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Big Ten Ballers Week 12 – Spartans Ain’t Messin’ Edition

Best Players in the Big Ten Conference for Week 12 and a bad beer review...the beer was bad, not the review.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What a mess you made Sparty.

You’ve done kilt the B1G’s dreams of playing for another National Championship because clearly, you can’t carry the torch. You lost to fucking Nebraska! And you never led in your wins against Michigan or OSU…

What’s that? You are sending Shilique Calhoun to motivate me into a believer? Okay, Okay…You ain’t foolin.

But here’s the greatest part of your win (from my perspective). You forced Michigan to root for Penn State next weekend. So the laugh’s on them right? So call off Calhoun okay? Okay?

Anyway…you, dear reader, got most of the weekend’s drama out of you in SMCD, so let’s just get to the Ballers:

Indiana Hoosiers – When Jordan Howard went down in the first quarter and Maryland went up 21 to 3…I thought Indiana was in big trouble. But the team Kevin Wilson built stepped up huge.  Maybe they discovered something on Saturday – how to win.

Sophomore Devine Redding stepped up huge for the Hoosiers. He carried the ball 24 times for 130 yards. That tells me we need to call out some hidden ballers: Jason Spriggs, Jacob Bailey, Jake Reed, Dan Feeney, and Dimitric Camiel did a great job opening holes for their running backs.

Nate Sudfeld made the most of his day too, throwing 23 completions on 35 attempts for 385 yards (!) and four touchdowns.

Wideout Simmie Cobbs had a huge day, catching 9 balls for 192 yards (!). Andre Booker had a big day too, including a 59-yard catch for a touchdown. Mitchell Paige caught five balls, two for touchdowns.

My final baller for Indy is the kicker, Griffin Oakes, who was perfect on the day. He hit four field goals, including a 48 yarder and made every extra point.

This was a big win for an Indiana team that seemed so close so many times this season.

Illinois Fighting IlliniWell the good news is, you didn’t punt much…the Illini offense was prolific. They put up 154 yards on the ground and 279 yards through the air. That’s 433 yards against Minnesota’s defense…but it wasn’t enough for the win.

On defense, senior DB Clayton Fejedelem had 9 tackles and broke up a pass.

But the real story was the offense. Wes Lunt went 34 of 47 for 279 yards and two touchdowns…but he threw a pick.

Senior running back Josh Ferguson did work, gaining 105 yards on 20 carries. Malik Turner was the hot receiver. He caught 11 balls for 126 yards and a touchdown. Geronimo Allison had only three catches, but he made the most of them, gaining 46 yards.

Ultimately, all that offense went to waste in the loss. But it is something to build on.

Michigan Wolverines Jake Rudock and his receivers won this game for Michigan. Rudock was 25 of 38 for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although he did throw an ugly pick. Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh and Jake Butt got open seemingly at will. Chesson had 4 catches for 69 yards. Darboh had 7 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Butt had 5 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan’s offense was 7 of 14 on third downs mainly due to those three guys. To put it in better perspective, they had 5 rushing first downs and 12 receiving.

The defensive front had a good game. They sacked Hackenberg four times and held Saquan Barkely to 68 yards. That’s deceiving because Barkely had a 56 yard run on the third play of the game. So they really held him to 12 yards on 14 carries. Jarrod Wilson, James Ross, Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, and Willie Henry all had a good game. That’s balling in my book.

Michigan State Spartans – Turns out Shilique Calhoun is quite the motivator. After kicker Michael Geiger missed a 43-yard kick in the first half, Calhoun had a talk with him. "Make the rest of your kicks…" works as a motivational phrase when you are the size and shape of a Main Battle Tank. Geiger hit the walk off game winner as time expired.

Calhoun and Craig Evans stepped up big along with the rest of the defense. They had an answer for everything Ohio State tried to do on offense. They held OSU to just 5 first downs. The Buckeyes were 4 for 14 on third down.

They forced the Buckeyes to punt 9 times. That’s a hell of job on defense fellas. Now I hope you all get mono before the Penn State game next week.

On offense, I have to praise Tyler O’Connor and the offensive line for MSU. With the starting quarterback and primary offensive engine Connor Cook out, these guys reshaped the offense. MSU turned into an option team. O’Connor did just enough to win the game. He didn’t make any critical mistakes. His stars helped him out too. Aaron Burbridge caught four balls but made them count for 64 yards.

Iowa Hawkeyes – You showed the rest of the conference just how to eat a cupcake this week. The vaunted C.J. Beathard was incredibly efficient, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 213 yards on 12 completions (20 attempts). However, he also coughed up the ball on a draw play that was recovered by Purdue.

Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels Jr. didn’t put up gaudy numbers but scored 1 and 2 touchdowns, respectively.

The Iowa offense put up 40 points while only generating 387 total yards. Purdue actually had 405 yards of total offense…but just couldn’t put it together on either third or fourth down. Iowa’s defense held Purdue to 4 of 18 third down attempts and 5 of 8 fourth down attempts.

Senior defensive back Jordan Lomax had a nice forced fumble to go with his 13 tackles in the game.

Maryland TerrapinsBasketball is here! But seriously, you guys went up 14 to 3 in the first quarter on to Brandon Ross touchdown runs of 79 and 22 yards. Then Yannick Ngakoue sacked Sudfeld and forced a fumble. Caleb Rowe throws a 14 yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Culmer and you guys looked like world-beaters.

