Ball wins second Big Ten RB of the Year award

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball has made a habit in his career of dominating Big Ten defenses. It’s no surprise, then, that Ball has been named the Big Ten’s Running Back of the Year for a second consecutive season.

Ball, a consensus first-team all-conference selection, was announced as the Ameche-Dayne winner on Monday. He joins left tackle Ricky Wagner and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis as consensus first-team all-conference honorees from Wisconsin.

Junior tight end Jacob Pedersen was named the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year. The award is named for Penn State’s Ted Kwalick and Iowa’s Dallas Clark.

Ball is the only player in the nation to eclipse 1,500 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons. He has rushed for 1,528 yards this year with 18 touchdowns and finished conference play with a league-best 1,168 rushing yards (146.0 per game) and 15 touchdowns. A year ago, he rushed for 1,923 yards and scored 39 total touchdowns to tie the single-season FBS record.

Last week against Penn State, Ball set the all-time touchdown record with his 79th score, surpassing Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice’s 78, set in 1999.

Pedersen recorded his fourth touchdown reception of the season on a pass from quarterback Curt Phillips with eight seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime against Ohio State. His 14 career touchdown catches are tied for 11th all-time at Wisconsin.

In total, Wisconsin nabbed 15 All-Big Ten selections, including seven first-team honorees, which ties Ohio State for the most first-team picks. Last year, Wisconsin had a school-record nine first-team selections. Before last season, the last time Wisconsin had as many as seven first-team All-Big Ten selections was 1999.

Junior center Travis Frederick and senior linebacker Mike Taylor were each voted first team by the media and earned honorable mention selections from the coaches. Pedersen and junior linebacker Chris Borland were voted first team by league coaches and honorable mention by the media.

Junior left guard Ryan Groy earned a second-team nod from the coaches and honorable mention honors from the media, while senior cornerback Devin Smith was voted to the second team by the media and honorable mention by the coaches.

Cornerback Marcus Cromartie, defensive end David Gilbert, punter Drew Meyer and safety Dezmen Southward were consensus honorable mention selections. Defensive tackle Ethan Hemer was selected honorable mention by the coaches.

Senior safety Shelton Johnson was selected as Wisconsin’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner.

Wisconsin will play Nebraska on Saturday in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

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