Big Ten Football: Ranking Top 10 Performances from Week 7
Only eight Big Ten teams played during Week 7, and three of those four games were forgettable. There was also a four-overtime thriller that will be remembered by many college football fans until the next great game is played next week.
But never mind all of that; the key to last week is that Ohio State did not play. This gives us a chance to finally acknowledge some of the other great players in this conference without them being overshadowed by one of the nation's top teams.
A Wisconsin running back, Northwestern linebacker and Michigan tight end are just some of the players who shined.
10. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
There's going to be a number of Penn State players on this list, and we'll start off with wide receiver Allen Robinson. Maybe I'm nuts, but he makes a strong case as the best receiver in the country. Just watch the final Penn State drive during regulation and you'll see why he should be considered for such an honor.
Robinson caught five passes for 84 yards, much of which came on the last possession of the fourth quarter when the Nittany Lions were fighting for their lives against Michigan. From tiptoeing on the sidelines to jumping eight feet in the air, Robinson did a little bit of everything to come down with the ball.
There were bigger heroes from this game, but Robinson helped set the tone for the historic comeback.
9. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
It wasn't nearly as good as last week's performance, but Ameer Abdullah did what he had to do once again for Nebraska to end up in the win column. The junior running back led the way with 20 carries, 126 yards and a touchdown in the Cornhuskers' win over Purdue.
Abdullah averaged a solid 6.3 yards per carry and scored his lone touchdown in the second quarter to give Nebraska a 21-0 lead.
He has ran for more than 100 yards in five of the first six games and has a combined 351 rushing yards in the last two weeks.
8. Damien Proby, LB, Northwestern
It didn't take long for Northwestern to fall off the map in the Big Ten. It went from being one of the dark horse contenders to losing two straight games and returning to the program nobody is interested in.
While the 35-6 loss to Wisconsin was ugly, linebacker Damien Proby played his tail off to at least give the Wildcats a chance. He led the team with 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble.
Proby has established himself as one of the better linebackers in the Big Ten.
7. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State
Did Le'Veon Bell return to Michigan State?
But junior running back Jeremy Langford broke free in the Spartans' 42-28 win over Indiana. He carried the ball 23 times for 109 yards and scored three touchdowns. He also caught a pass for a touchdown.
Needless to say, Langford was much of Michigan State's offense and was key in helping the team improve to 5-1 on the season. If he can continue this level of play, Michigan State is a team the rest of the conference should keep an eye on.
6. Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
After finding his groove last week against Minnesota, Devin Funchess is proving that last year's freshman season was no fluke.
The sophomore tight end caught four passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He consistently found holes in the middle of the defense and made life difficult for smaller Penn State defensive players.
Both touchdown receptions tied the game up for Michigan, so when looking for someone to blame for the loss, look elsewhere.
5. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
The entire Nebraska defense showed up against Purdue. Wait, did I really just say that?
The Cornhuskers surprisingly managed to hold Purdue scoreless until the final minute. Defensive end Randy Gregory was the leader behind the inspired performance, as the former Boilermaker commit finished the game with two sacks, recovered a fumble and picked up a safety.
Gregory is slowly developing into a solid player and easily had the best performance of his young career. Nebraska could certainly use more consistency from the sophomore defender.
4. DeAngelo Yancey, WR, Purdue
Speaking of Purdue, freshman wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey came to play. Although his team lost, Yancey finished the game with five receptions, 146 yards and scored the only Purdue touchdown in the final seconds of the game.
Yancey has now gone two straight games with more than 100 receiving yards and is starting to make defensive coordinators take notice.
Purdue will need more than one playmaker on offense in order to turn the corner, but this freshman wideout is clearly blossoming into something special.
3. Bill Belton, RB, Penn State
Bill Belton didn't have the most impressive game against Michigan. The stat sheet says he only rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown.
However, that touchdown happened to be the game winner in a fourth overtime. Also, he moved the chains on a gutsy fourth-down call that could have given Michigan the game if he didn't pick up the needed yard.
Belton was the guy Penn State called on when the offense needed a big play. His performance will be remembered for quite some time.
2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Melvin Gordon is making the case as the best running back in college football. After a mediocre performance against Ohio State last week, the sophomore torched Northwestern for 172 rushing yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.
Wisconsin simply lined up and ran the ball down the Wildcats' throat, and there was nothing they could do about it.
Gordon has now topped 100 rushing yards in five of his first six games and also leads the country with three runs of at least 70 yards.
1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Christian Hackenberg made all of the right plays against Michigan, leading the Nittany Lions to an improbable comeback. He threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, but it was his performance in the final drive that led to the most remarkable victory under head coach Bill O'Brien.
Penn State was down a touchdown and had to go 80 yards in under a minute with no timeouts. Hackenberg threw two beautiful balls to Allen Robinson to move the chains and then rushed for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak to tie the game.
Hackenberg is truly becoming a legend in Happy Valley.
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