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Big Ten Football Players of the Week: Three and a Half Perfect Kickers

The best and the worst of Week 5

So Michigan State and Iowa have slipped from the ranks of the divisional powers to be replaced by Indiana, Maryland, and nobody from the West.


Offensive Player of the Week: Ty Johnson, Maryland Terrapins

Maryland laid waste to Purdue by a score of 50-7, with Purdue’s lone score not coming until the fourth quarter. Runningback Ty Johnson gained 204 yards on 7 carries as he made guys miss, found the holes and shot through them to daylight. Sure, Purdue made some pretty large holes, but still, I bet nobody else is going to run for 29 yards per carry on 7 carries against them.

Honorable Mentions: Austin Carr (Northwestern WR) made Clayton Thorson look serviceable by getting free for three touchdown catches against Iowa. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley led the Nittany Lions in both passing (335 yd) and rushing (73 yd), but I’m not giving top honors to someone who went 19-41 throwing. He completed one more pass than David Blough on the same number of attempts. We’re trying to dispel the notion that our quarterbacks in this conference can’t hit the broad side of one of the many barns between Champaign and Lincoln, so I can’t give McSorley the nod. I see you, Hornibrook and Laviano, with your 9 for 25 and 3 for 12.

Justin Jackson The Ball Carrier actually scored a touchdown against Iowa to cap off a 58 yard rush from his 171 yard total on 26 carries. Terrell Newby pounded the ball late for Nebraska, racking up two touchdowns after the most questionable fourth down conversion I’ve ever seen. More on that later.

Oh, and I guess I’m supposed to care that J.T. Barrett broke a career record for touchdown passes at Ohio State. It’s kind of like being the pitcher that hits the most home runs. Good for you, but that’s not why your team is winning.

Defensive Player of the Week: Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern Wildcats

Four sacks and a forced fumble in a 7-point game. That is how you convincingly garner Defensive Player of the Week honors from this staff. You want to know how not to do that? Get the QB dead to rights on 3rd and long and make a horse collar tackle. More on that later.

The senior defensive end terrorized C.J. Beathard all game. Beathard should consider himself lucky there aren’t that many talented defensive lines in the Big Ten.

Wait. What?

Honorable Mentions: Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt was once again a force, racking up 11 tackles and one sack, a category in which he continues to lead the conference. Indiana’s defense in general gets a shoutout because Indiana’s defense was a big reason why they won. Indiana. Their defense. Linebacker Tegray Scales accumulated 14 tackles over the course of the game. Iowa’s Josey Jewell got 16 tackles, a pass breakup, half a sack and an additional tackle for loss.

Sam Foltz Special Teams Player of the Week: Desmond King, Iowa Hawkeyes

This is a man unhappy about his efforts going to waste. King returned 4 kicks for 77 yards and 3 punts for 85 yards. Though he didn’t score, he gave Iowa’s offense great field position all day.

Honorable Mentions: Kickers! Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter went 4 for 4 with 2 extra points, while Penn State’s Tyler Davis made all three of his field goal attempts including the buzzer-beating 40 yard kick to send the game to overtime. Illinois sophomore Chase McLaughlin also made 3 of 3 FG attempts and his lone extra point. These three kickers remain perfect on the year, along with Iowa’s Keith Duncan, who has curiously only attempted two field goals.

Play of the Week: Saquon Barkley Wins The Game

After the defense held Minnesota to a field goal in overtime, Saquon Barkley put the team on his back and banged out 20 squats, breaking tackles and outrunning the Golden Gophers for the walk-off touchdown.

I know what you’re thinking. "Where’s the Jourdan Lewis interception?" Well, besides everywhere. In fact, here it is again:

Amazing catch. You know what would have been an even better play though? If he never even turned around and the ball hit him in the back of the head and fell to the ground. This was a deep pass on fourth down, and thus this was essentially a punt return. That pass wasn’t going to hit the receiver in stride, and the pick was only possible because the ball was underthrown. Am I being a highlight truther? Maybe, but deep picks on fourth down are a pet peeve of mine.

Fail of the Week: Drake Martinez Leaps Into Action

On the first possession of overtime, the Hoosiers drove the Spartans back so far that Michael Geiger missed a 49 yard field goal. Indiana responded by moving the ball down the field but the drive stalled out to set up a 33 yard kick from the left hash to win the game. Despite the triumphant reaction of Indiana’s holder, the kick hooked left for Griffin Oakes’ third miss of the night on his third attempt.


Nebraska Special Agent Drake Martinez, disguised as a Michigan State Spartan, had infiltrated the field in an attempt to push Michigan State out of the top 25. The younger brother of former Husker QB Taylor Martinez committed a punt catch interference to give Indiana’s offense more space, but this was a futile effort as Michigan State would tie the game up. Nevertheless, the crafty Agent Martinez found his way onto the field goal block unit, where he executed his master plan by launching himself into the air and landing on a Spartan lineman for a leaping penalty. This would set up Indiana for another attempt, and they set up a virtually un-missable chip shot that Oakes would nail through for the win.

Mission completed. Good work, agent Martinez.

Honorable Mentions: With Illinois leading 16-10 with under 4 minutes to go in the third quarter, the Fighting Illini were stifling Nebraska’s plodding drive. Chunky Clements obliterated the offensive line on 3rd and 12, forcing Tommy Armstrong out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage. But just before he went out of bounds, Clements grabbed a hold of him and horse-collar-tackled him, extending what would end up as a backbreaking Nebraska drive.

A special shoutout to the Big Ten Officials, who were a special brand of awful this week. From missed holding calls both ways in the Minnesota-Penn State tilt to completely losing control of the Iowa-Northwestern game to this targeting ejection on Malik McDowell that was reviewed and against all logic upheld (This was apparently explained during the game, I am just behind on the definition of this rule apparently) to the frankly unbelievable way they spotted the ball below:

Not a strong week for the officials.

Well, there you have it. How wrong are we? Let us know in the comments.