Well it is Thursday, so you know what that means. In addition to a crazy upset, I will toss out some awards for last weekend as well as grade my own picks.
Game of the…
In all fairness, the game of the week was nearly a tie between what happened in Lincoln and what happened in East Lansing. If you prefer defensive affairs, you would have enjoyed MSU-OSU more, but for scoring, the NU-UW game gets the nod. I’m giving the edge to Nebraska because they scored 17 points in nine minutes to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. It happened so quickly that almost a week later I am still trying to wrap my head around it. I can’t imagine what the Wisconsin sideline was like. The defense just could not catch its breath. Another tiebreaker: impressive comebacks are always fun.
[Related: B1G Power Rankings, Week 5]
Weak: Penn State-Illinois
PSU was up 21-0 at the half and cruised to a lopsided win. Someone out there will ask why not Iowa’s romp over Minnesota. Two reasons. The first is the way Iowa has looked at times this year, it was possible for Minnesota to come back from being down 24 at the break. The second is near the end of the game Iowa called a timeout. The ref accidently said “timeout Illinois” leading to an extremely loud chorus of boos from the Iowa fans. Those thirty hilarious seconds were highly enjoyable. The Illinois game did not have any enjoyable moments, unless of course you were rooting for Penn State.
Offensive: Half the league
A couple weeks ago I said that I couldn’t imagine a tougher week for choosing an offensive MVP, but now I’m positive Week 5 will prove to be the best. How can I split hairs between these players:
Candidate # 1: Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern
Stats: 14 Carries, 161 yards, 4 TDs, 9 receptions, 131 yards
Hilariously, he is listed as a QB. The guy is instant offense wherever you put him and with the way IU charged back, Northwestern needed everything Colter gave them last weekend.
Candidate # 2: Mark Weisman, FB/RB, Iowa
Stats: 21 Carries, 177 yards, 1 TD
The bulldozer dominated Minnesota with 155 yards in the first half. He was given the second half off with just five carries. It’s a shame because he could have managed to eclipse the 200 yard mark in back-to-back weeks.
Candidate # 3: Caleb TerBush, QB, Purdue
Stats: 27/37, 294 yards, 4/1 TD to INT
After deciding the game was in the bag for Purdue at the half, leading 42-14, Marshall managed to make a game of it. TerBush’s big day was no longer impressive stats-wise, but necessary to ensure victory.
Candidate # 4: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Stats: 17/29, 181 yards, 2/0 TD to INT, 13 carries, 107 yards, 1 td
Yet another guy who tore up the stat page in a game in which his team had to have it.
Candidate # 5: Braxton Miller, QB, OSU
Stats: 16/23, 179 yards, 1/1 TD to INT, 23 carries, 136 yards
This has become a theme for Ohio State. Not only did Miller put up monster stats, but his team had to have them since they were in a dogfight with Michigan State, on the road and came away with just a one-point victory.
Last but not least, they aren’t official candidates, but I wanted to applaud the days Matt McGloin and Zach Zwinak had in Penn State’s win. McGloin had another 200 yard passing day, didn’t turn it over and led his team to another win. Zwinak hit a hundred yards dead on 19 carries and found the endzone twice to bring more balance to Penn State.
[Related: B1G Performance Grades, Week 5]
Now then, of the five candidates who will I give the nod too. I feel like as specatcular as he was, we’ve seen Miller put up even better stats so Braxton is eliminated. TerBush’s game came against the weakest opponent. As far as Colter’s performance goes, well, he’s a qb. If he was listed at running back he would have won but I just can’t get over that. Call it old school, or stupidity, I don’t care. That leaves Martinez and Weisman. I will cop out and give it to them both as co-champions. Hey, its my column, I’ll make the rules around these parts. It is no worse than two weeks ago in my power rankings when I had three teams tied for fourth.
Defensive: Iowa’s Linebackers
Anthony Hitchens had 12 tackles (4 solo), a tackle for a loss and a sack as Iowa dominated Minnesota. Fellow linebacker James Morris also had a TFL, a sack and four solo tackles (10 total). Christian Kirksey had a 68 yard pick-six to put the game fully away for Iowa. For extra measure, defensive back Greg Castillo had seven tackles (five solo), a pass breakup and interception.
Special Teams: Nebraska
In order to have a comeback you need to excel in special teams and that is exactly what the Huskers did.
Punter/Kicker Brett Maher had 12 points (3/4 FGs, 3/3 PAT), three punts for 140 yards (46.7 avg) and downed one inside the 20.
Returner Ameer Abdullah had five kickoff returns and averaged just under 30 a pop (long of 83).
Honorable Mention: The league’s best kicker, who has to be a Lou Groza candidate, was at it again. Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien stayed perfect on FGs for the season (3/3, long of 44) and stayed perfect on PATs going 5-for-5. He now has 52 points through five games. Wow.
I know you are all excited for the dunce of the week, but right now I need to rewind my picks. Do people under the age of 15 truly know and appreciate the word rewind? Ah, Walkmans and VHS.
Illinois 7 Penn State 35 – Bullseye of the Week
Prediction: PSU, 28-14
When the score flashed 28-7 in Kinnick Stadium I was extremely excited, gave myself a huge pat on the back and told dad I was going to nail it. Then I got home and the whole weekend was ruined. Okay, not quite.
Indiana 29 Northwestern 44
Prediction: NU, 42-21
It really is strange to get my Northwestern predictions this close this many times in a row. I have a sneaking suspicion I will go 0-and-7 the rest of the way so it averages out.
Iowa 31 Minnesota 13
Prediction: Minnesota, 17-13
You know what is really annoying? My preseason pick was Iowa 28-14, which would have made it the Bullseye of the Week and give it a great shot at Bullseye of the Year. Still, as an Iowa fan, I am so glad to get this one wrong. I may just have to pick against the Hawks the rest of the way.
Michigan State 16 Ohio State 17
Prediction: MSU, 17-10
I was right that in order to pull off the upset, the Spartans needed to dictate the tempo of this one and they did – they just couldn’t get the win. Give credit where credit is due. OSU’s defense is full of talent, but had yet to show it. Well they did last week and I think it will be a springboard for this unit moving forward.
Nebraska 30 Wisconsin 27
Prediction: Nebraska, 35-17
Another funny one. My pick in August…Huskers by a field goal.
Purdue 51 Marshall 41
Prediction: Purdue, 41-21
This was just a strange game the way PU was up 42-14 after 30 and ended up only winning by 10.
For the Week: 4-2
For the Season: 39-13
Dunce of the Week:
Yes WVU-Baylor highlights this, but look at some of these scores:
Middle Tennessee State: 49 points on Georgia Tech
Kent State 45 Ball State 43
Miami-NC State’s thriller
Miami (OH) 56 Akron 49
Tulsa 49 UAB 42
The aforementioned Purdue Game
Louisiana Tech 44 Virginia 38
Texas’ controversial win against Oklahoma State
Fresno State 52 SDSU 40
To top it all off, these games were all competitive. There were also a bunch of lopsided games in which one of the teams looked like they had never even heard the term defense.
For the love of God, can somebody hit someone into next week this Saturday?
More Big Ten, Week 5