GRINDING IT OUT. It has been a splendid weekend for college football in the State Line area. The difficulty with having a team that isn't very highly rated is that you often don't know until late in the week what time the game will be. Friday night's game in DeKalb, with Bowling Green facing Northern Illinois University, caught me a bit by surprise, but the reason for the strange timing was to get the game onto ESPN-2, which is how I was able to eat dinner and watch it at the same time. Although Northern Illinois has lost to two of the more visible teams -- Maryland, where time ran out on them, and Iowa State, who staged a major rally -- it defeated last year, it has reversed one of the losses that counted, to Bowling Green, a resident of the Midwestern Axis of Evil, otherwise known as U.S. Highway 23. The way in which Northern Illinois put the game away -- a drive of 91 yards consuming nearly nine minutes to open the fourth quarter and featuring fourteen carries by reserve running back Garrett Wolfe -- was impressive. Fine cool dry weather for the game as well. Saturday evening in Madison featured more of the same, with solid defense and a big fullback converted to tailback keeping Penn State from having much effect. (Let us wish Coach Paterno's son-in-law a full recovery from the biking accident he suffered Saturday afternoon.) Professor Althouse has some game-day pictures. She notes that even the stop signs are red and white. Yes, and they'll tackle you for a loss.

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