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Phil Taylor's Sidelines
Phil Taylor
November 08, 2004
A WILD DAY IN THE BIG TEN
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November 08, 2004

Phil Taylor's Sidelines

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A WILD DAY IN THE BIG TEN

Pick a storyline, any storyline. The Big Ten provided plenty of them during a thrilling Saturday that featured two major upsets of ranked teams and a near miss. Indiana was winless in the conference before beating 24th-ranked Minnesota 30-21, and Northwestern shocked No. 17 Purdue 13-10 in a game that continued Boilermakers quarterback Kyle Orton's free fall in the Heisman race. After being pulled for ineffectiveness in the third quarter last Saturday, Orton (right), the Heisman front-runner three weeks ago, probably won't even get an invitation to New York City as one of the top five vote-getters. Wildcats coach Randy Walker, who was hospitalized early last week with an inflammation of his heart, chided his players for giving him such a stress-inducing victory after Noah Herron scored the winning touchdown with 38 seconds left, but Walker was lucky he wasn't involved in Michigan's come-from-behind, triple-overtime 45-37 win over Michigan State. The most fortunate member of the Big Ten was Wisconsin, which had no trouble maintaining its unbeaten mark in the conference. The Badgers were idle.

DUCKS ARE QUACKING

USC and California are the only Pac-10 teams that have received much national attention, but Oregon is quietly keeping pace with the big two. With their 31-6 win over Washington, the Ducks are 4-1 in the conference and tied with the Bears for second place, one game behind the Trojans. Oregon has won four straight, thanks largely to a defense that seems to find a new way to excel every week. In their last three games the Ducks, led by stud tackle Haloti Ngata (above), shut out Arizona for 58 minutes before giving up a pair of meaningless scores in a 28-14 win, had 10 sacks in a 16-13 victory over Stanford and held Washington to just 45 rushing yards. Oregon's four-game run hasn't been against particularly stiff competition, but the Ducks (5-3 overall) will get the chance to prove themselves on Saturday at Cal. With USC seemingly headed for a spot in the national championship game, the Oregon-Cal winner will most likely go to the Rose Bowl.

HAWAII'S CHANG HALTED

Although Boise State's defense stifled him for the entire game, in the end it was his own coach who kept Hawaii quarterback Timmy Chang (right) from setting the NCAA career passing yardage record. Warriors coach June Jones kept Chang on the bench for the final possession of last Friday's 69-3 loss because he didn't want Chang--who needed just 14 more yards to break Ty Detmer's mark of 15,031--to make history in such an otherwise disastrous game. Chang, who was limited to 227 yards and threw four interceptions, did set Division IA career records for interceptions (74) and total offense (14,809 yards), although he'll have a hard time finding video evidence of either. Hawaii's performance was so dismal that Jones doesn't plan to let his players look at the tape of the game.

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