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B1G Players of the Week: Week 4

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The Purdue boner punishment worked!

There aren’t sidewalks in my neighborhood. This isn’t particularly out of the ordinary in the South, or at least in the parts of the South where I’ve lived, but it’s inconvenient and makes me feel a bit unsafe when I’m walking my dog. I spend a lot of my night walks with her stepping up onto the curb or someone’s front yard as a car is coming, because I don’t trust any of you idiots to look where you’re driving, lest you miss a hilarious tweet from Mike Huckabee.

This past January, I skipped out on work at lunchtime to meet up with my two best friends and their daughter at Chuck E. Cheese for her midweek birthday. By the by, they have this AWESOME deal where you pay like $20/hour and get unlimited tokens for all the games and “rides” and such, and it’s perfect for letting the kid do some silly kid game with her mom while dad and I play that football game where you try to throw the ball through different-sized openings to move your “team” down the field. Plus they have beer. After Chuck E. Cheese we went and got ice cream from this awesome little place near my house and I somehow got smoked by the kid at Go Fish.

The other odd thing about my neighborhood—or what I think is odd, anyway—is the subterranean water meters/city shutoff valves in every front yard, maybe 3 feet from from the curb. Each meter (it’s not actually a meter, but I don’t know what it’s called) is in a “whatever the 3D name of a cylindrical oval” is and covered by a green plastic lid that bolts in place. They blend in with the grass and are of varying depths, with some “meters” maybe six inches below the ground and some more like eighteen inches down. I honestly don’t know what they’re for, but then I’m not exactly Mark Brandanowitz over here.

So after the ice cream and the Go Fish beatdown, I drove back home and took my dog on a walk when it was still a little light out but definitely not “bright.” At one point while walking on the busiest street on our loop, I saw a car coming at us from about a block away and noticed the headlights of a different car coming up from behind us. Trusting two drivers to safely navigate me and my dog even less than a single driving tweeter, we hopped up on the curb and walked a couple feet further in from the curb than usual. I don’t know why I do this, because it’s not like a stupid curb is going to keep us from getting run over, but it felt safer.

As I often do when I’m walking my dog, I was reading the internet and sending emojis to all my friends; which is to say, I had my head down, focused on my phone, as we walked through someone’s front yard. Just as the two cars approached and crisscrossed, the world fell out from under me. I stepped directly on the lid of one of those water meter things. It was not bolted in. It collapsed under me and my leg fell straight in the hole up to mid-shin. To add insult to injury, the hole was absolutely full to the brim with water of the temperature you’d expect in early January. To add more insult to injury, the passenger in one of the back seats of one of the cars absolutely had his head out the window, saw me fall, and laughed.

In hindsight, it’s a miracle I wasn’t seriously hurt. I scraped up my shin a bit, my shoes took like three days to dry, and I was pretty embarrassed, but I absolutely should have broken my leg—or at least sprained something horribly.

Why am I telling you all this? First, because I couldn’t think of anything football related to open this column with, and we all get plenty of football hashtagcontent on this site. Second, because I think it’s a funny story! And third, because if you’re thinking of giving me a hard time over my selections for this week or any other, remember that one time I fell in a hole full of freezing cold water in front of a bunch of strangers, and cut me some slack.

The Disclaimer

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.

Programming Note: It is REALLY hard to find jifs or short clips of players/plays to add to this column. As such, I’m dropping the “Actual Good Play of the Week” section and adding a far sadder section.

Defensive Player of the Week

Tre Watson - LB - Maryland - Big Ten DPOTW

11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 TD

Scoring a touchdown as a defensive player is a great way to with the OTE B1G DPOTW, and I imagine it’ll be enough to earn Tre Watson the Big Ten DPOTW as well (Note: I was right!)z. Even without the entirely unnecessary interception, given the final score, Watson flew around the field, ending a lot of Minnesota’s plays and even bringing down the quarterback once.

Plus, and perhaps most importantly, “Stanley,” he of the Big Ten Network High School A/V Club, picked Watson as a Saturday Standout and provided me with a video clip I could embed.

Other Good Defensive Players of Week 4

Marcelino Ball - DB - Indiana - 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks

Mohamed Barry - LB - Nebraska - 11 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack

Just all of Purdue’s defense - held BC to 229 total yards, secured 4 interceptions; Markus Bailey, Jacob Thieneman, Derrick Barnes all deserve a shoutout

Special Teams Player of the Week

Donovan Peoples-Jones - PR - Michigan - Co-Big Ten STPOTW

3 returns, 25.7 yard average, one TD

The lack of close games and, honestly, field goals, made this sort of a challenging week for Special Teams Player of the Week. As I’m writing this on Sunday night, my prediction is Peoples-Jones will get the Big Ten’s award this week, and I can’t say I disagree with my own prediction. Returning a punt for a touchdown is rare and difficult, and any punt return TD should always impress us. Plus, like I said, not a ton of other great special teams options this week.

Well done, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Hopefully you can break off another long TD return in a close game against a team I want you to beat.

