Game of the Week
Michigan State 41 @ Nebraska 28
There really wasn’t any other candidate for this spot (sorry Michigan and Northwestern), but the Spartans knocked off their biggest threat in the Legends. Nebraska certainly didn’t let them have their own way. In fact, the Cornhuskers moved the ball pretty well against Michigan State’s vaunted defense, and could have been celebrating the win if not for 5 turnovers. Jeremy Langford carried the Spartan attack again, racking up 151 hard-earned yards and 3 TDs on 32 carries. The Husker defense got some pressure on Connor Cook, but he still managed to pass for 193 yards and a score. Ameer Abdullah was expected to be the main force for Big Red, and he didn’t disappoint, gaining 123 yards on 22 carries. Receivers Kenny Bell and Sam Burtch also did some damage, combining for 12 receptions for 167 yards and a pair of TDs. Ultimately though, it was a combination of Langford, who broke Nebraska’s back with a late TD, and the Spartans tough defense that won the day.
Team of the Week
Badger head coach Gary Andersen talked of his concerns regarding Indiana’s prolific offense, and rightly so, as they have bordered on unstoppable all season. That is, until Saturday. Wisconsin running back James White scored on a 93-yard run on their first play from scrimmage, and the Badger defense throttled the life out of Indiana, allowing just 224 total yards, well below the Hoosiers season average of 527. Wisconsin’s running game accounted for a massive 554 yards, with White (205 yards), Gordon (146) and Chase Clement (108) all having their way with the Hoosier “defense”. Even receiver Jared Abbrederis threw in 3 carries for 86 yards and a pair of TDs. Badger football at its finest.
Offensive Player of the Week
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
With the Buckeyes starting to get sloppy and allowing Illinois to fight their way back into the game, something needed to be done to earn back the style points they were in danger of losing. The decision to “give it to the big guy” was an easy one for Urban Meyer, and Hyde responded accordingly, battering a game Illinois team into submission and scoring 3 TDs in the final 19 minutes, including runs of 51 and 55 yards. For the game, Doctor Jekyll’s alter-ego racked up 246 yards and 4 scores on the ground, and also caught 2 passes for 26 yards and another TD. Carlos has been a second-half beast all season.
Defensive Player of the Week
Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
It’s been a few games since the Buckeyes defense was tested (Iowa), so it’s no real surprise that Illinois had some success moving the ball. Shazier helped keep things under control with a monster game, making an impressive 16 tackles (when was the last time an OSU player needed to make 16 tackles?), with 3.5 for loss, and 1.5 of those were sacks. Shazier also forced a fumble by Illinois’ backup QB Reilly O’Toole, which resulted in a momentum-swinging safety in the 3rd quarter.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Brendan Gibbons, Michigan
With neither offense showing much life until overtime kicked off, both kickers (Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien) in the game ruled the roost, kicking 4 apiece. But it was Gibbons 3rd kick that earns him the nod here. With the Wolverines trailing 9-6 and time running out, QB Devin Gardner completed a 16-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon to set up Michigan in field goal range. But with no timeouts, the special teams unit raced onto the field (including holder Drew Dileo sliding into place) to set up for a hurried kick. Dileo did a good job placing the wet ball, and Gibbons did the rest, knocking it over from 44-yards out under trying circumstances and sending the game into overtime.
Play of the Week
V’Angelo Bentley, Illinois
With Ohio State trouncing the Illini 28-0 and not much going in their favor, Illinois made a nice stop deep in Buckeye territory, forcing them to punt. OSU punter Cameron Johnston unleashed a boomer, forcing Bentley to retreat and catch the ball over his shoulder. With the Buckeyes closing in, Bentley attacked the heart of their coverage unit, breaking a tackle and returning the punt 67 yards for a beautiful TD, and firing up the Illini. Watch Bentley in action here.