Around the Conference: Week One

BRR BIg Ten Reporter
Posted Sep 5, 2011


Big Red Report’s Big Ten Correspondent, Kyle Phillippi, examines the opening week around the Big Ten, and gives his take on who shined and who disappointed, as well as handing out his weekly game balls.

Wisconsin 51, UNLV 17
Michigan St. 28, Youngstown St. 6
Iowa 34, Tennessee Tech 7
Northwestern 24, Boston College 17
Ohio State 42, Akron 0
Penn State 41
, Indiana St. 7
Purdue 27
, Middle Tennessee 24
Illinois 33
, Arkansas St. 15
Michigan 34
, Western Michigan 10
USC 19, Minnesota 17
Nebraska 40
, Chattanooga 7
Ball St. 27, Indiana 20

Big Ten Week One Record: 10-2

Player of the Week: QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
In his debut with Wisconsin, the NC State transfer delivered an incredible performance en route to a crushing 51-17 victory over the Running Rebels. Wilson finished 10-13 with 255 yards and two touchdowns, but he made his play of the day with his legs – breaking a career-long 46-yard touchdown run. More impressive was the fact that the Badgers scored on all eight of the drives he was under center (backup Joe Brennan filled in for him at the end of the game). Wilson received a lot of help from halfbacks Montee Ball (3 TD) and James White (1 TD), but nonetheless, it all comes back to the presence of Wilson on this team – the team scored fast and often (longest scoring drive came in at 3:11).

Upset of the Week: Persa’s Health
There was a lot of talk leading up to the Northwestern-Boston College showdown, with most of the attention centered on senior QB Dan Persa and his recovery from surgery on his Achilles. Listed as questionable prior to the Saturday matchup, Persa didn’t even suit up for the affair. Kain Colter made his first career start in Persa’s absence, going 17-24 with 197 yards. He didn’t do anything spectacular – in fact, he threw an inception with no touchdowns – but he led the Wildcats to a crucial non-conference road win. Luckily for the Wildcats, they go up against a weaker opponent in Eastern Illinois next week, which could mean Persa sits out yet another week as he aims to be fully recovered before their week three meeting with Army at West Point.

Phillippi’s Game Balls of the Weeks:

RB Silas Redd, PSU – 104 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns
Reason: He has been dubbed the “replacement for PSU’s all-time leading rusher” and responded quite nicely in the opening game. He’ll face a stout defense next week as Alabama heads up to Happy Valley.

WR B.J. Cunningham, MSU – 9 catches for 130 yards and one TD
Reason: Cunningham moved into a tie on MSU’s all-time leading receptions list with Matt Trannon (148). He also set a career-high for yards in a game, as well.

RB Ralph Bolden, PUR – 120 yards on 17 carries
Reason: This was Bolden’s first action in over a year after he tore his ACL last offseason as he aided Purdue in their season-opening victory.

LB Brandon Herron, MICH – 1 INT, TD
Reason: He set the school record for longest interception return with his 94-yard touchdown. Oh, and he also scored on a fumble recovery, as well. His two touchdown is another program record (most touchdowns by a defensive player in a single game).

There’s Always Next Week: Penn State QB’s
Handed out to an underachiever, this award is best suited for both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin. The duo combined for just 114 yards and zero TD’s (12-20). With Alabama coming in next week, one of these guys has to step up and outright claim the starting gig. Unfortunately, Bama has a top ten defense and is coming off a 48-7 beat down over Kent Stat after allowing just 90 yards total to the Golden Flashes.

Edited by Josh Harvey

Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for BigRedReport.com. His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine. Previously, his stories were featured on PonyStampede.com, covering SMU athletics.
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