Well, that’s it. The regular season is done. The 2017 campaign is in the books and all that remains are conference title games, bowls and playoffs. We saw some Big Ten teams and players post some impressive numbers this season, and I’ve pulled some obscure stats along the way.
Today, I’m taking the easy way out. I’m highlighting the Big Ten’s top statistical performers in 2017 in the easiest stat categories to follow and — to be honest — care about.
Here are the Best of the Best from the Big Ten in 2017.
This is how many teams were able to get the best of Wisconsin this season. None, zippo, zilch. The Badgers were the fifth Big Ten team to go unbeaten in conference play since the turn of the century. If they can run the table from here on out, they’ll match the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes as the only two Big Ten teams to achieve that feat since 2000.
This is how many yards Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley threw for in 2017. That number was tops in the Big Ten. Honestly, the fact that he led the conference in passing yards took me by surprise and goes to show just how prolific that offense was this season.
This is how many touchdown passes Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett tossed to lead the Big Ten in the category. He only threw seven interceptions all season, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio was among the best nationally. That makes Iowa’s performance against Barrett that much more impressive.
That’s how many yards Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ran for this season. He led the Big Ten and is currently third nationally. With a conference title game and at least one bowl game left, he has a great shot at becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark.
This is how many rushing touchdowns Penn State’s Saquon Barkley logged this season. That number was three better than what Taylor posted, leading the conference. Barkley was a walking cliche in 2017, as he was a true threat to score every time he touched the ball.
This is how many receiving yards Maryland’s D.J. Moore had to lead the Big Ten in that category. Truth be told, I thought this number was a bit low, and it was only good enough for 16th nationally. Apparently the Big Ten quarterbacks like to spread the wealth. Not surprisingly, Moore also led the conference in receptions with 80.
This is how many touchdown receptions both Noah Fant and Nebraska’s Stanley Morgan had. They tied for tops in the conference, both passing Penn State’s Mike Gesicki for the lead during the Iowa-Nebraska game on Black Friday. Fant and Morgan each caught two scores in that game.
This is how many tackles Josey Jewell had this season. He lived up to the preseason hype and proved to be one of the very best linebackers in the land. He was rewarded for his efforts when it was announced that he was the recipient of of the Jack Lambert Award, one of the trophies given to the best linebacker in college football.
This is how many sacks it took to lead the conference in the category in 2017. Four different Big Ten players hit the mark: Northwestern’s Joe Gaziano, Wisconsin’s Garret Dooley and Michigan defenders Chase Winovich and Khaleke Hudson.
This is how many interceptions Iowa’s Josh Jackson hauled in this season. He tied for the lead nationally in the category. His efforts were rewarded by being named a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in the country. If Jackson wins it, it would be the second time in three seasons that a Hawkeye won it. Desmond King won the award in 2015.
I gotta give at least one special-teamer some love. This is how many yards the average punt of Rutgers’ Ryan Anderson went for in 2017. He was tops in the Big Ten and 15th nationally.