Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott Named 2015 Big Ten Running Back and Offensive Player of the Year

By Eric Seger on December 1, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Whenever Ohio State's offense struggled this season, handing the ball to No. 15 typically yielded positive results.

Tuesday, those results and efforts by Ezekiel Elliott were recognized by the Big Ten.

Elliott, the junior running back from St. Louis, earned Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year honors for the 2015 football season.

Ohio State's stalwart in the backfield rushed for a conference leading 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns in leading the Buckeyes to an 11-1 regular season record. Elliott had a streak of 15 consecutive games with at least 100 yards broken in his team's 17-14 loss to Michigan State Nov. 21. He also has 26 receptions for 176 yards this season.

Elliott roasted Michigan for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries Saturday, his second game with at least 200 rushing yards in the 2015 season. The other was a 34-27 Ohio State victory at Indiana Oct. 3, when Elliott scampered for 274 yards and three touchdowns on just 23 carries.

Elliott's 1,672 rushing yards this year give him 3,812 for his career, good for second on Ohio State's all-time rushing list. He passed 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George and his 3,768 career yards in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win at Michigan.

Elliott now trails two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin (5,589 yards) on the all-time list, but won't pass him as he's already announced his intentions to leave early for the NFL Draft after this season.

"I don't lobby, or maybe I do, he should be in New York. That's one of the best players in America. He should be a Heisman guy," Meyer said of Elliott Saturday. "I don't know if he should win it, I don't know the other guys, but I've been fortunate to be around, he's as good a player as I've ever been around. And he's on a team that's 11-1, we're 11-1 and he's one of the best players I've ever been around."

The Heisman Trophy finalists haven't been announced yet, but Elliott's was deemed the best offensive player in the Big Ten Tuesday.

Meyer now has had three of the four Big Ten Offensive Players of the Year since his tenure began in Columbus. Elliott joins Braxton Miller, who won the award in 2012 and 2013.

View 35 Comments