Oct. 3, 2005
Mike Hart, Michigan
SO, RB, Syracuse, N.Y./Onondaga Central
After missing the previous two games due to injury, Hart returned to the lineup and put together a dominating performance with 36 carries for 218 yards (6.1 avg.) and a touchdown in an overtime road victory at nationally-ranked Michigan State. The 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year broke loose early for a career-long 45-yard run on the opening series and bettered that mark with a 64-yard dash in the fourth quarter in a drive he capped with a one-yard score to put the Wolverines up 31-24. The first team All-Big Ten selection, who led the league in rushing as a freshman, now has 442 yards in two games against the Spartans after he rambled for 224 yards against MSU last season. This marks Hart's second career weekly accolade after being named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week as a freshman on Oct. 23, 2004.
Abdul Hodge, Iowa
SR, LB, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Boyd Anderson
Hodge racked up a career-best 18 tackles, including 11 solo stops and two tackles for loss (-5 yards), to lead Iowa to a 35-7 victory over Illinois. The two-time first team All-Big Ten selection helped the Hawkeyes defense limit Illinois to a single touchdown while shattering his previous best of 16 tackles recorded twice during the 2003 campaign. The senior linebacker ranks second in the Big Ten with 11.6 tackles per game, trailing only teammate Chad Greenway, who is averaging 13.8 stops per outing. Hodge picks up his first career weekly accolade and the second for an Iowa linebacker in three weeks after Greenway was honored on Sept. 19.
Paul Posluszny, Penn State
JR, LB, Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell
Posluszny recorded nine defensive stops and 1.5 tackles for loss to spearhead a PSU defense that limited the explosive Minnesota offense to only two touchdowns in a battle of two unbeaten teams. The Gophers entered the game leading the country in rushing and ranking among the top 10 in total and scoring offense, but the Nittany Lions defense was up to the challenge. Penn State opened the game by forcing three straight three-and-outs and did not give up a first down until the second quarter. The Nittany Lions limited the visitors to only 113 yards on the ground, more than 200 yards below Minnesota's average of 326.5 yards per game, and just 53 rushing yards in the first three quarters when the hosts built a 37-7 lead. In addition, the Gophers were held to 287 yards of total offense (more than 250 yards below their average of 558.0 yards per contest) and 14 points (more than 30 points below their average of 46.2 points per outing). Posluszny, who ranks third in the league with 11.4 tackles per game, is the first Nittany Lion to earn at least a share of back-to-back Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week laurels and collects the third such honor of his career.
Brandon Williams, Wisconsin
SR, KR/PR, St. Louis, Mo./Hazelwood East
Williams returned his second punt for a touchdown this season, breaking loose for a 63-yard score against Indiana on his way to 86 yards on four punt returns and 21 yards on one kickoff return. The senior wideout also added two touchdown catches while hauling in six passes for 113 yards. He becomes the fourth player in school history to record two or more punt return scores in a season. In addition, Williams' 21-yard kickoff return made him just the third player in Big Ten history with more than 2,000 yards in that category. His 2,015 kickoff return stripes trails only Michigan State's Derrick Mason (2,575) and Indiana's Derin Graham (2,088) on the all-time list. Williams picks up his second weekly award this season and in his career after being honored on Sept. 12.