ESPN releases midseason All-B1G team
It’s crazy to think that 2015 is already halfway in the books.
Three B1G teams remain unbeaten, which is as many as any conference in college football. Naturally, those teams dominated ESPN’s midseason All-B1G team.
Ohio State had the most selections with six while Michigan State had four, and Iowa and Michigan had three apiece. Purdue, Illinois and Nebraska were the only teams that weren’t represented.
Here’s the team ESPN’s panel of B1G writers came up with:
QB: Connor Cook, Michigan State: It’s difficult to beat his consistency or his leadership, as he’s thrown 13 TDs to two interceptions so far.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State: Speaking of consistency, Elliott has rushed for more than 100 yards in every game this season. At this rate, he should approach the 2,000-yard mark.
RB: Jordan Canzeri, Iowa: Besides Elliott, no other Big Ten back has approached his nine-touchdown production. He’s also a threat in the passing game.
WR: Aaron Burbridge, Michigan State: Let’s just call this catch Exhibit A. With 692 receiving yards, he’s accounting for nearly 42 percent of the Spartans’ passing offense.
WR: Leonte Carroo, Rutgers: Sure, he has played in only 13 quarters, but he’s still tied for fourth nationally in touchdown receptions with nine.
TE: Jake Butt, Michigan: At this point last season, the eventual Big Ten tight end of the year had 15 catches. Butt already has 23 this season.
OT: Taylor Decker, Ohio State: He’s the leader of the Buckeyes’ offensive line, which Urban Meyer called the players of the game against Penn State.
OT: Jack Conklin, Michigan State: Only 10 teams in the nation have given up fewer sacks per game. Conklin has missed some time, but he still has impressed.
OG: Dan Feeney, Indiana: He earned the team award last season for his outstanding performance in the weight room, and that has paid dividends this season.
OG: Jordan Walsh, Iowa: It says a lot when a third-string running back (Akrum Wadley) can play against an above-average run defense and still rush for more than 200 yards.
C: Jack Allen, Michigan State: He has moved around a bit because of Michigan State’s injuries — and he missed the win against the Wolverines — but he’s one of the nation’s best.
DE: Carl Nassib, Penn State: A former walk-on, he leads the nation in sacks (11.5), tackles for loss (15.5) and forced fumbles (5).
DE: Joey Bosa, Ohio State: He hasn’t posted numbers the way he did last season, but he still has been a force with nine QB hurries and 1.5 tackles for loss per game.
DT: Austin Johnson, Penn State: Nationally, he might not be as big of a name as teammate Anthony Zettel. But that’s starting to change. He’s third on his team with 40 tackles.
DT: Willie Henry, Michigan: He has six sacks already and has helped the Wolverines secure, statistically, the second-best defense in the nation.
LB: Joe Schobert, Wisconsin: He has been a mainstay in opposing backfields. He’s currently second in the nation in tackles for loss (14.5).
LB: Anthony Walker, Northwestern: He boasts fantastic range and, despite the last two games, has been an important playmaker for the Wildcats.
LB: Darron Lee, Ohio State: Speaking of big plays, Lee apparently even predicts his game-clinching interceptions. He’s a game-changer.
CB: Jourdan Lewis, Michigan: He has been so good that Pro Football Focus ranked him as the seventh-best player in college football, ahead of guys such as Lee and Elliott.
CB: Desmond King, Iowa: Only one player in the nation — Northern Illinois’ Shawun Lurry — boasts more than King’s six picks.
S: Vonn Bell, Ohio State: He leads the Buckeyes in pass breakups (8), and he’s versatile enough to be a force against both the pass and run.
S: Michael Caputo, Wisconsin: He’s a team leader, a hard hitter and a big reason for the Badgers’ No. 7 defense in the nation.
K: Griffin Oakes, Indiana: He has shown the most overall consistency by nailing 10-of-11 field goal attempts.
P: Cam Johnston, Ohio State: He leads the conference in punting average (46.3 yards), and his ability to stop the ball within the 20 is nearly unparalleled.
PR: Will Likely, Maryland: He’s second in the nation with a 22-yard average, and he already has returned two punts for touchdowns.
KR: Janarion Grant, Rutgers: He leads the conference with a 29.5-yard average and is tied for first nationally with a pair of return TDs.