Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, October 30, 2011
BTN.com has a new staple every Saturday night. It?s called "United States Marine Corps: Leaders of the Week," and it?s a feature designed to honor the best from every weekend of Big Ten action. Find the top performances, quotes and tweets from a wild Week 9 in this post.
Dan Persa, Northwestern – Persa continued his torrid stretch in Northwestern's easy win over Indiana, completing 16 of 20 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with 41 rushing yards on four carries.
Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern – Dunsmore caught a school-record four touchdown passes and went for 112 yards to break the school's career record for yards receiving by a tight end in Northwestern's shootout win at Indiana.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska – Burkhead accounted for 157 yards and all three of Nebraska's touchdowns, helping the Huskers send Michigan State to its first Big Ten defeat. The running back did most of his damage on the ground, toting it 35 times for 130 yards and two scores.
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska – Injuries have plagued Dennard all season, but the Huskers star cornerback came up with three big pass breakups and held Michigan State stud receiver B.J. Cunningham without a catch, snapping his 41-game reception streak.
Marcus Coker, Iowa – In a surprising loss at Minnesota, Coker ran for a career-high 252 yards, on 32 carries, and scored a pair of touchdowns. Coker's previous career-high was a 219-yard performance in last year's bowl victory.
Kim Royston, Minnesota – The oft-injured defensive back was all over the field in Minnesota's first Big Ten win, tallying a game-high 16 tackles to help the Gophers snap a five-game losing streak.
MarQueis Gray, Minnesota – Gray didn't dazzle in any department, but he was efficient and clutch. The quarterback scored the game-winning touchdown on a two-yard run on a fourth-and-goal with 2:48 left, and he totaled 255 yards and two touchdowns, the other score a three-yard pass to Collin McGarry.
Gerald Hodges, Penn State – Hodges posted 19 tackles, the most by a Nittany Lion since 2005 (Paul Posluszny), one sack and a forced fumble, in addition to two pass breakups in the Nittany Lions' 10-7 comeback win over Illinois.
Devon Still, Penn State – The Nittany Lion defensive tackle had a career-best 10 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, and a sack to help Penn State shut down the Illinois offense in a 10-7 win.
Silas Redd, Penn State – Redd scored the game-winning touchdown, a 3-yard plunge with 1:08 remaining, to rally Penn State past Illinois. The running back, who has averaged 140.6 rush yards the past five games, also went for 137 yards – his fifth straight 100-yard performance.
Braxton Miller, Ohio State – Miller finally broke out in Saturday night's thrilling win against Wisconsin, throwing for the game-winning score on a 40-yard scoring streak that he created by extending the play with his feet. Miller completed only 7 of 12 passes for 89 yards, but he also added 99 yards and two scores on the ground.
Boom Herron, Ohio State – Herron ran for 160 yards, his second consecutive 100-yard performance since returning from suspension, on 33 carries in Ohio State's dramatic win over Wisconsin.
Mike Taylor, Wisconsin – Taylor tallied a game-high 22 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss, and recorded a pass breakup in Wisconsin's narrow defeat at Ohio State.
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"I don't think they did much to stop us. We just didn't do the things we needed to keep moving the ball. That's on us." – Purdue's Caleb TerBush, on team's offensive performance in 36-14 loss at Michigan.
"We don't really care about what other people think. It's about this team." – Michigan's Denard Robinson, on Wolverine doubters who think the team will fold down the stretch again.
"Unless he's on crutches, he's going to be out there. The guy is a warrior. You can't ask for more than he gives this football team." – Nebraska's Bo Pelini, on running back Rex Burkhead's toughness.
"I thought it was a good play myself. But obviously (the referee) thought … I don't know, I didn't ask him." – Illinois' Ron Zook, on a late pass interference call that helped set up Penn State's winning score.
"For all the fans out there, thanks for sitting through that today. You've got to be nuts!" – Penn State's Joe Paterno, to the Nittany Lions fans that braved the elements and play in a 10-7 win.
"This is what Ohio State's about. We don't ever look at ourselves as underdogs." – Ohio State's Luke Fickell, on upsetting Wisconsin.
"We've handed them the game two weeks in a row at the end of the game. You can't do that." – Wisconsin's Nick Toon, on the Badgers' second consecutive heartbreaking loss.