As the weeks go on and the regular season of college football comes to a close, inclement weather begins to take effect. There was no sympathy shown by mother nature this weekend as multiple games were affected by inclement weather. Most notably, the Rutgers and Indiana matchup that was brought into a delay due to lightning in the area. The Hoosiers were up at the time, then going to hold the Scarlet Knights scoreless on their way to a 41-point victory. Snow forced teams to keep the ball on the ground as Michigan State and Maryland went head to head in a slippery game. The Spartans outlasted the Terps, 17-7, to rebound after last week’s loss to Ohio State. Speaking of the Buckeyes, they defeated Illinois as they remain the favorites in the Big Ten East. Iowa surprisingly fell to Purdue, while Northwestern took care of Minnesota over in the western conference of the Big Ten. Lastly, Wisconsin remained undefeated with a win over Michigan. Quite frankly, give me the Badgers over Clemson in the college football playoff. As much as everyone likes to talk about Wisconsin’s schedule, they still managed to remain undefeated and we all know how hard that is. I mean ask Clemson, they lost to a basketball school. Anyway, let’s see who shined this week in Big Ten play.
Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest Freshmen RBs Indiana
Remember all that weather talk? Before Rutgers and Indiana suited up it was forecasted that there was going to be some rain and a lot of it. This was supposed to work right into the Scarlet Knights favor, as they’ve shown ample ability to stop opposing teams ground game. Well, that’s how it should have gone. Indiana running backs Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest decided that wouldn’t happen. Gest finished the day with 104 yards rushing and a score. Ellison shined on fewer carries, running through the Scarlet Knight defense to the tune of 149 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana owned the time of possession against Rutgers thanks in part to Ellison and Gest, which helped keep the Scarlet Knight scoreless.
Nate Hall Junior LB Northwestern
Showed out in the shutout.
Minnesota couldn’t get anything going offensively in what was a snowy and damp setting at Northwestern’s Ryan Field. You could lay the offensive struggles of the Golden Gophers on the weather, but it was more so the daunting Wildcat defense that left Minnesota scoreless. It didn’t take much analysis to see that Nate Hall was flying around the ball Saturday. The junior linebacker tallied seven tackles, three of which went for a loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Hall was constantly around the ball, and the gods of football rewarded him as his interception came off a deflected pass that bounced right into his arms. The hustle of this defense as a whole has been one that’s separated the Wildcats from other Big Ten competition in 2017.
Saquon Barkley Junior RB Penn State
Saquon Barkley is back people! Teams have been selling out to stop the once Heisman favorite this season, leaving the ball in the hands of Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley. Although Barkley did score twice last week, Rutgers limited the back to just 36 yards rushing on the day. The junior running back bounced back this week, rushing 17 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough he added 60 yards through the air on six receptions. There’s really nothing much to say here, don’t let the mediocre yardage totals over the past few weeks deter you from thinking that Barkley isn’t the best back in football. Barring any injury, he will still be the first running back (if not first overall player) off the board come draft day. In the NFL teams won’t be able to sell out to stop the run, so we’ll be hearing his name a lot on Sundays.
Anthony Mahoungou Senior WR Purdue
We all have our favorite blankets at home, they all come in different fabrics and sizes. Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar had his on the field over the weekend, a safety blanket in the form of wide receiver Anthony Mahoungou. Mahoungou was the peanut butter to Sindelar’s jelly during the upset of Iowa. The French native hauled in seven receptions for 135 yards and two scores in the Boilermakers first Big Ten road win. Both touchdown receptions came within the first four minutes of the second half that propelled Purdue ahead of the Hawkeyes. At 6’3”, Mahoungou showcased breakaway speed that left Iowa defenders out of position, making both touchdown grabs rather easy. Expect that Sindelar-Mahoungou connection to continue as the Boilermakers are one win away from bowl eligibility.
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