With only Nebraska, Northwestern, and Illinois playing in Week 0 our options might have been limited to find standout players in the Big Ten. There were plenty of standouts to recognized from these three teams in Week 0 of the 2022 college football season. Football is back and the Big Ten is off to a great start!!!
Offensive Player of the Week: Ryan Hilinski, Northwestern, Quarterback, Junior.
Ryan Hilinski was 27 of 38 for 314 yards and two touchdowns and no turnovers in the Wildcats big win over Nebraska in Dublin, Ireland as the headline game for Week 0 in 2022. Nebraska and Northwestern have had many good, tight games in their yearly “N” Bowl, and this one was no different. The Wildcats don’t survive to start the season 1-0 overall, in the Big Ten, and in the Big Ten West without the performance from Hilinski.
Chase Brown, Illinois, Running Back, Junior.
Most thought Chase Brown would be the most important player for the Illini this season and he proved that on Saturday. Brown had 19 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns as well as three catches for 16 yards and a touchdown in Illinois’ 38-6 win over Wyoming. Brown had 22 touches for 167 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Illini to a solid Week 0 win over Wyoming.
Evan Hull and Cam Porter, Northwestern, Running Backs, Juniors.
Hilinski gets the most credit for Northwestern’s 31-28 win over Nebraska but he doesn’t get it done without this dynamic duo in the backfield behind him. Together Hull (119) and Porter (94) had 205 combined yards rushing and two touchdowns giving Northwestern much needed balance to defeat Nebraska’s defense.
Defensive Player of the Week: Coco Azema, Northwestern, Defensive Back, Junior.
Coco Azema had eight tackles against Nebraska, six of them solo, one sack, and two tackles for a loss. He and the defense of Northwestern turned the Huskers away just enough times for the Wildcats to return home from Ireland with the win.
Xander Mueller, Northwestern, Linebacker, Junior.
Xander Mueller had five tackles, including a tackle for a loss, but came up with the most important interception of the day. The one that sealed the win for Northwestern in their 31-28 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Dublin, Ireland.
Luke Reimer, Nebraska, Linebacker, Junior.
The standout linebacker and hometown hero from Lincoln was everywhere for the Huskers against Northwestern. Reimer had 12 tackles and was a bright spot for the Blackshirts in their heartbreaking loss.
Special Teams Players of the Week:
Luke Akers, Northwestern, Punter, Junior.
Punts: 6, Yards: 245, Average Yards Per Punt: 40.8, Touchbacks: 0, Punts Inside the 20: 4, Long: 49.
Brian Buschini, Nebraska, Punter, Sophomore.
Punts: 6, Yards: 283, Average Yards Pert Punt: 47.2, Touchbacks: 0, Punts inside the 20: 4, Long: 50.
Buschini and Akers did not make the field position game easy for either Nebraska or Northwestern’s offenses on Saturday in the Emerald Isle. When either offense had the ball they were rarely if ever given good field position to go with it.
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