Sunday, September 2, 2012
Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 1
By Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett
Recognizing the best and brightest from around the league in the first week of the 2012 season ...
- Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell: Bell outgained Boise State all by himself with 265 total yards (210 rush, 55 pass) on a herculean 50 touches (44 rushes, six receptions) in a 17-13 win over Boise State. The junior showed he's more than capable of handling a bigger workload and recorded a career high in rushes. Michigan State's offense is a work in progress, but the unit's identity undoubtedly will be shaped around No. 24, who could be in the mix for national awards.
- Minnesota S Derrick Wells: The Gophers' defense rescued the team in a sloppy season-opening 30-27 win at UNLV, and Wells came up with the first two interceptions of his career in his first start. His second pick, which took place in the end zone in the third overtime, set up Minnesota's game-winning field goal. Wells also tied for the team lead with eight tackles.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller: The Buckeyes sophomore enjoyed the first game of the Urban Meyer era. Miller broke the school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 161, and he also threw for 207 yards. He accounted for three touchdowns, including an electrifying 65-yard run, in Ohio State's 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio).
- Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez: With running back Rex Burkhead sidelined early by a knee injury, the Huskers' offense was squarely in Martinez's hands. And it was in very good hands. Martinez's hard offseason work on his mechanics paid big dividends as he completed 26 of 34 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in the Huskers' 49-20 win over Southern Miss. He'll face better defenses, but his decision-making and accuracy were mighty impressive.
- Northwestern RB/KR Venric Mark: The Wildcats' speedster did a little bit of everything against Syracuse. He ran for 82 yards on 14 carries. He caught two passes, including a 21-yard touchdown. And he returned a punt 82 yards for a score. In all, Mark accounted for 281 yards -- and Northwestern needed all of them in a 42-41 win.