MSU, OSU and PSU Earn Weekly Big Ten Football Honors

Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton led the Spartans to the greatest comeback in NCAA Division I-A history to earn a share of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton led the Spartans to the greatest comeback in NCAA Division I-A history to earn a share of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Oct. 23, 2006

CO-OFFENSE:
Drew Stanton, Michigan State 
SR, QB, Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison
Stanton led the greatest comeback in Division I-A history as Michigan State rallied from a 35-point third quarter deficit for a 41-38 victory at Northwestern. The senior quarterback completed 73 percent of his passes (27-of-37) for 294 yards and two scoring strikes while adding a rushing touchdown. After the Wildcats took a 38-3 lead with 9:54 left in the third quarter, Stanton sparked the comeback with an 18-yard touchdown pass just a few minutes later. Following two more touchdowns, he scored on a 12-yard run with less than eight minutes left to cut the deficit to 38-31. After an NU punt, Stanton capped a six-play drive with a nine-yard scoring strike to even the score at 38-38. Northwestern was intercepted on its next possession and Stanton drove the Spartans to the game-winning field goal with 13 seconds remaining. The previous record for the largest comeback in Division I-A annals was a 31-point rally by two different teams -- Ohio State in 1989 and Maryland in 1984. Stanton garners weekly laurels for the third straight season and fifth time in his career, as he was previously honored twice in both 2004 and 2005.

Troy Smith, Ohio State 
SR, QB, Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Smith became the first Buckeyes quarterback in more than a decade to toss four touchdowns in a single half, hitting four different receivers for scores in the first two quarters to boost Ohio State to a 28-3 halftime lead over Indiana. The senior quarterback connected on 15-of-23 throws (65.2 percent) for 220 yards in the game despite throwing only five passes in limited action in the second half. The Preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year became the first OSU signal caller to throw four touchdown passes in a half since Bobby Hoying accomplished the feat against Purdue in 1994. Smith now has 21 touchdown strikes this season against only two interceptions to lead the Big Ten and rank fourth nationally with a pass efficiency rating of 176.4. Smith collects the fourth weekly conference accolade of his career and his third this season after being honored on Sept. 4 and Oct. 29 of 2006 and Nov. 21 of 2005.

CO-DEFENSE:
Antonio Smith, Ohio State 
SR, CB, Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft
Smith racked up a career-high 12 tackles and four tackles for loss while adding a forced fumble as the Ohio State defense limited Indiana to a field goal. The senior cornerback's four TFLs, including his first career sack, led to a loss of 22 yards by the Hoosiers offense. Eleven of his 12 defensive stops were solo tackles, the highest total by a Buckeye defender this season. Indiana was limited to only 165 total yards and seven yards on the ground, the second-best performance by OSU this season(-4 rushing yards for Cincinnati on Sept. 16). Smith picks up his first career weekly laurel.

Paul Posluszny, Penn State 
SR, LB, Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell

With Penn State leading by only one point in the third quarter, Posluszny forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to give the hosts a 17-9 lead on their way to a 26-12 victory over Illinois. The senior linebacker collected a season-high 13 tackles, including nine defensive stops and a sack in the second half as the defense sparked the Nittany Lions' comeback from a 9-3 halftime deficit. The Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year spearheaded a PSU defensive attack which allowed only four field goals and forced a season-high four turnovers. Posluszny picks up his fifth career Defensive Player of the Week accolade, which establishes a new Big Ten record. He was previously honored once in 2004 and three times last year to enter the season tied with Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State's Courtney Brown and Minnesota's Tyrone Carter with four career weekly awards.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Jeremy Kapinos, Penn State 
SR, P, Springfield, Va./West Springfield

Kapinos placed four of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line against Illinois to significantly change the field position and help fuel Penn State's second-half comeback. Trailing 9-3, his 48-yard boot was downed at the two-yard line which led to an Illini punt and a short field, which the hosts turned into a quick score and a 10-9 advantage they would not relinquish. Kapinos averaged 45.6 yards on his eight punts and totaled 365 yards to set the school record for career punting yards. He picks up his second weekly accolade this season and the fourth of his career, the second-highest total in the Big Ten records book.