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Michigan State posted one of the most complete outings of the Big Ten season thus far in a critical road division win over Iowa. Indiana exercised some demons with the first win in school history over Penn State. Without Taylor Martinez, Nebraska handled its business at home against overmatched Illinois team. And Michigan kept control of the Little Brown Jug.
But Ohio State made the biggest statement of the weekend by clearly yet another big hurdle. The Buckeyes turned to the power running game to make a big statement against a very good Northwestern team in a hostile environment in Evanston.
Here are the Big Ten's Week 6 Superlatives:
Big Ten Week 6 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
The 235-pound running back from Florida was simply too much for Northwestern to handle. On a night when Braxton Miller didn't play his best, Hyde stepped up and salvaged the Buckeyes national championship hopes. He entered the night with just 22 rushing attempts and 126 yards on the season but finished with 26 carries, 168 yards and three crucial second-half touchdowns. The worn-down Wildcats had no answer for Hyde's physicality in the second half. The Ohio State tailback also caught four passes for 38 yards.
Defensive Player of the Week: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Michigan State cornerback was preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick by Athlon Sports and he showed why Saturday. In a key division road win, Dennard led the team with eight tackles and added two interceptions as the Spartans shut out of the Hawkeyes in the second half. This unit held Mark Weisman to just nine yards and is still leading the nation in total defense (203.8 ypg).
Team of the Week: Ohio State
Both Michigan State and Indiana had critical — and historic in the Hoosiers case — wins in Week 6 over Iowa and Penn State respectively. But the Buckeyes were once again the class of the Big Ten conference after defeating Northwestern 40-30 on the road. With a power rushing attack, a dynamic quarterback, elite-level coach and, now, two huge wins over ranked conference opponents, there is little doubt who the best team in the league is after six weeks of play.
Coordinator of the Week: John Papuchis, Nebraska
Illinois entered the game against Nebraska averaging nearly 500 yards of offense and more than 40 points per game. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was averaging 307.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns in four games. Nebraska's defense, though, played its best game of the year, holding the Illini to 372 yards, 19 total points, 4-of-15 on third downs, registering three sacks and forcing two turnovers. Without Taylor Martinez, the Huskers' defense came up big once again.
Freshman of the Week: Tommy Armstrong Jr., QB, Nebraska
In the absence of Taylor Martinez, Armstrong (and fellow reserve signal caller Ron Kellogg III) has been charged with running the Huskers offense. Armstrong played excellent football against the Illini, completing 8 of 13 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the impressive win. He also ran the ball nine times for 18 yards on the ground and didn't throw an interception for a second straight game. With a road trip to Purdue up next before another week off, don't be surprised if Bo Pelini goes to his freshman again in an effort to get Martinez fully healthy.
• Penn State's Christian Hackenberg broke his own school freshman passing record with 340 yards against Indiana.
• Allen Robinson had 12 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs against Indiana. He moved into seventh place all-time in school history with 118 career receptions and fifth all-time with 16 career TD receptions.
• Iowa was leading the Big Ten and was fourth nationally in time of possession entering Week 6 (35:50). The Hawkeyes held the ball for 22:47 in the loss to Michigan State.
• Nebraska is now leading the nation all by itself with just two sacks allowed in 2013.
• Indiana is now 1-16 all-time against Penn State after the win over the Nittany Lions this weekend.
• Ohio State still owns the nation's longest winning streak at 18 and Michigan owns the longest home winning streak with 18. These two will play in Ann Arbor on the final weekend of the regular season.
• After going 10 of 13 on third downs against Minnesota, the Wolverines are leading the Big Ten in third-down conversions at 53.7 percent (36 of 67) which is good for 11th nationally.
• Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah ran for a personal-best 225 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois.
• Despite two different outcomes, Iowa and Michigan are still the nation's only teams that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.
• Michigan State's Connor Cook set a career high with 277 yards passing. He also had two long scoring strikes in the win over Iowa.
• Saturday was the first game of the season that Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste didn't have an interception in 2013.