Other “Special” Special Teams Players of Week 4

Jake Pinegar - K - Penn State - 9/9(!!!!) on extra points

Wisconsin’s Punt Coverage Team - 2 fumbles recovered

Rutgers Sure Punts A Lot And We Should Recognize Workhorse Punters Punter of Week 4

Stiff competition this week, as the namesake for this award had another HUGE day punting, but we gotta spread the love a little bit:

Caleb Lightbourn - P - Nebraska - 9(!!) punts, 44.7 avg, 52 long

Offensive Player of the Week

Whop Philyor - WR - Indiana

13 receptions, 148 yards, 1 TD

This was an incredibly difficult week, but I’m perfectly comfortable picking Whop Philyor as the B1G OPOTW, and utterly content to admit that his name is what really pushed him over the edge. I’ve also made it my subtle personal mission to get more pass catchers into these awards and to recognize players who got it done in close, tough games. It’s not that unusual for a Big Ten receiver to accumulate 125+ yards in a game (just this week, T.J. Hockenson, and Parris Campbell did it), but pulling down thirteen receptions is well outside the norm. I didn’t watch the game, because I had other viewing concerns contemporaneously with Whop’s performance, but I gotta imagine Whop earned his team quite a few first downs when the offense really needed them.

Ultimately, there are oodles of players you could pick this week as OPOTW (the above two, Dwayne Haskins, Trace McSorely, Miles Sanders, Alex Hornibrook, Karan Higdon, Rondale Moore, David Blough, and Ty Johnson are all guys I wouldn’t immediately hate you for suggesting), but I’m in charge here, and I think a guy who turns in a Plaxico-Burress-against-Green-Bay-in-the-2007-NFC-Championship-Game level performance deserves recognition

Even limiting the honorable mentions to just 3 is absurd Offensive Players of Week 4

Dwayne Haskins - QB - OSU - 21/24, 304 yards, 5 TDs, only played a half I think - Co-Big Ten OPOTW

David Blough - QB - Purdue - 21/28, 296 yards, 3 TDs, 0 turnovers, ranked opponent

Miles Sanders - RB - Penn State - 22 carries, 200 yards, 3 TDs - Co-Big Ten OPTOW

Freshman of the Week

Rondale Moore - WR - Purdue - Co-Big Ten FOTW

8 receptions, 110 yards, 2 TDs

As a Wisconsin fan, I’m starting to get seriously worried about this guy. Rondale Moore is exactly the type of player who can beat you by himself, and he’s the type of player every team that doesn’t recruit in the top 10 nationally struggles with. In addition to the receptions, he ran the ball a couple times, returned a couple punts, and returned a couple kicks. Boston College managed to keep any of those six plays from turning into something big, but as we’ve seen in the game against Northwestern—and in the form of a 70-yard touchdown catch against BC—Moore can score seemingly any time from seemingly anywhere on the field.

If Purdue gets back into the West division race this year, or the next couple years, Moore will be a big reason why, and everyone outside of maybe Michigan with its uber talented secondary should be concerned.

Look man, this is a really hard category to do and I’m probably best just dropping it Honorable Mention FOTW

Jake Ferguson - TE - Wisconsin - 4 recs, 58 yards, 1 TD; is Barry Alvarez’s grandson

Honorary Purdue Boner of the Week

Purdue! What the hell! You got your act together, only committed two penalties, and, more importantly, had yourself in a position where even the boneriest boners of all time couldn’t sabotage your first win of the season. Your reward? You’re one step closer to having your name taken off this thing

Who am I kidding, this is Iowa’s Award this week Honorary Purdue Boner of the Week

Iowa’s punt return unit, but especially that guy who stepped on the ball and let Wisconsin recover

Punting decidedly was not winning for Iowa against Wisconsin this weekend, as Iowa totally blew it, to varying degrees, on three separate punts. Tamest was Iowa’s punt returner calling for, and making, a fair catch on the three yard line. Next up was Iowa’s punt returner fumbling as D’Cota Dixon no-look backhand slapped the ball out of the returner’s hands. The most bonerific, and consequently boner, though, was Iowa’s downfield blocker stepping on the ball as he tried to lay a mostly-pointless block on one of the nine Wisconsin players standing still next to the ball. As a Wisconsin fan, I loved it. As a boner fan, I recognized greatness when I saw it.

Other Dumb Things

After Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon forced the above-mentioned fumble, the referees declared the punt returner to have been down by contact prior to the fumble, immediately reviewed the play, and surely felt the shame and embarrassment of what may be the worst “call on the field” I’ve seen all season. As any replay will show (good luck finding one!), Dixon knocked the ball loose, after which the returner ran a good five yards down the field, stopped, and had time to dive toward the ground to attempt to recover the fumble. No idea what the refs were looking at, but the idea that this play would have stood as called like ten years ago (NOTE: I have no idea when CFB started reviewing plays) is sort of terrifying.

Oh, Jesus, God, No! Crappy Thing of the Week

This just plain sucks. The big theme of this column is that we hate all opposing teams in this conference but we love watching good players play. The Big Ten is lesser for losing Antoine Winfield, Jr. for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he recovers quickly and gets a sixth season of eligibility.

Late Addition:

Sad face emoji.

Poll

Punting is...

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Still winning!
    (173 votes)
  • 18%
    Shut up don’t talk to me I root for Iowa
    (38 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now