Author’s Note: These are not the official Big Ten Players of the Week, but my Big Ten Players of the Week as a writer for Gridiron Heroics.
Offensive Player of the Week:
Sean Clifford, Penn State, Quarterback, Senior.
Sean Clifford went 20 of 37 for 282 yards and four touchdowns in Penn State’s big Thursday night win over Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. This was a gutsy, hard fought game that in 2021 or 2022 Penn State likely would have lost, but thanks to the heroics of Sean Clifford they came away with a big road win. The importance of this win for Penn State, and the great numbers he put up make Sean Clifford the Offensive Player of the Week in the Big Ten for Week 1.
Braelon Allen, Wisconsin, Running Back, Sophomore.
Though the opponent was FCS Illinois State, Braelon Allen certainly did exactly what you expect your star running back to do with limited time in early season game. Allen had 14 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns including a 96-yard touchdown run, as Wisconsin is off the start they always want in a season; running the football extremely well.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, Quarterback, Junior.
With the gaudy numbers he put up in 2021, Stroud’s numbers from Ohio State’s big win over Notre Dame were certainly modest for him. He went 24 for 34, for 223 yards and two touchdowns. That however, was with his best weapon Jaxon Smith-Njigba for most of the game and against a very stout Notre Dame front. Stroud still was efficient, and maybe most importantly didn’t turn the ball over at all as Ohio State got a huge win, that I believe will look better every week as the season goes on.
Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State, Running Backs, Junior and Senior.
Ohio State certainly tried to pass the ball first for the first 40 minutes of their primetime slugfest against Notre Dame, but late in the third quarter, Ryan Day made the call to go to the ground game and Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson answered. Together this two-headed monster had 29 carries for 171 yards with Williams scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the Irish away. Williams also had a huge sideline catch for a first down in a critical Buckeye drive. With the passing game slowed, the running game took over for the Buckeyes and they ground out a win.
Defensive Player of the Week:
Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State, Linebacker, Senior.
Tommy Eichenberg was much maligned by Buckeye fans last year (as was the whole defense), so it was not only impressive but vindicating for Eichenberg to come out and dominate for Ohio State the way he did. He racked up nine tackles, six of them solo, two sacks, and three tackles for a loss. Doing that against a good Notre Dame team was enough to make Tommy Eichenberg the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for Week 1.
Michael Hall Jr., Ohio State, Defensive Tackle, Sophomore.
A big reason Tommy Eichenberg was able to have such a great game was that the Notre Dame offensive linemen had their hands too full with the Buckeyes defensive line to be able to block the linebackers. And the biggest reason that was the case was because of Michael Hall Jr. Hall had four tackles, three solo, one sack, and two tackles for a loss as the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame.
Jack Campbell, Iowa, Linebacker, Senior.
Jack Campbell had 12 tackles, a tackle for a loss, a quarterback hurry, and a safety that was the go ahead score for the Hawkeyes in their win over a scrappy South Dakota State. While the Hawkeyes had their offensive woes, their defense held the line and won the game, and a huge reason that happened was because of the play of Jack Campbell.
Joey Porter Jr., Penn State, Cornerback, Junior.
Joey Porter Jr. had a heck of a game against Purdue. He had eight tackles, all of them solo, three passes defended, and two fumble recoveries. The potent Purdue offense still moved the ball on Penn State but they moved it a heck of a lot less thanks to Joey Porter Jr. His fantastic performance was game changing for the Nittany Lions.
Special Teams Player of the Week:
Charles Campbell, Indiana, Kicker, Senior.
Campbell had a huge game that allowed Indiana to start 1-0 in Big Ten play. He was two for two on extra points, and three for three on field goals. He ended up scoring 11 points for the Hoosiers, who upset Illinois and are off to a good start in their 2022 season.
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