The best teams in the conference did work this week. Ohio State took care of business. The Michigan/Michigan State tilt proved that those teams are damn near equal. It took one of the flukiest plays I've ever seen to decide that one. And Iowa has to be in this conversation too, until they lose.
The Not Best in the conference did their thing too. Nebraska won, Penn State lost, Wisconsin won...and so on. The middle of the Big is as bloated as the midrift of an Indianapolis Mall Cop.
We need to play some more games, to separate that mess.
Now Let's Talk Individual Efforts...
Indiana Hoosiers – Wow…just wow. Your offense puts up 52 points on Rutgers; your hurt quarterback Nate Sudfeld comes in and throws for 464 yards and four touchdowns…and you lose? I can’t believe it. This game had a total of 107 points, 1,223 yards of offense and fifteen (15!) touchdowns. Indiana’s defense gave up 28 unanswered points and lost on a last minute field goal.
Sudfeld is a baller for sure. He also ran for a touchdown. The one ding on his day were the two picks he threw.
Devine Redding had a good game rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Most of those yards came on a big 66 yard touchdown rumble. Receivers Mitchell Paige, Ricky Jones, and Simmie Cobbs Jr. had 126 yards, 119 yards, and 107 yards respectively.
Illinois Fighting Illini – No Ballers for you on Bye Week.
Michigan Wolverines – This was a hell of a game. The defense held Michigan State in check. They sacked Connor Cook three times. They held MSU’s offense to just 58 rushing yards (net) on 33 attempts. Sparty’s offense only scored three touchdowns. Michigan’s defense held them to just seven points until midway through the third quarter. Willie Henry had a good game, with five tackles and two sacks. Jourdan Lewis broke up six passes. And Desmond Morgan led the team with eight tackles.
Also, for what it’s worth, I though kicking Joe Bolden out was bullshit.
On offense, Jake Rudock was effective, completing 60% of his throws for 168 yards. Sione Houma had a big game, ripping off some big runs. Jabrill Peppers, always a threat to break a return, had 129 return yards on six (three punts and three kickoffs) attempts.
Also for what it’s worth, punter Blake O’Neill is a hell of a player. He had an 80 yard punt in this game. He dropped three inside the 20. Derps happen. His just happened at the worst possible time on the worst possible stage. Remember that, Michigan fans. He’s a good kid who made a mistake.
Michigan State Spartans – As above, this was a hell of a game. Shilique Calhoun is a beast. He had five tackles, three for loss, and two sacks. He made Rudock’s life miserable all game.
On offense, Connor Cook was solid, completing 18 of 39 for 329 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he didn’t throw any interceptions. Aaron Burbridge went off, catching nine balls for 132 yards. Fullback Trevon Pendleton caught one ball, but it was a 74 yards.
The baller of the game for Michigan State had to be Jalen Watts-Jackson. Talk about a clutch play…38 miraculous yards for a miraculous touchdown. If he falls, steps out of bounds, or doesn’t snag that ball out of the air…it’s game over for MSU. Sadly, he was injured on the play and had to have surgery Sunday.
Iowa Hawkeyes – Kirk Ferentz unleashed hell on Northwestern…without stud running back Jordan Canzeri, who went down in the first quarter. Admit it, you never heard of Akrum Wadley. This kid went off on a good Northwestern defense.
He went OFF.
He had 26 carries for 204 yards and four touchdowns. Four. He damn near tripled Northwestern’s score by himself. The Iowa offense put up 492 total yards of offense. And while I’m sure Akrum Wadley is a good running back, the real ballers were up front: Cole Croston, Sean Welsh, Austin Blythe, Jordan Walsh, and James Daniels. The hogs in the trenches made this game happen.
Maryland Terrapins – No Ballers for you on Bye Week.
Purdue Boilermakers – You know, I really want to write something great for you guys. I like your coach, Darrell Hazell. Each week I watch you play two good quarters…and then fold like a bad hand of cards. This was no different.
Penn State Nittany Lions – Whelp, it wasn’t pretty, but there were some surprising ballers out there. True freshman running back Saquan Barkely ripped the Buckeye defense for 194 yards but never found the endzone. Wide receiver Chris Godwin had three catches for 103 yards…but never found the endzone.
Minnesota Golden Gophers – Mitch Leidner tried really hard in this game. He chucked the ball forty times, and completed 26 times for 301 yards and a touchdown. But he threw two picks too. Minnesota’s rush was non-existent. The defense was porous, so the game really rested on his arm.
Nebraska Cornhuskers – Holy hell, this felt like a statement game. Nebraska kicked off its scoring with a 69 yard Terrell Newby run. They followed that up with 41 more points in a veritable scoring explosion. More importantly, their 48 points was more than their opponent!
Tommy Armstrong had a great day, throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns. Newby ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
This was by far the best complete game for Nebraska, including the defense. They sacked Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner twice and intercepted him twice. Joshua Kalu had a 41 yard pick and run. Nate Gerry knocked the ball out from Shannon Brooks. Armstrong threw the ball to Alonzo Moore three plays later for a 32 yard touchdown.
Northwestern Wildcats – Yeah, well, um, so see you next week?
Rutgers Scarlet Knights – The reunion of Leonte Carroo and Kyle Flood produced 55 points and a remarkable come-back victory for the Scarlet Knights. Quarterback Chris Laviano had a solid day, throwing for three touchdowns and 386 yards. Running back Robert Martin had a huge day, with 124 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns. Senior Paul James ripped off an awesome 40 yard run for a touchdown.
Leonte Carroo caught seven balls, three of them were touchdowns. He took a simple wide-reciever screen 58 yards for a touchdown. This kid will be playing on Sundays.
There wasn’t much defense, but Kemoko Turay picked up a fumble and ran it back 26 yards for a touchdown. As I said, this was a fun one to watch.
Wisconsin Badgers – Phew, that first half of football was scary. Joel Stave threw a pick that was returned for 60 yards. But he got hot and threw 30 completions for 322 yards. When Stave’s arm got them close, the running backs Dare Ogunbowale and Alec Ingold punched it in for touchdowns (1 and 2, respectively).
Ohio State Buckeyes – You’ve heard this before, but J. T. Barrett can ball. He threw four balls, two went for touchdowns. He was the second best runner in the game, carrying the ball eleven times for 102 yards and another two scores. Ezekiel Elliott is also a baller, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown. I would be remiss in not mentioning the pure athleticism of Braxton Miller. He didn’t have a huge game, but he made some plays.
Adolphus Washington had a solid day, sacking Hackenberg and forcing a fumble. Joey Bosa was a constant presence on passing downs, forcing rushed passes and general havoc. However, the defense did give up a lot of rushing yards.
Ballers of the Week:
On offense, I'm going with Iowa's Akrum Wadley, Cole Croston, Sean Welsh, Austin Blythe, Jordan Walsh, and James Daniels. Honorable mention has to go to Carroo, who is putting together a hell of a season for Rutgers.
On defense, I'm going with Michigan's Willie Henry and Desmond Morgan.They had this game won, until the busted punt play.
Speaking of which, the special teams baller of the week has to be Jalen Watts-Jackson of Michigan State. Hell of a play, kid. I wish you a full and speedy recovery.
Now let's talk about beer, because I found a winner.
Some of you, no doubt, know Bell's Brewery in Comstock Michigan. Bell's Amber is fantastic. Really. I drank a ton of it on Saturday. It's rich and smooth. It's a traditional ale, slightly bitter. It's so good, I'll drink more this coming weekend.
So, for those of you among the best, enjoy it for now. For the rest of us, here's hoping next week is better.