Week 9 B1G Game Balls
Versatility is so rare in football.
After high school, you’re likely forced to play one side of the ball. Sure, you can be a talented receiver and blocker. Or you can be a lockdown cover corner that can also blow up a play in the backfield. But that’s all within the confines of playing the position effectively.
I’m talking about learning an entirely different playbook and executing it successfully. What we saw from a pair of B1G players on Saturday brought new meaning to football versatility. Needless to say, they were rewarded with game balls.
So were six others.
Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin everything — In the history of college football, there are probably very few guys to record a sack, an interception and a rushing touchdown. Who else but McEvoy would accomplish such a feat? And to finish his day, he dressed up as Ricky Bobby for his postgame interviews. Shake and bake!
Corey Clement, Wisconsin RB — It’s safe to say the Badgers missed their star tailback. Playing for the first time since the season opener, Clement ripped off a career-high three touchdowns and reminded everyone why he was considered the conference’s second best running back entering his injury-plagued 2015 season. He actually should’ve had four touchdowns, but he ran out of gas at the end of a 58-yard run. Still, Clement showed he’s back with a vengeance. Look out, B1G.
Desmond King, Iowa CB — Just another ho-hum King interception. Well, not really. King picked off his NCAA-leading seventh pass of the year and took it 88 yards to the house to put Maryland away. Bizarre is the fact that Perry Hills thought he could throw blindly in King’s direction and complete a pass. Between King and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis, the B1G might produce both of the All-American corners.
David Blough, Purdue QB — If there was ever a day for Blough to go off, it was Saturday. The redshirt freshman took advantage of a weak Nebraska secondary and tossed four touchdown passes. He got the Boilers going with a 56-yard touchdown run. After three straight sub-par performances following his breakout debut, Blough was awfully impressive.
DeAngelo Yancey, Purdue WR — The best offensive performance of the day came from…Purdue? Indeed it did, and Yancey was a big part of that. He gashed Nebraska for 111 yards and two touchdowns, including an 83-yard score. This was a guy that had one catch for three yards in the last two games COMBINED. His first 100-yard game in two years was the product of a Purdue offense that finally clicked.
Penn State Defense — The Lions were coming off two sub-par efforts defensively. On Saturday, they were basically perfect. Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib all had sacks for a unit that recorded its first B1G shutout in six years. Wes Lunt completed just 16 of 37 passes for 129 yards. Illinois has some key injuries at the skill positions, but take away nothing from the Lions. That was one of the best defensive performances of the year in the B1G.
Jehu Chesson, Michigan WR — Usually guys with three catches don’t earn game balls. But guys that catch game-winning fourth-quarter touchdowns to keep division title hopes alive do. Chesson connected with third-string quarterback Wilton Speight and gave the Wolverines the go-ahead touchdown. Chesson’s first two touchdown catches of the year couldn’t have come at a better time.
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan football player — Jim Harbaugh could not keep Peppers off the field. The freshman was the best football player on it at every position he played. He had two long returns to set up Michigan’s first two touchdown drives. He scored his first collegiate touchdown running the wildcat. He made a game-saving tackle of Mitch Leidner. He. Did. It. All. That was one of the most versatile performances I’ve ever seen, and it came from a redshirt freshman. Peppers might already be the most dangerous weapon in the B1G. If he’s not, he’s certainly on his way.