Game of the Week
Penn State 10 @ Minnesota 24
In a game that was closer than the final score indicates, the Golden Gophers continue to impress in Big Ten play with their fourth consecutive victory. All the scoring came in the first half, then both defenses took over in the second to frustrate fantasy owners. PSU running back Bill Belton (7-47-0) coughed up the ball on the very first play, despite not being touched, and Minnesota drew first blood with a field goal. Penn State’s punted to end their next drive, but pinned the Gophers at their own 4-yard line. No problem. Minny marched the length of the field in 15 plays, with David Cobb (27-139-1) finishing the drive from a yard out. Penn State then switch to bullish Zach Zwinak (26-150-1) at RB, and he carried 5 times for 63 yards and the score on a 6 play, 75-yard TD drive. The Gophers took the ensuing drive 70 yards for the score, this time from Philip Nelson (226 total yards, 2 TDs). A Sam Ficken field goal brought the Penn State back within 7, but a Nelson TD pass to Maxx Williams (2-48-1) late in the first half provided the final margin of victory. In the second half, the Lions had success on the ground with Zwinak and Belton, but the Minnesota defense frustrated their passing attack, including shutting down Allen Robinson (7-63-0). Penn State couldn’t convert on 3rd or 4th down, ending promising drives. The Gophers did little in the second half on offense, but took over with 6:40 left and ran out the clock in a final impressive drive.
Team of the Week
The Cornhuskers did something no other team can claim to do – end Michigan’s unbeaten streak in the Big House. A sterling effort from the Nebraska defense was the main reason – the Blackshirts sacked Devin Gardner 7 times, while holding the Wolverine running attack to -11 yards, their second week in a row on the wrong side of 0. Even so, thanks to good passing from Gardner, the Cornhuskers trailed 13-10 with just over 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. But young QB Tommy Armstrong (152 total yards, 1 TD) wasn’t fazed by playing in front of the hostile Ann Arbor crowd and led the Huskers on a 14 play, 75-yard drive, finishing it off with a well-executed shovel pass to hero of the hour, Ameer Abdullah (110 total yards, 2 TDs). With a couple of minutes left, a 3rd down sack left the Wolverines in a 4th and long, and Gardner’s final pass fell incomplete. In the Huskers can beat Michigan State in Lincoln next week, they’ll be in pole position for the division crown.
Offensive Player of the Week
James White, Wisconsin
Lots of great performances this season, but White kept the Badgers ticking over on the ground while, also providing a receiving threat against a tough BYU defense. White scored all 3 of Wisconsin’s TDs, gaining 147 yards on 23 carries, and catching 6 passes for 47 yards. After playing in shadow of Montee Ball last year, and Melvin Gordon this year, White has really come into his own over the last couple of weeks, and another 49 yards next week will give him his second 1000 yard season (2010).
Defensive Player of the Week
Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Yeah, yeah, yeah! Another Badger in the awards this week. Borland is no secret weapon in the Big Ten, and has been one of the top linebackers in the conference practically since he first set foot on the field. The Cougars offense has been impressive the last few weeks, but struggled to maintain any consistency, gaining much of their yardage in the 4th quarter as they tried to come back from 27-10 down. Borland was the star of the defense, racking up 13 tackles, with 2.5 for loss. Included were 2 sacks, and threw in a QB hurry for good measure.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Peter Mortell, Minnesota
The Golden Gopher offense may have tarnished in the second half, but they had Mortell on hand to drive Penn State back with his outstanding punting. Mortell only punted 4 times, but he totaled 184 yards (46 gross), pinning the Lions at the 1,2 and 12 on three of them. PSU only returned 2 of the punts, gaining a total of 2 yards, as Mortell’s efforts played a big role in keeping the Nittany Lions from coming back in the second half.
Play of the Week
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
There wasn’t a whole lot of defense going on throughout this game, but kudos have to be given, not just to Coleman, but the whole offense as Tevin followed some outstanding blocking to burst through a massive hole and race untouched for a 64-yard TD run to open the scoring. Later in the game he had a 75-yarder to give the Hoosiers a lead they would never relinquish. He finished with 15 carries for 215 yards and the 2 scores.
Topics: Allen Robinson, Ameer Abdullah, Big Ten Leaders, Big Ten Legends, Bill Belton, Brigham Young Cougars, BYU Cougars, Chris Borland, David Cobb, Devin Gardner, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, James White, Maxx Williams, Melvin Gordon, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Montee Ball, Nate Sudfeld, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Peter Mortell, Sam Ficken, Tevin Coleman, Tommy Armstrong Junior, Wisconsin Badgers, Zach Zwinak