Week 11 B1G Game Balls
It’s easy to give a game ball to a running back. You could made the case for a handful every week, especially in the B1G.
But Saturday was a great day to be a B1G tailback. Three guys nearly racked up 200 yards and did all they could to will their teams to wins. For guys like Ezekiel Elliott and Justin Jackson, Saturday wasn’t anything crazy. They’ve led their teams to wins like that a dozen teams. That’s what makes them so great.
And still worthy of a game ball.
Justin Jackson, Northwestern RB — Jackson doesn’t get many chances to convert in the red zone these days. But when the Wildcats needed to reach pay dirt to avoid an upset against Purdue, the talented sophomore converted. Warren Long might’ve had the highlight reel plays, but Jackson did what he often does — move the chains when the passing game is struggling. Few are proving to be more valuable than Jackson.
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB — No running back in college football has been more consistently dominant than Zeke. The Buckeye back produced his 15th straight 100-yard rushing game to lead the Buckeyes to a ho-hum four-possession victory. He even produced the block of the day on J.T. Barrett’s rushing score. There simply is not a more complete back in college football than Zeke.
Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State LB — In the middle of a defense full of veterans, the sophomore again played beyond his years. He racked up 14 tackles, two of which for loss, and shut down the Illinois run game. The former five-star recruit is as sure a tackler there is in the B1G, and he’s taking advantage of the fact that defenses are avoiding Darron Lee and Josh Perry.
Malik McDowell, Michigan State DT — Michigan State forced turnover after turnover against a Maryland team that can’t get out of its own way. The Terps found themselves in third-and-longs because of McDowell, who racked up 4.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Without his fellow tackle Joel Heath, the sophomore stepped up and showed why he’s going to be one of the cornerstones of the MSU defense as long as he’s in East Lansing.
Cethan Carter, Nebraska TE — We love versatility here. If there’s a tight end that had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game this year, I don’t know of it. Tommy Armstrong showed trust in him that he hadn’t all year. That’s why he tossed him a red zone jump ball in double coverage. For a guy that spent the first part of the season suspended, Saturday’s showing had to feel good.
LeShun Daniels Jr., Iowa RB — Fill in the blank. Iowa running back _______ runs for a career-high and three touchdowns. Same old, same old. In reality, there was nothing ho-hum about Daniels’ performance. There was certainly nothing run-of-the-mill about his 51-yard touchdown scamper that sent Kinnick Stadium into a frenzy in the final minutes. According to BTNStatsGuys, Daniels’ career day made Iowa the first FBS team in 18 years to have at least three different players run for 195-plus yards in a game in the same season. Classic. Iowa.
Jordan Howard, Indiana RB — If you didn’t consider Howard one of the country’s best tailbacks, you certainly did after Saturday. He put the IU offense on his back on Saturday and ripped off a career-high 238 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps the only question was how Kevin Wilson didn’t give him the ball on the final play. Howard showed everyone — including one of the nation’s best run defenses — how dangerous he can be.
Jehu Chesson, Michigan WR — If you played Chesson or Jake Rudock in your daily fantasy league, you made a lot of money. Chesson became the second B1G player in the last 20 years to record 200 receiving yards and four touchdowns. That’s a solid three-game stretch. Chesson was clutch, too. Rudock threw him a ball in double coverage with the game on the line at the end of regulation and Chesson came up with the grab to force overtime. Whatever was asked of Chesson, he answered.
Jake Rudock, Michigan QB — And Rudock was the one asking a lot of Chesson. Needless to say, that was the best game of the Iowa transfer’s career. Overtime inflated his numbers, but Rudock still set a Michigan record with an absurd SIX touchdown passes. He became the first B1G quarterback in 11 years to eclipse 400 yards and six touchdowns, and was the first to accomplish that feat on the road in the last 20 years. On a day in which offense shined, Rudock shined brightest.