Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, September 7, 2014
It was a tough week for the Big Ten as the conference finished Saturday with a 8-5 record. Still, there were plenty of outstanding individual performances on the day, many of which came on the offensive side of the football.
Here are my top Week 2 Big Ten offensive performances.
1. Wes Lunt, Illinois. Lunt is making his case for the top quarterback in the Big Ten. The Oklahoma State transfer led the Fighting Illini to a 42-34 come-from-behind win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. He hit 35-of-50 passes for an eye-popping 456 yards and three touchdowns. Through two games, Lunt has already thrown for more than 700 yards and seven touchdown passes.
2. David Cobb, Minnesota. We saw plenty of outstanding individual performances from Big Ten running backs in Week 1. This week belonged to Cobb, who ripped off 220 yards and two touchdowns in the Gophers' 35-24 win over Middle Tennessee. Cobb's 220 rushing yards was a career-high, as well as the most for the program in nine seasons.
3. Gary Nova, Rutgers. It's hard to believe this guy was in a quarterback competition heading into this season. The Scarlet Knights' senior QB connected on 15-of-19 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns, while leading his team to a 38-25 win over Howard. Nova connected with nine different players and has been extremely impressive in Rutgers' 2-0 start.
4. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State. The Nittany Lions' super sophomore followed up last week's record-breaking performance with another outstanding outing on Saturday afternoon. Hackenberg threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns in Penn State's 21-3 win over Akron. Through two games, Hackenberg has thrown for 773 yards. Can you say, "impressive!"
5. Paul James, Rutgers. James was all over the field Saturday, carrying the ball 13 times for 43 yards and a touchdown, as well as hauling in two catches, both of which went for touchdowns, for 100 yards in Rutgers' 38-25 victory over Howard. With two three-touchdown days to start the season, this guy is making a case for being one of the top backs in the Big Ten.
6. Tony Lippett, Michigan State. The Spartans' senior wideout was outstanding in MSU's 46-27 loss to Oregon on Saturday. Lippett hauled in a career-best 11 catches, which is tied for the seventh-highest total in the program's history. He totaled 133 yards and added a touchdown in the loss.
7. Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin. After getting off to a slow start last week, McEvoy redeemed himself with an outstanding performance in Wisconsin's 37-3 win over Western Illinois. McEvoy hit on 23-of-28 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. The dual-threat signal caller also rushed for 55 yards and a score in the blowout victory.
8. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska. Abdullah had the biggest play of Week 2, a highlight Nebraska fans and Big Ten fans won't soon forget. The 58-yard game-winning touchdown reception was nothing short of extraordinary. Interestingly, Abdullah did most of his damage through the air (96 yards), although he did add 54 yards and a score on the ground.
9. Jake Rudock, Iowa. After getting off to a slow start, Rudock rebounded in the second half to lead the Hawkeyes to a 17-13 come-from-behind victory. The Hawkeyes' signal-caller completed 33-of-52 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the final three minutes of the game.
10. Tommy Armstrong Jr., Nebraska. Armstrong helped Nebraska avoid a huge upset on Saturday, completing 16-of-31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also rushed for a team-high 131 yards and a score in the Huskers' 31-24 victory.