Goodness gracious what a week of impressive individual performances! Even with the cheats/rule breaking I’m relying on this week, I still had to leave out some great Maryland players, some good Purdue performances (sorry, BoilerUp98. I really appreciate your help and nominations, but this week was TOUGH), and all of Michigan. Although let’s be honest, none of the Michigan performances were really that great.
So it sounds like Wisconsin is going to stick with Jim Leonhard for the rest of this season, and if the offense looks as fun as it did this past weekend, and if every opposing offense is as inept as a Fitzgerald-run offense, he should keep the job permanently. Word on the street/internet is that Matt Rhule has been fired by the Carolina Panthers, which means the Nebraska Cornhuskers are in a great position to pick up a guy who was perfectly fine (28-23) at an AAC school, went 19-20 at Baylor—including a season where he went 11-3—but never beat a ranked team while at Baylor, and then went 11-27 as the head coach of a team in the perpetual worst division in the NFL.* Now that I’ve typed all that out, I’m honestly not sure why he’s so highly sought after, other than the Basic Fan being impressed that he somehow managed to win 11 games in a season but without realizing he never beat a ranked team. But congrats, Nebraska! He’s not Urban Meyer, and you won’t have to wait around to be embarrassed by Lance Liepold deciding he’d rather stay at KANSAS, but at least you’ll have another guy with all the expectations in the world and way, way less success as a head coach than you otherwise might have thought.
At this point, I’m viewing the B1G West thusly:
* Fact checking limited to Wikipedia. Take it up with them.
OTE’s Player of the Week: Week 6
Graham Mertz - Quarterback - Wisconsin Badgers
20/29 passing, 299 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
A Graham Mertz stat line with multiple touchdowns and no interceptions is notable no matter the other stats or the opponent. But putting up over 10 YPA and earning an infinity touchdown to interception ratio? You’ve got yourself a Player of the Week award!
The fighting Jim Leonard’s are buzzing. Graham Mertz in Heisman form . pic.twitter.com/F1KECQp9zz— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) October 8, 2022
At this point there’s one thing very clear about Graham Mertz: You give him good pass protection and wide open receivers and there’s likely nobody in CFB better. More importantly, you give him decent pass protection and somewhat open receivers, and he’ll likely throw a few passes in a game that blow you away with their perfection. Of course, the longer you watch, the more rapidly the Graham Mertz Limits approaches Interception. For now, though, I’m just enjoying the ride.
I can’t even fathom five touchdowns in a single game by Mertz, even though I just watched it with my own eyes. But just for fun, here’s a non-Mertz TD pass from the game.
The Right Honorable (Mention) Of The Week: Week
Chimere Dike - Wide Receiver - Wisconsin Badgers
10 receptions, 185 yards, 3 touchdowns
I mean...are you KIDDING ME? A Wisconsin wide receiver who put up ten receptions? With an average approaching 20 yards per catch? AND three touchdowns? That’s a season’s worth of touchdowns for plenty of leading Wisconsin receivers! I think fellow Wisconsin fan and writer MCClapYoHandz said it best:
^At Wisconsin, which translates to 17-290-5
Can’t argue with that.
Other Honorable Mentions
Charles Brantley - Cornerback - Michigan State Spartans
8 tackles, 1 interception, 1 32-yard pick-6
A pick-6 is (almost) always good for an HonMen, and it certainly is when it was what kept your team in the game for tens of seconds. Plus, and far more importantly, Brantley’s interception knocked Stroud’s stat line down juuuuust enough to let Mertz slide into the top spot for this week. I’ve always said that MSU is my favorite non-Wisconsin team, and that’s even truer when MSU isn’t good.
Basically all of Ohio State - QB, WR, RB, DT - Ohio State Buckeyes
CJ Stroud - QB - 21/26, 361 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 pick-6 thrown
Marvin Harrison, Jr. - WR - 7 receptions, 131 yards, 3 touchdowns
TreVeyon Henderson - RB - 19 carries, 118 yards, 1 touchdown
Michael Hall, Jr. - DT - 3 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks
Man oh man. After seeing how Ohio State tore up Michigan State’s defense last week, I’m pretty excited for the Wisconsin-MSU matchup. Of course MSU fans should be looking at how OSU shredded Wisconsin and thinking the same thing, I guess. Such is the life of division bottom third-ers. Anyway, what a good week for Ohio State’s skill players, and I love seeing a defensive tackle rack up multiple sacks.
Oh, and about the headline: Wisconsin had a QB, WR, and RB all with better stat lines than the Ohio State guys listed above, plus Wisconsin safety Kamo’i Latu won Big Ten DPOTW (which, lol. He had 2 ints and that’s it. He wasn’t even next on my list of guys who should get an HonMen). Thus, Wisconsin > Ohio State? I think so.
The Punters of the B1G - Punters - Big Ten Football
Bryce Baringer - Michigan State Spartans - 7 punts, 48.9 avg, 59 long, 5 in 20
Adam Korsak - Rutgers Scarlet Knights - 7 punts, 41.9 avg, 51 long, 5 in 20
Hugh Robertson - Illinois Fighting Illini - 6 punts, 41.5 avg, 47 long, 4 in 20
Folks, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but holy cow does the Big Ten have some awesome punters going right now. This list doesn’t include Tory Taylor this week, who is likely the 2nd best punter in the conference, or Andy Vujnovich, who can really bomb it when necessary. And who would have thought the graduation of Blake Hayes means Illinois just plugs in another dude who can drop 2⁄3 of his punts inside the 20? It’s really a golden age to be a fan of a bad team, or of Illinois, who is clicking in all phases right now/for now.
Jaishawn Barham - Linebacker - Maryland Terrapins
5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries
My sources tell me this guy is a freshman? Seems like he might be pretty good! I’m trying to do better about tracking guys who force fumbles, because that seems even more valuable than recovering a fumble, but it’s tough. Nonetheless, Barham contributed to two turnovers and two OTHER plays that really limited Purdue’s ability to avoid having to rely on a blocked XP to win the game.
What Did Beez Do Instead Of Watching Football?
How Did Beez’z Wife Make The Loss Sting Worse?
No loss so no sting! Watched (most of) the game, so no “instead of watching football!” Gotta say, pretty solid weekend overall. Hit up a ton of yard sales Saturday morning, pressure washed like 90% of one side of my house early Saturday afternoon, did not die or fall off a ladder while pressure washing, and got to watch a MurderDeathKill by my favorite team against one of my (unfairly?) least liked teams.
Next couple weekends I’m in New York City and then hosting a baby shower, so there’s a good chance that the next time I see a snap of Wisconsin football they’ll be back in the driver’s seat for the B1G West and/or I’ll be VERY glad that I didn’t have to watch 1-2 more disasters of games. Oh, I guess they might have a bye at some point? Clearly I’m very locked in to this season.
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