looked to Michael Floyd. So I chose for myself to be that example."

Coach Brian Kelly credited Jones' grab to the recevier's route-running ability, and dropped the "G" word when referring to him Saturday.

"He came out of his break, came back six yards for the ball. Great receivers do that," Kelly said. "They come back and get the football. They don't stand waiting for it. And that's  been his progression."

Big Ten poll update: Northwestern on the verge of top 25 in coaches, AP polls


Big Ten poll update: Northwestern on the verge of top 25 in coaches, AP polls

Northwestern ranked? Hey, it could happen.

In a year when folks are talking about the Wildcats perhaps finally receiving their first-ever invite to the NCAA tournament, the team is also about to crack the top 25.

Northwestern was the de facto No. 26 team in the coaches poll and the de facto No. 30 team in the AP poll when both sets of rankings were released Monday.

After beating Rutgers on the road and pummeling Iowa at home, Northwestern is 15-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play.

The Cats have one game this week, against Ohio State on Sunday, and should they win they could put themselves to have a number in front of their name come this time next week.

The last time that happened? Well, at least in the AP poll, Northwestern hasn't been ranked since 2009, and prior to that, you have to go all the way back to the 1968-69 season.

Elsewhere in the conference, Maryland re-entered the top 25, No. 25 in both the AP and coaches polls. The Terps stand at a somewhat quiet 16-2 overall and 4-1 in league play after wins last week over Indiana and Illinois.

Wisconsin was the No. 17 team in both polls, keeping its place in the coaches poll and moving up a spot in the AP. The Badgers scored a blowout win over Ohio State last Thursday and are 14-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play this season.

Purdue was ranked 21st in the AP poll and 22nd in the coaches poll. After a loss to Iowa, Purdue dropped four spots in the AP and three spots in the coaches. The Boilers are 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten.

Minnesota, which lost twice this week to Michigan State and Penn State, fell out of the top 25 in both polls.

Northwestern was the only Big Ten team also receiving votes in the AP poll, while Northwestern, Indiana and Minnesota also received votes in the coaches poll.

Northwestern's Scottie Lindsey named Big Ten Player of the Week


Northwestern's Scottie Lindsey named Big Ten Player of the Week

Scottie Lindsey's been tearing it up lately, and the Big Ten has taken notice.

The conference named Lindsey its Player of the Week on Monday, the junior guard and Fenwick High School product receiving that honor for the first time in his career.

Lindsey scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Northwestern's win over Rutgers last Thursday and added 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals in Sunday's win over Iowa.

Lindsey is the Wildcats' leading scorer this season with 15.8 points per game, good for seventh in the Big Ten. He also ranks fourth in the league with an 88.9-percent shooting clip from the free-throw line.

And how about this fun fact: Lindsey has scored in double figures in all 19 of the team's games this season, the longest streak by a Cat since John Shurna in 2011-12 and the longest streak by a Cat to start a season since Evan Eschmeyer in 1998-99.

Northwestern is 15-4 on the season and 4-2 in conference play after Sunday's 35-point blowout of Iowa.