Big Ten Player Rankings: Elliott lands on top, Howard moving up

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Big Ten Player Rankings: Elliott lands on top, Howard moving up

Week 12 of the Big Ten football season is less than 24 hours away, ladies and gentlemen!

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We have seen so many outstanding games thus far, and even more amazing individual performances.

In last week’s edition of Big Ten Player Rankings, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart had Ezekiel Elliott as his No. 1 player, while I had Connor Cook in my top spot.

Now, I have to be on board with Tom and move the Buckeyes’ star back to my No. 1 spot as well.

Who else makes our list this week? Let’s find out.

Here are our Week 12 Big Ten Player Rankings.

TOM DIENHART

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. Another week, another 100-yard rushing game. That’s 15 in a row for Elliott, which is the most by a Big Ten player in the last 20 seasons and tied for the second-most by a FBS player in the last 20 seasons (TCU’s LaDainian Tomlinson). Elliott leads the Big Ten with 1,425 yards rushing and 16 TDs.

2. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana. He is on a roll, running for 238 yards and two touchdowns against Michigan a week after rushing for 174 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa. It’s the most rushing yards any player has had against Michigan since Northwestern’s Damien Anderson ran for 268 yards in 2000. Want more? Howard’s 149.9-yard rushing average leads the Big Ten.

3. C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa. How about a little love for a guy who has yet to lose a game as a starter? No, Beathard’s stats don’t glow, but he is a leader who can make plays with his arm and feet. And he makes those around him better. Bottom line: You can’t measure Beathard’s value with numbers.

4. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. The big fella continues to be a wreaking ball off the edge, pacing the nation in sacks (15.1) and tackles for loss (19.5).

5. Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State. He’s having a quietly dominating season, leading the Big Ten in catches (65) and receiving yards (1,021). Burbridge stretches the field, makes plays and must be accounted for by defenses. In short, he’s a difference-maker … he’s a stud.

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SEAN MERRIMAN

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. If I had a Heisman Trophy vote, this guy would be my pick. The Buckeyes’ star running back rushed for 181 yards and two scores in Ohio State’s win over Illinois last weekend, giving him 15 straight 100-yard games and 20 in his career, which ties Eddie George for the second most in school history. If he tops the 100-yard mark against Michigan State this weekend, he will tie former Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey for the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games over the last 20 seasons. That’s impressive.

2. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. After a strong run as my No. 1 player on this list, Cook takes a back seat to Elliott this week. The Spartans’ senior signal caller got banged up in MSU’s win over Maryland this past weekend, completing just 6-of-20 passes for 77 yards in limited action. Still, this guy is tied for the Big Ten lead in touchdown passes with 21, and ranks second in the conference in yards (2,482) and pass efficiency (143.0 rating).

3. Desmond King, DB, Iowa. Can we hand over the Jim Thorpe award to this guy already? King is tied for the NCAA lead with eight interceptions, which also ties an Iowa school record. So, how good is King? He held Alex Erickson, KJ Maye and Ricky Jones, three of the top receivers in the Big Ten, to a combined 14 catches for 175 yards. That’s an average of less than five catches for 60 yards per game. This guy is a flat-out stud.

4. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana. When he’s healthy, he’s simply unstoppable. Howard rumbled through a good Michigan defense this past weekend, rushing for a season-high 238 yards and two touchdowns in the Hoosiers’ 48-41 loss. His 238 rushing yards was the fourth-highest total against a Jim Harbaugh coached team. He is just one of three Big Ten running backs to already eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark, and he’s only played in eight games this season. What a special talent.

5. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. The Nittany Lions enjoyed a bye this past weekend, which is the only reason we didn’t hear about Nassib recording another sack this week. This guy leads the nation with 15.5 sacks, which is three more than any player in the country, which is an amazing stat! He’s recorded at least one sack in every game this season, which still impresses me every time I read it. Do I need to remind you that this guy didn’t start for his high school football team? Amazing.

 

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.

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