With 233 former Big Ten standouts on the opening day rosters of National Football League (NFL) teams, conference student-athletes have a major impact on the road to the Super Bowl. Every Wednesday, the Big Ten football blog will highlight the top conference performers in the previous week of NFL action. Below is the list of top performers from the previous week.
Marion Barber, RB, Dallas (Minnesota): Led the Cowboys with 79 yards rushing and a touchdown in Dallas' 34-21 victory over Tampa Bay Sunday.
Tom Brady, QB, New England (Michigan): Threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the final 2:06 to lead the Patriots to a come-from-behind win over Buffalo, 25-24.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (Purdue): Threw an NFL-high six touchdowns in Week 1, totaling 358 yards in a 45-27 Saints win over Detroit.
Nate Clements, CB, San Francisco (Ohio State): Recorded four tackles with an assist and an interception as San Francisco defeated Arizona 20-16.
Tamba Hali, OLB, Kansas City (Penn State): Had three tackles with a sack and a forced fumble for the Chiefs in their opening weekend loss to Baltimore.
David Harris, OLB, New York Jets (Michigan): Had six tackles and five assists, with a sack and a pass deflection to help the Jets to a 24-7 victory over Houston.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh (Ohio State): Caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown to help the defending Super Bowl Champions to a 13-10 overtime win against Tennessee.
James Laurinaitis, LB, St. Louis (Ohio State): Led the Rams defense against Seattle on Sunday, accounting for 10 tackles and four assists.
Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants (Michigan): Had three receptions for 58 yards and had the Giants' only offensive touchdown as New York defeated Wahington 23-17.
Adewale Ogunleye, DE, Chicago (Indiana): Had three tackles and recorded two sacks for the Bears in their 21-15 loss to Green Bay on Sunday night.
Kyle Orton, QB, Denver (Purdue): Threw for 243 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds to play to give the Broncos a 12-7 win over Cincinnati on Sunday.
Antwaan Randle El, WR, Washington (Indiana): Led the Redskins with 98 yards receiving on seven catches, including a long of 35, in a 23-17 loss to the New York Giants.