Lesser known B1G players catching your attention

Submitted by Blazefire on September 10th, 2012 at 1:52 AM

So, with a couple weeks of games under our belts, a few things have started to shake out across Big Ten land. Nothing substantial yet, but at this point, if a player is going to have an impact this season, there's a good chance they've at least showed up a bit so far. That said, I'm wondering which WHO DAT B1G players have caught your eye while flipping between games during halftime or reading the wraps on Sunday. Obviously, no Michigan players are really WHO DAT to us, but include them if they are surprising you.

By team, from those I pay least attention to:

Indiana - True soph Tre Roberson, #5 QB, who actually appeared in 9 games last season, becoming ostensibly the starter by the end of the year. However, it being Indiana, I really can't claim to have noticed. This year, despite the terrible level of competition for Indiana thus far, there's been no denying Roberson, who leads his team with 378 passing yards, 124 rushing yards and a 68% completion percentage.

In true Indiana fashion, Tre suffered a broken leg in Saturday's game vs. UMass, and is done for the season. Still... impressive enough start.

Illinois - True Frosh Josh Ferguson, #6 RB. Again, level of competition questions here, but ASU ain't exactly UMass despite the loss of Vontaze Burfict, and the 3-star Running Back with a smattering of MAC and service academy offers was one of the Illini's few lone bright spots there. Through two games, the Freshman has rushed 25 times for 139 yards (5.6 per pop) and added a few receptions to go along with it. I'm not saying he's Rashard Mendenhall, but he'll be one to watch.

Iowa - Any RB at Iowa with legs is impressive, I suppose, and True Soph Damon Bullock has done a few things to get noticed. Appearing in 6 games in 2011, mostly on special teams (a total of 20 carries on offense), the wrath of the AIRBHG has basically made Bullock the defacto starter. The 2-star RB with offers to Iowa and literally nobody else has looked decent, rolling up 203 rushing yards and 82 recieving, with 2 total TD's, in Iowa's first two games. His 2.1 YPC versus Iowa State was more than alleged savior Greg Garmon could accomplish, at any rate.

Purdue - True Soph Ryan Russell, two star Defensive End. Ruseell appeared in all 13 games in his freshman season, making a decent showing of 32 total tackles, 17 solo. That's not going to make headlines though. This year, he has come alive in his first two games, putting up 11 total, including 6 solo, against even tough competition like ND. Last year he earned a total of 4.5 TFL. This year, he already has 2.5. An edge rushing terror in the making?

Minnesota - I can't claim that anyone on Minnesota's team has jumped out at me that I didn't already know. Gray has looked a little better, but he's not an unknown. Does anyone else have a suggestion here?

Penn State - The mass exodus of playmakers from Penn State has opened a hole for longtime "other contributors" to step up. Senior RB Derek Day, who also played some defense as late as last year, has shown a few good things for Penn State so far. Day, who first earned offensive stats last year, appearing in all games but earning only 7 carries for 27 yards,  has kind of become starter by default, and given the Nittany Lions at least a minor punch at RB, with 26 carries for 83 yards.  Penn state is very much by committee at this point, but the unheralded, longtime benchwarmer at least gives happy Valley fans a pair of legs on the ground, and has looked steady to date.

Any other notes from the board?




September 10th, 2012 at 2:47 AM ^

Have you guys heard of William Gholston?  I think he's really underrated and I wish ESPN would spend some time talking about him.  Just look at the stats he put up against Boise State.  And it's not only his individual stats; his pressure has resulted in an uprecedented number of sacks for the team through two games.

And while we're at it, how is Le'Veon Bell not a more-talked-about Heisman candidate?  His yards per carry is well above 4.0 and his average of 31 carries per game alone means he must be an elite running back.


September 10th, 2012 at 8:38 AM ^

calling someone a "girl" is the ultimate putdown. I happen to like and respect women. How about you?

Maybe the "Leaders and Best" could come up with something more original and less misogynistic.

