Nov. 6, 2006
Bryan Cupito, Minnesota
SR, QB, Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas
Cupito equaled a career high with four touchdown strikes while completing 22-of-33 passes (66.7 percent) for a season-best 378 yards in a 63-26 victory over Indiana. The senior quarterback's four passing scores equaled his performance earlier this season against Temple (Sept. 16) and in last year's Music City Bowl (Dec. 30, 2005). He produced his second 300-yard passing game on the year, including a 347-yard performance against Penn State on Oct. 7, and the second-highest total of his career behind only a 396-yard effort versus Ohio State on Oct. 29, 2005. Cupito led the Gophers to touchdowns on five of his first six drives of the game, including three touchdown passes, to boost the hosts to a 35-0 advantage in the second quarter. Minnesota's 63 points were the most against a Big Ten opponent since the Gophers tallied 67 points against Iowa in 1916. Against the Hoosiers, Cupito moved into second place on the school's list for career passing yards with 6,673 yards, just 162 yards away from passing Cory Sauter (6,834 from 1994-97) for the program record. This marks the first weekly award of Cupito's career.
Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
SO, RB, Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban
Sutton broke loose for a season-high 203 all-purpose yards, including 168 yards on 28 carries with a touchdown, to lead Northwestern to its first victory at Iowa since 1996. The sophomore running back averaged six yards per rushing attempt while also adding 35 yards on five receptions to help the Wildcats snap a six-game losing streak. His 168 rushing yards were the most given up this season by the Hawkeyes defense, which entered the game ranked fifth in the conference allowing only 123 yards on the ground per outing. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year has now rushed for 150 or more yards in two of his last three games, including a season-high 172 yards against Michigan State on Oct. 21. Sutton picks up the second weekly laurel of his career after being honored as a freshman on Sept. 12, 2005.
J Leman, Illinois
JR, LB, Champaign, Ill./Central
Leman racked up a career-high 19 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, including an eight-yard sack, while forcing a fumble to spearhead an Illinois defense that limited top-ranked Ohio State to a season-low 17 points and 224 yards of total offense. The junior linebacker's 19-tackle performance, which included eight solo stops, are the most by a Big Ten player this season. After trailing 17-0 at halftime, the Illini defense allowed only 29 yards and four first downs while shutting out the Buckeyes in the second half. Leman leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally with 11.7 tackles per game and has produced double-digits in defensive stops in eight of 10 contests. He collects the first weekly accolade of his career and the first by an Illini defensive player since Derrick Strong was honored on Nov. 11, 2002.
Garrett Rivas, Michigan
SR, PK, Tampa, Fla./Jesuit
Rivas tallied a crucial 10 points, including a pair of field goals, during an eight-point win over Ball State to become Michigan's all-time scoring leader and keep the Wolverines undefeated. The senior kicker connected on field goals of 22 and 23 yards and added four extra points to boost his career scoring total to 339 points, breaking the previous program-best of 336 points established by running back Anthony Thomas from 1997-2000. Rivas ranks among the Big Ten career leaders in kicking points (6th) and field goals made (tied for 7th with 62). This marks the first weekly award of his career.