It’s the best time of the week and it’s here again, folks! Another Saturday has come and gone, with that another week of Big Ten conference play. What was supposed to be one of the better games of the week disappointed, as Penn State rolled all over the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan State and Northwestern outlasted close ones against Indiana and Iowa, respectively. Rutgers took Purdue all the way to a failed fourth quarter two-point conversion to pick up their second straight conference win over the Boilermakers. Minnesota handed Illinois a loss as the Fighting Illini join Indiana at the bottom of the conference. Oh, and can’t forget about those Badgers who had their way with Maryland, as Jonathan Taylor widened his margin as the conference’s rushing leader. So, let’s get on with it, here we go with this week’s edition of Big Ten Players of the Week.
Joe Gaziano Sophomore DL Northwestern
Does anyone else notice the defensive unit out of Northwestern? The Wildcats have been sneaky good on defense, especially bottling up the run. They had an impressive showing a few weeks ago against Penn State when they limited Saquon Barkley (to an extent). This week they did the same to one of the better backs in the Big Ten in Iowa’s Akrum Wadley. A big part of the defense’s success has been defensive end Joe Gaziano. The sophomore lived in the Iowa backfield Saturday, finishing with six tackles, four for loss, and two sacks. The two sacks leave Gaziano tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks at five on the season.
Saquon Barkley Junior RB Penn State
Did someone say Saquon Barkley? The junior running back made what was a rather tough match up against a stout Michigan look pretty easy. A Heisman favorite, Barkley averaged slightly over seven yards per carry for 108 yards and two touchdowns. If that isn’t enough, he also snatched three receptions for 53 yards and a score. Put that on your fantasy teams. It started early for Barkley as he split the Michigan defense for an untouched 69-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. Seriously, take a quick look at Barkley and you start to forget about some of the top backs that have come out in recent years. The man just simply does everything. Teams have yet to find an answer for the likely top-five NFL draft pick.
Johnathan Taylor Freshman RB Wisconsin
1,000 yards in SEVEN GAMES
Name a true freshman that does more for their team than Johnathan Taylor does for Wisconsin. I’ll wait. Seriously, this man could probably be a fixture on here every week, and I’m not just saying that cause he’s from Jersey. He is legitimately that good, and the Badgers fuel their offense with the true freshman. After two straight games of 200 plus yardage, Taylor finished this weekend with 126 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Now, he did lose a fumble in the process, but it didn’t have much of an impact on the game. Besides, not only is he leading the Big Ten in rushing but he’s ranked fourth in the nation. Anyone smell that? Smells like a future Heisman winner to me.
Trace McSorley Senior QB Penn State
"He is a winner."
For as much as Barkley did the other night, Trace McSorley was right there with him. The former finished the day with completing 17 of 26 passes for 256 yards and a score. Most of his damage came on the ground though, running for 76 yards and three scores. To put it in perspective, the Michigan defense has allowed just three rushing touchdowns all year and McSorley matched that himself. With as much attention that Barkley garners, teams surely have over looked the senior quarterbacks duel threat ability. The Nittany Lions made the read option look easy as McSorley exploited the middle of the Wolverines defensive line. If McSorley can lead this offense the way he did against what was the best defense in the Big Ten then there may not be anyone stopping this team.
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