Best of Week 11: Grades, individual honors, stock watch & numbers

Best of Week 11: Grades, individual honors, stock watch & numbers

Another week is in the books. And Wisconsin continues to roll on. In fact, its playoffs hopes got a big boost with losses by Georgia, Notre Dame and TCU.

[ MORE: Week 11 video | Power Rankings | Week 11 predictions revisited ]

Here is a look at the best of Week 11.

Biggest surprise: Wisconsin. It was eyebrow-raising to see the Badgers easily whip an Iowa team, 38-14, that was coming off a 55-24 win vs. Ohio State. But Wisconsin was in control from start to finish and clinched the Big Ten West title in a game that featured seven turnovers and three defensive TDs. The Badgers are 10-0 for the first time in school annals.

Biggest disappointment: Nebraska. Bowl hopes are dwindling for a Cornhusker program that is under intense scrutiny in Mike Riley’s third season. The 54-21 loss at Minnesota—which had 514 yards–will only fan the flames of discontent in Lincoln, as NU was ripped by a Gopher offense that was No. 12 in the Big Ten in scoring (23.4 ppg) and No. 12 in total offense (319.2 ypg) entering the game. Also have to mention Michigan State, which was throttled 48-3 at Ohio State in a de facto Big Ten East title game.

Play this again: N/A. On a day full of lopsided scores, there is no winner for this category.

Never play this again: Michigan State at Ohio State. Take your pick, really, between this one, Minnesota destroying Nebraska and Penn State housing Rutgers. Yes, the Spartans were an underdog as they walked into the Horseshoe. But who could have envisioned a 48-3 blowout loss? This game was over at halftime with the Buckeyes up, 35-3, in what was Mark Dantonio’s worst loss as MSU coach.

Best play: Justin Layne interception at Ohio State. There were a lot of candidates, and I know it’s hard to go with a play that came from the losing team in an absolute blowout, but that’s how great Justin Layne’s one-arm interception was. Even better, he was interfered with while making the ridiculously difficult pick.

Best tweet: The deer tattoo is epic, and so is the tweet.

Did you see this? The NBA is having all kinds of trouble with jerseys ripping. That was not the case with this shirt in the Indiana at Illinois game. How did that thing not rip? Oh, and there also was this (successful) proposal at Penn State.

WEEK 11 GRADES

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

***

WEEK 11 SUPERLATIVES

Co-Offensive Player of the Week: Ohio State RB Mike Weber. He ran nine times for 162 yards and had scoring runs of 47 and 82 yards in helping the Buckeyes rush for 335 yards vs. MSU. Minnesota QB Demry Croft. He amassed 288 total yards, including a career-high 183 yards rushing on 10 carries, three of which went for scores.

Defensive Player of the Week: Iowa CB Josh Jackson. Yes, the Hawkeyes lost at Wisconsin. But Jackson ran back two interceptions for TDs, accounting for all of Iowa’s points.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Minnesota’s Rodney Smith. He ran back the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD to set the tone in a blowout win vs. Nebraska. The last time Minnesota ran back the opening kickoff for a TD was 1998.

***

STOCK UP

Wisconsin. The Badgers moved to 10-0 with a 38-14 domination of Iowa. The win allowed Wisconsin to clinch the Big Ten West, moving UW to the league title game for the third time in four years and fifth time overall in the seven years of the event.

Ohio State. The Buckeyes rebounded with ferocity from that 55-24 loss at Iowa to subdue Michigan State, 48-3. Everything clicked for OSU, which now controls its destiny in the Big Ten East. Win out vs. Illinois and at Michigan, and the Buckeyes will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

Northwestern. That’s five wins in a row for the Wildcats, who didn’t need OT this week to win 23-13 vs. Purdue. The Wildcats should be favored in their final two games (Minnesota and Illinois), meaning they have a good chance of going 9-3 after starting the season 2-3.

Indiana. The Hoosiers lost their first six Big Ten games. But they finally notched a league triumph today with a 24-14 win at Illinois. The Hoosiers need to win their last two to get bowl eligible with games left vs. Rutgers and at Purdue.

STOCK DOWN

Nebraska. It’s going from bad to worse for the Huskers, who suffered their ugliest defeat of the season in falling 54-21 at Minnesota. The Nebraska defense continues to get shredded, allowing 409 yards rushing and 515 total yards. The offense also fizzled, as NU had 33 carries for 69 rushing yards. The Huskers need wins in their last two games to become bowl eligible. (Nebraska hasn’t missed a bowl since 2007.) The Huskers need a win to avoid their first four-win season since 1960.

Michigan State. The party came to an abrupt end in a 48-3 loss at Ohio State for what was one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Spartans were outgained, 524-195. Now, MSU no longer controls its destiny in the East Division.

Iowa. A week after notching 55 points and 487 yards vs. Ohio State, the Hawkeyes had just 66 yards and no offensive TDs at Wisconsin. Both of the Iowa’s TDs came on pick-sixes by CB Josh Jackson. Iowa ran 26 times for 25 yards.

***

TOP NUMBERS

66, total yards for Iowa at Wisconsin, the lowest total by an AP ranked Big Ten team in the last 20 years.

5, Big Ten title game berths for Wisconsin, the most of any team in the event’s history. The Badgers’ clinched their latest trip to Indy in a blowout vs. Iowa.

8, Indiana sacks at Illinois, its most in a game since 2007, and tied for the most of any Big Ten team in a game this season.

45, margin of victory for Ohio State vs. Michigan State, its largest ever in series history and the worst loss for Michigan State under Mark Dantonio.

36, career touchdowns for Saquon Barkley, tying him with Curtis Enis for second-most in program annals.

25, margin of victory in seven Week 11 Big Ten games.

5, consecutive games that Nebraska has allowed at least 199 yards rushing, the longest such streak since at least 1996.

47 & 82, career-long touchdown runs by Mike Weber, both accomplished in Ohio State’s rout vs. Michigan State.

100, yards on Rodney Smith’s kickoff return for a touchdown to open Minnesota’s game vs. Nebraska.

68, all-time touchdowns for Penn State’s Trace McSorley, beating former quarterback Daryll Clark’s record of 65 with one rushing and two passing scores.

107, yards receiving for Illinois freshman TE Louis Dorsey on three catches with a TD.

4, different QBs who have started for Maryland this season. Ryan Brand got the call this week. Tyrrell Pigrome, Kasim Hill and Max Bortenschlager also have made starts.

130, yards receiving for Purdue’s Jared Sparks on 11 catches.

5, interceptions for Iowa’s Josh Jackson the last two weeks. One week after picking off three passes vs. Ohio State, Jackson recorded a pair of pix-sixes.

409, yards rushing for Minnesota (QB Demry Croft ran 10 times for 183 yards, a program record for a QB, and three TDs; Rodney Smith had 24 totes for 134 yards; Kobe McCrary just missed, running 10 times for 93 yards and three scores).

117, yards receiving for Northwestern’s Bennett Skowronek on seven grabs with a TD.

524, yards for Ohio State vs. Michigan State. The Buckeyes had 335 yards rushing vs. the No. 1 rush defense in the Big Ten (87.0 ypg).

289, yards passing for Indiana’s Richard Lagow, who hit 32-of-48 passes with two TDs and a pick.

141, yards receiving for Nebraska’s JD Spielman on nine catches.

8, losses in a row for Illinois after it opened the year 2-0. The Illini have games left at Ohio State and vs. Northwestern.

h/t @BTNStatsGuys

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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