Around the Conference: Week 4

Big Ten's Week 4 Record: 8-2 (Season Record: 34-12).

Michigan State 45, Central Michigan 7
Michigan 28, San Diego State 7
Penn State 34, Eastern Michigan 6
Iowa 45, Louisiana-Monroe 17
Ohio State 37, Colorado 17
Wisconsin 59, South Dakota 10
Illinois 23, Western Michigan 20
North Dakota State 37, Minnesota 24
North Texas 24, Indiana 21
Nebraska 38, Wyoming 14

Idle Teams: Purdue, Northwestern

Big Ten's Week 4 Record: 8-2 (Season Record: 34-12)

Player of the Week: WR Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Entering Saturday's game, the Badgers were considered one of the most dangerous teams in the conference and in the entire nation. This judgment was based on the stellar play of transfer quarterback Russell Wilson and the two-headed backfield of Montee Ball and James White. The one threat that hadn't caught up to the performance of his peers was Toon. However, that all changed when he amassed a career-high 155 yards and two touchdowns. And more praise can be showered on him as he hauled in a top-ten play of the day after he snagged a one-handed catch near the sidelines in circus-like fashion. Toon's emergence makes this Wisconsin offense much more dangerous as they prepare to begin their Big Ten slate of games this week against Nebraska.

Upset of the Week: Penn State's Injuries In a week when all the top dogs in the conference won, there wasn't one particular loss that stood out. But there were a few key losses in terms of big-named injuries.

Penn State's star linebacker, Michael Mauti, was seen lying on the ground after his knee buckled as he attempted to break inside to make a tackle. After further examination, it was revealed that Mauti tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season. Without Mauti, the Nittany Lions defense takes a major hit; if not for Mauti, Penn State might not even have defeated Temple last week.

Also, the Nittany Lions lost a member of their secondary in two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention, D'Anton Lynn. He was carted off on a stretcher for precautionary reasons, and he will most likely be out for a few games; if not, for the season.

Phillippi's Game Balls of the Week


RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
Burkhead set a career-high for rushing with 170 yards and two touchdowns. Nebraska's quarterback may be struggling to make plays through the air, but with Burkhead running so effectively, the Cornhuskers are a very dangerous team in the Big Ten.

QB's Braxton Miller and Dusty Kiel
Miller made his first start of his career and looked pretty impressive after throwing two touchdowns and leading the Buckeyes to a bounce-back win over Colorado. As for Indiana's Kiel, he recorded his first career touchdown pass with just over five minutes left to play as the Hoosiers fell short of North Texas.

Penn State's First Passing TD
Congrats to the Nittany Lions for finally throwing their first touchdown in the air all season. Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden wound up compiling four touchdowns on the day.

Bonus Ball: Denard Robinson
Usually, I hand out three game-balls, but Robinson's 200 yards on the ground, despite his inadequate numbers through the air, are good enough for an honorary game ball. He may be a sub-par passer, but Robinson's late-game heroics and breathtaking ability with his legs have put Michigan at 4-0 and in good position for a run in the Big Ten.

There's Always Next Week: QB MarQueis Gray, Minnesota
Before yesterday's game, Gray was among one of the leading rushers in the conference. However, he only managed 41 yards on the ground in the loss to North Dakota State, and he only went 5-12 with 53 yards in the passing department. He was also sacked four times and threw an interception. The Gophers don't have much to play for this season, but it's always nice to see Gray succeed; hopefully, he can bounce back next week as the Gophers travel to Ann Arbor.

Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for BigRedReport.com. His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine. Previously, his stories were featured on PonyStampede.com, covering SMU athletics.
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