Game of the Week
Michigan 21 @ Iowa 24
A tale of two halves as the Hawkeyes offense fumbled and bumbled their way through the first 2 quarters, while their defense manned up and kept Michigan from putting the game away early. In the first half alone, Iowa had 2 interceptions, fumbled, missed a field goal and failed on 4th down, but trailed on 21-7 thanks to the defense allowing just 126 yards. Michigan’s points came of an interception return and short fields, but their defense was certainly showing some fire too. The Hawkeyes scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, with Rudock throwing a 55-yard TD pass to Tevaun Smith and Mark Weisman bulling his way into the endzone from 9 yards out. When Mike Meyer kicked the go-ahead field goal with 6 minutes left, the Wolverines offense awoke from their slumber (6 total 2nd half yards prior), and Devin Gardner had them marching in Iowa territory. However, Gardner was heading out-of-bounds on a 2nd down run when Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens stripped and recovered the ball, end Michigan’s last threat as the Hawkeyes ran out the clock.
Team of the Week
Or a couple of other teams. But the Buckeyes get the nod for doing something no other Ohio State team (not quite the right word) in their lengthy and impressive history – win 23 games in a row. To be fair, after getting throttled by Wisconsin the week before, no one expected the Hoosiers to press OSU like they did last season, but the Buckeyes battered them into submission, rolling to a 42-0 lead in the 4th quarter before taking the rest of the evening off and letting Indiana score 14 points against their scout team. The Hoosiers did move the ball, but Ohio State stiffened when it mattered most.
Offensive Player of the Week
Steve Hull, Illinois
With a potential winless B1G season on the line, both teams came to play. The Boilermakers in particular have had a rough season, but saw the opportunity and gave Illinois all they could handle, forcing 4 turnovers and scoring a couple of quick 1st quarter TD. Despite their great efforts, they had no answer for Hull, who hauled in 10 passes for 169 yards and both Illini TDs, and was a key factor on one of their FG drives. The senior has been a key member of the team over the last few weeks since moving back from safety, where he played the last 3 seasons.
Defensive Player of the Week
Anthony Hitchens, Iowa
I have to give kudos to Ryan Shazier of Ohio State here, as 20 tackles with 5 for loss is nothing to be sniffed at, but Hitchens gets the nod here for coming up with the game winning strip and recovery of Gardner. It’s not like he just sat on his butt for the rest of game, he also made 8 tackles, 3 for loss, and also tagged a couple of QB hurries, but he earns the DPW mostly for the game-winning fumble recovery. an all-round great game highlighted by a great play.
Special Teams Player of the Week
The Nebraska Unit
It would be easy to hand it to a player, but the Cornhusker special teams squad played a big hand in their victory. Pat Smith kicked all 3 FGs, including a game-tying kick late in the 4th quarter, and then the winner from 42 yards in overtime. Kenny Bell returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score to respond to a Penn State TD, and punter Sam Foltz may have been the best of the lot, punting 8 times at an average of 46 yards per kick, and dropping 4 inside the 20. Forcing the Nittany Lions to start deep in their own territory certainly helped out their defense.
Play of the Week
Connor Cook to Bennie Fowler, Michigan State
This game was never that close, but the Wildcats had hung around into the 2nd quarter, trailing just 7-3. At 3rd and 5 at the MSU 13, Northwestern had an opportunity to gain some good field position with a stop. Instead, Cook threw a pass that hung a little too long in the air, but the Wildcat defender never turned his head, and the safety blew his angle, allowing Fowler to make an excellent one-handed catch and race 87 yards for a 14-3 lead. Check it out here.
Topics: Anthony Hitchens, Bennie Fowler, Connor Cook, Illinois Fighting Illini, Iowa Hawkeyes, Kenny Bell, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Pat Smith, Sam Foltz, Steve Hull