Arneson picks up All-B1G award on way to title game
Piled on top of Saturday’s B1G West Division sealing victory over Minnesota, the UW-Wisconsin football team collected more good news when several team members earned All-Conference First Team and Honorable Mention awards.
The nation’s top running back, Melvin Gordon III, was selected as the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year, a consensus First-Team All-Big Ten selection and the only offensive unanimous pick in the coaches’ vote.
Fourteen different players picked up recognition, including four apiece on the First and Second teams, and MHS grad and senior tight end Sam Arneson was one of six selections to earn HM.
“It’s cool to be recognized for individual performance, although I’m more concerned with how the team’s doing,” Arneson said. “A lot of guys on the team were able to be recognized and that definitely correlates to the success we had as a team.”
The team wrapped up a spot in the B1G championship game with Ohio State University to be played in Indianapolis starting at 7:17 p.m. (Central) on Saturday on Fox.
“It’s going to be great going back to Indianapolis,” Arneson said. “We got there my first two years and hopefully we can get a win against a very good Ohio State team.”
The sixth-ranked Buckeyes have just lost quarterback J.T. Barrett, a consensus First Team pick, to a season-ending injury.
“You never want anyone to get injured,” Arneson said. “It’s unfortunate for them, but they have a lot of other talented players and will be ready to go.”
The 11th-rated Badgers won’t mind the artificial-turf, temperature-controlled confines of the domed Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It’s one of the best stadiums around,” Arneson said. “It’s definitely a really cool place to play.
“The last time Melvin was there he had a heck of a game, so he’s got some good memories. (Quarterback) Joel (Stave) is playing really good football right now. He’s probably playing the best of his career right now and has got our offense playing at a high level.”
Gordon rattled off 213 yards on just seven carries with a touchdown when Wisconsin trounced Nebraska 70-31 in the dome in 2012. Montee Ball (21-201, 3 TDs) and James White (5-109, 4 TDs) helped UW run up 542 yards.
Gordon reached the fourth-best single-season rushing total of 2,260 yards in the Minnesota contest, breaking the Big Ten and Wisconsin record of 2,109 set by Ron Dayne in 1996. He is #1 in all-purpose ypg (200.9), rushing ypg (188.3), rushing TDs (26) and yards per carry (8.0).
Stave completed 11-of-18 passes for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns in the comeback win, the second consecutive home game that Bucky recovered from an early 17-3 deficit.
“There was so much on the line being Senior Day and for the Big Ten West Division title,” Arneson said. “It was a special game and hard-fought win. It was definitely the way our seniors wanted to go out in our last game at Camp Randall.
“We just made a couple of mistakes early. You’ve got to give a lot of the credit to Minnesota. They’re a good team. But our team has handled adversity all year and was able to pull together and get the win.”
A victory Saturday would give the Badgers their fourth B1G championship in the past five years (2010, 2011, 2012) and 15th overall.