Game of the Week
Northwestern 24 @ Nebraska 27
In a game where passing took a back seat, it was with a sense of irony that two big passing plays decided it. Neither teams’ quarterbacks were able to have a major impact, at least through the air, as Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg combined for 4 interceptions, while Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter of Northwestern completed just 8 of 21 passes for 81 yards. They were better on the ground, with Armstrong rushing for 69 yards and a TD, while Colter gained 86. The running backs and the defenses had the upper hand though. Wildcat Treyvon Green ran for 149 yards and 3 scores, while Ameer Abdullah had 127, and made a key reception late in the game. But it was the end of the game that wins the GOTW prize, as Kellogg, finding himself with a 4th and 15 late in the game, dumped the ball off to Abdullah under duress. It turned out to be fortuitous, as Abdullah fought for the first down, giving one last chance to the Cornhuskers. Kellogg, at Northwestern’s 49, heaved the ball towards the Wildcats endzone, and in perfect Hail Mary design, the ball was tipped in the air to a trailing Jordan Westerkamp, who caught the ball in the endzone, dooming Northwestern to a potentially crippling loss (4-5), while keeping Nebraska’s division hopes alive.
Team of the Week
It’s no secret that the Spartans have owned Michigan the last few years, but this game was expected to be one of the better ones, with the Wolverines prolific offense knocking heads with MSU’s nasty defense. It turned out to be a great game – if you’re a Spartan fan. Michigan State’s defense ruled the day, holding Michigan to -48 yards rushing and giving QB Devin Gardner such a beating, his mother called worrying about his safety (not really). The Spartans much-maligned offense came through late in the second quarter and rattled off 23 unanswered points. Connor Cook threw for 252 yards and a score (1 Int), while Jeremy Langford continued to excel on the ground, rushing for 120 yards and a deal-breaking 40-yard TD run to round out the scoring. MSU continue to control their own destiny in the Legends, while the Wolverines can only hope for the best.
Offensive Player of the Week
Philip Nelson, Minnesota
Lots of big offensive performances this week, but the nod has to go the Golden Gopher sophomore, who led his team to a big lead, then came up with one more big play after Indiana came roaring back to take the lead. Nelson threw for 298 yards and 4 TDs on 16 of 23 passing, and led Minnesota to a big 35-13 lead in the 3rd quarter. The Hoosiers were far from finished, and rattled off 26 consecutive points to take a 39-35 lead with 5:33 left in the game. Nelson wasn’t done though, zipping a pass over the middle to freshman TE Maxx Williams, who shrugged off a tackler and took the pass 50 yards for the score, putting the Gophers back on top. The defense did the rest as they held on to win 42-39.
Defensive Player of the Week
Denicos Allen, Michigan State
If the truth be told, there are a few candidates on the Spartan defense who could rule the roost here, as Michigan State beat their local rival to a bloody pulp. But the senior linebacker deserves his spot for the best all-round game, making 9 tackles, 3 for loss, and tagging 2 of team’s 7 sacks. The Wolverines had no answer to Allen and the rest of the MSU front seven, scoring 32 points below their season average.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Cody Webster, Purdue
In an otherwise dismal day for the Boilermakers, their punter made Ohio State drive the length of the field regularly, punting 8 times at an average of 49.5 yards, dropping 3 inside the 20. Only 3 of his punts were returned, for a total of 2 yards. After shanking his first effort, gaining just 15 yards, Webster was rock solid from then on, including punts of 67 and 73 yards. Sadly, he can’t play defense. Or offense.
Play of the Week
Avery Moss, Nebraska and Aaron Hill, Minnesota
After weeks of giving props to offensive guys, it’s time to give some kudos to the guys on the other side of the ball While there are plenty of candidates all round, I plumped for two. Moss’s big play was an outstanding display of athleticism, leaping above a blocker, to not just bat down a pass by Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, but to catch it and run it back 21 yards for a key TD in the 3rd quarter. Hill’s play was a heads-up game clincher as Indiana threatened to steal the game at the death. With a mere 25 seconds left, Hoosier quarterback Philip Sudfeld threw a lateral pass to running back Tevin Coleman, who dropped it. Thinking it was incomplete, Coleman just stood up, while the alert Hill pounced on the ball to secure the Gophers 7th win of the season.
Topics: Aaron Hill, Ameer Abdullah, Avery Moss, Big Ten Leaders, Big Ten Legends, Cody Webster, Connor Cook, Denicos Allen, Devin Gardner, Indiana Hoosiers, Jeremy Langford, Jordan Westerkamp, Kain Colter, Maxx Williams, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Philip Nelson, Purdue Boilermakers, Ron Kellogg III, Tevin Coleman, Tommy Armstrong Junior, Trevor Siemian, Treyvon Green