And if you thought I was trying to be "incognito," well, you're not terribly observant.


September 10th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

1) Coming here to provoke fights will not bode well for your future. Many rival fans hang out here regularly, and have done so without accumulating the ill-will reflected in your karma score.

2) Failing to recognize Jurassic Park quotes does not bode well for your cultural enlightenment, so I'll save you some time, and tell you that the following statements are also movie quotes:

  • "Lighten up, Francis,"
  • "This isn't 'Nam; there are rules,"
  • "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl harbor?"
  • "Houston, we have a problem"

turd ferguson

September 10th, 2012 at 8:57 AM ^

Honestly, what I think it is:

Having beaten us for the last few years, they feel like the roles should be flipped and we should be the jealous fan base with an inferiority complex. The reality, though, is that they could beat us for the next 20 years and most of us would still roll our eyes at them. The things that we believe make us better as a university and fan base are persistent, almost permanent characteristics of the two schools. I think that realization - that we aren't suddenly going to wish we were MSU grads/fans - frustrates them. It's an unwinnable war for MSU.


September 10th, 2012 at 9:37 AM ^

I agree with that completely as far as the general Spartan animosity.  But I've just noticed there's a little extra this season.  

All around town, wherever I encounter Spartans, they are just a little bit more unbearable than usual.  They aren't just making the fries too salty, but soggy too.  They aren't just tying the bathroom key to a hubcap, but to a cinderblock.  They aren't just letting some garbage spill out of the can as they empty it into the truck, they are also leaving the lid off your can so that it collects rainwater.  They aren't just trying to sell me new wiper blades, they want me to get the engine flush too.  They aren't just putting my eggs at the bottom, they are mixing my frozen  items with the hot stuff from the deli counter.

It goes on and on.  Something, I fear, has happened to worsen the situation...


September 10th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

I actually come over here because often there is good dialog about B1G sports. Sorry, but when I see gratuitous shots at MSU players, coaches, or fans I can't help but chime in. This thread started off about unknown B1G players who have impressed in the first two weeks. Yet MSU is so much in your heads that Gholston's name comes up as, I guess, an opposite example.

At the beginning of this year U-M was ranked #8 and being totally hyped. Several of us thinking MSU fans -- yes, some exist -- wondered about that. But not too many U-M fans, I noticed. Most of you thought things were right again with the universe, and even that you were going to beat Alabama on the way to the national championship game. In two games, your defense has looked bad. The offense is zilch without Denard. And, if you haven't noticed, Denard destroys physically weaker teams but does little against the likes of Alabama and MSU. I'm also curious to see how Denard does against OSU and ND this year.

In the papers this morning the talk was about how MSU is the B1G's remaining chance for national prominence. The FRIB project is well underway at MSU. So, yeah, I'm really jealous of U-M -- which happens to do a good job educating students who enter with a lot of talent. 

turd ferguson

September 10th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

Uh... you missed my point.  I think your team might be better than ours this year (and as crappy as the Big Ten is, we might have the two best teams in the conference).  Hell, I even think you might be better in 2013.

More generally, though, I think you guys suck.  And I'll always think that, no matter what happens on the football field. 

EDIT: By the way, putting a comic strip with tiny font as your avatar is pretty brilliant, since, you know, we all can read it.  You seem like a very smart man.


September 10th, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

Are you kidding me? There is a thread over on RCMB that questions which teams in the top 10 MSU could beat, and the overwhelming majority think they could beat anyone, including Alabama and LSU. You should see the reasoning most use when they are chiming in about beating Oregon in the Rose Bowl (which quite a few people think they can do). It is alarming to see how many fans think they can beat USC. Someone actually said they think West Virginia is the best team in the nation and the scariest. That fan base has become unbearable.

