Linebackers, tailbacks highlight Week 9 B1G Players of the Week
On the last Saturday of October, the B1G lived up to its reputation.
Power football and defenses were on display, and naturally, those areas dominated the weekly B1G awards.
Four of the five B1G player of the week honors went to either running backs or linebackers. Marcus Oliver (Indiana), Ryan Connelly (Wisconsin), Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Tyler Natee (Indiana) and Kenny Allen (Michigan) were this week’s honorees.
No game better embodied the power football and defense mantra better than the Nebraska-Wisconsin overtime thriller in Madison. With Jack Cichy sidelined for the year, Connelly did everything and more to lift the Badgers to their third win vs. a top-10 team. He earned co-Defensive Player of the Week honors after he finished with a career-high 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups.
Connelly shared that award with Oliver, who also had a career day in a winning effort. He racked up 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles, which set a program record for forced fumbles in a career. Oliver was the first Indiana player to win B1G Defensive Player of the Week honors since John Pannozzo in 2005.
Connelly’s teammate, Natee, also picked up a weekly honor. The B1G Freshman of the Week ripped off a career-high 111 rushing yards on 18 carries in IU’s win against Maryland. He helped IU rack up its most rushing yards against a B1G foe in 15 years.
Another tailback, Barkley, took home B1G Offensive Player of the Week honors. The electric Penn State sophomore ran all over Purdue and finished with a career-high 207 rushing yards and 277 all-purpose yards in the Lions blowout win on Saturday. It was the second time this season that Barkley earned the offensive player of the week honor.
And in the B1G’s most-heated rivalry game of the week, Michigan got a big boost in special teams against Michigan State this time. Allen converted all three field goal and extra point attempts to lock up a nine-point win for the Wolverines. He also recorded three touchbacks and averaged 40.7 yards per punt.