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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 11

By Brian Bennett

With just three weeks left in the regular season, there isn't much time for Big Ten players to make their moves for individual awards. Here's how we see the races right now:

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: Just keeps on keepin' on. At this point, Miller might have to turn in two terrible performances in his last two games not to win this award.

2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: Frustrating at times with his turnovers, Martinez has also become a master of the fourth-quarter comeback. He's the biggest reason why the Huskers are closing in on a Legends Division title.

3. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State: Another strong and efficient game last week at Purdue (22-for-36, 321 yards, three touchdowns) has McGloin holding steady in this race. Now: Can he engineer a signature road win in Lincoln?

4. Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern: Off last week, Mark ranks second in the league in rushing and his 6.5 yards per carry is higher than every other top tailback in the conference.

5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State: Bell had a big game against Nebraska last week, and the Big Ten's leading rusher is on pace for more than 1,600 yards if his team can get to a 13th game.

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

1. Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State: Mauti continues to lead because of his consistent play and because no one else has really jumped out to take away top contender status from him yet.

2. Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan: Ryan was all over the place last week at Minnesota, seemingly blowing up just about every play. He leads the league now with 12 tackles for loss.

3. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin: You could make an argument for either Taylor or Chris Borland as Wisconsin's MVP, but Taylor is second in the league in tackles and third in TFLs. Wisconsin will need both this weekend at Indiana.

4. Tyler Scott, DE, Northwestern: Scott still leads the conference with seven sacks after a bye week and will need to come up big Saturday at Michigan.

5. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Roby leads the conference in passes defended (18) and seems headed to All-Big Ten recognition. He also brings some swagger to the Buckeyes' defense.

Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year

1. Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State: Barnes has been a strong presence for the Nittany Lions all year long. The redshirt freshman has four sacks, a Big Ten-leading three forced fumbles and six tackles for loss.

2. Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota: Nelson got a late start on the year but has been impressive in his three starts. If he can lead the Gophers to a bowl game and a strong finish, he'll get heavy consideration for this award.

3. Kyle Carter, TE, Penn State: An ankle injury kept Carter out of last week's game at Purdue, but before that he had been on a tear. For the year, Carter has 35 catches for 441 yards and two touchdowns in Bill O'Brien's tight-end-friendly offense.

4. Mason Monheim, LB, Illinois: Monheim gives Illini fans something to be excited about for the future, as he leads all Big Ten freshmen with 59 tackles.

5. Jason Spriggs, LT, Indiana: Spriggs has started all season at left tackle as a true freshman, and while he has room to improve, the Hoosiers have one of the best offenses in the league.