Vikings feeling sense of 'dj vu' after loss to Bears

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Vikings feeling sense of 'dj vu' after loss to Bears

The date was October 14, 2007. The stage was Soldier Field. Rookie running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the Minnesota Vikings single-game rushing record, in a 34-31 win over the Chicago Bears.

Thats the last time the Vikings won a game in Chicago. Since then the Bears have dominated the Vikings, winning the last five meetings at Soldier Field.

This is becoming dj vu up here, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. This is the same script, just a different year. We got to fix something.

One Viking suggests something supernatural may be the reason for Chicagos success.

They might have a lucky troll or something over there, defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. Every time we come up here it seems like the same story. We got to find a way to get over that and get a win here.

Recently the Vikings are not only having a tough time beating the Bears in Chicago, but they cant beat them at home either, losing six consecutive games in the series.

So is this something the Vikings carried with them heading into Sundays game?

We knew what we was getting into, Peterson said. Those guys wanted to come out and make a statement, but I feel like it was more so what we did. Giving the ball away. Not making routine plays. Got to give credit to those guys because they did a good job of stopping us.

The two teams will strap it on two weeks from now in Minnesota in what will be another crucial game for both teams playoff hopes.

Well swallow this, Peterson said. But I cant wait to see them again.

Marshall impressive to Vikings defense

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall collected 12 receptions for 92 yards on Sunday, becoming the first Bears wideout since Marty Booker to go over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

I think Brandon Marshall caught literally everything that was thrown to him, which was impressive, Allen said.

Marshall didnt have many huge gains, his longest catch was for 17 yards, but the sheer volume of balls he hauled in was back-breaking for the Vikings.

He has a great catch radius, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. We were in position a few times with tight coverage and somehow the ball got in there and he came up with it. Hes a good player.

Balancing act for Bears

In the Monday night loss to San Francisco the Bears rushed for 85 yards, but only had 58 passing yards. Obviously those kind of offensive numbers wont win you many football games. But, in Sundays 28-10 win over the Vikings, the balance was back, as Chicago had 113 yards on the ground and 183 yards through the air.

Anytime you can be two-dimensional, its kind of hard to stop as a defense, Winfield said.

In a week that saw Chilo Rachal temporarily leave the team after being demoted for Chris Spencer, Gabe Carimi benched in favor of Jonathan Scott and Jay Cutler return to action, change was more of a theme than surprise.

They changed some protection things up, Allen said. We knew they were going to. You bench a guy and youre not going to just sit back there in five man protection and let people rush, especially when Jay Cutler is coming off of a head injury. So, hats off to them.

The Vikings watched Jason Campbell run the Bears offense on film against the 49ers, but instead faced off against Cutler on Sunday. So whats the biggest difference?

I think Cutler gets the ball out of his hands a lot quicker, Winfield said. He scrambles a lot more, buys time and hes not afraid to take chances. You can see Marshall in coverage and hes still throwing him the ball.

Slow start

Michael Bushs rush into the end zone, his second score of the game, with four minutes left in the second quarter hurt the Vikings. But the successful two-point conversion by holder Adam Podlesh was deflating, as it extended the Bears lead to 18-3.

We got chopped off at the head quick and that can break you down, Peterson said We continued to fight it just didnt go our way.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was intercepted by Chris Conte on the next drive, setting up Cutlers 13-yard touchdown pass to Matt Spaeth, giving the Bears a 25-3 halftime lead.

The game got out of hand real early and we didnt really give ourselves a chance, Winfield said.

Ready for a rematch

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was adamant that Minnesota (6-5) was still in the playoff hunt, even following a 28-10 blowout loss to the Bears.

Were not panicking at all, Greenway said. We wanted this one really bad. This was a huge game for us. We need to take care of business in Green Bay and we need to take of business when Chicago is at our place. Thats just the way it has to be.

Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

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Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

"Those who stay will be champions."

That's the familiar motto of Michigan football.

Well, consider that motto co-opted by the Wolverines' in-state rival.

Michigan State's director of college advancement and performance, Curtis Blackwell, tweeted out this image Thursday. Check out the slogan on the right.

Whoa!

Now, this is certainly nothing new, social-media flaps between the two programs. Jim Harbaugh makes a habit of going after people on Twitter, and Mark Dantonio has had his own veiled Twitter shots at Harbaugh & Co. in the past, too.

And, truthfully, Michigan State has reason to boast, as it's the program that's done the most winning in the Great Lakes State in recent seasons. Dantonio has led the Spartans to a trio of conference championships, in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In the past three seasons alone, the Spartans are 36-5 with two conference titles, wins in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, Michigan has won double-digit games in a single season just twice since 2006.

