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Monday, October 26, 2009
Big Ten thumbs up, thumbs down for Week 8


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

You're all thumbs.

Thumbs up, Jaycen Taylor: The senior might never be Purdue's No. 1 running back, but he has never quit despite plenty of adversity. Taylor had a 44-yard touchdown run against Illinois and finished the game with six carries for 72 yards as he provided a second rushing threat.

Thumbs down, Michigan's Robinsons: It was a rough day for the Robinsons against Penn State. Quarterback Denard Robinson committed turnovers (one interception, one fumble) on his only two series. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson saw his defense break down multiple times and surrender 14.4 yards per pass.

Thumbs up, Andrew Brewer: The Northwestern senior has gone through a position change from quarterback to wide receiver and a major injury in 2007, but he never lost faith. Brewer came up huge in the historic comeback against Indiana, recording eight receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Thumbs down, Bill Lynch: The Indiana coach didn't help his team during a second-half collapse with two questionable fourth-down calls. Rather than taking three points to increase Indiana's lead to 31-19, Lynch went for a fourth-and-goal and the Hoosiers couldn't get in. Northwestern responded with a 98-yard touchdown drive. Later in the game, Indiana could have pinned NU deep but went for a fourth-and-3 from the Wildcats' 33-yard line and failed.

Thumbs up, Jermil Martin: Martin provided Ohio State's offense with another rushing threat against Minnesota, rushing for 75 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. The fullback-tailback hybrid showcased his strength in breaking several tackles on a 39-yard scoring run.

Thumbs down, Minnesota's coaches: For a staff that supposedly recruits well, the Gophers seem awfully thin on game-changing skill players. Wide receiver Eric Decker can't be the entire offense, especially since he's now hurt and will be gone after the season. The Gophers need to identify more weapons before facing another good defense Saturday.

Thumbs up, Andrew Quarless: Things haven't exactly been smooth for Quarless at Penn State, but the tight end is starting to get it. He hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Daryll Clark and also had a 31-yard reception in the win at Michigan. Quarless will be a weapon for Penn State down the stretch.

Thumbs down, Illinois' run defense: The Illini couldn't slow down Purdue's Taylor, Ralph Bolden and even quarterback Joey Elliott, who finished with 62 rush yards and a touchdown. Illinois now ranks 101st nationally in rush defense after surrendering 220 yards to Purdue. That's not a good sign with Michigan coming to town.

Thumbs up, Mikel LeShoure: I've been tough on Illinois this season, but LeShoure deserves some credit for solid performances the last two weeks. He had 122 rush yards on only 15 carries against Purdue.

And, finally ...

Thumbs up, Adam Robinson: Robinson is an unsung hero for Iowa this season after taking over for the injured Jewel Hampton. The redshirt freshman rushed for 109 yards against Michigan State despite suffering a sprained ankle. He ranks fourth in the league in rushing average.