Illinois' Williams, Indiana's Lewis, Michigan's Ezeh and Northwestern's Demos Named First Football Players of the Week for 2008

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams tossed a career-high five touchdown passes against Missouri.

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams tossed a career-high five touchdown passes against Missouri.

Sept. 1, 2008

CO-OFFENSE:
Juice Williams, Illinois
JR, QB, Chicago, Ill./Chicago Vocational
Williams exploded for career-highs of 451 passing yards and five touchdowns to nearly rally Illinois from a second-half deficit against nationally-ranked Missouri. The junior quarterback also established career highs with a 61.9 completion percentage, 26 completions and 42 attempts. His five scoring strikes rank second in school history and are the third-highest total in Big Ten annals. Williams’ 451-yard effort rates third in the Illini records book and topped his previous career-best by more than 200 yards. Illinois fell behind 45-20 in the third quarter, but Williams broke loose for almost 300 yards through the air and four touchdowns in the second half to nearly pull off the win. The Chicago native completed a 65-yard scoring toss early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 10 points before Missouri held on for the win. This is the second career weekly accolade for Williams after being honored on Nov. 12, 2007.
LAST ILL OFFENSIVE POW: QB Juice Williams on Nov. 12, 2007

Kellen Lewis, Indiana
JR, QB, Jacksonville, Fla./Mandarin

Lewis dominated on the ground and through the air in a win over Western Kentucky, averaging an astounding 20.6 yards per carry while adding two scoring tosses to set the school record for career passing touchdowns. The junior quarterback broke loose for 185 yards on only nine carries, including touchdown runs of 75 and 62 yards. Lewis also completed 17 of 27 passes for 144 yards and two more touchdowns, boosting his career numbers to 44 scoring strikes. Former Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Antwaan Randle El had previously held the IU career record with 42 touchdown passes from 1998-2001. Lewis picks up his fifth career weekly laurel, tied for the fourth-highest total in Big Ten history, after being honored twice in both 2006 and 2007.
LAST IND OFFENSIVE POW: QB Kellen Lewis on Oct. 1, 2007


 

 

DEFENSE:
Obi Ezeh, Michigan
SO, LB, Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central
Ezeh racked up a career-best 15 tackles against Utah, helping hold the visitors to only two first downs and 28 yards of offense in the second half as Michigan nearly rallied for the win. The sophomore linebacker added 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a crucial interception at the goal line to keep the score close in the second half. With the Utes leading 22-10 at the half, a Wolverines fumble gave them the ball less than 10 yards from another score early in the third quarter. But the Michigan defense recorded a sack before Ezeh picked off a third-down pass at the two-yard line to prevent a potential score. The Wolverines would eventually close to within 25-23 before falling. Ezeh’s 15 tackles were the most stops by a Wolverine in a season opener since the mid 1970s. He picks up his first career weekly honor.
LAST MICH DEFENSIVE POW: LB Shawn Crable on Oct. 1, 2007

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Stefan Demos, Northwestern
SO, P, Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon
Demos showed pin-point accuracy to place all six of his punts inside the 20-yard line, constantly putting visiting Syracuse in poor field position during a 30-10 triumph. The sophomore punter averaged only 32 yards per punt, totaling 192 yards on his six boots, but three of his six punts were downed at the three-, four- and eight-yard lines. The visitors started eight of their 13 drives inside the 20-yard line and managed only 68 total yards in the second half. Demos collects the first weekly accolade of his career and the first for a Wildcats special team player since 2006.
LAST NU SPECIAL TEAMS POW: PK Joel Howells on Nov. 20, 2006

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