Sean Merriman, web editor, October 29, 2015

Ezekiel Elliott or Connor Cook?

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Both Big Ten stars had outstanding individual performances this past weekend. But who takes the top spot in this week's Big Ten Player Rankings?

Let?s find out!

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. He is the Big Ten?s version of ?beast mode,? an indomitable force who can?t be stopped. Third-and-five? Hand the ball to Zeke. Fourth-and-goal? Hand the ball to Zeke? Passing game struggling? Hand the ball to Zeke. This offense and season wouldn?t be on the trajectory it is without Zeke. Heisman Trophy? Hand it to Zeke.

2. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. He not only is the best signal-caller in the Big Ten, but he may be the best in America. Cook?s numbers glow (17 TDs-2 INTs), but it?s intangibles that make him special. He brings a swagger to the huddle and injects confidence and security into his teammates. They know that all will be OK-no matter the circumstance. That is priceless.

3. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. Raise your hand if you thought back in August that Mr. Former Walk-On would be leading the nation in sacks with 12.5 and tackles for loss with 17.5 as we head toward Halloween? That?s what I thought.

4. Nate Sudfeld, QB Indiana. The triggerman on an explosive offense, Sudfeld is among the Big Ten leaders in total offense, passing yards, passing efficiency and lack of respect. C?mon, people. Get on board and give ?Sud? love.

5. Desmond King, CB, Iowa. How about a little Hawkeye love for the best Hawkeye of them all? King paces the Big Ten with six picks and is No. 2 in passes defensed with 13. But those numbers don?t begin to do justice to his value to a defense that is No. 3 in the Big Ten (294.3 ypg). King just may be polishing the Thorpe Award in December.


1. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. He's making his case for the best quarterback in the nation. Cook is in the midst of an incredible three game stretch where he has averaged more than 360 yards and two touchdown passes per game in wins over Rutgers, Michigan and Indiana. He was just two (yes, two!) yards away from breaking MSU's single-game passing record last weekend. Most importantly, all he does is win, which is evident by his incredible 31-3 record as the Spartans' starting quarterback.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State. He's been nothing short of outstanding this season for the Buckeyes. Zeke racked up his 13th straight 100-yard game this past weekend, which is one of the most impressive streaks throughout college football. Where would Ohio State be without Elliott? I'll you tell you where they wouldn't be — ranked No. 1 in the nation and looking to make another run at a national title this season.

3. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State. I know. I know. How can I have a guy who has only started one game this season on my list? Well, because he's that good! Need proof? He has already totaled 801 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. He's the perfect fit for this Buckeye offense, and when healthy, he's one of the top signal callers in the country.

4. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. This guy is a menace to opposing quarterbacks. Heading into Week 9, Nassib has already totaled 12.5 sacks, which leads the nation. In fact, Nassib has recorded at least one sack in every game this season. How do you top that?

5. Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana. I'm all aboard the "Sud" love train. He cracked my top 5 last week, and after another 300-plus yard performance this past weekend, there's no reason to take him off my list. Sudfeld has the highest QB rating in the conference (155.9), and also ranks in the top three in passing yards with 2,049, passing touchdowns with 14, and yards-per-attempt with 9.1. That's impressive.