Penn State's surprising journey to the Big Ten championship game has earned James Franklin the respect of the media members who cover the conference.
Franklin was named the Dave McClain Big Ten Coach of the Year as selected by the conference’s media.
The conference coaches, meanwhile, went in another direction, choosing Wisconsin's Paul Chryst as the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year.
Ironically, Franklin's Nittany Lions will battle Chryst's Badgers at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis. Both teams come in at 10-2.
The Lions are coming off consecutive 7-6 seasons and, before the season, were not considered serious contenders for the Big Ten title. PSU ended up tying for the Big Ten East Division title at 8-1 with Ohio State. PSU earned the championship game berth by beating Ohio State during the regular season, 24-21.
Big Ten individual awards: In addition, several other individual Big Ten awards were handed out on Tuesday, mostly for for defense and special teams. They were:
— Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State.
— Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan.
— Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Jourdan Lewis, Michigan.
— Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota.
— Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Cameron Johnston, Ohio State.
— Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan.
— Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan.
— Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award: Trent Green, Indiana.
— Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award: Reggie McKenzie, Michigan.
PSU players earn honors on defense, special teams: In addition, the Big Ten handed out all-conference honors for defense and special teams.
PSU kicker Tyler Davis was selected to the All-Big Ten first team by the coaches and second team by the media. In addition, defensive end Garrett Sickels garnered second-team All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and third-team honors from the media.
Additionally, defensive end Evan Schwan was selected to the All-Big Ten third team by both the coaches and media, while linebacker Jason Cabinda and Marcus Allen each claimed third team honors from the coaches and were named to the media’s honorable mention team. Also on the Big Ten honorable mention squad were senior linebacker Brandon Bell, true freshman punter Blake Gillikin, junior defensive tackle Parker Cothren and sophomore cornerback John Reid. Senior long snapper Tyler Yazujianis Penn State’s sportsmanship selection.
The conference’s top offensive awards will be announced Wednesday.
McSorley is Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week: Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley collected his first Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award after a strong outing in Penn State’s division-clinching victory over Michigan State. He was also awarded a helmet sticker on ESPN’s College Football Final for his performance.
The Ashburn, Virginia, native was also named as one of the Manning Award Stars of the Week and was the Rose Bowl Game Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
The first-year starting quarterback was 17-for-23 for 376 yards and four touchdowns to guide the Nittany Lions to a 45-12 win over Michigan State Saturday. The victory gave Penn State its second divisional title since 2011 and its first trip to the Big Ten championship game.