Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 5
By Brian Bennett
Four weeks of games are in the books, although the most important ones on the schedule remain. It's never too early to check in on the status of some of the top Big Ten individual awards.
Here's how we see those races so far:
Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year
1. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (Last week: 2): He leads the nation in rushing, averaging 11.8 yards per carry, and has seven rushing touchdowns.
2. Penn State WR Allen Robinson (LW: 1): He had a rare quiet week vs. Kent State, with just three catches for 43 yards. But Robinson still leads all Big Ten receivers in yards and catches.
3. Iowa RB Mark Weisman (LW: 5): The Hawkeyes' workhorse got a bit of a breather last week in the blowout of Western Michigan. He has been the engine for that offense and ranks second in the league in rushing yards per game (117).
4. Ohio State QB Kenny Guiton (LW: Not ranked): Whether Guiton will continue playing much once Braxton Miller is healthy remains to be seen. Yet, he might be the Big Ten's top quarterback after four games with 13 touchdown passes and a 68.4 completion percentage.
5.Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase (LW: NR): The Illini were off last week but Scheelhaase still leads the league in passing yards per game (294.7).
Dropped out: Michigan QB Devin Gardner, Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld.
Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
1. Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (LW: 2): The undisputed leader of what has been a very good Badgers defense so far. Borland will have a big test this week against Ohio State's potent offense.
2. Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman: (LW: 4): The Gophers' huge tackle is tied for the league lead in tackles for loss (5.5). We are anxious to see what he can do against better competition, beginning this week vs. Iowa.
3. Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun (LW: 1): He's still living off his turnover heroics of the first two weeks. The Spartans' tremendous defense deserves to be represented here, whether by him, LB Max Bullough or someone else.
4. Penn State DT DaQuan Jones (LW: 3): He's tied with Hageman in tackles for loss and has 25 total tackles.
5. Iowa CB B.J. Lowery (LW: NR): He produced a pair of pick sixes last week, has three interceptions on the season and is tied for third in the league in passes defended with six.
Dropped out: Northwestern S Ibraheim Campbell
Butkus–Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year
1. Borland: He gets the early nod here, but since linebacker is arguably the deepest and most talented position in the league this season, it should be a great race for this award.
2. Michigan State's Max Bullough: He has 22 tackles and three of them for loss. But his real value is in being the captain of the Big ten's top defense.
3. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier: The junior has 28 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. We expect him to become even more of a force in conference play, as he did a season ago.
4. Iowa's Christian Kirksey: All three of the Hawkeyes' starting linebackers are playing at a high level, but Kirksey (30 tackles, an interception, four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble) is leading the way.
5. Illinois' Jonathan Brown: He leads the league in total tackles (38) despite having played just three games. He also has 1.5 sacks.