Way, way long ago, not in The Before Times but certainly in the This Might Actually Stick Around For A While Times, I had an idea for an article of people practicing social distancing in sports via gif (pronounced like the popular brand of peanut butter). It was exactly what it sounds like: find gifs of sporting events where somebody flops or fakes a penalty or whatever and use topical COVID humor to act like we might ever get sports again. Well...we got sports again! Sorta. Like half assed sports where the games might be canceled and their aren’t fans or atmosphere or excitement and where even Gus Johnson has a hard time feigning enthusiasm and exuberance. Still though, technically sports.*
I also had early plans to talk about what I’d miss most about Wisconsin’s no non-con, or things I like about App State, or hobbies I’d gotten into. Ultimately I decided there’s too much sadness to go on about Wisconsin’s lack of a non-con schedule, and App State had two games canceled already, and I never got into any hobbies.
Additionally, I had planned to really go balls to the wall on this, the first OTE Player of the Week column of the 2020 season. “The first one?” you might ask, “But we’re about to head into Week 4, aren’t we?” To which I respond, “Shut up I’ve been really busy with work and outside of work and just leave me alone and also my Monday night got blown up this week by....work and my Tuesday morning got blown up by...work so all you get right now is those funny flopping gifs.” Don’t be too disappointed in me. I’m trying my medium-est!**
Imma post a bunch of those gifs here, and save my “reminder about how POTW works here” schpiel for another time. Enjoy! Or at least “enjoy” and feed me praise.
* I have a good friend who, for no reason at all, has willingly put up with my attempts to pretend like there is athletic competition and excitement in the world via throwing him things (a drink, a cookie, the keys, whatever) and yelling SPORTS! and hoping it doesn’t hit him in the face before he gets his hands up. Its fun! Probably more so for me than him, but I like to think it’s at least amusing.
** If you want to start a Go Fund Me to replace my salary so I can commit full time to writing 1-2 OTE articles per week, my contact e-mail is somewhere on this website somewhere, I think.
I’m not going to say this is rock bottom, because that assumes there is a bottom, but the Maryland game was awful. And yes, I do think that’s why Hardy Nickerson is no longer on staff. Here, Illini drop 7 in base Cover 2. And Sydney Brown is…wait, what? pic.twitter.com/2wsZcMKqE9— Illinois Football Breakdown (@ILLFBBreakdown) October 29, 2018
Illinois was just being polite.
OTE’s Offensive Player of Week 3
Michael Penix Jr. - QB - Indiana Hoosiers
30/50, 342 yards, 3 TDs
This guy has been having quite the year so far and he’s making a lot of his receivers look really good. This past weekend he and the Hoosiers hosted, and pasted, a (formerly) ranked Michigan team—with really good defensive backs....usually—to notch their 3rd conference win and 2nd win over a ranked opponent already this season somehow. Penix has really grown into his own this season after the departure of former also-pretty-good Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey, and there’s frankly no reason he should be slowing down anytime soon. He’s got a solid running back in Stevie Scott III to lean on and some great receivers in Ty Fryfogle and Whop Phylor, plus I’m sure he’s got some good receivers who aren’t First Team All-B1G Name members. It’s pretty hard to root against Indiana, or to be annoyed that they’re actually maybe good this year, and we’re all very excited to see them in a game to decide the East against Ohio State later in the year.
Speaking of OSU, Justin Fields had another great game, of course (24/28, 314, 5 TDs, 1 rush TD) but it was against Rutgers. Even in 2020, Rutgers is still Rutgers, so it doesn’t count as much. Likewise, Mo Ibrahim had a monster game (30 carries, 224, 4 TDs, plus some catches and kick returns, plus Big Ten OPOTW), but it was against Illinois. Mo, welcome to the “we played Illinois and had unbelievable weeks” club. Graham Mertz and Aiden O’Connell are waiting for ya!
Honorable Mentions for OTE Offensive POTW
All the conference’s wide receivers. I don’t know when the Big Ten became a passing conference, but just look at these guys:
Ty Fryfolge - Indiana - 7 receptions, 142 yards, 1 TD
Ronnie Bell - Michigan - 6 rec, 149 yds, 1 TD
Rakim Jarrett - Maryland - 5 rec, 144 yds, 2 TD; Big Ten Freshman OTW
Jahan Dotson - Penn State - 9 rec, 123 yds, 1 TD
Rashod Bateman - Minnesota - 10 rec, 139 yds, 1 TD
OTE’s Defensive Player of Week 3
Riley Moss - Defensive Back - Iowa Hawkeyes
2 tackles, 1 interception, 1 54-yard Int return TD
OTE’s Player of the Week doesn’t have a ton of hard-and-fast rules. In fact, we purposely avoid too many rules because then I can let my personal biases influence the winners and HonMens without worrying too much. For DPOTW and STPOTW, though, we have a long standing, clear rule: If you return something for a touchdown, you win (or tie if there are multiples).
This week’s winner, then, is Riley Moss. Based on the stat line, Moss didn’t really do anything EXCEPT for a 54-yard interception return for a TD. It made almost no difference in the utter hamblasting Iowa laid on Michigan State, but it did win him OTE’s Defensive Player of the Week for Week 3, so that’s certainly not nothing!
Honorable Mentions for OTE Defensive POTW
Chris Bergin - LB - Northwestern
11 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 passes defended, 1 timely INT
A victim of the “if you score you win” rule, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week has to settle for an HonMen here at OTE
Ruben Hyppolite II - LB - Maryland
7 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, superb name from start to finish
Luke Reimer - LB - Nebraska
10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack
Honestly I’m starting to feel a little bad for Nebraska, so Reimer gets the final spot here over Chauncey Golston from Iowa and Reese Taylor from Indiana.
OTE’s Special Teams Player of Week 3
Charlie Jones - WR/PR - Iowa Hawkeyes - Big Ten STPOTW
5 returns, 21 yard return average, 54 yard long return, 1 touchdown
The Iowa Hawkeyes have done a terrific job training their guys to win these awards. As with the DPOTW, Charlie Jones wins this week’s STPOTW on the strength of a punt return for a touchdown. Again, Iowa so thoroughly dominated Michigan State at every level that Jones’s PR touchdown made little difference, but the rules are what they are! While all of us here at OTE are sad that a punter didn’t win, as is tradition, we’re happy to have Jones and his high school recruiting photo in this week’s Player of the Week column.
Honorable Mentions for OTE’s Special Teams POTW
Don’t worry y’all, we still love punters more than anything.
Adam Korsack - P - Rutgers
5 punts, 46.6 avg, 1 inside the 20, 50 long
Brad Robbins - P - Michigan
7 punts, 53.6 yds, 66 long
Honestly Robbins got a little robbed by Jones’s PR TD, but those are the rules!
Tory Taylor - P - Iowa
7 punts, 45-ish avg, at least 5 inside 20 (“inside 20” is a surprising hard stat to find consistently tracked, FYI)
Iowa won 2⁄3 of the awards. That is
This poll is closed
Totally justified because this is an intellectually honest column