Thursday, September 27, 2012
Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 5
By Brian Bennett
Players don't win individual awards in nonconference play. They do it by starring in Big Ten games Still, let's look at where the leaders for some award stand with non-conference play all but wrapped up.
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year
1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: Through four games, Miller is the Big Ten MVP, leading the league in scoring, ranking second in rushing and bailing out the Buckeyes in their four wins. But this week, he goes on the road for the first time and faces the powerful Michigan State defense. So stay tuned.
2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: It's hard to overstate just how good Martinez has been. He leads the league in pass efficiency and is completing more than 70 percent of his passes, with a 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has a chance to erase some demons this week against Wisconsin.
3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State: Bell is second in the FBS in total rushing yards and has two 200-yard games. But after just a so-so showing against Notre Dame, he'll need to step it up versus Ohio State.
4. Matt McGloin, QB Penn State: Don't laugh. McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing yards and has a 9-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio. He's on pace for a 3,000-yard season. No, really.
5. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: McGloin's favorite target, Robinson has nearly 150 more yards than the next best Big Ten wide receiver, and he leads the league with five touchdown catches.
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
1. Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State: The Nittany Lions defense is playing really well, and Mauti is its leader. He's second in the league in tackles and has to be pretty close to first in effort.
2. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue: Short drops a spot simply because he didn't play last week. He'll face a dangerous passing offense versus Marshall this week but will really make his bones in league play.
3. D.L. Wilhite, DE, Minnesota: Wilhite leads the league in sacks with 4.5, and with an extra tackle for loss, he's second in that category as well. He's a big key to a vastly improved Gophers pass rush.
Bakken–Andersen Kicker of the Year
1. Jeff Budzien, Northwestern: Budzien is a perfect 8-for-8 on field goal tries this season, and the 4-0 Wildcats needed them in their wins over Vanderbilt and Boston College.
2. Mike Meyer, Iowa: No kicker in the country has made more than Meyer's nine field goals, which also says something about the Hawkeyes' offense. Meyer is 9-for-10 on the season, including a 50-yarder in his team's one-point win over Northern Illinois. Reigning kicker of the year Brett Maher from Nebraska is just 4-for-8 this season.