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Big Ten Honors Indiana, Purdue Stars

David Bell Purdue

The Big Ten Conference kicked off its 2020 college football season last weekend, joining several other conferences already in action.

Purdue and Indiana both pulled off upset wins on Saturday, and a player from each school has been honored by the league with a Player of the Week Award.

Wide receiver David Bell of Purdue was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Boilermakers’ comeback win over Iowa. Bell is a sophomore out of Indianapolis, and he had a career day in the win.

Bell hauled in 13 passes for 121 yards in the victory, including a career-high three touchdown receptions. His catch with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Boilermakers.

This is the first Offensive Player of the Week Award for Bell during his career, and he is the first Boilermakers player to win the award since Jack Plummer on Oct. 14, 2019. Wisconsin freshman quarterback Graham Mertz was the other co-winner of the Offensive Player of the Week Award.

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Indiana junior safety Jamar Johnson was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in helping the Hoosiers upset the Penn State Nittany Lions. Johnson attended Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla.

Johnson recorded a career-high 10 tackles in the victory on Saturday and also had a forced fumble and an interception. This was the third straight game that Johnson has intercepted a pass, dating back to the 2019 season.

Johnson became the first player from Indiana to win the Defensive Player of the Week Award since Marcus Oliver on Oct. 31, 2016. Rutgers senior linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi shared the award with Johnson after the Scarlet Knights upset the Michigan State Spartans.

Conference Strong in Polls

Despite playing just one game, teams from the Big Ten Conference can be found throughout the college football polls. Big Ten teams are eligible to be selected for the College Football Playoff, and there are a number of solid teams.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are the top-ranked Big Ten football team at this point, checking in at No. 3 in the latest AP rankings. Wisconsin jumped all the way up to No. 9 after a dominating win over Illinois on Friday night.

Michigan knocked off a ranked Minnesota team on Saturday night, and that win bumped the Wolverines up to No. 13 in the polls. Minnesota fell out of the Top 25 after suffering the loss.

The next Big Ten team on the list is a bit of a surprise, as the Indiana Hoosiers have jumped into the rankings at No. 17. Indiana was unranked to begin the season, but the impressive win over Penn State has it 17th, which is its highest ranking since the 1993 season.

Penn State stayed in the poll but fell from No. 8 down to No. 18 after the loss to Indiana. Northwestern, Minnesota, and Purdue are all currently receiving votes but sit just outside of the current Top 25.

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