Also, get the fuck off this board MSU troll. I don't think you've made a single point about either team that my mom couldn't make, and she doesn't really understand football


September 10th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

Good lord man, just give it up.  You say you come here for good B1G discussion and then add absolutely nothing to the actual discussion.  A rival fan takes a sarcastic swipe at one of your players?  Like MSU's fanbase has never done that before.

And clearly, you really don't come here often.  If you did, you would realize that the overwhelming feeling here is that the team did not deserve a preseason top-10 ranking and was going to lose to Bama.  And your arguments have no logic to it that a 4th grader couldn't come up with.  Our offense isn't good without our best player?  Brilliant!  What the hell offense is?  What's your offense without Bell?  Our offense isn't as good against really good defenses?  Brilliant!  What offense is?  You seem to forget the last time you played Bama...what with your -43 rushing yards in that game.  And just so you know, no team since the beginning of last season has put up more yards or points against Bama except for Gerogia Southern running their crazy triple option. 

There are legitimate questions and discussion to be had about UM's team, and every team in the B1G which has not looked very good.  But you bring up none of them, and provide nothing insightful to any discussion about B1G football.


September 10th, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

...in your signature dear Nigel is discussing?  You crossed it before you even started.

You do realize that the due diligence required to defend the honor of Michigan's players on opposing fans' boards, including One That Is Named After a River That Shall Remain Nameless, would take the collective manpower of MGoBlog plus a few hired mercenaries.  How long has it been since anyone over there has referred to Michigan and Denard as anything BUT scUM and Armpunt, respectively?  

So cut this 'holier than thou' horsepucky right away, please, sir.  I'm pretty sure Tom and his buddies can defend themselves from the horrendous Internet-based onslaught of a bunch of middle-aged armchair quarterbacks without your help, and it certainly isn't looked upon favorably by your higher-ups as proper usage of IT resources.

And in response to your neatly-inserted FRIB comment, which I had to admittely look up to determine whether or not it was an obscure, football-related acronym: David R. Scott, Alfred Worden, and James Irwin called and left a message.  They'd like to have a word with you about space.






September 10th, 2012 at 10:38 AM ^

Yes, if the half dozen MSU threads per day on here mean anything, it's that you're "rolling your eyes" at us. I'm surprised you don't have half as many threads about all your real rivals combined, since MSU means so little to you all.

So little, in fact, that you need to constantly remind one another of just how little you care.


September 10th, 2012 at 7:21 AM ^

It's going to be great to see Sparty play ND before Michigan does instead of after.  For years, Sparty has reaped the benefits of playing an ND team that just had to play Michigan while Sparty played a directional tomato can.  This should be a great week to see where both teams are on the food chain.  

Sparty has beaten a BSU team severely weakened by graduation and incapable of simply "reloading," followed by a directional team that might not be all that good this year, either.  Notre Dame beat an out-manned Navy team, but struggled with Purdue.  

I don't care who wins this one, but I hope ND expends a lot of energy.

Louie C

September 10th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

What's funny is that I when I left Mlive years ago, you were trolling over there too. It's actually more sad than funny.

What's funny is that the State players and fanbase concern themselves with what Michigan is doing, yet get pissed at the whole little brother thing. That's not little brother, it's more like fat, jealous, single bridesmaid syndrome.

What's funny is your "team" had to tote the rock 50 times in order to put BSU away. That was one hell of a balanced victory I tell you.

What's funny is that Dantonio went all Confucius on us with that pride comes before the fall bullshit, yet his players have been the most boorish assholes for the past 4 years. Whenever the streak ends, it will be great because I know everybody in EL will be besides themselves like this streak would never end.

What's funny is because UM basketball has had some success against State the past couple of years, it doesn't matter because "State is a football school." Now get the fuck off our court.


September 10th, 2012 at 11:00 AM ^

This is an interesting case study about MSU "trolling"  . . .  Technically, it would not properly be considered "trolling" were it not for the statement about it being called a "team" in EL.  MetricSU's response to the initial sarcastic post about Gholston and Bell being sleepers could have been effective if it had simply noted that Sparty has yet to allow a defensive TD.  However, that additional "team" dig led to all of the backlash.

