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Big Ten Superlatives: Week 2

Penn State was beautifully boring on Saturday, but a lot of wacky things were happening around the conference

UTEP v Northwestern Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Best Win of the Week: Northwestern

For the first time since October 16, 2021, Northwestern won a football game on American soil. The Wildcats had lost 18 of their previous 19 games - with that lone win coming against Nebraska in Ireland last season - until Saturday’s dominant second half that culminated with a 38-7 win against UTEP.

Worst Loss of the Week: Wisconsin

The Badgers, under first year coach Luke Fickell, have gotten a lot of West champion (and even potential dark horse Big Ten Champion) predictions in the preseason. Well, Saturday night, they lost to a team that is about to be without a conference. Washington State jumped out to a huge lead and then held on for a win that continues to show the imbalance between the two divisions.

Offensive Player of the Week: Roman Hemby, Maryland

On a couple of occasions last year, I overlooked some early season Hemby standout performances and a resident Terps fan pointed those snubs out to me. Consider this the olive branch. The Terrapins got the Saturday night NBC treatment and Hemby averaged better than eight yards per carry. On the night, he had 162 rushing yards and a score, while also adding 55 yards on four catches, as Maryland shook off a slow start to beat Charlotte and start the season 2-0.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nic Scourton, Purdue

Purdue’s defense was a sieve in its season opener against Fresno State. In Week 2, the Boilermakers bounced back to go on the road and earn a 24-17, lightning delayed win against Virginia Tech. Scouton, a team captain, had five tackles with 3.5 of those going for a loss and a sack. The Boilers are now 1-1 under first-year coach Ryan Walters.

Offensive Play of the Week: Jaylin Lucas, Indiana x 2

The Hoosiers best playmaker had a couple of nice grabs on his way to 127 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns as Indiana got its first win on Friday night.

Defensive Play of the Week: Sebastian Castro, Iowa

Iowa. Defensive touchdowns. It’s a tale as old as time.

Most Big Ten Moment of the Week: Oh boy

We won’t go over the details here, but here is the link to an investigation of now-suspended head coach Mel Tucker. Regardless of the final legal outcome, Michigan State has a major issue on its hands and we’ve almost assuredly seen the last of Tucker on the Spartan sideline.

Most Big Ten West Moment of the Week: Disappointing Road Losses

The Wisconsin debacle was already mentioned, but Nebraska and Illinois had poor performances of their own over the weekend. Remember when there were whispers about Nebraska being unbeaten heading into its Michigan matchup? Well, now the Huskers are 0-2 after being blown out by Coach Prime’s Buffaloes. Meanwhile, the Illinois defense looked lost all night against Kansas in a Friday night loss to the Jayhawks.

Most Iowa Moment of the Week: First place with 44 points

Well, here’s your update. Iowa is below its necessary pace of 25 points per game in order for Brian Ferentz to have his contract renewed. Yet still, the Hawkeyes are 2-0, joining Minnesota as the only two Big Ten West teams who haven’t suffered a loss in the opening two weeks.

What We’re Looking Forward to the Most: The Road Whites

I almost made it through an entire Big Ten Superlatives post without even mentioning the team that we care the most about. But it’s time for a business trip. While Illinois has had major issues with its defense and its offensive line looks somewhat questionable through two weeks, this is still a road trip with an 11 a.m. local start time. It’s also the first of two games that will determine whether or not Penn State is unbeaten heading into the Horseshoe in late October. Let’s go.