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B1G Ballers Week Three – The Iowa Kicker Edition

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Week three of the Big Ten Conference football games are done. Which players stood out? This is the definitive guide to the B1G Ballers of week three.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

"You have one job…" that’s usually the refrain when the kicker screws the pooch. When they shank an extra point (cough…Northwestern Wildcats..cough), or kick off out of bounds. So when the Iowa Hawkeyes faced a 57-yard field goal attempt to win its game against Pitt, it was dire.

Scoffs and derision filled the comments. Especially when the first kick was not close...way short. Lucky for the Hawkeyes, the Pitt coach called time to "ice" the kicker. Does that ever fucking work? Does letting the kicker stew ever make them more nervous?

Well it doesn’t work when the kicker is a B1G Baller…that’s for sure.

Anyway, you know what happened. Marshall Koehn nailed the kick and Iowa gets the win. And Marshall, I hate Pitt, so someday, if we’re at the same place at the same time, the beer is on me, kid.

Koehn wasn’t alone yesterday. The B1G had some great individual efforts:

Illinois Fighting Illini: Damn you alphabet. I don’t want to start with this debacle. First, I am not a Tar Heel fan. So I can’t even enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing Illinois get abused on the field. Lost in the pain and suffering, Josh Ferguson had a good game, with 138 yards on 22 carries and a TD. He ripped off a 52-yard gallop…the lone bright spot of the day.

Indiana Hoosiers: After the first couple of quarters, I thought this game was going to be a runaway for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. However, Indiana’s quarterback Nate Sudfeld stepped up. He was 20 of 27 for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Ricky Jones was his go-to receiver, with five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. That included a 69-yard chunk play.

Jordan Howard, Indiana’s go to running back had a great day too, rushing for 203 yards on 31 carries. Indiana’s special teams got into the act too. Mitchell Paige had an electric 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. I wonder what the conference record is for TD returns in a season. It seems like we get a couple a week this year.

Iowa Hawkeyes: Defensive back Desmond King really stood out to me in this game. He made eight tackles, including one for a loss, but he picked off two balls. In a game this close, those takeaways are critical. Two other defensive players, outside linebacker Cole Fisher and defensive back Jordan Lomax stepped up with 12 and 11 tackles, respectively. They combined to hold Pitt’s offense to just 55 yards on 27 carries.

Maryland Terrapins: I must admit that I expected the Terps to drop this one to the USF Bulls. Instead, they treated the Bulls like the cupcake that they were.

Caleb Rowe had an up and down day, four TDs and three picks. However, two of his receivers – the Jacobs brothers had big plays for him. Taivon Jacobs is a burner. He took a pass 70 yards to the house. His brother Levern Jacobs was the leading receiver, with eight catches for 107 yards.

Defensive back Sean Davis had a big day, with two picks.

In a bit of weirdness, running back Wes Brown was kicked out for "targeting". On one of Rowe’s picks, he made a tackle by leading with his helmet.

Michigan Wolverines: The Wolverines feasted on their cupcake this week. Ty Isaac broke off a 76-yard run, the longest run since dear old shoelace back in 2012. He finished with 114 yards on eight carries.

On the defense, corner Channing Stribling and safety Jeremy Clark both had picks. By the way, Clark is a beast at 6’4" and 205 pounds.

Michigan State Spartans: Sparty looked good…as long as you aren’t an actual MSU fan. Connor Cook to Aaron Burbridge should strike fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators. Cook was 15 of 23 for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Three of the touchdowns went to Burbridge. He had eight receptions for 156 yards in addition.

On defense, RJ Williamson had a pick and RJ Williamson had a 64-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Minnesota Golden Gophers: Jeez. I really don’t know what to say about this stinker…The Minnesota punter had a big game? Peter Mortell punted seven times as the vaunted Kent State defense stymied drive after drive. But Mortell can ball. He racked up 293 yards for nearly a 42-yard average.

