Big Ten Player Rankings: Ezekiel Elliott tops our guys' new lists

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Big Ten Player Rankings: Ezekiel Elliott tops our guys' new lists

If you like offense, you will love this week’s edition of Big Ten Player Rankings.

[ MORE: Week 6 scoreboard | Week 6 previews | Polls: Pick Week 6 winners | Big Ten standings | Big Ten stats | Latest polls | Power Rankings | Bowl Projections | Player Rankings | Q&A: Shilique Calhoun | Big Ten Mailbag | Leonte Carroo reinstated | BTN to air No. 1, No. 4 & No. 13-No. 18 this week ]

Week 5 of the Big Ten football season was filled with plenty of outstanding individual performances, but how did that change our list?

It’s time for BTN senior writer Tom Dienhart and web editor Sean Merriman to release their updated Big Ten Player Rankings.

We have a new leader this week, as Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott tops both Dienhart’s and Merriman’s list.

Who else made it?

Find out here.

TOM DIENHART

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. Welcome back to the list, Zeke! That’s what a 274-yard rushing day will do for you. Elliott now leads the Big Ten (fifth in America) in rushing with 729 yards (145.8 ypg), averaging a nifty 7.3 yards per jaunt with a league-high eight rushing scores. The junior may be the best ever to run the ball at Ohio State. I’m serious.

2. Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern. Where would the Wildcats be without Jackson? Scary thought, huh? The super soph has been a workhorse and the lynchpin of Northwestern’s offense, carrying a Big Ten-high 138 times for 636 yards—third-most in the league and 10th in the nation (127.2 ypg). Can Jackson hold up? He better, or NU’s offense—and season–may grind to a halt.

3. Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin. Who is this guy? He’s a former walk-on-turned-stud defender, that’s who. The senior had himself a “tell the grandchildren one day” game last week vs. Iowa with eight tackles, three sacks and four tackles for a loss. He also forced two fumbles, recovering one of them, and had five quarterback hurries. Got all that? As a result, Schobert paces the Big Ten in sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (13.0).

4. Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois. The former JC transfer has been a revelation as a senior. He leads the Big Ten in catches (32) and receiving yards (453), averaging 14.2 yards per grab. Nebraska is still trying to figure out how to cover Allison. He made eight receptions for 91 yards and a TD vs. the Cornhuskers last week. And his eighth catch was the best, as the 6-4, 200-pound Allison hauled in the game-winning one-yard TD pass with 10 seconds hanging on the clock to deliver the knockout blow to the Huskers in an incredible 14-13 victory.

5. Desmond King, CB, Iowa. Throw at King at your own risk. The Hawkeye ball hawk had two picks last week in a monster win at Wisconsin that was fueled by the Iowa defense. Again, thank King. The junior leads the nation with five interceptions. And he’s tied for the Big Ten lead with nine passes broken up.

***

SEAN MERRIMAN

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. We were waiting to see the Buckeyes’ star back have a breakout game, and we got just that in OSU’s 34-27 win over Indiana this past week. The Heisman hopeful rushed for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ win. He now leads the conference in rushing and is averaging 7.3 yards per game this season. I would say that’s deserving of the No. 1-ranking on this week’s list.

2. Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State. Bullough only notched five tackles against Purdue, his lowest total this season. However, he still has 51 tackles this season, which ranks third in the Big Ten. More importantly, he has been the rock of this Spartan defense, which has been hit with a lot of injuries so far this season.

3. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana. He got banged up this past weekend against Ohio State, but Howard still ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing with 709 yards, an average of more than 140 yards per game. When healthy, Howard is one of the top running backs in the nation. Bold? Maybe, but check the stats, they don’t lie.

4. Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern. Is there a more consistent player in the Big Ten? Jackson has rushed for 120 yards in four of the Wildcats’ five games this season and has been the engine that makes this Northwestern offense go. His 636 rushing yards ranks third in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation. The sophomore back is on pace to rush for 1,500 yards this season.

5. Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State. How impressive has this guy been in his first year as a starter? The talented sophomore linebacker leads the Big Ten with 54 tackles in five games, an average of just under 11 stops per contest. He’s had 32 (yes, 32!) tackles over the past two games. That’s incredible!

Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor

BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman covers football and men's basketball and provides original content for BTN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @BTNSean.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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