Then Indiana’s defense showed up.

Brandon Ross played out of his mind for Maryland in this game. He had three touchdowns and 250 (!) yards on 19 carries. Holy hell! Way to ball kid.

Purdue Boilermakers – This was a tough game. You spotted the only undefeated team in the Big Ten Conference 21 points before you got on the board. You moved the ball well and your coach went for it a lot (5 of 8 on fourth down attempts). But you couldn’t stay on the field on third down. You went 4 of 18 (22%)…that’s terrible. Even so, the offense was effective at times.

Austin Appleby was 23 of 40 for 259 yards and a touchdown. Junior wideout DeAngelo Yancey was the favorite target. He caught nine balls for 117 yards. Freshman running back Markell Jones had a good day against the undefeated Hawkeyes. He carried the ball 24 times for 87 yards and a touchdown. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.

Penn State Nittany Lions – Really? This was all you could muster on senior day? A wet fart of an effort against an obnoxious Wolverine team that left the door open all game?

The only baller I’m going to acknowledge this week is linebacker Brandon Bell, who stepped in and picked off a Jack Rudock pass and returned it 25 yards. If only he could’ve turned it into a score. But then I think "if only" is the theme for this group, this year.

Minnesota Golden GophersI totally knew this game was coming for Minnesota. Quarterback Mitch Leidner had a modest game passing, He went 15 of 25 for 88 yards and a touchdown. But he also ran for 64 yards on ten carries.

He had serious help from his youngster running back Shannon Brooks. Brooks went off for 174 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Yes, that’s over ten yards per carry. He had two huge runs of 38 yards for a TD and a 75 yard gallop for a touchdown.

On special teams, KiAnte Hardin broke off some huge returns. He had six kickoff returns for 165 yards.

The stat-line went in Illinois’ favor, but this Minnesota team was due for a win. Nice job.

Nebraska Cornhuskers – No ballers on your week 12 bye.

Northwestern Wildcats – Your field goal kicker sucks. And the biggest ballers for you this week were the refs. Even your coach was dumbfounded: "I don’t know how that unfolded…but it did."

There’s a fucking vote of confidence from your head coach.

That’s not completely fair to sophomore running back Justin Jackson. He put together a good game, carrying the ball 35 times for 139 yards and a touchdown.

In the most B1G game of the week, Northwestern and Wisconsin combined for just 412 yards of offense. They were a combined 9 of 33 on third downs. There were 17 punts in the game. There were 7 sacks for -60 yards.

A total of 17 fans died of boredom in the third quarter alone...which is saying something because the game was at Wisconsin.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Hey, you won a game! Nice…wait it was Army? Now? Oh well, smart move, saving your cupcakes for later in the season, when you really, really needed that boost.

Paul James killed it in this game. He ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Sophomore running back Robert Martin split the load with James. He had 99 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

There were still some rough patches for the Scarlet Knights. The Army quarterback only threw four completions, but they went for 140 yards and a touchdown.

Leonte Carroo never got on track. He had four catches for just 37 yards. So congrats to Rutgers for getting the win even though their NFL receiver was not a factor in the game.

Wisconsin Badgers – Clang…five turnovers, -26 yards rushing, and you didn’t tip the refs enough? Jeez, you guys know how to throw a game. The ballersof note were redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jazz Peavy, who had 5 catches for 88 yards and punter Drew Meyer who had seven punts for 298 yards, a 42.6 yard average.

Ohio State Buckeyes – I know some of us saw this coming (hurts arm patting self on back…). This team is a collection of great players. That’s enough to beat the weaker opponents. But it isn’t enough to beat a Dantonio-led team, as we found out.

Your offense disappeared. It just fucking disappeared. J.T. Barrett and company only mustered 132 yards on offense. Shit, Wes Lunt managed that much on 4 passes. What the hell happened here? This was a disaster. Fortunately, your defense had a decent day or this could’ve been much, much worse.

I have no ballers for you this week. Good luck against Michigan, because you’ll need it. With that post game drama, Meyer has his work cut out for him this week.

Ballers of the week:

On offense, I’m giving the nod to Maryland’s Brandon Ross for his 250 yard game in a losing effort to Indiana. I was so stunned by that stat, I had to recheck it for accuracy.

On defense, I’m giving the nod to Shilique Calhoun and the MSU defense for shutting down ALL of OSU’s quarterbacks. Excellent job guys.

Special teams Baller of the week has to go to MSU’s Michael Geiger for his clutch game winner. After the kick he just ran around, because he was so worried that if he fell, he’d break a hip like his teammate did in the win over Michigan.

Now let’s talk beer:

I’m a big fan of the new style of beer that’s aged in bourbon barrels. So I tried Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard from the Stone Brewing Co. It’s motto –

Quite Refined, Unlike You.

Cute, right? Whatever…I didn’t like it. Neither did Mrs. Townie. Unlike the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, the Arrogant Bastard was a hoppy, bitter ale with no bourbon notes at all. It may be a beer you’d like, if you go for a strong, American-style ale. But don’t buy it expecting to get that pleasant, bourbon nose, because it ain’t there.

That’s all I got for ya. Hope you have a good week.

Your Friend,