Week 9 B1G Game Balls: Even in defeat, several delivered impressive efforts
Whoever said that winning is everything?
Ok, it is in college football. But it isn’t in the Week 9 B1G Game Balls.
Some picked up weekly accolades even in defeat:
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan football player — So how’s that Heisman campaign looking? Pretty good after Peppers got in the end zone twice against Michigan State. Oh, he also made the biggest defensive stop of the game. There’s nobody in the country that could’ve made the impact that Peppers did. Let’s put a rest to the debate as to whether or not he plays enough offense to be a legitimate Heisman candidate.
Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB — Is 21 touches for 277 yards good? Why, yes. Yes it is. Barkley’s ridiculous stat line was the result of a ridiculous day. Without Jake Replogle, it was going to be an uphill battle for Purdue. The Boilers simply had no answer for the B1G’s best tailback. As a result, he had a career day. You can all but lock up those first-team All-B1G honors.
Indiana ground game — Yowza, that was impressive. Maryland’s run defense has been inconsistent this year, but that was still quite the effort. A whopping 414 yards rushing was the product of three different Hoosiers delivering 100-yard efforts. Devine Redding led the way, Zander Diamont provided a key spark and Tyler Natee had a career day. I mean, Big Bacon.
Ty Johnson, Maryland RB — Speed kills. Johnson killed Indiana early with a 66-yard touchdown run. Once again, the sophomore was dynamic in limited work. He finished the day with 142 yards on 13 rushes, which marked the fourth time he recorded an average of eight yards per carry or better. If you haven’t heard, this guy is really good.
Ekpe brothers, Minnesota DL — I don’t know the stats on this, but how many times have brothers forced and recovered a fumble? That’s rare stuff. Both of them harassed Jeff George, Jr. and made life difficult all afternoon for Illinois. That Minnesota line could give Nebraska and Wisconsin some problems.
Malik Hooker, Ohio State S — There wasn’t much to celebrate for Ohio State on Saturday. Hooker, however, was everywhere. He finished the day with 14 tackles and prevented Northwestern from getting too much offensive mojo. Hooker didn’t have his usual game-changing interception, but he provided a key lift on a day when those were few and far between.
Austin Carr, Northwestern WR — A certain publication suggested that Carr needed to be in the All-America discussion and that Saturday would only solidify that. Well, predicting a big game from Carr isn’t bold anymore. He was the only player in the country with six straight games of 73 yards and a score. That school record came to an end, but the former walk-on still tagged the Buckeyes for 158 yards. You think he’ll start to get some national love now?
Nate Gerry, Nebraska S — Gerry is the guy that everybody sees and says, ‘how is that kid still in school?’ Like the veteran he is, Gerry came up with two second-half interceptions to keep the Huskers alive at Wisconsin. A pass defense that was torched in 2015 looked much-improved once again, especially down the stretch. Gerry is well on his way to earning first-team All-B1G honors.
Dare Ogunbowale, Wisconsin RB — If I told you that a Badger back was going to be the difference in Wisconsin beating Nebraska, you would’ve assumed it was Corey Clement. Or maybe Melvin Gordon. Ogunbowale was huge for the Badgers. When they needed big plays down the stretch, he had an extra gear. His overtime touchdown propelled Wisconsin to a huge win against Nebraska. But that wasn’t even his favorite part of the night.
Forget the touchdown, ya boy got a tackle on special teams!! #BackToMyRoots
— Dare Ogunbowale (@DGO23_) October 30, 2016