Also, I have to say that the initial comment mentioning Sparty was what led to the "trolling" in the first place.  I think its great that there are ND and Sparty and OSU fans that frequently visit and post on the Board.  I would just caution those of you that do (and we love having you!) to have a little thicker skin that normal and to try to avoid making those little remarks that cause the flamewar.  Its just ruins the MGoExperience.  #EndofAnnoyingUnsolicitedAdvice



September 10th, 2012 at 5:52 AM ^

Has some good players on their d line. I know they got some run on the blog during team previews and the fantasy draft but they played well against ND


September 10th, 2012 at 8:08 AM ^

I watched some of the Northwestern game against Vanderbilt and they have a tiny space player called Venric Mark who plays RB and returns kicks. He looks fast and had some impressive runs in the time I was watching; he and Coulter are a pretty impressive duo on the option. I think Mark also had a kick return to TD against Syracuse. I don't know if Mark can hold up all season due to his small size but he is fun to watch right now.


September 10th, 2012 at 10:38 AM ^

He was mine too. He was a toe on the sideline away from a 80 yard td on a swing pass too. He reminds me of Tyrell Sutton from Northwestern a few years ago, who was also incredibly dynamic and did tend to get beat up.

I think Northwestern would be at least even money to make the championship game in the other division.


September 10th, 2012 at 8:13 AM ^

Curtis Dukes was doing a decent job coming in for Derek Day on various drives in the Penn State-Virgina game. I don't think he gets all that much playing time (seems like Penn State used him in a Vincent Smith-esque sort of way last year), but he seems like he could potentially be their other Derek Day from a production standpoint.

With regards to Purdue, Antavian Edison was looking pretty good at WR against Notre Dame. He was hardly in their game against us last year, but it seems like in game where he is used quite a bit, he gets 10-15 per catch on a semi-regular basis.


September 10th, 2012 at 8:39 AM ^

has looked very good for Coach Kill in the secondary and as a returner. Andre McDonald is a freshman WR to keep an eye on as well for the gophers.


Northwestern has a good backup QB who is a far better passer than Kain


September 10th, 2012 at 10:05 AM ^

Nice to see some development taking place under Kill. I think he's got the Gophers headed in the right direction. I suppose team wide improvement would make it hard to pick out any specific guys. I would LOVE to see Goldy improve and at least put a little spice back in the Jug rivalry. (Though not enough that we ever lose it.)


September 10th, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

Not sure why this was moderated "overrated" (especially with that avatar), but some may have thought this was a joke (the whole Devin Devin / Devin Smith based on Musberger's butchering of Vincent Smith's name).

But Devin Smith is the Ohio WR who made the circus catch against their last tomato can.  I remember seeing him in senior bowl (Ohio vs. Pennsylvania maybe) and commenting that he'd be a headache in a few years.  That catch may have been just the thing to get him rolling


September 10th, 2012 at 9:09 AM ^

Devin (sp?) Funchess. I know it's biased, but I believe he is the first true freshmen tight end to go over a hundred yards in one game in NCAA history.


September 10th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

I'm liking what I see from Dennis Norfleet.  Kid was an RB at MLK and ranked pretty well but I didn't expect him to be returning kickoffs with the intensity that he does.  Kid is hungry for the ball and fast.  He makes sure that he runs into the ball.  In two games he has 11 returns for 254 yards.  That's an average of 23.1 yds per return and he has a long of 36.  I think that he takes one to the house before too long.  I was looking at Kickoff return stats for Michigan and this kid's name will be in the books before too long at this rate.Example:  Stonum has the most kickoff return yards in a season with 1,001 yds.  The next best was Steve Breaston with 689 yds.   #15 on that list was Anthony Carter with 406 yds.   Should do well as an RB if/when the coaches decide he belongs there.  Sources attached.