In August 2020, it was announced that the Big Ten Conference had canceled the 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the United States. Then, in mid-September, the Big Ten office reversed its original statement and announced a season would begin near the end of October.
The proposal was for teams to play eight conference games over eight weeks, along with a Big Ten Championship Game. Additionally, on the day of the championship, there would be crossover games between the two divisions.
Ohio State won the East Division, while Northwestern took the West. The two teams met up in the championship, with the Buckeyes winning 22-10 to take the Big Ten title.
2020 Big Ten Game of the Year
Ohio State Buckeyes 42 - Indiana Hoosiers 35
No. 9 Indiana put together a historic season in 2020 and went toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes in Columbus on Nov. 21. The Buckeyes held on to win in a roller-coaster ballgame that saw the Hoosiers manufacture a stellar second-half comeback.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields threw for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Indiana sensation Michael Penix Jr. obliterated the Buckeyes’ secondary to the tune of 491 yards and five touchdowns. OSU running back Master Teague III added 169 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the host.
Both defenses forced a plethora of turnovers. Indiana picked off Fields three times, and the Buckeyes recovered three fumbles and recorded one interception.
2020 Big Ten Player of the Year
Ohio State Buckeyes - Quarterback Justin Fields
Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year. The junior completed the shortened season throwing for 2,100 yards with 22 touchdowns. Fields was also a threat on the ground, racking up 383 yards and five touchdowns.
Following the 2020 season, the junior declared for the NFL Draft and is expected to be a first-round selection and one of the first five quarterbacks taken in April’s draft. Fields concluded his two seasons in Columbus, amassing 6,240 total yards and 78 touchdowns.
2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Northwestern Wildcats - Safety Brandon Joseph
Brandon Joseph was selected as the AP Big Ten Newcomer of the Year and to the AP All-Big Ten First Team. The freshman defensive back was also a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week for Week 2 and Week 5.
The talented defender recorded 52 total tackles and six interceptions over nine games. Joseph was the first Big Ten player to record at least three interceptions in the first three games of the season since 2016. He registered five tackles and one interception in the Big Ten Championship Game.
2020 Big Ten Coach of the Year
Indiana Hoosiers - Coach Tom Allen
The work that Tom Allen has done in Bloomington has been nothing short of remarkable. The 51-year-old took over the program in 2016 and has put together back-to-back winning seasons after a pair of 5-7 campaigns in his first two years.
Highlights for Allen and the Hoosiers in 2020 included an overtime victory over then-No. 8 Penn State and a beatdown of Michigan for the first time in 33 years. The wins moved Indiana up in both the AP and coaches polls to its highest rankings since the early 1990s.