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B1G Ballers -€” Best Players in the Big Ten Conference So Far

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Spoiler Alert...Rutgers leads the nation in a category. You'll never guess what it is. It's so B1G...So very B1G.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

This is a checkup of the best players in the conference, from a pure numbers point of view. No, I haven't watched all the games. And I'm sure your team has a great player that the numbers just don't do him justice. So all you Long Legend fans can keep telling your stories...you know about how he was medically unable to play and did anyway.

I'm not here to ruin any mythology. I just want to see who the ballers are this year. And we have some for sure.

What follows is a statistical look at the leaders in the Big Ten Conference. These are our individual leaders. Players that we've watched play (or not...for us "writers") for the last 9 weeks. Individuals that we watched and thought, "Huh, that Peppers kid is pretty good..."

Well here's how they stack up. I took the top three in each category. Third place often ended tied, so I just took the first name. If your guy is third, he ain't first so it don't matter...

Under each category, you get my witty, random thoughts.

OFFENSE

RUSHING:

#1

#2

#3

Total Yards

Barkley (PSU) - 888

Jackson (NW) - 868

Smith (MN) - 801

YPC

Johnson (MD) - 10.4

Wadley (IA) - 7.1

Barkely (PSU) - 6.0T

Touchdowns

Barkley (PSU) - 10

Smith (MN) - 10

Wadley (IA) - 8

  • The rushing results weren't a real surprise here. We have heard all season that Saquon Barkley and Justin Jackson The Ball CarrierTM were good. To see them go 1&2 in total yards isn't a surprise.

PASSING:

#1

#2

#3

Completion %

Hills (UMD) -€” 66.4%

Barrett (OSU) - 63.9%

Speight (UM) - 62.8%

Yards

Blough (PU) - 2,346

Lagow (IN) - 2,180

Thorson (NW) - 1,942

Touchdowns

Barrett (OSU) - 17

Blough (PU) - 16

Thorson (NW) - 15

Passer Rating

Hills (UMD) - 149.9

Speight (UM) - 149.2

Barrett (OSU) - 147.0

Interceptions

Blough (PU) - 12

Lagow (IN) - 11

Armstrong (NU) - 7

  • Perry Hills is the most efficient passer and isn't in the top three for picks? What in the hell is going on here? But seriously, it shows exactly why Maryland is decent with him in and a raging tire fire when he's hurt.
  • David Blough is a stud for a sophomore quarterback. Get this kid a real coach, Purdue. By the time he's a senior, he'll be giving DC's fits. At the very least, he'll be the next great Purdue NFL quarterback.
  • And look who's putting together a solid season...that Thorson kid from Northwestern. Not bad for a nerd.
  • Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes leads the nation in passing yards with 3,519. That's 1,100 more than our best quarterback. Holy hell.

RECEIVING:

#1

#2

#3

Receptions

Carr (NW) - 58

Samuel (OSU) - 44

Wolitarsky (MN) - 40

Yards

Carr (NW) - 878

Darboh (UM) - 664

Westbrook (IN) - 628

Long

Yancey (PU) - 88

Shelton (MSU) - 86

Westbrook (IN) - 79

Touchdowns

Carr (NW) - 9

Yancey (PU) - 6

Darboh (UM) - 5

Avg. Yards Per Game

Carr (NW) - 109.8

Darboh (UM) - 83.0

Westbrook (IN) - 78.5

  • Okay, Austin Carr is a great receiver. Seriously. Fun fact, he's a musician who loves to sing. Another fun fact...he is a walk on. It's better to be lucky than good, right Fitzy?
  • "Drew Wolitarsky" could've been the name of the third Blues Brother.
  • Nationally, our best receiver is about 400 yards short of the best and 200 yards short of the top five players.

OTHER OFFENSE:

#1

#2

#3

Total Offense

Blough (PU) - 2,366

Barrett (OSU) - 2,206

Armstrong (NU) - 2,183

Plays Run

Blough (PU) - 402

Thorson (NW) - 351

Barrett (OSU) - 248

Scoring TD

Barkley (PSU) - 11

Smith (MN) - 11

Wadley (IA) - 9

Scoring Total

Durbin (OSU) - 75

Carpenter (MN) - 69

Davis (PSU) - 69

  • I'm telling ya, David Blough is going places on Sundays.
  • Right now, I think Blough and Barrett are second rounder picks...but what about Tommy A? UDFA? First Round? I just don't know.
  • Barkley is a first round draft pick...but not until after his senior year. You hear me Saquon?

KICKING:

#1

#2

#3

Field Goals Made

Carpenter (MN) - 13

Davis (PSU) - 13

Oakes (IN) - 11

Field Goal %

Davis (PSU) - 92.9%

Durbin (OSU) - 91.7%

Bonagura (RU) - 88.9%

Field Goal Attempts

Oakes (IN) - 17

Carpenter (MN) - 15

Davis (PSU) - 14

  • B1G kickers look impressive this year, probably because the national backdrop is so bad. Particularly in the NFL, where kicking is a crap shoot.

PUNTING:

#1

#2

#3

Attempts

Cintron (RU) - 60

Niswander (NW) - 48

Coluzzi (IA) - 46

Avg. Yards Per

Johnston (OSU) - 47.5

Niswander (NW) - 42.7

Allen (UM) - 42.1

Longest

Johnston (OSU) - 70

Gilliken (PSU) - 69

Frain (IL) - 67

  • The biggest of the B1G stats...what stands out here is that the great teams have great punters. OSU and UM rank in the top three average yards per punts.
  • Cameron Johnson's average yards per punt is fourth nationally.
  • Rutgers' Michael Cintron leads the nation in total yards punted at 2,297. To put that in perspective, it's 2.3 times the output of all the quarterbacks combined.

DEFENSE

TACKLING:

#1

#2

#3

Solo

Scales (IN) -€” 60

Igwebuike (NW) - 50

Cichy (WI) - 45

Total Tackles

Scales (IN) - 80

Jewell (IA) - 77

Nickerson (IL) - 75

Sacks

Odenigbo (NW) -€” 8

Watt (WI) - 7

Phillips (IL) - 6

TFL

Phillips (IL) -€” 13

Peppers (UM) - 12.5

Panfil (PU) - 10.5

TFL Yards

Phillips (IL) - 65

Odenigbo (NW) - 62

Watt (WI) - 61

Forced Fumbles

Oliver (IN) - 4

Devers (MN) - 3

Cichy (WI) - 2

  • Ye gods, Tegray Scales is a beast.
  • Once again, the B1G defenses are stout.
  • Carroll Phillips is hiding his light under a bushel basket that is Illini football.
  • Ifeadi Odenigbo is tied for 9th nationally in sacks...but he's just one off the lead.

OTHER DEFENSE:

#1

#2

#3

Passes Defended

Fant (IN) - 15

Tindal (WI) - 12

Lattimore (OSU) - 11

Picks

Williams (NU) - 4

Gerry (NU) - 4

Hooker (OSU) - 4

Pick Return Long Yds

Mosely (IL) - 78

Stribling (UM) - 51

Hooker (OSU) - 47

  • Three of our players are just two picks off the national leader in interceptions.
  • Nationally, two players had coast-to-coast picks, Curtis Mickell of Southern Miss and Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama.
That's the deal. If you have differences of opinion, take it up in the comments below.
Your Friend,

Townie.