Offensive Player(s) of the Week
RB - Ameer Abdullah - Nebraska
In what is seemingly becoming a broken record, Ameer Abdullah finds himself on this list again. Whether it was the record breaking 341 All-Purpose Yards, the fourth 200+ yard rushing game of the season, the fact that he is within striking distance of the B1G's all-time All-Purpose Yards mark, or the fact that it looked so easy, I think that you can safely say that Ameer is on a different level this season. It has become almost silly to say that teams should #FearAmeer because of course they do, but even with what was supposed to be a stout front in Rutgers, you could see him gashing the defense like a hot knife through butter. From my seat in the North endzone, it was a thing of beauty, and what was a weird matchup with little fanfare became an event. That's what Ameer does.
-- Jesse Collins
QB - Reilly O'Toole - Illinois
Whaaat?! That's right, we're giving it to the plucky little leprechaun who led the Illini to their first Nice Thing(TM) in conference since 2011. O'Toole's passing stats were perhaps pedestrian--14/21 for 118 yards and a TD pass to TE Jon Davis--but they were abetted nicely by O'Toole's 17 carries for 59 yards and a score of his own (and a long of 28 yards!). O'Toole ran the mesh with RB Josh Ferguson just well enough to push the Illini past an off-balance and flat Gopher defense, springing the Illini to an upset on Homecoming.
Per respected OTE commentor (and Illinois fan--go read his Nice Things FanPosts) Thumpasaurus, O'Toole succeeded in spite of "Tim Beckman inexplicably benching him after two straight touchdown drives," thus derailing a hot offensive start which sputtered after the QB change. O'Toole (I'm not on board with "Reilly O'Football, man) fought through some tough Minnesota hits and managed (with the help of punter Justin DuVernois flipping field after field on the Gophers) to help the Illini hang on.
Sitting at 4-4 (1-3), the Illini now have an outside shot to make a bowl game...how many nice things are too many, though? One thing's for sure--a freewheeling Illinois could cause some problems for other bowl hopefuls like Penn State and Northwestern. In their honor (ugh), might we suggest Destihl Brewing's Here GOSE Nothing? I'm a sucker for sours, and Destihl's whole Wild Sour Series is pretty phenomenal. Based originally out of Normal, and now with locations in Champaign and Chicago, Destihl's buying into Illinois' "Our State, Our
Team Beer" slogan.
-- MNWildcat (who now needs to go shower) with the help of Thumpasaurus (watching games and all that)
RB- Jeremy Langford - Michigan State
Langford's been a forgotten man on the landscape of the conference's best backs, and with the numbers Abdullah, Gordon, Coleman, and Cobb are churning out it's understandable. He's also been sharing carries with understudies Nick Hill and Delton Williams a lot more than he did last year, as Langford averaged fewer than 18 carries per game over the first 7. All that changed against Michigan. Dantonio turned to his trusted senior early, late, and often, giving Langford 35 of the 41 carries by tailbacks. Langford obliged with 177 yards rushing and 3 TDs, bookending the scoring with punch-ins on the first and last drives of the game.
In honor of his trustworthiness, I present Short's Brewing Company's Bellaire Brown. Reaching down from the remote fingertips of the Mitten, Short's is a low-volume, high-quality concern, and Bellaire is no exception. It's got stronger coffee notes than your typical brown ale, but the caramel still comes through.
-- Andrew Kraszewski
WR - DaeSean Hamilton - Penn State
The redshirt freshman from Fredericksburg, Virginia didn't make a spectacular catch in the end zone the way Saeed Blacknall did in Saturday night's oh-so-close loss to Ohio State, but Hamilton's performace was crucial to the Lions being able to move the ball in the second half. He caught a Penn State record 14 passes for 126 yards. None of those receptions were made very far downfield (his long on the day was just 18 yards), but if dinking and dunking was so easy, PSU might have been able to move the ball some against Michigan.
Look for James Franklin and offensive coordinator John Donovan to continue feeding the ball to Hamilton as the talented receiver's career progresses.
-- Aaron Yorke
Defensive Player(s) of the Week
DT - Maliek Collins - Nebraska
The Defensive Tackle is an oft misunderstood position. These guys stuff the middle of the line and make life miserable for opponents so that everyone else can go out and get work done. Collins is one of those guys that can still stand out. On Saturday, he had three TFLs, one sack, three QBHs, and seven tackles. More importantly, he made life miserable for Rutgers and opened up the rest of what is becoming a solid D-Line to wreak havoc. Collins is still only a Sophomore but he already looks like he has a chance to be one of the better DTs in the league.
DE - Joey Bosa - Ohio State
How many human beings did you wield as a tackling weapon this week? Odds are not as many as the young Mr. Bosa. Joey was nothing short of a force of nature on Saturday night, as evidenced by his 6 solo tackles and 2.5 sacks, the last of which sealed Penn State's fate.
DT and LB - Anthony Zettel and Mike Hull - Penn State
Both players made huge plays on defense and did a whole lot more than just keep Penn State in the game after the Lions fell behind 17-0 in the first half. Zettel kicked off the second half with a pick six to breathe life into Beaver Stadium, and he added a sack as well as a pass broken up. Hull has been everywhere to the Lions this season, finishing Saturday with 19 tackles (12 solo) and a crucial interception.
Zettel and Hull are arguably Penn State's two most valuable players in 2014 and Saturday night's game doesn't get close to overtime without them.
-- Aaron Yorke