Every week in the Big Ten, there are outstanding young men playing football for our entertainment, and so we at OTE feel that it is only right to recognize the best and the brightest of these. Here now, the week 9 winners:
Offensive Player of the Week: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB
Putting your team back into the national conversation? Check. Knocking off the #2 team in the country? Check. Only missing on 6 passes the entire game? Checkmate. There were many other solid performances this week, but when multiple writers think you were the guy in a week, and the conference agrees, it’s hard to say no.
Honorable mentions (and there were a lot this week) go to Brian Lewerke, Clayton Thorson, Cody White, Karan Higdon, Tanner Lee, Simmie Cobbs, and Stanley Morgan. If you somehow disagree with every single one of these candidates...
Defensive Player of the Week: Paddy Fisher, Northwestern LB
If you skipped the embed above (you monster!), peek back up there for a second. 17 tackles. 17! 14 of those solo! That’s a lot of tackles in a game against a bad team, and Michigan State is arguably a good team this year, so that’s just impressive and a half.
Dual Iowa Honorable Mentions go to Josey Jewell (11 tackles) and Joshua Jackson (4 pass breakups plus other advanced stats stuff that Stew swears by).
Special Teams Player of the Week: Drew Brown, Nebraska Kicker
In a game where every single point mattered, Brown was perfect on his four field goal attempts, and also nailed the only PAT Nebraska attempted. Can’t argue with perfection under pressure.
Honorable mentions go to Rutgers punter Ryan Anderson (8 punts for 352 yards, 44 yard average) and what MNW only listed as “Ryan Field uprights.” I assume those were important somehow.
Play of the Week: Big Guy TD!
There’s not even an argument here; big guy touchdown trumps literally anything else. You can’t prove me wrong.
Honorable mention goes (mostly) to the celebration here:
Tailgate of the Week: Whatever ELITE setup StewMonkey13 did this week
WSR insisted that this be a thing, so it is. Want details? Ask either of them, because this was literally all the info I was given.
The Return of “Good People Doing Good Things” of the Week:
This so amazing. Fans and teams waving to kids in Children's hospital behind stadium. P.J. Fleck brought his entire team on field to wave. pic.twitter.com/XDTNtz1WzP— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) October 28, 2017
Fail of the Week: Indiana
(rant incoming; if not interested, feel free to skip down to the comments, you won’t miss much)
As an Indiana fan, this hurts to type, but it has to be done.
This Fail is not solely the fault of the Hoosiers’ play against Maryland. This Fail has been a long time coming, but only now has it actually become serious enough for me to address it.
At the start of the year, most people looked at Indiana’s schedule, and thought “That’s the schedule of a 7+ win team right there. They might struggle early in conference, but they’re gonna get 7, no sweat.” IU then played Ohio State tough for 3 quarters, and people took this as a sign that Indiana would be just fine. Fast forward to Penn State, and people assumed that the massive amount of turnover unluck and sheer ability of Saquon Barkley were largely responsible for Indiana not looking good against the Lions. Against Michigan, Indiana took the Wolverines to overtime by scoring 10 unanswered points in the 4th quarter against a team that, to that point, had given up exactly 0 4th quarter points on the season. And then immediately fell apart in OT. Against Michigan State, the Hoosiers held onto an early lead until 6 minutes left in the game, and almost won entirely on the strength of Griffin Oakes’ right leg. Everyone who had said at the start of the year that Indiana would be fine was feeling pretty good about themselves, and assumed Indiana would now take care of business against a Terrapin team down to its 3rd string QB and set up for a nice stroll to bowl season.
Well, guess what? You were all fucking wrong, and now Indiana has gone from an easy look at 7 wins, a decent bowl, and a guaranteed over .500 finish for the first time in a decade, to now sitting 0-5 in the Big Ten, getting ready to face a top 5 Wisconsin team at noon Saturday on national TV (which pretty much checks all of the boxes for the Hoosiers to get blown out), and needing to beat all of Rutgers, Illinois, and Purdue (a task that no longer looks as easy as it did before the season started) just to finish 6-6 and maybe get shipped to Detroit to hopefully not lose to a MAC team or something. There was good feeling, there was hope, there was momentum around this team in September, and thanks to an utterly lackluster performance against Maryland, that’s all fucking gone.
You, Indiana, have absolutely failed, and you might not have enough season left to make up for it. You have failed so badly that you might cost Tom Allen a job that two months ago looked absolutely secure through 2018 at worst. You have failed so completely as to make your fans question if the best defense Indiana has fielded in 20 years will be wasted on a 5-7 (or worse) season. You have failed so entirely as to turn an offense that not two years ago was capable of keeping up with almost anyone on points unable to find 1 yard in the red zone multiple times in the last month alone.
If what you showed on Saturday is truly the best you have left at this point in the season, don’t bother showing up for November. Let us move on to basketball season, let us mourn the football season that could have been, and let the seniors that gave their all for us move on with whatever dignity they have left. Otherwise, take this experience, this utter failure that you have wrought, and DO. FUCKING. BETTER. NEXT. TIME!