Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, September 3, 2011
Every week during the fall, BTN web editor and blogger Brent Yarina recaps the week that was in Big Ten football. Each recap includes Brent's superlative winners and the best stats, quotes and tweets, among other things, from around the Big Ten that particular week. Have a worthy stat, quote or tweet that you think should make the recap? Tweet it to @BTNBrentYarina. Enjoy the season's first installment of the weekly recap. Also, watch Mike Wolf's Week 1 Wrap-up Podcast now.
Game of the Week: Purdue 27, Middle Tennessee State 24 – The victory didn't warrant celebrating like you beat a highly ranked foe, but considering the Boilermakers' misfortunes lately, they get a pass. Back to the actual game. The two teams traded the lead three times and no team led by more than a touchdown. In other words, it was one of only a few close games for the Big Ten in Week 1. The thing that separated this from the other close ones was the exciting final minutes. Caleb TerBush orchestrated an 85-yard scoring drive to give the Boilers the lead with 49 second left, and on the ensuing drive, big-play Ricardo Allen blocked the potential game-tying field goal to lift the Boilers to 1-0.
Offensive Player of the Week: Joe Bauserman, Ohio State – So many players were worthy of this honor in Week 1, but it's hard to ignore Bauserman's fantastic day. In his first start since he was a senior in high school — eight years ago! — the 25-year-old former minor leaguer completed 12-of-16 (75 percent) for 163 yards and three scores, all to tight end Jake Stoneburner. And for good measure, Bauserman also added 32 yards and a score on the ground. Considering all the distractions around the Ohio State program, plus the fact he has a highly touted freshman, Braxton Miller, breathing down his neck, Bauserman far exceeded everyone's expectations.
Defensive Player of the Week: Brandon Herron, Michigan – There's no question about this one. When a guy sets the record for the longest interception return in program annals (94 yards) and becomes the first defensive player in said program's history to score two touchdowns, it's a memorable day. Think of it this way: Herron outscored Western Michigan, 12-10.
Team of the Week: Northwestern – The Wildcats weren't expected to win on the road at Boston College — even when people thought star quarterback Dan Persa would play. Persa was in street clothes for the fourth straight game, dating back to last season, so that meant even fewer people picked Northwestern. Unlike the previous three games sans Persa, though, Northwestern managed to stay in the game and win it. Backup Kain Colter was more than up to the challenge of replacing Persa, throwing for 197 yards and running for 71 more with a touchdown to help lead the Wildcats to the 24-17 victory.
Impression of the Week: Nebraska is exactly what I expected. The defense was stout, and the offense, while it put up 40 points, needs more consistency. Taylor Martinez accounted for 251 yards and three scores, but he only completed 50 percent of his passes, something he won't be able to get away with against Big Ten teams.
Impression of the Week II: Nathan Scheelhaase and Illinois have a lot of weapons. The Illini could be this year's Michigan State, a team that comes out of nowhere to win the Big Ten (or a division) title. Scheelhaase has a trio of quality backs and two talented receivers in A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines, the best Big Ten wide receiver the casual fan doesn't know.
Stats of the Week
As mentioned above, Brandon Herron became the first Michigan defensive player to score two touchdowns in a game. He did so on a 94-yard pick-6, the longest in Michigan history, and a 29-yard fumble recovery.
By getting a touchdown on its first drive Thursday, Wisconsin has scored on the opening possession of its season opener in six straight seasons.
Tyler Legate's carry on the first play of the game marked the first time a Nebraska fullback carried the ball since 2004.
Ohio State surrendered 90 yards against Akron. Even more impressive, the Buckeyes allowed just 0.8 yards per carry; in shutting out Akron, Luke Fickell became the first Ohio State coach to card a shutout in his debut since Woody Hayes.
Chaz Powell's 95-yard touchdown return on the opening kick marked the fourth time he has scored a touchdown in a season opener. That's a perfect 4 for 4.
Quotes of the Week
"He's not only an inspiration to me, but to the entire team. It's not something I did, it's all Arthur." – Michigan State OL Joel Foreman, on letting cancer survivor Arthur Ray start in his place Friday
"I don't think I got touched at all today, which is pretty unbelievable." – Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson, on the offensive line's play in his impressive Badger debut
"I waited three years to be a quarterback, and to get cramps late in the third quarter and sit out most of the fourth quarter, this is going to be a hard pill for me to swallow." – Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray, on missing crunch-time against USC.
Michigan State wide receiver B.J. Cunningham needs one reception to become the program's all-time leading receiver. With nine catches Friday, Cunningham moved into a tie atop the list with Matt Trannon. His next catch will be historic, and expect to see it early against Florida Atlantic in Week 2.
Holy, Jake Stoneburner. Prior to Saturday, no Buckeye tight end had ever hauled in three touchdown passes in a game. That's no longer the case. Stoneburner, he of two career TD receptions, caught a trio of scoring passes from first-time starter Joe Bauserman. Seems like they have a rapport.
It was great to see Purdue's Ralph Bolden back in action after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Not only was Bolden in uniform, he was productive. The Boiler back ran for 120 yards and had one run where he absolutely ran over a Middle Tennessee State would-be tackler.
Marvin McNutt is one of the best wide receivers out there, and the Hawkeye proved it Saturday. The new No. 1 option caught six passes for 142 yards and a pair of scores. The numbers are impressive as is, but he also tallied them in awful weather conditions.
Welcome, Nebraska. It's great to have you guys in the Big Ten. Your fans, your stadium and your defense fit the Big Ten perfectly.
Kudos to Minnesota's Max Shortell. There aren't many true freshman quarterbacks who can handle being thrust into emergency action in the season opener, let one alone against USC and at the Coliseum. Shortell did just fine and nearly led the Gophers back from a 16-point halftime deficit. Maybe USC was prepared for him, but it appears the Gophers have some insurance should something happen to MarQueis Gray again.
"I love this player. Every coach in America looks for a player like him." – ESPN analyst Urban Meyer, on Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner
"Take it back it to Australia. We don't want it here." – BTN analyst Joe Tiller, on the rugby-style punt
@captainclark17 Mannnnnnn… Qbs are getting hit way tooooo much this game #gottacleanitup. – Former Penn State QB Daryll Clark's analysis of alma mater's game against Indiana State.
@I_AM_Worthy99 #SpartanNation one game down. We can def improve look for the spartan dawgs to look a lot better next week! Promise. – Michigan State DL Jerel Worthy, on the Spartans' lackluster win over Youngstown State.
@davidboudia @Wiggy_Bank will go to the NFL and will* dominate. Mark my words. – Purdue and US diver David Boudia, on Boilermaker kicker Carson Wiggs' talent.
@RyanKerrigan91 I see you @Ricardo21Allen !!!! Congrats @BoilerFootball on the win today! 1-0! – Former Purdue standout and current Washington Redskin Ryan Kerrigan, on Ricardo Allen sealing win with blocked field goal