Power ranking the top 10 players in the Big Ten after Week 7
We had a little bit of normal in the B1G over the weekend.
Chris Olave had the league’s best receiving day, helping Justin Fields produce a more typical — read: excellent — effort than his preceding 3-INT outing, and Ohio State rolled past Michigan State by 40 points.
At Rutgers, LB Olakunle Fatukasi produced his latest double-digit day in tackles, producing his biggest number of the season in a loss to Penn State.
For the second time in three weeks, Purdue’s Rondale Moore caught more balls than anyone else in the B1G on Saturday.
With one week of regular season left, things are falling into place, right? Okay, not for everyone. But we held a few spots for the stars we hope to see back on the field this coming weekend.
Here’s how our top 10 players list shakes out after 7 weeks of play:
Honorable mention: Chris Bergin, LB, Northwestern; Chance Campbell, LB, Maryland; Wyatt Davis, OL, Ohio State; Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa; Zander Horvath, RB, Purdue; Keyvone Lee, RB, Penn State; Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana; Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Nebraska; Antjuan Simmons, LB, Michigan State; Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland; Master Teague, RB, Ohio State.
10. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
In three games since returning from a long injury layoff, Moore has 35 receptions — 8th best in the B1G and more than the team leader on 7 other B1G teams.
He posted 13 catches for 78 yards on Saturday, as Nebraska kept the dynamic 5-9, 189-pound sophomore in check. You can’t blame Jeff Brohm for force-feeding Moore, who also has 6 rushes for 32 yards on the season. He’s a big play waiting to happen, and so far he’s sticking with his teammates after opting back in this fall.
Enjoy him while you can, B1G fans.
9. Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers
The 6-1, 234-pound senior racked up a season-high 18 tackles against Penn State, reaching double digits in stops for the 6th time in 7 games. He leads the B1G in tackles (91) and tackles per game (13.0), one of only two B1G players who average 10-plus (Antjuan Simmons, Michigan State).
According to PFF, he’s the Scarlet Knight most likely to be drafted. If he makes the NFL, he’ll join brother Folorunso Fatukasi — a defensive tackle for the Jets — in the league. Rutgers gets to enjoy his sideline-to-sideline tenacity for a couple more games.
8. Brandon Joseph, DB, Northwestern
Even after having the weekend off, the 6-1, 192-pound redshirt freshman continues to hold a share of the national lead in interceptions (5).
Joseph has stepped up in a major way to help Northwestern reach the Big Ten Championship Game. After making only 4 tackles in 2019, he has 38 this year — 4th on the Wildcats — including a career-high 10 in his most recent game.
7. Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
Fryfogle made but 1 catch Saturday against Wisconsin, but it was a big one. With a leaping grab of a 35-yard toss from new starting QB Jack Tuttle, Fryfogle set up an early second-half touchdown that helped secure the Hoosiers’ 14-6 victory.
Ty Fryfogle has his first catch of the day.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 5, 2020
In addition to that catch, Fryfogle — as the targeted receiver — drew 2 pass interference calls for 30 total yards against the Badgers.
The 6-2, 214-pound senior ranks third in the B1G at 20.2 yards per catch and still leads the league in total receiving yards (687) despite consecutive quiet weeks.
6. David Bell, WR, Purdue
Bell remains Purdue’s most reliable player, posting another 10 catches for a season-high 132 yards and his 8th TD of the year against Nebraska.
The 6-2, 205-pound sophomore leads the B1G with 53 receptions and is the only receiver in the league outside of Ohio State’s dynamic duo averaging better than 100 yards per game (104.2).
5. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave posted season highs with 10 catches for 139 yards, including a 41-yard TD reception, as Ohio State reminded the nation of its CFP credentials in a 52-12 blowout of Michigan State.
The 6-1, 188-pound junior has topped 100 receiving yard in 4 of OSU’s 5 games and is second only to teammate Garrett Wilson in yards per game (105.6 to Wilson’s 114.4).
4. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
The 6-0, 193-pound sophomore played the sidekick role to Olave for a change on Saturday, grabbing 3 catches for 59 yards and a TD. It was the first sub-100 yard game of the season for Garrett, as the Buckeyes simply didn’t need anything more while destroying Michigan State.
At a B1G-best 114.4 receiving yards per game, he ranks 8th in the country. Throw in a handful of punt/kick returns plus 2 rushes for 67 yards, and Garrett ranks 2nd in the B1G in all purpose yards per game. It all makes life pretty easy for Ryan Day and Justin Fields, don’t ya think?
3. Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
With 5 tackles against Illinois, Nixon continues to hang in rarified air for a defensive tackle. Now with 41 tackles on the season, he’s the only 300-pounder/interior lineman among the top 50 tacklers in the B1G.
With 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack Saturday, Nixon maintained the B1G lead in those categories. He’s now at 13 TFLs and 5.5 sacks.
The breakout season by the former junior college player also includes a 71-yard interception return for a TD and a forced fumble. He’s a big reason Iowa is on a 5-game winning streak.
2. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
After 2 weeks off as the Minnesota program dealt with COVID issues, Ibrahim should return to the field Saturday at Nebraska. We hope.
Ibrahim remains 4th nationally in rushing yards per game (163.4) and has 13 TDs on the ground, tied for 6th in the nation and 2nd-best on a per-game basis. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards in all 5 of the Gophers’ games and topped 200 twice.
With 817 rushing yards, the 5-10, 210-pound junior is on pace to top 1,000 yards for the second time in three seasons.
1. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
He accounted for 4 TDs and 303 total yards while making short work of Michigan State.
Fields hit 17 of 24 passes for 199 yards and 2 TDs, and also ran 13 times for 104 yards and 2 more TDs. No bad for a guy operating behind a patchwork offensive line with three first-time starters thanks to COVID fallout.
He continues to lead the nation with his 78.1 completion percentage, which will top Colt McCoy’s record 2008 season at Texas (76.7 percent) if it holds.
Whatever happens the rest of the way, Fields has done all he can to put the Buckeyes on a CFP path. That’s his main achievement.