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Big Ten Superlatives: Week 9

Happy Valley had all the eyeballs - and great performances

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Ohio State at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The stars were out on Saturday afternoon in State College for a critical Big Ten contest. Some of the conference’s best players had standout performances as No. 2 Ohio State exploded in the fourth quarter for a win against Penn State.

You can relive some of those superlatives here - as well as a glance at some other interesting things on the last October Saturday of the season.

Best Win of the Week - Ohio State

Despite its plethora of Starzzz and a lofty ranking, there were still some questions about Ohio State because of a soft early schedule that saw all but one game played in the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes were pushed around a bit in Happy Valley and Penn State led with less than 10 minutes remaining. Then, Ohio State went into hyperdrive. A three-play 75-yard drive followed by a couple of forced turnovers helped the Buckeyes leave State College with a 44-31 win and a clear path to a home showdown with Michigan.

Worst Loss of the Week - Penn State

There are certainly positives to be taken from Saturday - we can’t say enough about Parker Washington’s performance - it’s more of the same for Penn State against the Buckeyes. Sean Clifford was wildly inconsistent within the game and his four turnovers helped swing the game early and late. Meanwhile, Penn State’s defense was a sieve in the fourth quarter after being up to all the challenges for the better part of Saturday’s contest. It was another circle the date “This is why you come to Penn State” kind of game - and it was another where James Franklin and his squad will be searching for answers.

Offensive Player of the Week - Marvin Harrison, Jr., Ohio State

What more can you say? The most intriguing strength on strength matchup entering Saturday’s game was Ohio State’s wide receivers against Penn State’s secondary. For the most part, the Nittany Lions had success - except against Harrison. He was open and making big plays all throughout the game. On Ohio State’s first drive, Harrison got separation and helped set up the Buckeyes for a field goal. Meanwhile, his biggest catch may have been his third down grab to get a first down when Ohio State was clinging to a 30-24 lead with less than five minutes remaining.

Defensive Player of the Week - JT Tuimoloau, Ohio State

Experts said Ohio State’s defensive line lacked a game wrecker in the mold of Joey Bosa or Chase Young. Well, Tuimoloau made himself a household name with Saturday’s performance. He had a hand in all four Penn State turnovers and scored Ohio State’s second defensive touchdown of the year.

Offensive Play of the Week - TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

Penn State had just retaken the lead in the fourth quarter and Beaver Stadium was rocking. Ohio State’s run game had been all but abandoned before Henderson hit the explosive play the Buckeyes were looking for all day. Now leading 23-21 after the extra point, Ohio State would never trail again.

Defensive Play of the Week - That Man Again, Ohio State

We could just put all of Tuimoloau’s highlights here, but this play was the backbreaker. Penn State trailed just 23-21 and had success moving the ball all day. The Lions were looking to retake the lead, but Tuimolau bullied Bryce Effner, stripped Sean Clifford, and set up a touchdown a play later as the Buckeyes now had control.

Most (Awful) Big Ten Moment of the Week - More Tunnel Vision, Michigan Stadium

Following a dominant Wolverines win, there was some fighting happening on the shared tunnel that leads to the locker rooms at Michigan Stadium. James Franklin and Jim Harbaugh had a cold war of words about the topic. But, for the second time in as many games in Ann Arbor, video surfaced of pushing, shoving, shouting in the area. Franklin was adament that the conference needed to do something about this, so it will be interesting to see if anything about Michigan Stadium’s secuirty is addresed now. Meanwhile, Michigan State has already suspened four players for their roles in the incident.

Most Iowa Moment of the Week - Tory Taylor doesn’t punt until third quarter

Taylor has been Iowa’s offensive MVP - but he didn’t get on the field until the third quarter until about five minutes into the third quarter on Saturday. That’s because Iowa decided to actually play some offense in their easy win against Northwestern. That punt, by the way? It was a shank - going for only 13 yards and helping to set up the Wildcats’ lone score.

Biggest Storyline Outside of State College - Illinois Inching Closer to Indianapolis

The No. 17 Illini MAY have emerged as the third best team in the conference (I’d still side with our favorite group of fighters) and with their 26-9 bludgeoning of Nebraska in Lincoln, Illinois fans can really start thinking about the drive east on I-74 to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten Championship game. Tommy DeVito was 20-of-22 passing with two scores and Chase Brown went for 149 yards and a touchdown. Outside of their road trip to Ann Arbor, in what could be a preview of that title game, Illinois will be heavy favorites in their three other November games. We know how good BERT must be feeling.

What We’re Looking Forward to the Most - Punt Week

Indinia. Indinia. Indinia.