It’s virtually a lock that Ohio State junior J.T. Barrett will be voted first-team All-Big Ten at quarterback, an honor he won two years ago as a redshirt freshman.
Barrett has accounted for a league-leading 32 touchdowns this season (24 passing, eight rushing) and he’s second in the Big Ten in total offense per game at 275.1 yards.
Figuring out the second-team quarterback, though, isn’t as clear-cut.
For much of the season, it appeared likely to come down to Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong and Michigan’s Wilton Speight.
Armstrong, a senior, has averaged 255.4 yards of total offense, accounted for 21 touchdowns and led NU into the top 20. Speight, a junior, has averaged 212 yards, accounted for 16 touchdowns and led UM into the top five.
But with Armstrong and Speight both sidelined by injury last week and questionable-to-doubtful again this week, Penn State’s Trace McSorley emerges.
Actually, the 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore from Ashburn, Virginia, probably deserves the second-team spot anyway.
He is fourth in the Big Ten in passing yards with 2,600 and has thrown 17 touchdown passes and only five interceptions, while accounting for 23 touchdowns and leading PSU into the top 10.
McSorley, a first-time starter, has six games in which he has scored a touchdown passing and running. Only Heisman Trophy favorite Lamar Jackson of Louisville has more, with eight.
While on track to break the Penn State record for total offense, McSorley also has climbed to No. 2 nationally in passing yards per completion at 15.57. The leader is Wyoming’s Josh Allen at 15.63. Louisville’s Jackson is third.
“Trace is the leader of the team,” Penn State running back Saquon Barkley said Tuesday. “He’s not a front-running leader. He’s going to bring guys together if we need it.
“One thing I love about Trace — he’s not the tallest guy or the biggest guy, but he doesn’t have any quit in him. When you have a guy like that in your backfield, you want to play 10 times harder for him.”
Quote of the week
Thirty years ago, while the starting quarterback at Michigan, current Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh guaranteed a victory in the rivalry game with Ohio State. He produced, but Tuesday he was asked whether his players on this team should make the same statement. Harbaugh’s reply:
“Having done it, I don’t recommend it.”
Players of the week
Co-offense: Iowa tailback LeShun Daniels and Michigan tailback De’Veon Smith. Daniels, a senior from Warren, Ohio, carried 26 times for 159 yards in a win over Illinois. Smith, also a senior from Warren, Ohio, carried 23 times for a career-best 158 yards in a win over Indiana.
Defense: Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman. The sophomore from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, had 10 tackles and forced a fumble in a win over Northwestern.
Co-special teams: Iowa receiver Riley McCarron and Penn State kicker Tyler Davis. McCarron, a senior from Dubuque, Iowa, returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown against Illinois. Davis, a senior from St. Charles, Illinois, kicked four field goals in a win over Rutgers.
Freshman: Ohio State tailback Mike Weber. The Detroit product ran for 111 yards and scored the eventual winning touchdown against Michigan State.
» Northwestern’s Austin Carr is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top wide receiver. The others are Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook and East Carolina’s Isaiah “Zay” Jones. Carr also is a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy for the top player who began as a walk-on.
» Iowa’s Josey Jewell is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker. The others are LSU’s Kendall Beckwith, Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, Florida’s Jarrad Davis and Alabama’s Reuben Foster.
» Michigan’s Jake Butt is one of three finalists for the Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end. The others are Alabama’s O.J. Howard and Clemson’s Jordan Leggett.
» Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back. The others are USC’s Adoree’ Jackson and LSU’s Tre’Davious White.
» Ohio State’s Pat Elflein is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy for the nation’s top interior lineman. The others are Alabama tackle Cam Robinson and Washington State guard Cody O’Donnell.
» Ohio State’s Cameron Johnston is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s top punter. The others are Texas’ Michael Dickson and Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky. — Lee Barfknecht