So while riffing on the Wolverines' motto raised a few eyebrows, the Spartans aren't wrong.

Big Ten preview: J.T. Barrett primed for big year as the Buckeyes' only QB

Big Ten preview: J.T. Barrett primed for big year as the Buckeyes' only QB

This time last year, Ohio State’s quarterback battle was the biggest story in college football.

One candidate led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular-season record and a spot in the Big Ten title game, not to mention his fifth-place finish in voting for the Heisman Trophy. The other candidate led the Buckeyes to wins in the conference championship game, the Sugar Bowl and the national championship game, delivering Ohio State its 11th national title in program history.

It was an unenviable decision, and Urban Meyer took forever to actually make it, starting Cardale Jones over the season’s first few games while continuing to play J.T. Barrett. And all the while, the Buckeyes’ offense struggled. Barrett was eventually handed the starting job and put up some big numbers while Ezekiel Elliott carried the offense. But that indecision at the game’s most important position, well it wasn’t what you want on the quest to repeat as national champs.

“I feel like it was a little difficult, but you just try to put yourself in the best position to play. That’s all I tried to do was to focus on what I can control,” Barrett said during Big Ten Media Days. “That was something that coach Meyer tried to do his best as far as me and Cardale and who was going to give Ohio State the best opportunity to win games.”

Even though the Buckeyes only lost one game last season, the quarterback merry-go-round and a comparatively unimpressive offense were the talks of the season — and maybe why it wasn’t back-to-back national titles for Ohio State.

According to Meyer, Barrett had some things working against him that kept him out of the starting role for the season’s first few weeks. This season, there will be no such controversy. Barrett is the guy, without question, and that should be a big help in a year when the Buckeyes are transitioning from an experienced group to a young one.

“He did not have a great training camp last year for whatever reason,” Meyer said. “We had a great conversation, actually drove him to the airport on the way here, talking about that. And there was a lot of distraction with Cardale, with who is going to be playing quarterback. And he was still overcoming a pretty serious injury that took a long time to heal. So he didn't have the spring reps that he needed. He did this year. And I anticipate he'll be as good a quarterback as we've had. It's his show and he knows it and he's prepared.”

Barrett won’t have Elliott to help him out this season — though there are high hopes for Elliott’s successor, Mike Weber — but his numbers from last season and the season before showed he’s more than capable of being one of the best players in the Big Ten. In 2015, Barrett completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns, rushing 115 times for 682 yards and 11 more touchdowns. Of course Buckeyes fans will be happy to see the same kind of season he had in 2014, when he excelled after being thrust into the starting role after Braxton Miller was injured for the season. That year, Barrett completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 2,834 yards and 34 touchdowns plus 938 rushing yards and 11 additional touchdowns.

Barrett should deliver another sensational season as a redshirt junior, but it’s the offense around him that brings question marks. No one knows what to expect from the youth at almost every other position, be it Weber, inexperienced wideouts or an offensive line that will see a true freshman starter. It makes that comparatively lackluster offensive season a year ago — the Buckeyes still averaged more than 35 points a game and scored at least 28 points all but twice — all the more difficult to correct considering the youth around Barrett.

“As an offense last year, we didn’t function like we knew we could have,” Barrett said. “So seeing that go down last year and knowing the time it’s going to take in order to make sure that we improve and get better and maximize everybody at the wide receiver position and also me as a quarterback. Just having that in the back of our minds, knowing we’ve got to put this work in to make sure that shows on Saturdays.”

But Ohio State remains confident, with those projecting more big things for the Buckeyes doing so mostly because of Barrett. Meyer called this team his most talented group yet in Columbus, an almost shocking statement following the past two seasons, which featured one of the best collections of college talent ever.

Barrett likes the young guys, too, but he echoes the concerns of his coach, too, namely getting this inexperienced group up to snuff before a tough non-conference test at Oklahoma and a rigorous schedule in the Big Ten East Division.

“I feel like the talent’s still there, it’s just more of the experience that’s lacking,” Barrett said. “So with the experience lacking, the confidence might not be there. The talent may be there when we’re out there running drills on a Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock. But being able to get the experience and the confidence for these guys to be able to go out there and know that they’ll be able to make a play on Saturday, I think that’s something that needs to be developed.”

Here it is: Big Ten releases 2016-17 men's basketball schedule

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Here it is: Big Ten releases 2016-17 men's basketball schedule

Big Ten football is just a week away. But it's never too early to start thinking about hoops.

The conference announced the 2016-17 league schedule Thursday afternoon. Games begin on Dec. 27, and the last day of conference play is March 5, 2017.

