BTN.com has a new staple every Saturday night. It’s called “Marines: Leaders of the Week,” and it’s a feature designed to honor some of the top Big Ten performances. For Week 5, the opening weekend of Big Ten play, we’re focusing on the greatest performances from all around the conference. On this day, the Big Ten had huge days across the board. Here are the honorees:
A.J. Jenkins, Illinois – The star Illini receiver hauled in a career-best 12 passes for a school-record 268 yards and three touchdowns, helping Illinois overcome an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 38-35 victory over instate rival Northwestern. How impressive was Jenkins? Well, he had 108 more receiving yards than the Wildcats.
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois – Scheelhaase completed 21 of 32 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns, to go with one interception, but it was his one-yard touchdown run with 13 seconds left that lifted the Illini to a 38-35 comeback victory over instate rival Northwestern. The sophomore added 35 rushing yards.
Dan Persa, Northwestern – Persa didn’t finish the game, but he looked great in his season debut, completing 10 of 14 passes for four touchdowns, including three scoring strikes to Jeremy Ebert. The Wildcat quarterback pulled himself from the game after possibly reaggravating the injury.
Vincent Smith, Michigan – Smith did it all in Michigan’s 58-0 win over Minnesota, becoming the first major college running back to run for a score, pass for a score and catch a score since Clemson’s C.J. Spiller in 2009. In all, Smith, who totaled 72 yards, scored on three of his seven touches.State of Michigan’s defense – Michigan held Minnesota to 177 total yards on its way to carding its first Big Ten shutout since 2001 (Penn State, 20-0), while Michigan Statetallied nine – yes, nine! – sacks, held Ohio State to 34 rushing yards on 39 carries (0.87 yards per carry) and didn’t allow a point until the final seconds. Combined the two Michigan schools allowed seven points, 107 rushing yards (64 car., 1.7 yards per carry) and combined for 12 sacks.
Derek Moye, Penn State – It’s been a struggle for the Penn State offense, but when Matt McGloin is under, Moye usually does something good. The senior wideout caught six passes for 158 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown from McGloin, en route to helping the Nittany Lions hold off Indiana.
B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State – If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of talented Big Ten wide receivers this year. One of the strongest of the group, Cunningham hauled in nine more passes for 154 yards and a score, Michigan State’s only touchdown in its 10-7 victory at Ohio State.
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – Facing his first true test since transferring from North Carolina State, Wilson was stellar again, completing 14 of 20 passes for two touchdowns and a pair of scores. The senior also added a 32 rushing yards, including a 10-yard scoring run. He was fantastic, so much so Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit couldn’t stop saying his name. The hype was all over Twitter, too. Check out the tweets.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin – A scoring machine, Ball recorded his second four-touchdown performance Saturday, giving him 14 touchdowns in five games. The Badger back, who has outscored Wisconsin opponents 84-51, also collected a game-high and season-high 150 rushing yards.