Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Big Ten stock report: Week 11
By Brian Bennett
Invest with confidence in these stocks ...
Brandon Moseby-Felder: Penn State has a new receiving threat in this redshirt junior, who posted career bests with six catches and 129 yards at Purdue last week to go along with a touchdown. Moseby-Felder actually has more receiving yards than Allen Robinson the past three games, giving Matt McGloin another target if defenses decide to shade Robinson's way.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: How about another receiver with a hyphenated name? If you want something to get excited about when it comes to Iowa football -- and believe us, that's not easy right now -- you could look to the sophomore receiver. He had a career-high 131 receiving yards and a touchdown last week at Indiana and recorded seven catches for the second straight game. "Kevonte is a tremendous young guy with a great work ethic," head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I'm excited about the way he played Saturday and the whole season."
Adam Replogle: The Indiana defensive tackle is one of the team's few senior leaders and might be playing the best football of his career. He has four sacks and nine tackles for loss on the year, the latter of which is tied for the most among Big Ten interior linemen. He had seven tackles, including two for loss, and a fumble recovery last week against Iowa.
Kenny Bell's blocking: The Nebraska sophomore has become a standout receiver this season, but he also deserves some love for his blocking on Saturday at Michigan State. Bell took out three Spartans defenders to help spring Taylor Martinez's 71-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Bell also was involved in two of the biggest penalties of the game, when he was the victim of Johnny Adams' personal foul on a potential pick six and when he drew a pass interference call in the end zone -- perhaps by hooking his arm into Darqueze Dennard's -- that led to the winning score.
Michigan's future quarterback options: Conventional wisdom held that the Wolverines might take a step back next year as they transition out of the Denard Robinson and into a different type of offense. But Devin Gardner showed against Minnesota that he could not only run the team but do so in a pass-heavy attack. If Gardner can do that next year, he could provide the perfect bridge to incoming recruit Shane Morris, with Russell Bellomy also pushing for playing time.
Johnny Adams' flopping: If you didn't see it, Adams tried to draw a penalty on Nebraska's Bell by falling to the ground in a comically exaggerated way after the two got tangled up after a play. The act was worthy of a soccer player or Manu Ginobili. Unfortunately for Adams, the officials didn't buy it.
Michigan's run blocking: The Wolverines' tailbacks, including Fitz Toussaint, have not had a good season, but the offensive line has to share a large portion of the blame. Michigan averaged just 3.9 yards per carry against Minnesota, and that included a late 41-yard run that greatly increased that average. Head coach Brady Hoke said he has considered some lineup changes. "I think us moving the line of scrimmage [is a problem]," Hoke said. "We got to do a better job at the point of attack."
Northwestern kick returns: The Wildcats rank last in the Big Ten in kickoff return average at just 15.9 yards per attempt, which is odd because they lead the league in punt returns (21 yards per attempt) and have a dynamic return man in Venric Mark. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said improving the kick return game was a priority during the team's bye week.
Big Ten officiating: It's always easy to blame the refs, but Big Ten coaches seem particularly displeased with the zebras of late. Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has not been happy with a lot of calls, particularly some potential holding penalties against Ohio State, and has said he will ask for clarifications from Big Ten officials after the season. Michigan State was furious with a couple of calls in the Nebraska game, including that late pass interference call. There were some questionable pass interference calls in the Michigan-Minnesota game as well, and Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said of the way that's being called: "It might get you out of coaching faster. It’s unbelievable. It really is."