Big Ten teams forced to shift on fly after Hurricane Irma affects schedules

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Big Ten teams like Indiana, Illinois and Maryland must adjust quickly after Hurricane Irma affects scheduling against

Hurricane Irma has caused destruction throughout Florida, and some Big Ten teams' schedules have been thrown into flux as a result.

While many Big Ten coaches said the families of their players from Florida are safe, some teams with upcoming games against teams from the state have had to monitor the effects the storm has had on future opponents.

's Saturday home game against Miami-based Florida International has been canceled. On Tuesday, the Hoosiers announced a replacement home game against Charleston Southern, an FCS school, on Oct. 7.

During Monday's Big Ten teleconference, a day before the rescheduling, Indiana coach Tom Allen said he is stressing the importance of flexibility to his players.

"We weren't expecting this latest turn," he said. "You have to be flexible. You have to adjust. It's not ideal. We put a plan into effect to maximize this week."

The Hoosiers started the season with a rare Thursday night game against before winning last Saturday at Virginia.

"We thought we were finally going to get in the groove but we had to adjust," Allen said.

Maryland is off this weekend before a scheduled home game against Central Florida on Sept. 23. The Orlando-based Knights canceled their home games last Friday against Memphis and Saturday against Georgia Tech.

That will leave Terrapins coach DJ Durkin with little game film on the Knights.

"It really hasn't changed our schedule at all," he said. "If they had played two more games, (there could be more) film evaluation but in terms of our own players and schedule it wouldn't change. ... That stuff is out of our control."

' game against South Florida remains scheduled for Friday night in Tampa.

South Florida's game at Connecticut last Saturday was canceled as the USF campus closed ahead of the storm. Illinois offered to host the game, which will be played as planned at Raymond James Stadium. The teams are scheduled to play next season at Soldier Field.

Illinois coach Lovie Smith downplayed the early uncertainty about the game's status.

"We played two games and they've played two games," he said. "I feel like we have enough information to prepare for them. I don't think that changes if you miss (one) game."

South Florida announced Tuesday that first responders and high-school football teams can attend Friday's game for free.

Dayne-ish: Before Saturday, three true freshmen had rushed for at least 200 yards in a game. One was Ron Dayne in 1996.

Current freshman Jonathan Taylor rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in the Badgers' 31-14 victory against Florida Atlantic, joining Dayne, Alan Ameche (1951) and Zach Brown (2007).

"We felt confident he could handle the position," Badgers coach Paul Chryst said. "He's got a really mature approach to his preparation. The moment hasn't seemed too big for him. There's a lot of room for Jonathan to continue to grow."

Clarifying remarks: Critics suggested Penn State coach James Franklin was throwing some shade when he said Saturday's victory against Pittsburgh was the equivalent to the opening week victory against Akron.

On Monday, Franklin said he believes in treating each victory as no more important than another.

"The Akron win was very important in Week 1," he said. "In week 2, playing very well against Pitt (was important). We try not to make things more than they are. That approach has been pretty good for us."

Getting better: coach Jeff Brohm said quarterback David Blough showed marked improvement between the Boilermakers' first and second games.

In a Week 1 loss to Louisville, Blough completed 18 of his 26 passes for only 175 yards, with two picks and two touchdowns. In Week 2's victory against Ohio, he made the most of his 13 attempts, completing 11 for 235 yards and three TDs without a pick.

"We actually had a long one-on-one meeting," Brohm said. "A lot of it was the mental aspect of things. He got in rhythm and he looked like he felt very comfortable out there."

Extra points: coach said offensive lineman Ike Boettger is expected to miss four to six weeks with an Achilles' tendon injury. Ferentz had worried after Saturday's victory against Iowa State that Boettger would miss the rest of the season. ... Asked about Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett needing to take more chances after losing to Oklahoma on Saturday, coach Urban Meyer said, "I think as an offense we have to be more creative and take more chances. We have to be more educated about it." Barrett was 19 of 35 for 183 yards with an interception. Meyer said after the game he wasn't going to make a quarterback change. ... coach P.J. Fleck announced Tuesday that backup quarterback Demry Croft won't be with the team against Middle Tennessee State for disciplinary reasons.

sryan@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @sryantribune

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