Wow Week 1 in the B1G was a blur. So many blowouts, but also lots of excitement! It's almost time to get ready for Week 2, but before we do that, here's who we decided were the best players from the first action of the season.
OTE's Offensive Player of the Week: Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
What made Hackenberg's performance on Saturday against UCF so sweet wasn't the game-winning field goal drive or the single-game Penn State passing record of 454 yards. It wasn't even the fact that the Knights were returning an experience secondary. The best part was that Hackenberg didn't throw a single pass to Allen Robinson.
I know, it's crazy, right? Robinson did everything for Hackenberg last season. He made amazing catches, ran with the ball after the catch. He practically threw the passes for him too. How was Hackenberg supposed to get anything done without his stud receiver on the roster this season?
Maybe by being crazy talented? Before Hackenberg was a standout freshman throwing passes to Robinson, he was a five-star recruit and future NFL prospect. It's certainly not crazy to think he can make a jump from his freshman to sophomore year, and Saturday was a sign that that leap may be a big one. By hooking up with DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis for over 150 yards each, Hackenberg showed he's becoming good enough to make stars out of his targets instead of the other way around.
OTE's Defensive Player of the Week: Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
Take it away, GoForThree:
Choosing a defensive player of the week can be difficult. Offensive playmates tend to stand out easily, but a defensive effort thats head and shoulders above the rest can be tougher to suss out. The relative weakness of Week 1 competition only complicates the problem. The nod goes to Joey Bosa this week because he was absolutely critical to the Buckeyes' ability to stop Keenan Reynolds. As I mentioned in the Coming Down From Week 1 recap, Keenan Reynolds is exceptional. He'll never play on Sunday, but if there was ever a system QB, it's the young man from Annapolis.
The entire defensive line of Ohio State was dominant, as they should have been. Bosa's key plays didn't just help bottle up the QB keep portion of the triple option, though. His big, lunging hit on Reynolds in the early minutes of the 3rd quarter turned a reliable pitch-and-run gainer for Navy into the first touchdown of the year for the Buckeyes. That play was crucial for a Buckeye team that had not only failed to find the endzone, but didn't seem to have many answers for Navy's relentless option attack. Bosa finished the day with credit for three tackles, one for a loss. That may not sound like Player of the Week material at first blush, but it doesn't tell the real story. He garnered the collective vote based on his consistent ability to break up the backfield. Many of his seemingly sure tackles turned into knock-downs as Reynolds made desperate, last-ditch pitches to the option back. Those pitches became increasingly off-the-mark as a result of the consistent pressure.
Without Joey Bosa's overpowering play off the end, a Navy team that doesn't know how to quit might've found itself on the better end of the score when the clock ran out. As a result, he's our Defensive POTW. Who got your vote?
OTE's Special Teams Player of the Week: Penn State K Sam Ficken
Ficken! It seems like just yesterday he was missing four field goals in Charlottesville to doom Penn State against a bad Virginia team. During Saturday's season-opening game, Ficken did the complete opposite, nailing four of four tries on his way to 14 points. When Penn State was able to get within 20 yards of its goal line on the game's final possession, Ficken didn't waste his opportunity to become a hero for the Lions. It probably won't be the last time this season that his accuracy makes the difference in a close game.