Big 10 football wasn’t exactly close in week 12, but dominant performances by some of the conference’s top teams wouldn’t have been possible without extraordinary performances by some of their best players. This week, it was OSU’s Chris Olave and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson who shined as the brightest prospects in college football.
A week after teammate Garrett Wilson put on a show against Purdue, Chris Olave took the reins in the Ohio State passing game. The senior receiver caught seven passes for 140 yards and two scores. While his running mates in the Ohio State passing game also got theirs against the Spartan defense, Olave stood out by seemingly turning every one of his catches into a big play.
Ohio State demolished Michigan State 56-7, with 49 of those points coming in the first half. Even as gaudy as his play was, he really only got to see the field for a half of football. Imagine what the numbers would look like if he even played another quarter?
While of little consequence, it is fun to watch Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson quietly compete every week for which player is the better draft prospect in that group. Olave is arguably the better athlete and Wilson is arguably the more technically sound player, but the players are pretty dead even. On the season, Chris Olave has 58 catches for 848 yards and 13 scores. With a few more games left this season, expect Olave to keep pushing for opportunities to continue make big plays for the Buckeyes.
Another Big 10 blowout can be attributed to another performance by one of the best players in the country. Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson terrorized the Maryland defense as teh Wolverine’s walloped the Terps 59-18.
Hutchinson did not fill up the stat sheet like he normally does, but Maryland was clearly so freightened by his potential impact that it limited their entire offense. Extra blockers committed to Hutchinson created opportunities for other Michigan defenders to make plays. Fear of pressure naturalized a long passing game and kept Maryland extremely conservative. Even with all the game planning, Hutchinson was a menace against the run and still generated pressure on passing downs.
The Maryland game was a great example how a dominant defender can impact the game without highlight plays. The team game planned to slow Hutchinson and, in turn, capped what their offense could do for four quarters. They paid dearly for that.