Best of Week 6: Grades, individual honors, stock watch & numbers

Best of Week 6: Grades, individual honors, stock watch & numbers

Big day in the Big Ten. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State keep building mojo, while Michigan falls. How good is Michigan State? And Purdue’s magical season continues.

[ MORE: Week 6 video | Power Rankings | Week 6 predictions revisited ]

Here is the Best of Week 6.

Biggest surprise: Michigan State. The Spartans took down Michigan, 14-10. Michigan State scratched out the win despite having just 252 yards. The Wolverines hurt themselves with five turnovers. With its fourth victory, MSU has surpassed its win total from last season. And the Spartans have beaten Michigan eight times in a 10-year stretch for the first time in a series that dates to 1898.

Biggest disappointment: Michigan. The Wolverines have been foiled by Michigan State … again. MSU took a 14-10 rain-soaked triumph in Ann Arbor, giving the Wolverines their first loss of the season. The Spartans have won eight of the last 10 vs. Michigan including the last two in the Big House.

Play this again: Minnesota at Purdue. The Boilermakers’ 31-17 win was ugly … and exciting. Purdue overcame four turnovers and an 88-minute weather delay to battle back for victory in the final minutes. With three wins overall, Purdue already has matched last year’s win total.

Never play this again: Charleston Southern at Indiana. This was a make-up tilt for an earlier game IU had scheduled with Florida International that was scrubbed by Hurricane Irma. The matchup looked like a snoozer when it was announced. And, it was a snoozer. How bad was it? FCS Charleston Southern had no passing yards in a 27-0 loss. Look, the schedule said this game had to be played. And, it was. Thank goodness it’s over.

Best play: Jonathan Taylor. Plenty of options here, but the Wisconsin true freshman’s 75-yard TD run was a beaut. The guy is an absolute stud, blasting Nebraska for 249 yards rushing, his second 200-yard performance.

Best moment: Joe Tiller tribute. Prior to the Purdue game, the school paid honor to Joe Tiller, the school’s all-time winningest coach who passed away last week. The school had a video tribute and both teams wore helmet stickers to honor Tiller, among other things.

Best moment, part II: Brandon Snyder pick-6. The Iowa safety, in his first game since tearing an ACL six months ago, ran back an interception 89 yards for a TD vs. Illinois.

Best tweet: Illinois’ Dre Brown. The laundry list of ailments this guy overcame to make his college debut is nothing short of amazing.

Did you see this? Iowa marching band. By now, you know all about Iowa’s new “First Quarter Wave” tradition. Well, the new tradition at Kinnick Stadium inspired the band to form a hand and wave to the young patients at the UI Children’s Hospital across the street. Another gem, worthy of attention: Mark Dantonio dancing in a victorious Michigan State locker room.

***

WEEK 6 GRADES
Illinois: C-
Indiana: A
Iowa: B
Maryland: F
Michigan: C-
Michigan State: A-
Minnesota: C-
Nebraska: D+
Northwestern: D
Ohio State: A+
Penn State: B+
Purdue: B
Wisconsin: B+

***

WEEK 6 SUPERLATIVES

Offensive Player of the Week: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett. He hit 20-of-31 passes for 261 yards with three TDs and ran eight times for 59 yards and TD in leading the Buckeyes to 62 points.

Co-Defensive Player of the Week: Michigan State LB Joe Bachie. He had 10 tackles, a sack, TFL and a pick in a 14-10 win at Michigan. Purdue LB Ja’Whaun Bentley. He had to sit out the first half after being whistled for targeting in the previous game. But Bentley was key, notching five tackles with a TFL and a game-icing 76-yard interception return for a TD in a 31-17 win vs. Minnesota.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Maryland KR Ty Johnson. The speedster ran back a kickoff 100 yards for a TD at Ohio State and finished with 189 return yards on six returns.

***

STOCK UP

Penn State. It hasn’t always been pretty the last two weeks, but the Nittany Lions are 6-0 as they head into the bye week. For all the headlines Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley get, it’s the defense that has been the MVP so far. Up next: Michigan; at Ohio State; at Michigan State.

Iowa. A win is a win is a win. And the Hawkeyes needed one after starting 0-2 in the Big Ten, taking down Illinois 45-16 by outscoring the Illini 28-3 in the second half. Nate Stanley continues to develop, hitting 17-of-32 passes for 247 yards with three TDs and a pick.

Michigan State. Did the Spartans really go 3-9 last year? Now, MSU is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. The defense is boffo. How good is Michigan State?

Wisconsin. The Badgers are 5-0 for the first time since 2011 after a win at Nebraska. Is Wisconsin the best team in the Big Ten? Think about it. No one has been more impressive. Games vs. Iowa and Michigan loom–but both are in Madison.

Purdue. The Boilermakers already have matched last year’s win total. This could end up being a very unexpectedly fun season in West Lafayette. Give Jeff Brohm the Coach of the Year Trophy already.

STOCK DOWN

Northwestern. The Wildcats are struggling, especially on offense. NU has lost two in a row and three of its last four games with a trip to Maryland next. Some felt the Wildcats were a dark horse in the West. But those progonistactions aren’t looking good. NU had one TD and 265 yards vs. Penn State.

Michigan. The home loss to Michigan State was a blow for a program that hasn’t won the Big Ten since 2004. The defense can only do so much. The offense has to develop but it continues to have issues.

Maryland. The Terps saw another QB get hurt. That’s three this season. Unreal. The highs and lows of 2017 continue coming off a 62-14 evisceration at Ohio State and week after a nice win at Minnesota.

***

TOP NUMBERS

115, rushing yards for Iowa’s Akrum Wadley on 23 carries with a TD. He also had a TD catch.

0, points for IU foe Charleston Southern. It was IU’s first shutout since blanking Michigan State in 1993. FCS Charleston Southern had no passing yards.

4, times Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson was sacked. He was sacked eight times last week and has been bagged 19 times this season.

3, games in a row Ohio State has scored 50 or more points. That is just the sixth time a Big Ten has turned the feat.

112, yards rushing for Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo on 23 totes.

249, yards rushing for Wisconsin freshman Jonathan Taylor on 25 carries with two TDs.

116, yards rushing for Minnesota’s Shannon Brooks on 18 carries.

4, Pick-6s for Nebraska’s Tanner Lee. He tossed another vs. Wisconsin.

66, total yards for Maryland in a 62-14 loss at Ohio State. The Terrapins had just 16 yards passing. Ohio State had 584.

115, yards receiving for Nebraska’s Stanley Morgan on four grabs with a TD.

353, yards rushing for Wisconsin vs. Nebraska.

5, turnovers for Michigan. John O’Korn tossed three picks.

4, turnovers for Purdue, compared to one for Minnesota. Still, the Boilermakers won, 31-17. It was the first time Purdue won a Big Ten with four turnovers since a 2000 win vs. Ohio State, which some consider the best win in school history.

321, yards passing for Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey, who hit 32-of-41 passes in his first career start. He also had 54 yards rushing.

111, yards receiving for the Hoosiers’ Taysir Mack on seven catches with two TDs.

252, yards for Michigan State, but it still beat Michigan.

53, yards covered by Penn State’s Saquon Barkley on a TD run. He finished with 75 yards rushing on 16 carries with two TDs.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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