Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Big Ten: Another Shutout for IU While Illinois, Purdue Win

irish rugby tours

Big Ten: Another Shutout for IU While Illinois, Purdue Win

Indiana is now 4-0 in the Big Ten Conference. Andy Marsh photo.

Indiana remains undefeated in the Big Ten but it wasn't an easy thing as the Hoosiers had to slog through the mud to beat Michigan State on Saturday.

With the going slow the speedy Indiana attack was someone nullified and managed only one try. It was enough as IU survived 10-0.

The thick mud "was a challenge for both teams," said IU Head Coach Eddie Abel. "It really limited ball movement and what each team could do in attack."

So the forwards saw a lot more of the action. MSU battled hard at the breakdown slowing ball down even more. And the mud was so thick it caked around the ball, making even the simple act of picking it up more challenging.

"They used their size well and were extremely disciplined," said Abel. "They also did an excellent job defending the middle of the field and taking advantage of the slowed ball and pace."

IU's defense, on show the week before in a non-conference shutout win over Notre Dame College, was on display once again. 

"It was a massive defensive effort from all 15 guys to deal with the mud and MSU's size."

IU prop Andy Guhl, appropriately enough, was the man with the try, bashing over from shot range. Fullback Will Chevalier converted and later added a penalty goal. All of the scoring was in the second half.

"The team had a handful of goalline defenses," added Chevalier. "We were able to shut down Michigan State every time. We couldn't use our fast stile in the mid but we were able to tighten things up and keep control of the game. The conditions favored MSU's style of attack, which was crash the forwards for phases at a time and then go wide. They were a good squad but I'm proud we got our third [conference] shutout this season."

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Illinois moved to 3-1—their lone loss so far a 56-0 pasting at the hands of Indiana—with a 32-7 defeat of Michigan.

"I think we were shell-shocked against Indiana," said Illinois head Coach Joseph Rasmus, who saw several of his starters leave that IU game with head injuries. Against Michigan, ""we really needed that physical, five-try first half to get the monkey of our backs."

That they did, going into the break up 27-0. But Michigan had the better of the second half 7-5.

"It's clear from their resilience that Coach [Matt] Trenary is building a really strong culture in Ann Arbor," said Rasmus.

And Purdue beat Wisconsin 33-7 to improve to 1-1.

Head Coach Casey Doten said he was happy with how his team was able to pin Wisconsin in their 22 and use defensive pressure to force mistakes.

"We executed the plan well, especially in the first half," said Doten, who also lamented a few errors on Purdue's part that hurt scoring chances. "But Wisconsin did a good job of scrambling and playing defense with their backs up to the line."

In a very physical match, Purdue flyhalf Zach Janicki suffered a nasty-looking cut on his head, but got bandaged up, returned to the field and scored a try. He ended up getting 14 stitches after the match. Freshman center Jack Judson scored two tries, make ten tackles, and continually prevented Wisconsin from getting the ball wide. Flanker Alex Vecchioni put in a full day's work making tackles and forcing turnovers, and scored two tries as well.

Strong at halfback and in the center, Wisconsin continues to play hard but have found it tough to find wins.

As for Purdue, their rather convincing loss to Notre Dame was a bit of a wakeup call. 

"After the Notre Dame loss and we started to find our identity over the last few weeks as a team that plays its best ball on defense and have focused on a gritty, aggressive defense that forces errors from our opponents," said Doten. "We have a tough slate of Big Ten games ahead but the team is confident we are on the right foot going forward."

Ohio State didn't play a league game but beat University of Notre Dame 24-7.

With one game canceled (which we haven't listed as a forfeit as yet), this is what the Big Ten standings look like:

Big Ten W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Indiana 4 0 0 161 31 130 3 0 19
Illinois 3 1 0 109 92 17 1 0 13
Ohio State 2 1 0 123 64 59 3 1 12
Purdue 1 1 0 50 28 22 1 0 5
Michigan 1 1 0 43 56 -13 1 0 5
Michigan State 0 2 0 26 52 -26 1 0 1
Wisconsin 0 4 0 43 187 -144 1 0 1