Saturday was filled with standout plays and team efforts in the Big Ten. Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt returned an interception for a 17-yard touchdown, Iowa’s Riley McCarron returned a punt for a 55-yard score and Ohio State’s Malik Hooker broke up a potential game-winning two-point conversion.
But with this week's helmet stickers we’re trying to honor players -- and position groups -- who had the biggest impact during all four quarters. This weekend was trickier than usual, but all of the standouts below separated themselves with some memorable efforts. Here are the Big Ten’s best and brightest from Week 12:
Penn State trenches: Thirty Penn State players were credited with a tackle or quarterback hurry and the offense produced 549 total yards Saturday, so it’s difficult to pinpoint one standout in the 39-0 thrashing of Rutgers. But both the offensive and defensive lines deserve plenty of praise. The offensive line overcame injuries to three tackles -- and the subsequent mixing and matching -- and gave up just a single tackle for loss despite 49 rushing attempts. The defensive line pushed Rutgers around all night and helped limit the Scarlet Knights to just 87 total yards of offense. Penn State's play in the trenches couldn’t have been much better.
Iowa RB LeShun Daniels Jr.: With C.J. Beathard throwing a season-low 17 passes, the Hawkeyes needed their running game to step up -- and Daniels come on in a big way. He finished with 26 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns to power Iowa past Illinois, 28-0. Daniels accounted for 47 percent of Iowa’s offense. Akrum Wadley served as a nice complement Saturday (13 carries for 82 yards and one TD), but it was Daniels’ show this time. On Iowa’s first series in the second half, Daniels touched the ball eight times on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in his 1-yard score.
Michigan DL Ryan Glasgow & RB De'Veon Smith: Hopefully, these two don’t mind sharing a helmet sticker -- because they each boasted two of the better Big Ten performances Saturday. Glasgow led all conference players with three tackles for loss, to go along with seven total tackles and a forced fumble. Smith, meanwhile, set a career high by rushing for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, accounting for 56 percent of Michigan's total offense. Without these two, who knows if the Wolverines would’ve still beaten Indiana 20-10.
Michigan State RB L.J. Scott: Forget being a big part of the offense. Scott essentially was the Michigan State offense. Sure, the Spartans fell short, 17-16, against Ohio State -- but that’s no fault of Scott’s. The sophomore running back finished with 19 carries for 160 yards and a score. Plus, he caught two passes for 76 yards and another score. Overall, that means he accounted for 71 percent of Michigan State's offense. It’s not often we give a helmet sticker to a star on a losing team, but Scott proved to be a worthy exception. He set career highs in rushing yards, receiving yards and yards per carry.
Nebraska QB Ryker Fyfe: The fifth-year senior hasn’t had to play often -- Saturday marked just his second career start - but, in the words of wideout Jordan Westerkamp, Fyfe “played out of his mind” during Saturday’s 28-7 win over Maryland. Fyfe didn’t post crazy numbers, but he guided the Nebraska offense downfield, where running back Terrell Newby punched in three rushing touchdowns. Fyfe finished 23-of-37 for 220 yards and a touchdown. But his most surprising number -- a 94.9 QBR -- reflected his efficiency. No other Big Ten quarterback with at least 10 passes came remotely close to that Saturday. Statistically, it was Nebraska’s best passing day all season. So give the fifth-year senior his first-ever helmet sticker. He earned it.