Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Who are the Big Ten's big-play threats?
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
There aren't any Case Keenums or Ryan Matthewses (is that a word?) in the Big Ten this year, as the league has been dominated by defense. Some of the Big Ten's top big-play threats were relative unknowns entering the season, while others entered the fall with high expectations.
Here's a look where the top Big Ten player(s) rank nationally in several statistical categories recorded by the fine people at ESPN's Stats & Information group.
Passes of 20 yards or longer
Passes of 30 yards or longer
Receptions of 10 yards or longer
- T-4th -- Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi, 18 passes
- T-14th -- Minnesota QB Adam Weber, 14 passes
Receptions for 20 yards or longer
Rushes of 10 yards or longer
- 3rd -- Minnesota WR Eric Decker, 16 receptions
- T-11th -- Michigan State WR Blair White, 14 receptions
Quick thoughts: Stanzi might have driven Iowa fans nuts with his interceptions, but he was the Big Ten's top big-play quarterback this season. ... It has been a bit of all-or-nothing for Weber this season, as he has been able to hit on big plays at times but has seen his completion percentage drop to 54.2. ... I'm amazed that Decker, who has missed the last two games, remains the Big Ten's leader in receptions of longer than 20 yards. ... Purdue is still a big-play offense despite losing almost all its starting skill-position players from last year's team. Both Smith and Bolden have been weapons this fall behind quarterback Joey Elliott. ... No Big Ten player ranks among the national leaders in runs of longer than 15 or 20 yards. It speaks to the league's struggles at the running back position as well as the strong defenses we've seen. ... The fact that Pryor leads the league in rushes of 10 yards or more shows me that he should be running the ball at least 15 times a game, ideally 17-22 times.