All-Big Ten Special Teams Of The BCS Era
It is time to close out this series with a quick look at special teams.
The game, in the Big Ten especially, is often decided by field position. Returners, punters and kickers set the stage for epic drives and defensive stands. Who in the conference excelled the most throughout the BCS era?
Here are the top specialists we saw during the infamous BCS era:
Kicker: Mike Nugent (Ohio State)
Second-Team: Nate Kaeding (Iowa)
Mike Nugent, the 2004 Lou Groza award winner, holds the Ohio State record for most career points (356) as well as many others.
He assisted the Buckeyes in their 2002 national championship bid, and became the only kicker in team history to be voted most valuable player. Nugent not only had a big leg, but an accurate one. He was the rock for a team predicated on “Tressel Ball.”
Nugent was a consensus All-American in 2002 and 2004.
Punter: Brandon Fields (Michigan State)
Second-Team: Travis Dorsch (Purdue)
Brandon Fields was a consensus All-American in 2004 when he averaged 47.9 yards per punt.
The Spartan was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given out annually to the nation's top punter. It is difficult not to grant him this spot when his name is on the conference trophy for the position. The Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year Award began in 2010.
Returner: Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State)
Second-Team: Steve Breaston (Michigan)
The conference record holder for most punt returns for a touchdown is six, and Ted Ginn Jr. holds that distinction.
The high school track star put his incredible speed and vision on display every time he touched the ball. When the Buckeyes made it to the national championship game in January of 2007 he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
Ginn was special to watch each time he was given the opportunity to return a kick.