Nebraska Cornhuskers: This was a weird game. If the Huskers pull this out, then we have all kinds of ballers to talk about. However, three picks and a loss in overtime is tough. I’m sure someone will point out the ballers in the comments but this week, I’m going to pass.

Ohio State Buckeyes: This was a "win ugly" game…and not because Northern Illinois was a challenge for the Buckeyes. The biggest baller on the Buckeyes was…the punter. OSU punted a whopping six times in this game. Cameron Johnston is a B-52…a bomber, get it? He averaged 52.2 yards per punt. It was unreal.

Oh, and Ezekiel Elliott is a stud. He had 23 carries for 108 yards, but no touchdowns. He was the bright spot on offense.

On defense, linebacker Darron Lee and corner back Eli Apple both had picks. In this surprisingly close game, they might have made the difference.

Northwestern Wildcats: Ugh, this as another ugly game. Hard to find a bright spot in this one. Dan Vitale is one of my favorite players. He’s a super back. How cool is that? I wish I’d played super back, when I was a youngster. That’s so much cooler than full back… I watched him rumble 25 yards and catch a ball for 21…but he pretty much disappeared other than that.

Justin Jackson ran for 120 yards on 35 carries. That’s barely a 3.4-yard average. Which is so B1G it was hard to watch.

There were some nice plays on defense. Giant defensive lineman Dean Lowry had a good game. He is 6’ 6" and 280 pounds. He had an awesome interception…love to see the big guys rumble.

Penn State Nittany Lions: Hey guess what, by virtue of spanking Rutgers, the Nittany Lions are now in first place in the B1G. I figured I’d write that now, since it won’t last long.

Saquon Barkley had 195 yards, and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He ripped off a beautiful 54-yard run. Akeel Lynch, otherwise known as Big Maple (he’s Canadian), had a beautiful 75 yard run. He racked up 120 yards on 10 carries.

The defense played well too. Freshman corner John Reid and sophomore corner Grant Haley both had interceptions.

Purdue Boilermakers: Yeah…nah. You got "boat-raced" this week. Virginia Tech took all your good things. No ballers this week.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights: While you didn’t go full Purdue (don’t EVER go full Purdue), this wasn’t a good game. You had reasons. "The Saga" sucks, believe me. I know all about it. Hell we had two years when Penn State lost their Bye weeks…badly.

I am not sure losing your coach, your secondary, and your best receiver is why you could only manage 43 yards on the ground…but I’m sure it contributed. No ballers this week.

Wisconsin Badgers: Ah Wisconsin, it feels like you have a full dozen cupcakes scheduled. I love how there’s a Penn State Soft meme, but you guys are coasting through this slate. Troy was the patsy this week.

Quarterback Joel Stave was seriously accurate, hitting 13 of 17 for 202 yards with a touchdown. Hell Cardale couldn’t throw 75% accuracy in pitch and catch. He also ran in a TD. Tanner McEvoy had a pair of highlight reel run. Austin Trailor had a big catch for 38 yards and a TD catch.

The defense played well. Outside linebacker Joe Schobert had a big sack that forced a fumble.

Ballers of the Week:

Offensive Baller of the Week is Iowa’s Marshall Koehn. Nothing like a cool, walk-off 57-yard field goal for the win. You, sir, are now an Iowa legend. And if you aren’t you should be dammit.

On Defense, the Baller of the Week goes to Dean Lowry. I love D-Line interceptions and he had a big day.

For special teams Baller of the Week, I am going to go with Ohio State’s punter Cameron Johnston.

Now we gotta talk beer! I have two interesting ones for you.

I started with an ice cold Red Seal Ale from North Coast Brewing Co. in California. This is an award winning ale, bitter but smooth. North Coast brews another one of my favorites, Acme California Pale Ale.

My second beer was Monty Python’s Holy Grail from Black Sheep Brewery in England. I bought it for the reference, but the beer was solid. A smooth ale, less bitter than the Red Seal, but still present.

So, have you ever tried those? Have a bitter you like, let me know.

Your Friend,

Townie