Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Big Ten stock report: Week 10
By Adam Rittenberg
Who's rising? Who's falling?
Iowa's tight ends: Michigan State focused on stopping deep threats Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, so Iowa simply looked elsewhere for production. Tight ends Allen Reisner and Brad Herman combined for seven receptions and 116 receiving yards, including a 56-yard reception by Herman that set up a second-quarter touchdown run.
Northwestern's defense: Remove a fluky touchdown in the final minute and Northwestern held Indiana's offense to just 10 points. Although the Wildcats still have some issues in the secondary, they allowed only one third-down conversion in the second half and put several big hits on Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell. Indiana generated only 65 rush yards and didn't stretch the field until it was too late.
Evan Royster past Curt Warner to become Penn State's all-time leading rusher.
Penn State RB Evan Royster: The Penn State senior looked like his old self Saturday night against Michigan, running with both patience and aggression and churning out 150 rush yards and two touchdowns. He'll need to be just as good against better defenses down the stretch, but Royster received a nice confidence boost and finally put the all-time rushing record in the rear-view mirror.
Ohio State RB Dan Herron: He'll never win a popularity contest among Buckeye fans, but "Boom" seems to be hitting his stride as the team's No. 1 back. Herron has racked up 279 rush yards and five touchdowns on 52 carries (5.4 yards per carry) in his last three games. He went for 114 rush yards and a touchdown last Saturday at Minnesota.
Minnesota's special teams: Like many Big Ten squads, Minnesota has been plagued by special teams breakdowns this season, and last Saturday's game was no exception. Ohio State blocked a Gophers punt and recovered for a touchdown, and a 70-yard Jordan Hall punt return set up another Buckeyes' score. Eric Ellestad also missed a 35-yard field goal that would have cut Ohio State's lead to 14-10 in the second quarter.
Purdue's first quarters: The Boilers haven't given themselves much of a chance the last two weeks in blowout losses to Illinois and Ohio State. Purdue has been outscored 28-0 in the first quarters of those games, and the Boilers have run a total of only 14 offensive plays (not including punts).
Michigan State's run game: As I recently documented, the Spartans have seen their rushing numbers take a nosedive in the last three games. Michigan State rushed for only 31 yards with a long of 11 yards in last Saturday's 37-6 beat-down at Iowa. Fortunately, the Spartans get a chance to revive things this week against a Minnesota team ranked 107th nationally against the run.
Michigan's discipline: The Wolverines only drew five penalties at Penn State, but they couldn't have come at worse moments. Michigan had a false start on third-and-5 from inside Penn State territory, leading to a punt. There also was a holding penalty on second-and-goal from the Penn State 10-yard line. And the worst came after Michigan had closed to within 38-31, as a personal foul penalty on kickoff coverage allowed Penn State to begin its drive in Wolverines territory. Yes, the personal foul call certainly was debatable, but it still counts.