Week 13 B1G Game Balls
Last, but certainly not least.
In a mammoth week in the B1G, some players struggled when their team needed them to step up. Others stepped up.
Let’s talk about them instead.
Jordan Canzeri, Iowa RB — I wonder who the guy was that told Canzeri that he was too small to play in the B1G. He wasn’t too small on Friday when he ripped off a 29-yard score…or when he took it 68 yards to the house on Iowa’s next play. Canzeri wasn’t touched on either score, thanks in part to Iowa’s dominant offensive line, and his deadly breakaway speed. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s a really good combination.
Joey Bosa, Ohio State DE — It took until the final week of the regular season for the potential top NFL draft pick to earn a game ball. But boy, did he ever earn it. The Buckeye defensive end demolished his old high school teammate Jake Rudock to force a fumble. And just to twist the knife a little deeper, Bosa picked off Wilton Speight. Get ready to see those two plays on Bosa’s draft highlight reel for a few months.
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB — Ask and you shall receive. Zeke wanted more work, and Urban Meyer gave it to him. Thirty times, to be exact. Elliott broke off 214 yards and a couple of scores to fuel the Buckeyes. He and J.T. Barrett combined for 353 yards rushing and five touchdowns in a rout of Michigan. Despite the postgame fallout last week, Elliott and the Buckeyes delivered the performance we’ve all been waiting for.
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana QB — Yet again, Sudfeld put Indiana on his back. Without Jordan Howard for the second straight game, Sudfeld etched his name into the IU record books by becoming the school’s all-time passing leader. Even better, he led IU to its first bowl game in eight years. You can’t say enough about the B1G’s best quarterback this season.
Brandon Ross, Maryland RB — For the second straight week, the Terps tailback was huge. He had an 80-yard touchdown run to give Maryland a comeback win against Rutgers. For a running game that struggled to establish an identity for a good portion of the season, Ross finished 2015 on the highest note possible.
Anthony Walker, Northwestern LB — Can I start the Anthony Walker All-American campaign? The sophomore linebacker had 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack in Northwestern’s 24-14 win against Illinois. Week in, week out, Walker delivers for Pat Fitzgerald. He’s as big a part of Northwestern’s 10 wins as anyone.
T.J. Neal, Illinois LB — In a losing effort, Neal definitely did not lose on Saturday. He racked up 17 tackles, four of which for loss, and had to handle the Northwestern running game. Neal did everything he could to get Illinois to that six-win mark, but Illinois couldn’t get enough offense to rally late.
Wisconsin RBs — No Corey Clement? No problem. Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal combined for 245 yards and three touchdowns on 55 carries. Piece by piece, they wore down the Minnesota defensive line and helped bring Paul Bunyan’s Axe back to Madison for the 12th straight year.
Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin football player — What a decision it was to move McEvoy to safety. Needless to say, his athleticism shined as the Badgers safety valve. He picked off two more passes on Saturday to give him six on the season. How this guy wasn’t a Paul Hornung Trophy finalist is beyond me.
Jack Allen, Michigan State C — Allen is officially the first center to crack the B1G Game Balls column. He’s also the first center to score a rushing touchdown this year. Even more importantly, he kept Connor Cook protected against the team with the most sacks in the B1G. Michigan State doesn’t roll if not for Allen and the MSU front five dominating the line of scrimmage.