Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, September 1, 2012
Every Saturday night during the college football season, BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hands out his weekly Big Ten game balls. The series is called "U.S. Marines Corps: Leaders of the Week," and it's designed to spotlight the Big Ten's top individual performances. Who took home the honors from Week 1? Find out in this post. Also, watch our network's Week 1 Sights and Sounds feature now.
WEEK 1 GAME BALLS
1. Taylor Martinez , QB, Nebraska – 26-34, 354 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT; 6 car., 10 yards – What a difference a year makes, huh? Martinez tied a career-high with five scoring strikes and set personal highs in completions (26), completion percentage (76.5%) and yards (349) in Nebraska's win over Southern Miss. Watch all five TD passes.
2. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State – 44 car., 210 yards, 2 TD; 6 rec., 55 yards – Just call him "August Heisman." Bell touched the ball 50 times and totaled 265 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan State's comeback win over Boise State on the final night of August. Relive Bell's career night.
3. Damon Bullock ,RB, Iowa – 30 car., 151 yards, 1 TD; 3 rec., 26 yards – Considering all the turmoil Iowa has encountered at the running back position the past few months, let alone recent years, Bullock provided some stability for a day. What's more, Bullock's first career score late in the fourth helped Iowa avoid the upset against Northern Illinois.
4. Robert Marve, QB, Purdue – 30-38, 295 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT – Talk about coming through in the clutch, Marve dominated despite not knowing he would start until hours before kickoff. The veteran signal-caller took full advantage of Caleb TerBush's suspension, throwing for a career-high 295 yards and matching a personal best with three touchdowns in Purdue's 48-6 pasting of Eastern Kentucky.
5. Derrick Wells, S, Minnesota- 8 tackles, 2 INT – You were probably sleeping, but Wells' second interception of the night set up Minnesota's game-winning field goal in triple overtime late Thursday. The sophomore also added a team-high eight tackles in the 30-27 victory at UNLV.
BEST OF THE REST
Ashante Williams, DB, Illinois – 9 tackles, 1 INT – returned 60 yards for a TD
Tre Roberson , QB, Indiana – 26-36, 280 yards, 1 TD; 7 car., 18 yards, 1 TD
John Rabe , TE, Minnesota – 2 rec., 35 yards, 2 TDs
Venric Mark , RB, Northwestern – 14 car., 82 yards; 2 rec., 16 yards, 1 TD; 82-yard punt return for TD
Travis Howard, CB, Ohio State – 2 INT
Braxton Miller , QB, Ohio State – 14-24, 207 yards, 2 TD; 17 car., 161 yards, 1 TD
Will Compton, LB, Nebraska – 12 tackles, 1 sack
Demetrius Fields , WR, Northwestern – 8 rec., 83 yards, 1 TD
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue – 1 sack; Blocked FG, Blocked XP
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin – 32 car., 120 yards, 1 TD; 3 rec., 31 yards
Jared Abbrederis , WR, Wisconsin – 6 rec., 84 yards, 2 TD; 4 PRs, 18 yards