We’re back y’all! I know you were all wondering whether your seventh favorite (or soon to be seventh favorite!) weekly in-season piece would return for a fourth straight season, and I’m here to tell you that it’s back. We’ve actually got a surprising amount to get to in this first week, so let’s just get right to it!
Reminder of the “rules”: Games against FCS aren’t eligible for POTW awards. Defensive or special teams players who do something that results in a TD get a huge leg up regardless of what else they did. Games against good/great/elite teams get more kudos than games against P5 than games against G5 than games against New Mexico State. Also try to remember that I have a soft spot for wide receivers and kickers, a hard spot for quarterbacks, and a blind spot for anything that I can’t pick up from perusing a box score for sixty seconds.
As always, please please please use the comment section to complain about how I snubbed your favorite team’s player, how I got some basic stat wrong, or how the Big Ten is just a little bit grayer now that Blake Hayes isn’t around.
OTE’s Player of the Week: Week 1
Chase Brown - Running Back - Illinois Fighting Illini
55 carries, 350 yards, 2 touchdowns rushing, 1 touchdown receiving
Sure, it might seem unfair that Brown accumulated his stats over two weeks while (nearly) everyone else only had one, but (a) He’s all the offense Illinois has right now, (b) he’s already averaging 6.4 ypc over a ton of carries, and (c) come on, it’s Illinois and they should get something nice-ish. Sure he got a chunk of these yards against the Wyoming Cowboys, but he also put up nearly 200 against conference foe and prime competition for “who might sneak in to bowl eligibility in 2022” Indiana Hoosiers. I’ll be glad if Braelon Allen has 350 yards with that kind of ypc average after two games.
Week 0: 3 TDs— Illinois on BTN (@IllinoisOnBTN) August 30, 2022
Week 1: ❓#TouchdownTuesday x @chasebrown____ pic.twitter.com/jNGlXspWlK
It looks like Illinois might struggle, again, outside of Brown, wide receiver semi-stud Isaiah Williams (who put up 9/112/1 against that same Indiana team), and surely some linebacker whose played there for about 8 years and gets 15 tackles per game, but that is good enough to sneak a few wins in the Big Ten basement apartment. Illinois remains my darkhorse pick to be Better Than You’d Think, and Brown is going to be a big part of that prediction coming true.
The - @DoakWalkerAward Running Back of the Week belongs to @chasebrown____ after Week 1 vs. Indiana.— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) September 7, 2022
First RB in #Illini history to rush for 150+ yards in each of the first two games of a season
157 yards after contact#HTTO | #famILLy pic.twitter.com/AimhNNny0h
157 of his 199 yards after contact? Goodness gracious would somebody please block for him.
Long time followers of this column might recall that I used to pick an offensive, defensive, and special teams player of the week, with multiple HonMens for each category. Frankly my friends, that is just way too much work and forced me to dig too deeply into the vapid platitudes database to try to make (to try and make?) it look like I had thoughts about more than like three guys per week. As a compromise and to spice things up, I think I’m going to sprinkle in a super duper special HonMen as appropriate. And holy damn is it appropriate this week.
The Right Honorable (Mention) Of The Week: Week 1
Jacoby Windman - Linebacker - Michigan State Spartans
7 tackles, 4 sacks
What really needs to be said about that stat line. Sure it was against Directional Michigan, but still, per this MLive article, he had the most sacks in a single game by an MSU player since 2003 and the second most all time. While searching for “single game sack stats” on the internet, I saw that even the generational Chase Young only got four sacks in a game once (which is also the OSU record), and you better believe Ohio State played some Directional Michigan-level garbage opponents in his career.
for a reason. @MSU_Football's star LB @JW1NDMON is already making a statement on the Spartans D. pic.twitter.com/1anHpEbUwz— Michigan State on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) September 8, 2022
If you haven’t heard of Windman before, I’m not surprised. He is just the latest in a streak of brilliant transfer portal finds by head coach Mel Tucker. Windman played at UNLV last year as a linebacker, and he apparently showed enough pass rushing chops to get a position change to standing defensive end (which gives more pass rushing opportunities, I guess). He seems pretty good, and the rest of the conference needs to start seriously worrying about paying catch up with Tucker and MSU’s transfer portal wizardy.
Other Honorable Mentions
I’ve got a trial starting in ten days that I’m not ready for and I’m already multiple days behind on this, so the rest of the HonMens are gonna be short and sweet. I promise to write more words you won’t read next week!
Chris Jefferson - Safety - Purdue Boilermakers
3 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 interception, 72-yard pick 6
D.J. Turner - Cornerback - Michigan Wolverines
2 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 45-yard fumble 6
Joey Porter, Jr. - Cornerback - Penn State Wolverines
8 tackles, 3 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries
Charles Campbell - Kicker - Indiana Hoosiers
3/3 FGs, 43 long, 2/2 XPs
I didn’t forget about special teams, promise.
What Did Beez Do Instead Of Watching Football?
This past weekend I did not see a single snap of Wisconsin football, let alone games involving teams I only care about to the extent they lose in demoralizing and humiliating fashion. This has not been, and will continue to not be, a rare occurrence. In addition to my wife just not caring even a tiny bit about football, we moved to a new house in July, we’re having a baby in December, and I’ve admittedly never been the “I HAVE to watch my team no matter what” kinda guy, which is why I’m a perfect OTE writer. This is a long way of saying I’m going to be spending many weekends remodeling, unpacking, baby prepping, and doing other things, so I’ll turn that lack of watching into column inches.
Last weekend we and some friends went to beautiful, mountainous, and hippie-laden Floyd, Virginia for Yoga Jam 2022. It’s a 3+ day “yoga” festival, although it’s really just an excuse to camp in the mountains with friends, disconnect from the world, and maybe do some stretching or meditating or learning or absolutely nothing at all. It was PERFECT. Didn’t realize how badly I just needed multiple days away from the rest of life, and I returned fully recharged and ready to continue to be buried in work stuff, life stuff, and “oh I’ll watch football this coming weekend instead” ideas. I linked the website above, and I fully encourage any of you within, say, eight driving hours of Floyd to get your butts to Yoga Jam 2023. I’ll be there with a nine-month-old and I’m sure just an insane amount baby-necessitated crap strapped to every inch of me.
What’s the thing you’re most excited about when you go to Culver’s?
This poll is closed
The cheese curds
The custard, obviously
Something weird because I’m a wierdo and will mention it in the comments.