Thursday, November 1, 2012
Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 10
By Brian Bennett
Who's leading the races for some Big Ten hardware? Let's take a gander.
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year
1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: Are there any doubts? The league's only legitimate Heisman contender and the pilot of a 9-0 team is leading by a wide margin.
2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: Martinez leads the league in passing efficiency and has the best completion percentage (66) among those who have thrown at least 100 passes. He's also the most important piece of the Big Ten's top offense and the current Legends Division frontrunners.
3. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State: McGloin takes a small step backward after a so-so performance against Ohio State, in which his pick-six played a key role in the loss. Still, he's having a great season overall and is still on pace to pass for 3,000 yards.
4. Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern: Mark had another 100-yard day last week and is second in rushing yards only to Miller. He's the Wildcats' first 1,000-yard back since 2006.
5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: Ball was slowed down big time by Michigan State but still leads the league in rushing touchdowns (13). He'll need a strong finish to have a chance at winning this award for a second straight year.
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
1. Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State: The Nittany Lions lost on Saturday, but Mauti collected 13 tackles in another standout performance. Penn State fans will swear he was held on one of Miller's touchdown runs.
2. Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State: Bullough continues to be the anchor and captain for the Big Ten's top defense. He had nine tackles and a pair of sacks in the Spartans' road win at Wisconsin.
3. Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan: The Wolverines took one on the chin at Nebraska, and Ryan had only four tackles. That quieted the hype a bit after he had turned in some outstanding recent Saturdays.
4. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin: The Badgers' linebacker is tied for the league lead in total tackles (92) and is tops in tackles for loss with 11. Yet he continues to go unnoticed by many.
5. Tyler Scott, DE, Northwestern: Scott leads the conference with seven sacks and three forced fumbles and is a big reason why Northwestern's run defense and pass rush have improved.
Hayes–Schembechler Coach of the Year
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Meyer gets the nod this week after beating Bill O'Brien and Penn State on the road to get to 9-0. If he takes a team that went 6-7 last year to a perfect season in his first season, doesn't he have to be recognized for that?
2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State: O'Brien still might win if the voting were done today, but the Nittany Lions are 5-3 and need to close strong.
3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Take issue if you want with a couple of blown fourth-quarter leads, but the Wildcats are still 7-2. Nothing wrong with that.