Game of the Week
Nebraska 23 @ Minnesota 34
The last time Minnesota won this matchup was 1960, and the two teams have met 18 times in that span, not an inconsiderable amount of games. Want to hear something even worse? The Gophers haven’t even LED in the series since 1969. So, it was no surprise when Big Red took a 10-0 first quarter lead behind quarterback Taylor Martinez, in his first game back from injury, and outstanding running back Ameer Abdullah (19-165-0). The game then took on a familiar look as a powerful running attack and stifling defense kept the losing team from re-establishing any serious momentum. What was unfamiliar was that the Gophers, not Nebraska, were doing the stifling. David Cobb spearheaded the Minnesota running game with 138 yards, while QB Phillip Nelson accounted for 207 total yards and 3 TDs. Aside from Abdullah, the entire Husker offense only managed 157 total yards, and turned the ball over twice. While Nebraska hung around, even pulling to within 27-23 in the 4th quarter, they never looked like taking control. A late Minnesota drive for a TD with just 48 seconds left provided the final margin of victory, and propelled the surprising Golden Gophers to bowl eligibility.
Team of the Week
After a succession of close victories over conference foes, the Buckeyes had slipped down the BCS rankings as their peers rolled off more impressive wins. Then Penn State came to town. The Nittany Lions have been okay this season, but have struggled against speedy teams such as UCF and Indiana. They hadn’t met anyone with the Buckeyes team speed though, and it showed. Braxton Miller and the OSU offense hit the ground running, scoring almost incessantly, while Penn State struggled to keep up, leading to too many errors. Miller was the star of the show, completing 18 of 24 passes for 252 yards and 3 TDs, while also running for 68 yards and another 2 scores. Carlos Hyde had another big day, rushing for 147 yards and 2 TDs, although Harry Hyde could have had success running through the holes the Buckeye offensive line created. The defense didn’t give up many big plays, forcing Penn State to go on long drives, which they couldn’t sustain. The rout was so bad, even Ohio State’s backups appeared to move the ball at will. Let’s see how the big win impacts the BCS standings.
Offensive Player of the Week
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Mr Inconsistent has been driving the Sparty Faithful mad with his hot -and-cold performances all season long. In MSU’s beatdown of Illinois, he had a career day, completing 15 of 16 passes for 208 yards and 3 TDs. With the running game doing its thing, Cook spread the ball around to 10 different receivers, before taking the rest of the night off at the start of the 4th quarter. Now, as the season winds up and every game counts, can Cook build on this season, or will he continue to play Snakes and Ladders with his performances?
Defensive Player of the Week
Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern
The Wildcats may have lost a close one to Iowa, but Ariguzo was outstanding on defense, making plays all over the field in an effort to stymie the Hawkeyes effective offense. He made 14 tackles, 2 for loss, a sack and an interception. The sack came on third down, forcing an Iowa punt as they were driving in Northwestern territory, forcing a punt, while his interception killed a late Iowa drive, sending the game into overtime.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Pat Smith, Nebraska
The Husker offense certainly wasn’t hitting on all cylinders with a rusty Taylor Martinez back at the helm, but Smith kept Nebraska in the game by hitting all three of his field goals, from 45, 42 and 37 yards, and pulling the struggling Cornhuskers to within 27-23 in the 4th quarter.
Play of the Week
Tyler Ferguson to Allen Robinson, Penn State
The game may have been well and truly over, but no one bothered to tell Robinson, who made the play of the week on a 65-yard touchdown run/reception. In fact, Penn State backup Ferguson is getting more credit than he probably deserves by having his name included, as Robinson had to scoop up a poorly thrown bubble screen , then outrunning the entire Ohio State defense on a run that probably covered about 300 yards. Check it out here.
Tags: Allen Robinson Ameer Abdullah Braxton Miller Carlos Hyde Central Florida Knights Chi Chi Ariguzo Connor Cook David Cobb Indiana Hoosiers Iowa Hawkeyes Michigan State Spartans Minnesota Golden Gophers Nebraska Cornhuskers Northwestern Wildcats Ohio State Buckeyes Pat Smith Penn State Nittany Lions Phillip Nelson Taylor Martinez Tyler Ferguson Ucf Knights