Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin Collect Big Ten Football Weekly Laurels

Wisconsin freshman P.J. Hill broke loose for a career-high 249 yards on the ground against Northwestern to share Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Wisconsin freshman P.J. Hill broke loose for a career-high 249 yards on the ground against Northwestern to share Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Oct. 9, 2006

CO-OFFENSE:
Troy Smith, Ohio State 
SR, QB, Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Smith completed 85 percent of his passes, the third-best single-game performance in school history, for 191 yards and three touchdowns while adding 54 yards on seven carries in a non-conference victory over Bowling Green. The senior quarterback connected on 17-of-20 passes for a passing efficiency rating of 214.7 to boost his career rating to 158.1, making him the most efficient passer in Big Ten annals. His completion percentage of 85 percent was the best for a Buckeyes quarterback since Stanley Jackson connected on 13-of-15 (.867) attempts against Indiana in 1997. Smith has thrown at least one scoring pass in 12 of his last 13 games and now has 10 career games with multiple touchdown strikes. He leads the Big Ten and ranks among the top 10 nationally with a passing efficiency rating of 170.6 while topping the conference with 15 touchdown passes. Smith collects the third weekly conference accolade of his career and his second this season after being honored on Sept. 4, 2006 and Nov. 21, 2005.

P.J. Hill, Wisconsin 
FR, RB, East Elmhurst, N.Y./Brooklyn Poly-Prep

Hill averaged 7.1 yards per carry and set career highs with 35 attempts and 249 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game, in a victory over Northwestern. The freshman running back broke the century mark less than 10 minutes into the game, his fifth 100-yard effort in the first six contests of his career. His 249-yard effort ranks 10th in school history and he joins former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne as just the second Badgers freshman to rack up that many rushing yards in a single game. Hill leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the country with 141.2 rushing yards per outing, tops among all freshman rushers. This marks the first weekly laurel of his career and the second straight offensive award for Wisconsin after quarterback John Stocco was honored last week.

DEFENSE:
Mike Sherels, Minnesota 
JR, LB, Rochester, Minn./John Marshall

Sherels collected a career-best 15 tackles and three tackles for loss while adding a pass breakup in a narrow overtime defeat against Penn State. The junior linebacker registered nine solo stops in the game for the third double-digit tackle performance of his career. He set his previous career high with 12 tackles just one week earlier against Michigan. Sherels leads the Gophers and is tied for third in the Big Ten with 8.7 tackles per game. He earns the first weekly accolade of his career.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Marcus Thigpen, Indiana 
SO, RB, Detroit, Mich./Mumford
Thigpen racked up a school-record 197 kickoff return yards and matched a Big Ten record with his third touchdown on the season in Indiana's victory at Illinois. The sophomore running back averaged 49.3 yards on his four kickoff returns, including a 98-yard scoring sprint to open the second half and give the Hoosiers their first lead after falling behind by 18 points in the second quarter.  Thigpen's 197-yard effort ranks sixth on the conference single-game charts and shatters the program record of 174 kickoff return yards set by Duane Gunn at Syracuse in 1981. The Detroit native, who leads the country with 41.8 yards per kickoff return, also equaled the Big Ten record of three kickoff return touchdowns in a single season held by Purdue's Stan Brown (1970) and Michigan State's DeAndra Cobb (2003). Thigpen picks up the first weekly honor of his career.