Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, October 23, 2011
Every week during the fall, BTN.com 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. Check out Brent's Week 8 Recap in this post.
Game of the Week: Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31 – You know what? There's no sense in even trying to let written words do this one justice. The link above, which includes game highlights and in-game tweets, does a much better job.
Player of the Week: Kirk Cousins, Michigan State – A week ago, following Michigan State's fourth consecutive win over Michigan, Cousins gave some quote about how the Spartans can walk the streets of Michigan for the rest of their lives. After Saturday night's last-second victory over No. 6 Wisconsin, Cousins, for one, should be able to do whatever he wants for the rest of his life in East Lansing. The senior captain was the author of the incredible last-second Hail Mary that fell into Keith Nichol's hands, helping the Spartans send the Badgers to their first loss. For the night, Cousins completed 22 of 31 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. It's a performance that will live forever in Michigan State lore.
Team of the Week: Michigan State – Even though the Spartans were at home and they beat the Badgers last season, few people gave them much of a chance against white-hot Wisconsin. Early on, it looked as though the experts were right, as Wisconsin jumped ahead 14-0. But Michigan State weathered the storm, as they say, and it did a little bit of everything on its way to scoring 23 second-quarter points, including tallying a safety, blocking a field goal, blocking a punt for a score and scoring on a trick play. The Spartans made their luck and played pretty much a perfect game, with no penalties and only one turnover.
Impression of the Week: We have divisional races (See the standings!) – Entering Saturday, the general consensus was that the Legends Division was wide open and the Leaders Division was Wisconsin's to lose. Five games later, thanks in large part to the thriller at Spartan Stadium, we have a pair of interesting races. Heck, the Badgers no longer even lead the Leaders Division – they're tied for second with Purdue, at 2-1, in fact. The leader in the Leaders? That would be surprising Penn State, which moved to 4-0 in Big Ten play with a 34-24 win at Northwestern. As for the Legends Division, 3-0 Michigan State leads Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska by one game.
Stats, shoutouts of the Week
After throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for a game-high 118 yards a year ago against the Boilers, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase accounted for zero touchdowns and ran for just 16 yards in Saturday's 21-14 defeat at Purdue.
With its 45-24 loss at Iowa, Indiana has been outscored 161-61 in its first four Big Ten games
Marvin McNutt became Iowa's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with his first of three scoring grabs, and he went for a career-high 184 receiving yards in the victory over Indiana.
Michigan State's Keshawn Martin scored two touchdowns for the second consecutive week, this after not scoring in the previous 12 games, dating back to last season.
Through three Big Ten games, Minnesota has been outscored 144-31, this after Saturday's 41-14 home defeat to Nebraska.
Kenny Bell's 82-yard scoring run at Minnesota marked the longest touchdown run by a freshman in Nebraska history.
By jumping ahead of Minnesota 34-0 on Saturday, Nebraska scored 145 straight points against the Gophers, dating back to its last two meetings – 1989 (48-0) and 1990 (56-0).
With Penn State's 34-24 victory at Northwestern, Joe Paterno tied Eddie Robinson's Division I record with his 408th career victory.
In beating No. 23 Illinois, Purdue recorded its first win over a ranked team since beating then-No. 7 Ohio State in 2009.
For the seventh consecutive game, Wisconsin's Montee Ball scored at least two touchdowns. The Badger back has 18 touchdowns this year – an average of 15.4 points per game.
Quotes of the Week
"We can't fault practice, we can't fault our preparation. This team wants to win, we have to play that way." – Ron Zook, on Illinois' second consecutive defeat after starting season 6-0.
"It's a milestone win in some ways, just to beat a ranked opponent at home." – Danny Hope, on his Boilermakers beating No. 23 Illinois.
"We've got a really good team. We kind of have a handle on it now and we're feeling pretty good." – Caleb TerBush, on Purdue following its upset win over Illinois.
"I would give us probably somewhere around a 'B' in how we played in the run game." – Bo Pelini, on Nebraska's running game, which racked up 346 rushing yards.
"It's special to play for a guy like that." – Silas Redd, on playing for Joe Paterno, who tied Eddie Robinson for most wins (408) among major college football coaches Saturday.
"My heart's racing." – Mark Dantonio, on how he felt after Michigan State's last-second win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin.
"I don't think anybody coming out of high school when they're a quarterback envisions winning the game as a wide receiver." – Keith Nichol, on his last-second catch of a Haily Mary that helped Michigan State beat Wisconsin.