- Adam Rittenberg, College Football
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It's time to check the market heading into Week 3.
First-year starting quarterbacks: It was another good Saturday for the Big Ten's first-year starting signal callers. Denard Robinson worked his magic again for Michigan at Notre Dame, Northwestern's Dan Persa continued to display remarkable efficiency and both Robert Marve (Purdue) and Nathan Scheelhaase (Illinois) picked up their first wins.
Iowa: Iowa State has given Kirk Ferentz's team trouble in the past, but not on Saturday. Iowa delivered an early knockout blow and dominated on both sides of the ball, racking up 479 yards of offense and recording three interceptions in surging to a 35-0 lead.
Chimdi Chekwa, Ryan Kerrigan, Quentin Davie and Jonas Mouton: Chekwa and Davie both recorded two interceptions in victories Saturday, while Kerrigan continues to invade the opposing backfield, tying a career-high with four tackles for loss against Western Illinois. Mouton recorded a career-high 13 tackles and an interception against Notre Dame.
Michigan State's special teams: Brett Swenson left a major void at kicker entering the season, but Dan Conroy stepped up in a big way against Florida Atlantic, converting three attempts from beyond 40 yards (41, 44, 50). Return man extraordinaire Keshawn Martin also showcased his skills at Ford Field.
Illinois' defense: There's a long way to go, but new coordinator Vic Koenning is having a positive effect on the league's worst defense from 2009. The Fighting Illini rank third in the league in points allowed (13 ppg) and fourth in yards allowed (304.5 ypg). Linebackers Ian Thomas and Martez Wilson both are performing well, and defensive end Whitney Mercilus provided a boost in the win against Southern Illinois (two TFLs, forced fumble, pass breakup).
Tim Brewster: The embattled Minnesota coach regained a bit of goodwill among fans after the Middle Tennessee win, but he really couldn't afford a loss to South Dakota, not with what's ahead on the schedule. Brewster needs something good to happen quickly to regain some support among the Gopher faithful. As colleague Bruce Feldman tweeted, "After losing to another Dakota school, maybe its time Tim Brewster changes from Play4Brew to Pray4Brew."
Evan Royster and the Penn State O-line: Royster entered the season needing only 481 yards to become Penn State's all-time leading rusher. After two games, he still needs 409 yards to catch Curt Warner. Frustration is mounting, and Royster needs a boost from his offensive line Saturday against a stout Kent State rush defense.
Ohio State's special teams: What in the name of the Sweater Vest is going on in Columbus? Ohio State had a blocked field-goal attempt returned for a touchdown against Marshall. The Buckeyes then allowed a punt return touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game for the first time in team history. Special teams excellence used to be a hallmark for the Scarlet and Gray. They need to get it back.
Wisconsin's red-zone offense: The Big Ten's top red zone attack in 2009 (53 conversions for points in 56 chances) had a fumble and a turnover on downs following a fumbled snap in the red zone against San Jose State. The missed opportunities prevented Wisconsin from blowing out the Spartans.
Purdue's third-down defense: It was an issue last season, when the Boilers allowed opponents to convert third downs at better than a 40 percent clip. Through two games, Purdue's opponents are converting at a rate of 44.4 percent. The Boilers need to do a better job of getting off the field.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR RACE: OFFENSE
(Player, Week 2 performance)
1. Michigan QB Denard Robinson: 28 carries, 258 rush yards (Michigan road record), 2 TDs; 24-for-40 passing, 240 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.
2. Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor: 12-for-27 passing, 233 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs; 20 carries, 113 rush yards, 1 TD.
3. Northwestern QB Dan Persa: 19-for-23 passing, 240 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 7 carries, 13 rush yards, 1 TD.
T-4. Michigan State RB Edwin Baker: 14 carries, 183 yards, TD
T-4. Iowa RB Adam Robinson: 14 carries, 156 yards, TD
T-4. Wisconsin RB John Clay: 23 carries, 137 yards, 2 TDs
PLAYER OF THE YEAR RACE: DEFENSE
(Player, Week 2 performance)
1. Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan: Recorded a career-high 12 tackles (nine solo) and matched a career high with four tackles for loss (-19 yards), including a 9-yard sack, while adding a forced fumble.
2. Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt: Recorded six tackles, 2.5 for loss, as well as a blocked field-goal attempt.
3. Michigan State LB Greg Jones: Recorded 11 tackles, 1 for loss, as well as a forced fumble.
4. Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa: Recorded two interceptions and six tackles, including one for loss. Leads the league with five passes defended.
It's time to check the market heading into Week 3.STOCK UPFirst-year starting quarterbacks: It was another good Saturday for the Big Ten's first-year starting signal callers.