Big Ten Player Rankings: Ezekiel Elliott remains on top
If you are a fan of running backs, you will enjoy this week’s edition of Big Ten Player Rankings.
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Week 6 of the Big Ten football season was filled with some outstanding individual performances, and many of them came from the top backs in the conference.
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.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. The guy is an efficient machine who grinds out 100-yard games like McDonald’s grinds out hamburgers. His 835 yards leads the Big Ten in rushing, as do his 10 TDs and 6.9 yards per carry. He’s run for 100+ yards in each game this season and for 11 straight dating back to last season. Want more? He has 16 career 100-yard rushing games, which is tied for the fifth-most in school history.
2. Jordan Canzeri, RB, Iowa. He is 5-9, 192 pounds, but he plays like 7-9, 492. Canzeri ran for more than 120 yards against a very stingy Wisconsin defense and turned around and carried it a school-record 43 times against Illinois. At one point in the fourth quarter last week, Canzeri toted the rock 11 straight times on the drive that put Iowa up by six points en route to an eye-popping 256-yard performance vs. the Illini. And just think: He didn’t even begin the season as the starter.
3. Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois. For a second week in a row, he’s the best player you still never have heard about. Allison paces the Big Ten in catches (40) and receiving yards (601), averaging 15.0 yards per grab. He hurt his head at Iowa but has time to recover with a bye this week.
4. Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers. He made his return from suspension and played well last week, catching seven passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns. How big was his return for RU? Carroo accounted for more than 64 percent of the team’s receiving yards. He showed why he is arguably the best receiver in the conference. Despite missing those two games, Carroo has 14 catches for 315 yards (22.5 ypc) with six TDs.
5. Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin. He plays with the fury of the Tasmanian Devil, whirling about making plays. Schobert is No. 1 in the Big Ten in tackles for loss (13.5) and No. 2 in sacks (9.0) for a defense that is No. 4 in the Big Ten overall (285.8 ypg) and No. 2 in scoring (11.5 ppg).
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. He’s the best player on the best team in college football. Elliott racked up another 100-yard game in the Buckeyes’ win over Maryland last weekend. He now has 835 rushing yards and 10 scores this season, both of which lead the Big Ten. Elliott has 11 (yes, 11!) straight 100-yard games. Are you kidding me? He’s my No. 1, and honestly, it’s not even that close.
2. Jordan Canzeri, RB, Iowa. After his record-setting performance against Illinois, this guy has earned himself the No. 2 spot on my list. Canzeri rushed for 256 yards and a touchdown against the Illini. He now ranks second in the Big Ten with 697 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Most importantly, he has the Hawkeyes rolling into Evanston this weekend with a perfect 6-0 record.
3. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. He was on my list heading into the season, and after a great showing against Rutgers, Cook is back. The Spartans’ senior signal caller threw for a season-best 357 yards and two touchdowns in MSU’s 31-24 win. Can he keep it up against in-state rival Michigan this weekend? If so, I like the Spartans chances, don’t you?
4. Jourdan Lewis, DB, Michigan. I have yet to put a Michigan player on my list this season, until now. Lewis has been a stud in the Wolverines’ secondary this year. He totaled four tackles and a pick-six in the Wolverines’ impressive 38-0 rout of Northwestern. Lewis ranks among the Big Ten leaders in passes defended (10) and interceptions (2). How fun is his matchup with MSU’s Aaron Burbridge going to be? To quote the great Bart Scott — Can’t wait!
5. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. This guy is a sack machine. No, not Joey Bosa or Shilique Calhoun. I’m talking about Penn State’s Carl Nassib. He leads the Big Ten with 10 sacks in only six games this season, an average 1.67 per contest. He also ranks first in forced fumbles (5) and second in tackles for loss (12). What a special talent.