The Hustle Belt Belt is a fictitious belt given to the top MAC offensive, defensive, and special teams players every week.
The offense really came to shine this week. The defense was decent. The special teams ... well, they were just there. And although awards are most fun when the player's team wins, we can't always do that. Not when the conference goes 2-9 against legitimate FBS competition.
We were waiting for some breakout performances by those with great expectations before the season, and I think we saw some of them. Not only that, Akron and Buffalo totally had some great numbers by wide receivers, and for once they're credited. Please nominate your own selections, if they were grossly omitted, in the comments.
Chad Spann, you wonderful man. To get 223 yards on 15 carries, you would probably need to have runs of 56, 33, 30, 18, and 61 on Minnesota's defense. You would also likely have two touchdowns scattered in there. That's pretty much the only way to top the performance by Toledo's quarterback, who was also rather righteous in a Big Ten upset.
But he didn't have 14.8 yards per carry, and you did. So this belt's for you.
Talented offensive players who are not Chad Spann:
QB Austin Dantin, Toledo: 24-for-31, 209 yards, 2 TD; 17 carries, 96 yards, 2 TD
WR Terrence McCrae, OHIO: 4 catches, 118 yards, 2 TD
WR Jeremy LaFrance, Akron: 2 catches, 46 yards, 2 TD
QB Ryan Radcliff, CMU: 29-for-43, 247 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
WR Eric Page, Toledo: 10 catches, 94 yards, TD
WR Ed Young, Buffalo: 3 catches, 68 yards, 3 TD
Matt Berning Chippewas couldn't beat the Northwestern Fighting Intellectuals, but their studly linebacker did have 13 tackles, including two-and-a-half for losses. His teammate did have a pretty snazzy game, too, but maybe it's just my affinity for Matts.
The other contenders to the defensive belt:
LB Nick Bellore, CMU: 10 tackles, 1 TFL, INT
DL Stafford Gatling, OHIO: 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL, one pass breakup
LB Matt Boyd, EMU: 14 tackles, 1 forced fumble
LB Archie Donald, Toledo: 16 tackles, 51-yard interception
DE Steven Means, Buffalo: 4 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 pass breakup
My award, my rules. Bryan Wright was the best player for Bowling Green in their terrible loss to Michigan, and of course Wright is a former Wolverine himself. That's fate for you. But he punted the ball five times for a 47.4-yard average and also had some pretty strong kickoffs. It's what happened between the kicks that caused so much grief.
Pat yourselves on the back, special teamers:
Jimmie Ward, NIU: blocked punt, two special teams tackles
Ernie Hodge, OHIO: blocked PAT
Darryll Stinson, CMU: blocked PAT
Colby Way, Buffalo: blocked field goal