Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
It was bizarre weekend in the Big Ten. Five of the top seven teams in this league were on bye in Week 5 as well as Indiana. So all of the focus was on the Leaders Division showdown in Columbus where Braxton Miller made his triumphant return to the starting lineup. Overshadowed by the big win for Buckeyes was a critical performance by Iowa on the road against key division foe Minnesota. The only other two teams in action, Purdue and Illinois, had two very different outcomes.
Here are the Big Ten's Week 5 Superlatives:
Big Ten Week 5 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Welcome back, Braxton. Urban Meyer benched his red-hot back quarterback in favor of his preseason Heisman candidate and it was clearly the right move. Miller zipped passes around and over the Badgers secondary from the first drive while still showing his tremendous allusiveness on the ground. He finished the conference's biggest game to date 17-of-25 for 198 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air with a team-high 85 yards rushing on 17 carries — all of this against a team that hadn't allowed a single passing touchdown all season long.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The hard-hitting star linebacker was all over the field for the Buckeyes Saturday night. Facing one of the most powerful running games in the nation, Shazier led an impressive showing from the Ohio State front seven by holding Wisconsin to just 104 yards rushing. He finished with 9.0 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one key forced fumble. There is a reason he is an All-American candidate.
Team of the Week: Ohio State
The Buckeyes extended the nation's longest winning streak (17) with a huge win over division rival Wisconsin. Miller was extraordinary in his return to the lineup and the defense played extremely well against the Badgers powerful three-headed running back monster — Wisconsin gained just 104 yards on 27 carries (3.9 yards per carry. The win puts Ohio State squarely in the driver's seat in the Leaders Division.
Coordinator of the Week: Phil Parker, Iowa
The Hawkeyes defense was downright nasty this weekend. Led by an elite linebacker corps, Parker's unit totally shutdown the Golden Gophers on the road in their Big Ten opener. Minnesota ran for just 27 yards on 1.1 yards per carry average and totaled just 165 total yards of offense while being held to 4-of-13 on third downs. Iowa registered four sacks and forced two turnovers while committing just one penalty all game.
Freshman of the Week: Danny Etling, QB, Purdue
This was a weak week for freshman in the Big Ten. Dontre Wilson had 108 all-purpose yards but touched the ball just three times on offense. But the future might have been on display for Purdue in a bad home loss to Northern Illinois. Quarterback Danny Etling replaced an ineffective Rob Henry just before halftime and the freshman was able to move the ball. He threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns. The Purdue offense posted season highs in every major offensive category: rushing yards, passing yards, yards per play and points scored. Most of Etling's production came through fellow freshman wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, who caught seven passes for 117 yards.
• Illinois' quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase had five touchdown passes in the first half against Miami-Ohio. He had four total touchdown passes all season long in 2012 and now has 12 on the season.
• Melvin Gordon hadn't rushed for fewer than 140 yards in any game this season and has scored at least once in all four contests. He was held to 74 yards and no TDs on 15 carries against Ohio State.
• Illini linebacker Jonathan Brown is still leading the Big Ten in tackles and is 8th nationally with 11.8 stops per game.
• Braxton Miller's four touchdown passes tied a personal best and were the first four touchdown passes allowed all season by the Badgers defense.
• Jared Abbrederis was virtually uncoverable against All-American corner Bradley Roby. Wisconsin's wideout had 10 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown.
• Mark Weisman carried 24 times for 147 yards in the big road win over Minnesota. No one in the nation has carried the ball more in 2013 than the Iowa running back (119 att.).
• After defeating both Iowa and Purdue on the road, Nothern Illinois is actually leading the Big Ten with a 2-0 record against the conference.
• A plus B does not equal C. But it needs to be pointed out that UConn got crushed this weekend by a 1-2 Buffalo team 41-12. You know, the same Husky team that nearly beat Michigan two weekends ago?
• Ohio State was dealt a big blow to the defense when starting safety and leader Christian Bryant was lost for the season with serious ankle injury.