Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
Hello again, College Football Fans! It’s that time of year again at WRST (and UW-Oshkosh for that matter) where exams, projects and papers get the best of us, but the world of CFB doesn’t slow down for anyone, so let’s get right to it. This week, we’ll take a look at the final two Big Ten spring games, plus some other headlines from the NFL Draft and more.
First up, the final two spring games for Big Ten teams were held this past weekend, one in Iowa City and one in the Twin Cities. We’ll start with the team whose mascot would probably eat a rodent (The Gophers) in real life, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes held their annual Spring Game/Scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday in front of 16,500 fans. Questions abound after last year’s dismal 4-8 campaign, but, as Coach Ferentz said, Iowa “didn’t plan on making any decisions coming out of today”. The QB race to replace the graduated (and Minnesota Vikings undrafted free-agent) James Vandenberg, is between Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Bethard. Analysis from writers in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area have the race cut down to Rudock and Sokol, with Rudock having a slight edge. The thing is, none of these three candidates have any game experience, which led to Ferentz drawing criticism during last year’s debacle of a season.
The Iowa offense “won” the spring game 61-37 with a modified scoring system. All three QB’s tossed for over 100 yards, with Sokol tallying 183 yards and a score, Rudock with 174 yards and 0 TD’s and the Freshman, Beathard 110 yards and a score. On the defensive side of the ball, tackle Carl Davis tallied three sacks and two pass deflections as just one highlight.
Let’s move on north to the Twin Cities, where the Minnesota Golden Gophers held their annual Maroon & Gold game at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Maroon team beat the Gold 24-17, with QB (and presumed starter) Phillip Nelson tossing for 179 yards and a score on 13 of 17 accuracy. Head Coach Jerry Kill, who wanted to see marked improvement in the offense after last year, got his wish with big performances from Nelson and freshman Mitch Leidner. Derrick Engle led the Maroon team in receiving, with Rodrick Williams and Donnell Kirkwood having solid days rushing as well.
Highlights from the Gophers’ spring game can be found here.
Now that we’ve wrapped up spring practice in the Big Ten, let’s hit on a couple more headlines from the past week.
First up, ESPN and ABC announced yesterday that six Big Ten games have been slated for Saturday night Prime-Time telecasts this coming year. Those games are as follows.
September 7th: (#10) Notre Dame at (#9) Michigan (7PM CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
September 14th: (#10) Notre Dame at Purdue (7PM CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
September 28th: (#25) Wisconsin at (#1) Ohio State (7PM CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
October 5th: (#1) Ohio State at (#24) Northwestern (7PM CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
October 12th: (#9) Michigan at Penn State (7PM CT, ESPN or ESPN2)
October 26th: Penn State at (#1) Ohio State (7PM CT, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
Turning to the NFL Draft, can you guess what conference had the most draft picks this year? As if it was any surprise, the SEC led the way with 63 draft picks combined between the East and West division. This total comes after the SEC’s first full year as a 14-team conference.
The full breakdown is at the link above, but the SEC East led with 32 draft picks between all teams combined. Second and third on the list were the SEC West and the ACC with 31 picks between all teams. The Pac-12 had 28 selections, the Big Twelve and Big Ten 22, and the Big East 18.
In other draft news, you either love them or you hate them…at least on the basketball court, on the football field, do they even matter? Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about Duke Football ladies and gents, who had their first player selected in the NFL Draft this year since 2004. Duke QB Sean Renfree was taken in the 7th round by the Atlanta Falcons. The last time a Blue Devil was taken in the draft was Offensive Tackle Drew Strojny in the 7th round in 2004.
Last but not least, we absolutely have to mention a WIAC Product signing a free-agent contract in the NFL. That honor belongs to UW-Platteville Defensive Back Ryan McWethy, who signed with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. McWethy tallied 84 tackles, including 54 solo tackles in 2012, along with two interceptions and three pass break ups.
McWethy is the only known WIAC player to sign a free agent deal following the 2013 draft. UW-Oshkosh QB Nate Wara tried out for Packers’ scouts a few weeks ago in Oshkosh. You can read more about Wara’s tryout here and here.
Last season, five WIAC players had NFL try-outs, including UW-Whitewater Quarterback Matt Blanchard, who is currently on the Chicago Bears’ Practice Squad.
That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks to everyone who read along during the semester. Have a great summer and we’ll talk with you with predictions for the fall coming shortly!
Spencer Wagen, WRST-FM Station Manager and Sports Broadcaster.