Nov. 3, 2008
Mike Kafka, Northwestern
JR, QB, Chicago, Ill./St. Rita
Starting in place of the injured C.J. Bachér, Kafka set a Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 217 yards on the ground while adding 143 yards and two touchdowns through the air to lead Northwestern to a triumph at Minnesota. The junior signal caller averaged eight yards per carry with 27 rushes for 217 yards, while also completing 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) passes to amass a career-best 360 yards of total offense. The Big Ten record for single-game rushing yards by a quarterback was held by Purdue’s Gary Danielson, who ran for 213 yards against Washington in 1972. Kafka opened the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown pass and led another drive for a field goal and a 10-0 advantage. The Gophers rallied to take a 14-10 lead before Kafka led another scoring drive. The Chicago native broke loose on a 53-yard run before tossing a two-yard touchdown to retake the lead in the second quarter. He picks up his first career weekly accolade.
LAST NU OFFENSIVE POW: QB C.J. Bachér on Sept. 29, 2008.
Justin Siller, Purdue
SO, QB, Detroit, Mich./St. Mary’s
With both the starting and backup quarterbacks injured, Siller made his first start, set career highs in every category and accounted for four touchdowns, including the game-winning pass on a hook-and-ladder play with 26 seconds on the clock to give Purdue a 48-42 victory over Michigan. The sophomore, who started the season as a running back but returned to the quarterback position in mid-October, completed 21-of-34 passes (61.8 percent) for 266 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards on 15 carries with another score. After the Wolverines tied the score with just over a minute left in the game, Siller led a four-play, 73-yard scoring drive. On second-and-seven at the 32-yard line, he completed a four-yard pass to Greg Orton, who lateraled the ball to Desmond Tardy to scamper the remaining 28 yards for the game-winning score. Siller earns his first career weekly laurel.
LAST PUR OFFENSIVE POW: WR Dorien Bryant on Oct. 22, 2007.
Brendan Smith, Northwestern
JR, S, Andover, Mass./New Hampton Prep (N.H.)
Smith snagged a deflected pass and returned it 48 yards for the game-winning touchdown with only 12 seconds left to lead Northwestern to a road victory at Minnesota. The junior safety recorded six tackles in the game as the Wildcats defeated a ranked foe for the first time since 2005. Smith was part of a Northwestern defense that held the Gophers to only 10 offensive points and 68 rushing yards for the game. After Minnesota tied the score at 17-17 right before halftime, NU held the hosts scoreless in the second half and allowed only one drive over 40 yards. With less than a minute left in the game, the Gophers were looking to mount a game-winning drive only to see a pass deflect off a receiver and a defender. Smith grabbed the ball, weaved through traffic and sprinted 48 yards for a score and THE 24-17 victory. He collects his first career player of the week accolade.
LAST NU DEFENSIVE POW: DE Vince Browne on Sept. 22, 2008.
Brett Swenson, Michigan State
JR, K, Pompano Beach, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas
Swenson connected on all four of his field goal attempts, including a 44-yarder with only seven seconds left to help Michigan State rally for a 25-24 victory over Wisconsin. The junior kicker hit field goals of 27 and 21 yards in the first half before the Badgers built a 24-13 lead early in the final stanza. After the Spartans pulled within 24-19, Swenson connected on a career-long 50-yarder with 5:16 to play to cut the deficit to 24-22 and set up his last-second heroics. The Florida native earns the third weekly laurel of his career and on the season, becoming just the sixth player in Big Ten history to earn three or more special teams awards in a single season.
LAST MSU SPECIAL TEAMS POW: K Brett Swenson on Oct. 13, 2008.