The Big Ten Tournament shifts to Washington, D.C., this season, with games being played from March 8 through March 12.

Here's a look at the entire Big Ten basketball schedule for the 2016-17 season.

Dec. 27

Illinois at Maryland
Michigan State at Minnesota
Northwestern at Penn State
Rutgers at Wisconsin

Dec. 28

Iowa at Purdue
Nebraska at Indiana

Dec. 30

Northwestern at Michigan State

Jan. 1, 2017

Michigan at Iowa
Minnesota at Purdue
Nebraska at Maryland
Ohio State at Illinois
Penn State at Rutgers

Jan. 3

Wisconsin at Indiana

Jan. 4

Penn State at Michigan
Rutgers at Michigan State

Jan. 5

Iowa at Nebraska
Minnesota at Northwestern
Purdue at Ohio State

Jan. 7

Illinois at Indiana
Maryland at Michigan
Michigan State vs. Penn State (in Philadelphia)

Jan. 8

Northwestern at Nebraska
Ohio State at Minnesota
Rutgers at Iowa
Wisconsin at Purdue

Jan. 10

Indiana at Maryland

Jan. 11

Michigan at Illinois
Minnesota at Michigan State

Jan. 12

Northwestern at Rutgers
Ohio State at Wisconsin
Purdue at Iowa

Jan. 14

Maryland at Illinois
Minnesota at Penn State
Nebraska at Michigan

Jan. 15

Iowa at Northwestern
Michigan State at Ohio State
Rutgers at Indiana

Jan. 17

Illinois at Purdue
Michigan at Wisconsin

Jan. 18

Indiana at Penn State
Ohio State at Nebraska

Jan. 19

Maryland at Iowa

Jan. 21

Illinois at Michigan
Michigan State at Indiana
Nebraska at Rutgers
Penn State at Purdue
Wisconsin at Minnesota

Jan. 22

Northwestern at Ohio State

Jan. 24

Penn State at Wisconsin
Purdue at Michigan State
Rutgers at Maryland

Jan. 25

Iowa at Illinois
Minnesota at Ohio State

Jan. 26

Indiana at Michigan
Nebraska at Northwestern

Jan. 28

Illinois at Penn State
Maryland at Minnesota
Ohio State at Iowa
Wisconsin vs. Rutgers (in New York City)

Jan. 29

Indiana at Northwestern
Michigan at Michigan State
Purdue at Nebraska

Jan. 31

Iowa at Rutgers
Maryland at Ohio State
Wisconsin at Illinois

Feb. 1

Northwestern at Purdue
Penn State at Indiana

Feb. 2

Michigan State at Nebraska

Feb. 4

Minnesota at Illinois
Ohio State at Michigan
Purdue at Maryland
Rutgers at Penn State

Feb. 5

Indiana at Wisconsin
Nebraska at Iowa

Feb. 7

Illinois at Northwestern
Maryland at Penn State
Michigan State at Michigan

Feb. 8

Iowa at Minnesota
Rutgers at Ohio State

Feb. 9

Purdue at Indiana
Wisconsin at Nebraska

Feb. 11

Iowa at Michigan State
Minnesota at Rutgers
Ohio State at Maryland
Penn State at Illinois

Feb. 12

Michigan at Indiana
Northwestern at Wisconsin

Feb. 14

Ohio State at Michigan State
Penn State at Nebraska
Rutgers at Purdue

Feb. 15

Indiana at Minnesota
Maryland at Northwestern

Feb. 16

Wisconsin at Michigan

Feb. 18

Illinois at Iowa
Michigan State at Purdue
Rutgers at Northwestern

Feb. 18 or 19

Nebraska at Ohio State

Feb. 19

Maryland at Wisconsin
Michigan at Minnesota

Feb. 21

Indiana at Iowa
Northwestern at Illinois
Purdue at Penn State

Feb. 22

Michigan at Rutgers
Minnesota at Maryland

Feb. 23

Nebraska at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Ohio State

Feb. 25

Iowa at Maryland
Purdue at Michigan

Feb. 25 or 26

Northwestern at Indiana
Penn State at Minnesota
Wisconsin at Michigan State

Feb. 26

Illinois at Nebraska

Feb. 28

Indiana at Purdue
Maryland at Rutgers
Ohio State at Penn State

March 1

Michigan at Northwestern
Michigan State at Illinois

March 2

Iowa at Wisconsin
Nebraska at Minnesota

March 4

Illinois at Rutgers
Indiana at Ohio State

March 4 or 5

Purdue at Northwestern

March 5

Michigan at Nebraska
Michigan State at Maryland
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Penn State at Iowa

March 8 through March 12

Big Ten Tournament (in Washington, D.C.)