Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, October 18, 2014
Another fun weekend of Big Ten football is in the books. There weren't any upsets, but there were plenty of exceptional individual performances on both sides of the ball Saturday.
Here are my top Week 8 Big Ten individual performances.
1. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State. Barrett has officially cemented his name in the Heisman Trophy conversation. The Buckeyes' redshirt freshman quarterback was phenomenal in Saturday's 56-17 win over Rutgers, completing 19-of-31 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, to go along with 107 yards rushing and a pair of scores on the ground.
2. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska. Another Saturday, another incredible Abdullah effort. There was the usual impressive yardage (159 total, including 146 on the ground), but there also was the career-high four rushing touchdowns, all from one yard out. This guy is just a flat-out stud.
3. David Cobb, RB, Minnesota. Workhorse. That's the word that comes to mind when one thinks of Cobb. The star running back carried the ball 35 times for 194 yards and a touchdown in the Gophers' 39-38 win over Purdue. Cobb now has four straight games of at least 30 carries and 100 yards of total offense.
4. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. Cook was outstanding in Michigan State's 56-17 victory at Indiana. The Spartans' junior signal-caller continues to impress and build his resume as one of the top quarterbacks in college football. He completed 24-of-32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Cook has now tossed 16 touchdowns in seven games this season.
5. Cedric Thompson, DB, Minnesota. Thompson picked off two passes, the second of which helped seal Minnesota's 39-38 win over Purdue, and he tallied six tackles to help Minnesota improve to 6-1 and move to 3-0 in Big Ten action.
6. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland. Diggs had his best game of the season in Maryland's impressive 38-31 victory over Iowa on Saturday. The Terps' talented receiver hauled in a season-best nine catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He has caught at least five passes in every game this season.
7. Mitch Leidner, QB, Minnesota. Minnesota isn't knowing as a passing team, but Leidner made plays in the passing game when needed Saturday. The Gophers' starting signal-caller hit 9-of-18 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 84 yards and a score on the ground. This guy keeps improving every week.
8. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State. Langford has another big day for the Spartans, racking up 109 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Michigan State's 56-17 win at Indiana. Langford has now topped the 100-yard mark in four straight games this season and eight straight Big Ten games, dating to last season.
9. Drew Ott, DL, Iowa. It came in a losing effort, a game in which the defense allowed 38 points, but Ott was fantastic in Iowa's loss at Maryland. The defensive lineman started the game with an interception, to help Iowa jump out to a 14-0 lead, and he finished with three tackles and 2.5 sacks.
10. Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern. Entering Saturday night's game vs. Nebraska, Jackson had done it all but run for a touchdown vs. a Big Ten team. That changed in the 38-17 defeat, as Jackson ran for two scores, Northwestern's only touchdowns in what was a close game until the fourth quarter. The freshman also ran for 128 yards.