- Brian Bennett, College Football
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Next week, the Big Ten will hand out its individual awards. Let's take a look at where a few of those races stand with one more weekend left to impress voters:
Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year
1. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah: He added another 147 rushing yards last week against Penn State and would have had more if his potential game-winning touchdown run hadn't been called back on a highly questionable penalty. If Abdullah gets close to his average this week against Iowa, he'll finish the regular season with 1,600 rushing yards.
2. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller: Given the way other Heisman candidates have fallen off, Miller would have been a virtual lock to get to New York had he not missed three games in September. During conference play, he leads the Big Ten in total offense with more than 296 yards per game and is responsible for 22 touchdowns in seven league games.
3. Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde: He became the first running back under Urban Meyer to eclipse 1,000 yards for the season, and he has more rushing yards (1,023) and rushing touchdowns (13) than any other player in Big Ten action. Like Miller, he is being held down only by missed time in September.
4. Wisconsin RB James White: A 125-yard day at Minnesota gave White his sixth consecutive game with at least 98 yards rushing. He's third behind Abdullah and Hyde in rushing during conference play.
5. Penn State WR Allen Robinson: He put up his seventh 100-yard receiving game of the season with 106 vs. Nebraska. But Robinson has been held without a touchdown in his last four contests.
Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
1. Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier: He followed up a 16-tackle performance against Illinois with 20 tackles and five tackles for loss against Indiana. He also was named a Butkus Award finalist and now leads the league in both total tackles (108) and tackles for loss (19.5). Shazier sure looks headed toward hoisting this trophy next.
2. Wisconsin LB Chris Borland: Borland was snubbed as a Butkus Award finalist and might finish second to Shazier for both defensive player and linebacker of the year. But as his 12-tackle, two fumble recovery day at Minnesota reminded us, he's every bit as good as any linebacker in the country.
3. Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard: He grabbed his fourth interception of the season at Northwestern, adding another chapter in what has been an incredible and All-America-worthy season.
4. Nebraska DE Randy Gregory: He didn't get to the quarterback on Saturday, but leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.5 and is second with 14.5 tackles for loss.
5. Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun: He was quiet last week with just one tackle, but he still has a league-best four fumble recoveries and 6.5 sacks.
Rimington–Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year
1. Ohio State OT Jack Mewhort: To the victors go the spoils, and Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring, total offense and rushing yards while giving up the fourth-fewest sacks. Urban Meyer has said that Mewhort is the "absolute leader" of the offense, and it was apparent how much the league's best offensive line missed him when he came out of the Illinois game.
2. Michigan OT Taylor Lewan: The Wolverines say Lewan is grading out an even higher rate than last season, when he was an All-American and he won this award. We'll take their word on that, but the overall struggles of the offense and the line in general can't be overlooked, which is why we'd vote for Mewhort over Lewan.
3. Iowa OT Brandon Scherff: The junior has had a terrific year in helping the Hawkeyes re-establish the run game -- they're averaging 191 rushing yards per game. Iowa has only given up 10 sacks and a league-low 40 yards from sacks in 11 games.
Next week, the Big Ten will hand out its individual awards. Let's take a look at where a few of those races stand with one more weekend left to impress voters:Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year1.