Time to recognize the best and the brightest from Week 3 in the Big Ten. There were a lot of great plays and performances, so it made things very tough.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: Dantonio made the gutsiest call of the year, and it lifted Michigan State to a huge win against Notre Dame. We can debate the play clock issue all you want, but I never thought Dantonio would call a fake field goal in overtime with the game on the line. He had faith in punter Aaron Bates, who went to his second read and hit tight end Charlie Gantt for a 29-yard touchdown. This could be a major turning point for Dantonio, who has struggled to win the close games at MSU.
Opportunistic defenses (Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern): All three units delivered dominant performances and forced mistakes from their opponents. The Buckeyes have continued their opportunistic play from 2009, forcing five turnovers Saturday against Ohio and 12 for the season. Northwestern recorded four takeaways in a rout of Rice, including a pick-six by star linebacker Quentin Davie. Penn State forced two Kent State turnovers and held the Golden Flashes to 58 rushing yards and zero points.
Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure: LeShoure is for real, folks, and he showed again today why he's one of the Big Ten's best running backs. The Illini junior had 24 carries for 180 rushing yards and a 29-yard touchdown with one minute and 43 seconds remaining to ice a victory against Northern Illinois. LeShoure has eclipsed 110 rushing yards in each of his first three games this season.
Wisconsin safeties Jay Valai and Shelton Johnson: It was a rough day on special teams for the Badgers and the rest of the Big Ten, but Valai and Johnson saved seven points in a 20-19 win against Arizona State. Johnson tripped up Sun Devils kick returner Kyle Middlebrooks just shy of the goal line as the second quarter expired, saving a touchdown. Valai blocked a potential game-tying PAT attempt, and Wisconsin ran out the clock.
Indiana QB Ben Chappell: The senior ripped apart Western Kentucky's defense for a career-high 366 pass yards and three touchdowns, completing 32 of 42 attempts with no interceptions. Chappell spread the ball to seven receivers and hooked up with Damarlo Belcher nine times for 118 yards in a 38-21 win.