Jonathan Taylor Named 2018 Big Ten Running Back of the Year

Jonathan Taylor Named 2018 Big Ten Running Back of the Year

Football

Jonathan Taylor Named 2018 Big Ten Running Back of the Year

MADISON, Wis. – Unlike last season, there was no doubt that Wisconsin sophomore Jonathan Taylor was the best tailback in the Big Ten.

After losing out to Penn State’s Saquon Barkley last season, Taylor was named the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, the Big Ten announced Wednesday.

It’s the fourth time a Wisconsin tailback has earned the award named after two former UW tailbacks since they were created in 2011. Taylor joins Monte Ball (2011 and 2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014).

Also named a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, Taylor leads the nation in rushing with 1,989 yards entering the ball game – 24.2 more than any other FBS player. By himself, Taylor has outrushed 64 FBS teams.

Even with one more game to go, Taylor (3,966 yards) has broken fellow Badger Ron Dayne’s FBS record for combined rushing yards as a freshman and sophomore. Taylor, Dayne (3,566 yards, 1996-97) and Georgia’s Herschel Walker (3,507, 1980-81) are the only FBS players to tally 3,500 rushing yards in their first two seasons.

His yards already represent the sixth-highest two-year rushing total in FBS history, trailing Gordon (2013-14) 4,196, Iowa State’s Troy Davis (1995-96) 4,195, TCU’s LaDanian Tomlinson (1999-2000) 4,132, Texas’ Ricky Williams (1997-98) 4,017 and USC’s Marcus Allen (1980-81) 3,990.

The 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year will have a chance to earn another big award on Dec.6, as he’s a finalist for the Doak Walker Award for the second straight season. He joins Clemson sophomore Travis Etienne and Memphis junior Darrell Henderson as finalists and looks to join Ron Dayne (1999), Montee Ball (2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014) as former UW players to have won the award.

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year.

Wisconsin senior left guard Michael Deiter also was named the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year. He started all 13 games for Wisconsin and paved the way for Taylor’s monster season.

Right guard Beau Benzschawel and center Tyler Biadasz joined Deiter and Taylor as consensus first-team selections. David Edwards was a first-team pick by the media and a second-team choice by the coaches.

Redshirt freshman Jake Ferguson was a consensus honorable mention, rounding out UW’s honorees.

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