Big Ten Football: Updating Week 2 Performances of Conference's Top Freshmen
As we continue through the cupcake, errr, non-conference portion of the schedule for most Big Ten teams, it's not just upperclassmen who are making a name for themselves. In fact, last week, two of the best performances of anyone from the Big Ten came from the freshmen class.
It's Monday, and you know that means we'll be updating how the freshmen we highlighted this offseason are performing throughout the season.
Did all five of the freshmen we picked out have spectacular games in Week 2? Nope, but it wasn't a completely lost cause, either.
Let's check out what the top freshmen of the Big Ten did in Week 2.
Derrick Green, Running Back (Michigan): 1 carry, -1 yard
After leading the Wolverines in rushing in their Week 1 victory over Central Michigan, Green saw next to no time on the field against Notre Dame. Given the close nature and the rivalry, it wasn't surprising to see his carries and minutes limited. However, just one carry was a bit surprising for a guy who led the team in rushing the week before.
Michigan takes on mighty Akron next week, so expect a return to bigger stats for him.
Sojourn Shelton, Cornerback (Wisconsin): 1 tackle
The stat line doesn't tell the whole story for Shelton as he played a big role in the defensive backfield as a starter once again. Wisconsin blanked their second straight opponent, winning 48-0 over Tennessee Tech. It's been 11 quarters since a team has scored on the Badgers as well, and Shelton has yet to be part of a defense that has given up a point yet too.
Shelton looked good on the outside, and overall the Golden Eagles weren't a threat in the passing game at all, partly because of the coverage Shelton was providing.
Christian Hackenberg, Quarterback (Penn State): 22-of-33, 311 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, -16 yards rushing
Another Big Ten Freshman of the Week performance for the breakout star of the class? Perhaps so (as of this writing, the award winners have not been announced). Hackenberg was unreal in the 45-7 win over Eastern Michigan, and his first half was one of the best I've seen from a young quarterback in the Big Ten in quite some time.
He'll likely be a contender for Freshman of the Week honors in the conference nearly every week by nature of his position and starting status, but he's backing it up so far this year.
Darius Latham, Defensive Tackle (Indiana): 1 tackle
Latham was part of a defensive effort that everyone in the Crimson and Cream would like to forget, to say the least. The IU defense was rocked by the Navy wishbone attack to the tune of 444 yards rushing and 41 points.
Things will get better, but this team and Latham were rocked hard physically, and that could only get worse as they enter Big Ten play. No doubt that Latham has talent, but growth will be needed fast if this team is to be a contender for a bowl berth.
Corey Clement, Running Back (Wisconsin): 13 carries, 149 yards, 2 touchdowns
Corey clement has 250 rushing yards on 29 carries and 3 touchdowns after 2 games at wisconsin. That's wild— ✨Skyler✨ (@SkysTheLimit__2) September 8, 2013
If there is anyone who can give Hackenberg a run for his money this week, it is Clement. He led a trio of Badgers backs to go over the 100-yard mark for the second straight week to start the 2013 season.
His day was highlighted by a 75-yard untouched run for a touchdown.
The first real test comes this week against a very stout Arizona State defense, so it will be interesting to see what kind of a role Clement plays going forward. Will he continue to get 10 or more carries every week? Doubtful, but he's already proven he is going to be a future star for the Badgers.
Who Was Big Ten's Best Week 2 Performer?
Other Freshmen of Note (a.k.a "Honorable Mention Freshmen"):
Dontre Wilson, Running Back (Ohio State): 5 carries, 51 yards, 1 touchdown
Vonn Bell, Safety (Ohio State): 1 tackle
Joey Bosa, Defensive End (Ohio State): 2 tackles
Terrell Newby, Running Back (Nebraska): 8 carries, 60 yards
B.J. Knauf, Wide Receiver (Purdue): 1 reception, 15 yards; 4 carries, 26 yards, 1 touchdown
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