My plan this week was to make all of the winners and nominees from the B1G West this week, both because there were enough individual performances to do so without trolling too hard and to show that nobody outside of OSU, UM, and all of non-B1G country cares about The Game. As I wrote the intro and column in my head, I realized two things: (1) The title of this piece “has to” stay the same every week for...reasons, meaning I can’t write a clickbait-y title or drive clicks to the article by pissing off the two biggest fanbases and, to a lesser degree, the rest of the East; and (2) it’s Thanksgiving soon and I think you’re supposed to be nice during Thanksgiving and let’s just get along for one goddamn meal and then we can watch bad football and get drunk and argue about things. Hopefully The Game is actually really awesome with lots of great individual performances so I can ignore it next week.
It’s Thanksgiving Week! I know Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday with presents or doing favors (despite “giving” being right there in the name), but I wanted to show each and every reader how thankful I am that you “read” this piece this week and give you some control over everyone’s third-least favorite weekly chore. Thus, my Thanksgiving gift to you: Poll voters get to decide which of the nominees in each category should be the winner! Polls are open for whatever the default time is in the document editor SBN uses, and the winners will not be published in an updated version of this column.
For each category, I’m going to give you my pick for POTW, some “reasons” why, and the list of honorable mentions, as usual. Then I’m going to post a poll and...
You all know how voting and polls work. Just figure it out.
One last thing: App State is hosting Troy this weekend for the right to host the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game (That’s right! Another conference that realized what makes college football college football is the home atmospheres! And the free labor) on Saturday at a time that’s publicly available but I haven’t looked up. If you haven’t seen App play in any games since the PSU opener, you really should give them a look, if for no other reason than they’re going to be a legit top 20 team next year, they are fun, and their QB is really, really good.
If your team’s favorite player isn’t chosen as a Player of the Week, one of three things happened: (1) It involved a player not involved in Wisconsin’s most recent game; (2) your favorite team’s writer didn’t submit the player for POTW honors; or (3) you favorite team’s player really wasn’t as awesome as you thought.
Sometimes a player will get picked because of the awesome raw stats; sometimes he’ll get picked because of good stats plus situational significance; sometimes he’ll get picked because he did pretty well and plays for Wisconsin; and most of the time he just won’t get picked. Leave your complaints in the comments.
Defensive Player of the Week
Blake Cashman - LB - Minnesota - Big Ten co-DPOTW
20 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 pass defended
Are you kidding me, Blake Cashman? Twenty tackles in a single game? That seems crazy, and math confirms nobody in the B1G has recorded twenty tackles in a game since 2013. It pains me to give Cashman the award, because Minnesota, and double pains me (or squared pains me if you want to go Cashman x Cashman instead of 2Cashman) because he won the award JUST LAST WEEK. I don’t know what this new defensive coordinator thinks he’s doing, but “tackle more” as a strategy seems to be working.
Quite a way for Cashman to finish his career at TCF Stadium.
Your other options, who just happen to all be B1G West players, Defensive Players of Week 12
A.J. Epenesa - DE - Iowa - 8 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown, 1 blocked punt - “In a two-minute span in the second quarter against Illinois, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, scored a touchdown (19 yards, first of his career), recorded a sack, and blocked a punt” - Big Ten co-DPOTW
Antonio Reed - DB - Nebraska - 7 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception
Travis Jack Whillock - DB - Northwestern - 15 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 passes defended
OTE DPOTW Week 12
This poll is closed
Somebody who is clearly better than these 4 (in the comments)
Special Teams Player of the Week
Barret Pickering - K - Nebraska - Big Ten co-STPOTW
3/3 FGs, 100% of Nebraska’s points, is a true freshman
New Player of the Week rule: If you account for 100% of your team’s points in a game you win, you automatically get player of the week. Barret Pickering did just that, saving Nebraska from the embarrassment of having their very good offense shutout by The Worst Team In History (trademark: Bagels are for Champions) by going 3/3 on field goals in the first quarter and giving his team yet another win over MSU. What higher honor can there be for a kicker than scoring all of his team’s points and winning the game? This must be what that guy for Denver felt like that year Tim Tebow was “good.”
As is tradition, the Twitter and cover photo for this week’s column will be a high school recruiting photo of Pickering, although he’s a true freshman so really it’ll just be a recent photo of him. Look how happy he is!
Honorary “Rutgers sure punts a lot” Workhorse Punter of Week 12
Joe Schopper - P - Purdue - 8 punts, 37.5 avg., 42 long
So a quick aside on this one: Schopper punted 8 times in a game where Purdue score forty-four points. Obviously I understand that 17 of those points were scored in OT, but seeing “8 punts” and “44 points” is still odd. Also he wins this award a lot...do Brohm offenses tend to score a lot and punt a lot?
