Good morning and happy Monday! The humble OTE staff brings you our Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams Players of the Week, along with a couple beers to try in honor of the beautiful beer-drinking weather we're having. As a note: I just put the headers in there to give the other authors a place to edit in...and they didn't change them. So we're keeping them. I think I like them better.
Offensive Player(s) of the Week
Purdue's Rushing Attack
I am as surprised as anybody to be writing this today. Purdue? Offense?!?!? The Boilermaker coaching staff must have been watching Nebraska run all over Illinois last week, because they tried the same thing. What do you know, it worked. Purdue features a pair of fast RBs in Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert, but they hadn't been able to break runs for big yardage until they faced the Illini. Mostert got the ball rolling with a 44 yard TD in the first quarter. Hunt was the workhorse of the day; he went for 177 yards on 30 carries, including a 54 yard TD. Freshman Keyante Green contributed with a 53 yard run.
The big news coming into the game was that Austin Appleby was going to start at QB instead of Danny Etling. Etling never really looked to run the ball when the opportunity presented itself, but Appleby took advantage of Illinois' poor defense to the tune of 106 rushing yards, including a 62 yard gain and two TDs.
I have watched multiple teams amass tons of rushing yards against the Boilermakers over the years; it was nice to see Purdue running all over a team for once.
It's harvest time as well as Oktoberfest time, so let's choose a German beer. I have always enjoyed the Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, so let's go with that.
It's hard to even qualify how good Nova's game was this Saturday. He hit big plays down the field, he made great reads and took care of the football, he picked up key first downs with his legs. The guy throws for 400+ yards, 3 TDs, and no picks in one of the biggest games of his career with every Scarlet Knight player, coach and fan watching. The run game couldn't get momentum, so Gary went allllll SuperNova and made huge play after huge play to win one of the most important games in Rutgers' history.
Oh yeah, and this jam was ridiculous:
To celebrate Nova leading Rutgers to it's first Big Ten conference win, I offer a beer as uniquely excellent as #10's game: The Exit 1: Bayshore Oyster Stout, from Jersey's own Flying Fish Brewing Co. and their amazing Exit Series of beers. Just as you might question an Oyster beer, you could reasonably question Gary's ability to lead this team after his 5 INT showing against TTFP. However, once you give them a chance, Flying Fish's exceptional brew and Gary Nova's exceptional performance were both wonderful, remarkable firsts for RU and the State of NJ.
-- Ray Ransom
The Stupid Guy who has a Mustache and Catches Hail Marys. (Hail Maries? Hails Mary?)
So here's the deal. Nebraska was stymied in the beautiful condition of East Lansing, and with a still-learning QB, the Fun-Fro'd Kenny Bell sidelined by injury, and a defense trying to destroy everything, it was up to one man. Jordan Westerkamp was admirable in trying to defeat the No-Fly Zone, and while it was ultimately a small part of a losing effort, his 9 catch, 158 yard performance was admirable. His miss in the 3rd quarter will probably be more memorable than some of the acrobat catches he made, but that can't overshadow the overall performance.
To represent Mr. Westerkamp, we're actually going to give him a heavy pour of Elijah Craig Bourbon. It'll help him feel better about the drop, it's good enough to celebrate the overall performance, and it's an everyday type of bourbon who does work.
-- Jesse Collins
Defensive Player(s) of the Week
Hello, everyone. For your second consecutive week, meet a Northwestern freshman who, in his first start ever, broke onto the scene with solid play and a flashy interception. The only thing? Igwebuike picked off not one, not two, but THREE Wisconsin passes in leading the Wildcats to a home upset of the #17 Badgers. He added 7 solo tackles and an assist in a defensive effort which harried the Badgers every time they dropped back to pass. Coming with :18 left in regulation, Igwebuike's final interception came when he stepped in front of a Badgers tight end, picked off Joel Stave, and ran 11 yards before being wrestled to the ground by his teammates. You can't blame him, right? Kid's excited. Truly a performance deserving of DPOTW.
Igwebuike's burst onto the scene certain provided a bitter visit to Evanston for the Badgers. In a seamless transition, those folks also seeking something bitter and unexpected in Evanston should try Gatecrasher IPA from Temperance Beer Company. (GET IT?!) Now distributed in cans, Gatecrasher IPA is the flagship beer for Evanston's first craft brewery, which didn't open until...2013. Just like I will continue to urge temperance for Northwestern's season despite their gatecrashing performance (led by defensive studs like Igwebuike) in Big Ten play, I will continue to urge Temperance Beer Company's Gatecrasher IPA as a fantastic beer worth a look.
This has been a successful metaphor.
Galaxy-Class Run Defense (Taiwan Jones)
You've heard MSU fans stress about it ad nauseum 'round these parts; there's something about Nebraska's offense that even our defense just can't get its head around. Well, Saturday night that all changed, notwithstanding the Huskers' 4th quarter surge. It was an excellent group effort for the most part (looking at you, "No Fly Zone"), but I'll give the individual nod here to senior MLB Taiwan Jones, whose 10 tackles, including 3 for loss and a sack, were the tip of the iceberg as he had MSU's front seven in the correct alignments all night to hurl a harpoon into Ameer Abdullah's Heisman campaign (AA was held to 45 yards on 24 carries). I certainly didn't see that coming, but life's funny sometimes.
To represent the inky void into which Nebraska's offense was drawn for most of the game, I present Keweenaw Brewing Company's Widow Maker Black Ale. The molasses and malt flavors make it a nice cold-weather beer, but it's still light enough to be drinkable without needing a nap.
This metaphor is better than MNWildcat's.
-- Andrew Kraszewski
Special Teams Player of the Week
Antwaan Randle Pierson El
Wait, I have to write two Nebraska things? We lost... and it wasn't pretty for like, at least 3/4 of the game. But hey, I didn't make the nominations, so whatever.
All of that complaining about writing about this game aside, DPE is legit y'all. I'm still a little angry about the 1st quarter BS call from the officials who said that he called for fair catch even though there was no way that was a fair catch call. But hey, it was all good because in the fourth quarter, this happened:
That one play gave Nebraska a chance in a game they had zero business being in at the end, so STPOTW doesn't really seem like that weird of an award. As for a beer for DPE? I'm going with something a little local. We're going to give DPE the Empyrean Third Stone Brown Ale because it's a damn good beer and so is DPE.