Big Ten Football: Power Ranking the Best Week 1 Player Performances

B.Senior Analyst ISeptember 6, 2010

Big Ten Football: Power Ranking the Best Week 1 Player Performances

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    Michigan's Denard RobinsonStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Opening weekend of college football kicked off with a loud bang from several players in the Big Ten.

    Looking at the overall player performances from opening weekend helps to prove that point. If Week 1 was any indication, this season could be an explosive one offensively for several teams.

    All 11 teams started their season this past weekend, going 9-2 overall. While the Big Ten is widely known as a defense-oriented conference, there was some definite offensive depth on display around the league.

    Performances from players like Michigan's Denard Robinson and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor rank among the nation's best from the first weekend of the 2010 college football season.

    Here's a closer look at how the individual accomplishments rank for Week 1. 

Honorable Mention

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    Iowa's Paki O'Meara

    Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week; blocked a punt for a touchdown in Iowa's win over Eastern Illinois.


    MSU's Edwin Baker

    117 rushing yards on 17 carries; scored two touchdowns.


    OSU's Tyler Moeller

    Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week; seven tackles, two TFLs, one sack, and a forced fumble.


    Purdue's Keith Smith

    12 receptions for 80 yards.


    NW's Jeremy Ebert

    Five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.


    Minnesota's Jon Hoese

    Fullback Jon Hoese almost missed the Gophers' trip to Middle Tennessee after his father suffered a severe stroke. He decided to play and ended up rushing for a career-high three touchdowns.

No. 11: Indiana WR Damarlo Belcher

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    Indiana wide receiver Damarlo Belcher led the Hoosiers in receiving with seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown in the absence of Tandon Doss.

    As a sophomore, Belcher had 770 yards on 61 receptions and scored five touchdowns.

    If his performance in the opener was any indication, he should have no problem surpassing last year's totals.

No. 10: Minnesota RB Duane Bennett

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    Gopher running back Duane Bennett did the bulk of the work with 30 carries for 187 yards in Minnesota's win over Middle Tennessee.

    Bennett didn't get into the end zone in this game, but if he keeps running like he did in the opening game he will see more than a few touchdowns this year.

No. 9: Ohio State WR Dane Sanzenbacher

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    Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher had three receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown in the Buckeyes' win over Marshall in the opening game of the season.

    Sanzenbacher looks to be quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s primary target this season.

No. 8: Ohio State RB Brandon Saine

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    Despite sitting out nearly the entire second half, Ohio State's Brandon Saine ran the ball nine times for 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeye home-opening game.

    Saine averaged 12.9 yards per carry, and proved that OSU's backfield is arguably the best in college football.

No. 7: Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell

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    Michigan State freshman running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 10 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns in his debut as a Spartan.

    According to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Bell's yards total marked the most ever by a Spartan freshman for his first college game.

    Welcome to the league, rook.

No. 6: Penn State QB Robert Bolden

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    True freshman quarterback Robert Bolden completed 20 of 29 passes for 239 yards with two touchdowns in a PSU's 44-14 win over Youngstown State.

    Despite an interception, the new quarterback looks ready to lead the Nittany Lions this year. He has a tough test ahead of him with Penn State's next game against an tough Alabama defense.

No. 5: Wisconsin RB John Clay

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    Wisconsin running back John Clay picked up where he left off last year. 

    Clay was the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 after rushing for 1,517 yards and 18 touchdowns.

    In the Badger's opening game win over UNLV, Clay rushed for 123 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns.

No. 4: Northwestern QB Dan Persa

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    Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa completed 19 of 21 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats' 23-21 win at Vanderbilt.

    Persa also rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries, compiling a complete performance in Northwestern's first game of the year.

No. 3: Iowa RB Adam Robinson

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    Iowa running back Adam Robinson had a stellar performance in the Hawkeyes' home-opening win over Eastern Illinois, carrying the ball 24 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

    It's the third time he has surpassed the 100-yard mark during a game in his career.  He also caught three passes for 43 more yards.

    As a freshman last year, Robinson ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 834 rushing yards, on just 181 carries.

No. 2: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor

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    Ohio State's Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor was 17 of 25 for 247 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes' win over Marshall.  

    Pryor connected with nine different players during the game, helping to prove to the doubters that he can effectively distribute the ball in the high-powered offense.

No. 1: Michigan QB Denard Robinson

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    Michigan quarterback Denard "Shoelace" Robinson was 19 for 22 in passing for 186 yards and a touchdown.  His rushing statistics were even better: 29 carries for 197 yards and another touchdown.  

    After the game against the Huskies, the sophomore quarterback currently ranks third in the country in total offense with 383 total yards.

    "If he can carry it 29 times for 200 yards, he'll carry it 29 times for 200 yards," coach Rich Rodriguez said in his postgame interview.