Hours after we learned that Saquon Barkley won the Paul Hornung Award for most versatile player in college football, the Associated Press announced that Barkley was its Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. The tailback finished fourth in the league with 1,134 rushing yards and 11th with 594 receiving yards. In total, he scored 21 touchdowns, which was most in the Big Ten for all non-quarterbacks.
To earn his latest honor, Barkley had to beat out other worthy players such as his teammate Trace McSorley, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, and Big Ten rushing leader Jonathan Taylor.
Barkley scored a touchdown in all but one game this season while going over 100 yards from scrimmage seven times. For the first two months of the campaign, he looked to be a surefire Heisman Trophy finalist, but that movement lost some steam down the stretch thanks to performances against Michigan State, Rutgers, and Maryland that were not as strong as they could have been.
Even when Barkley wasn’t carrying the ball, he was a valuable weapon for the attention that he drew on the field. The defense always had to pay attention to where he was, and that allowed for some outstanding plays by McSorley and DaeSean Hamilton throughout the season.