Honorable Mention Special Teams Players of Week 12
Spencer Evans - K - Purdue - 3/3 FGs, 41 long, 5/5 XP
Jake Moody - K - Michigan - 6/6 FGs, 33 long, 1/1 XP - Big Ten co-STPOTW
Blake Hayes - P - Illinois - 8 punts, 44.9 avg, 62(!) long
Who wins OTE’s most important weekly award?
This poll is closed
Five options isn’t enough (nominee in the comments)
Offensive Player of the Week
Jonathan Taylor - RB - Wisconsin - Big Ten co-OPOTW
33 carries, 321 yards, 3 TDs, no fumbles
Jonathan Taylor set a career high for rushing yards and is now on pace to break the NCAA career rushing record. By the end of his JUNIOR YEAR.
As my fellow Wisconsin writer pointed out, Taylor is not on pace to break the One True Record (back when postseason stats weren’t included), but he is on pace to break the record held by that guy from...San Diego State, maybe?
He won the game for Wisconsin in overtime, recorded the third-most yards in Wisconsin history (Gordon had 408 in three quarters versus Nebraska, Dayne 339 versus Hawaii), and broke the NCAA FBS record for most rushing yards as a freshman and sophomore (he’s already at 3,846, with two years and two games to play), breaking Dayne’s record (3,566) and besting Herschel Walker (3,507). He’s really good and he was originally committed to Rutgers.
Taylor got the glory on this play, but A+++ job by the wide receiver giving Taylor a blocking force field for 60 yards:
Honorable Mention Offensive Players of Week 12
Dwayne Haskins - QB - Ohio State - 28/38, 405 yards, 3 TDs; 15 carries, 59 yards, 3 TDs - Big Ten co-OPOTW
David Blough - QB - Purdue - 31/48, 386 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints
Anthony McFarland - RB - Maryland - 21 car, 298 yards, 2 TDs - Big Ten FOTW - OTE B1G FOTW
In an insanely stacked offensive week, who ya got?
This poll is closed
It’s too bad you had to limit this to four, because (name player in comments) was the best
Freshman of the Week
Anthony McFarland - RB - Maryland - Big Ten FOTW
21 carries, 298 yards, 2 TDs
Anthony McFarland rushed for nearly as many yards as the utterly-deserving Jonathan Taylor and did so on 2⁄3 the number of carries. Had his team won, he’d be the OPOTW. Okay, had his team won, the Wisconsin writer still would have picked the Wisconsin player, but still, McFarland AVERAGED 14.2 yards per carry.
McFarland 298 yards are the second most by a Terp, and his first-quarter total of 175 yards rushing is the highest in FBS this season.
Anthony McFarland broke a huge TD run against Ohio State.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 17, 2018
Five minutes later, he did it again. pic.twitter.com/cU8eVYGvAB
Honorable mention Freshman of Week 12
Stevie Scott - RB - Indiana - 30 carries, 139 yards, 1 TD - Broke IU freshman rushing record
Rondale Moore - WR - Purdue - 9 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs
Barret Pickering - K - Nebraska - 3/3 FGs, 100% of Nebraska’s points - OTE FOTW
Freshman of the Week?
This poll is closed
You missed one! (Give me a break. FOTW is hard)
Award Formerly Known As “Honorary Purdue Boner of the Week” Boner of the Week
I hate to link to Barstool, and I think Rutgers has caught enough flak this season, but COME ON:
Rutgers football is cursed pic.twitter.com/oizTKOkhpo— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) November 17, 2018
Note: I was going to put the OSU weird fumble kickoff thing, but after looking at the video, it was too good of a play by Maryland to be considered a boner.
Actually Really Good Play of Week 12
As a Wisconsin homer, I want to do no further research or evaluation to determine if this was the “catch of the year,” but in the spirit of this week’s theme, I’ll let the utterly foolish commentariat decide if it was better than last week’s really good play. RULES: You can’t take into account the game situation, importance of the TD, etc... You are only allowed to consider which catch was “better,” and I will know if you’re lying.
Whose catch was better?
This poll is closed
I like Wisconsin, so Davis’s!
I don’t like Wisconsin, so whichever one isn’t the Wisconsin one
I am perfectly objective: Davis
I am perfectly objective: Skowronek
Happy Thanksgiving! What’s your favorite?
This poll is closed
Mashed potatoes with gravy
Getting in a pedantic and semantic argument about whether it’s stuffing or dressing
Some weird dish that most people probably don’t have/know about