Nov. 14, 2005
Amir Pinnix, Minnesota
SO, RB, Newark, N.J./Malcolm X Shabazz
With Minnesota's top two rushers out of the game due to injury, Pinnix stepped in and exploded for career highs in yards (206) and carries (32) while adding a touchdown in a victory over Michigan State. The sophomore running back, who entered the game with only two rushing attempts in the first five conference games, was elevated to backup when the league's leading rusher, Laurence Maroney, missed the game with an injury. Then starter Gary Russell, who earned Big Ten weekly accolades last week after stepping in for Maroney, was knocked out in the second quarter. Pinnix responded by carrying the ball 11 times for 60 yards on the Gophers' opening drive of the second half, an 80-yard march that led to a 28-3 advantage. The New Jersey native added his first rushing touchdown of the year in the final stanza to build the lead to 34-10. Pinnix more than doubled his previous career-best performance of 88 yards against Toledo in 2004 to become the 12th Gopher to break the 200-yard barrier. Minnesota becomes the first school in Big Ten history to have three different running backs pick up weekly league accolades in the same season after Pinnix joined Maroney (Sept. 26) and Russell (Nov. 7) as Offensive Player of the Week honorees. Four other teams have watched two rushers pick up weekly laurels in the same year -- the Gophers in 2000 (Thomas Tapeh, Tellis Redmon), Iowa in 1997 (Tavian Banks, Rob Thein), Wisconsin in 1993 (Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher) and Michigan State in 1990 (Tico Duckett, Hyland Hickson). This is the first weekly honor for Pinnix.
Mitch King, Iowa
FR, DT, Burlington, Iowa/Burlington
King became the first freshman to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors this season after setting career highs with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks as part of an Iowa defense that limited Wisconsin to a season-lows in total offensive yards (276) and points (10) during a road victory in Madison. The freshman defensive tackle produced six tackles in the game, including five solo stops, and also recorded a quarterback hurry while helping limit the hosts to only 19 rushing yards. The Badgers entered the game leading the Big Ten and ranking 10th nationally with 37.1 points per outing while averaging 389.1 yards of total offense and 167.1 rushing yards per game. After entering the half trailing 10-3, the Iowa defense held Wisconsin to only 94 yards in the second half, including 68 yards on the final drive of the game. King leads the team and ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 10.5 TFLs this season while also rating fifth on the squad with 53 tackles. This marks his first weekly laurel.
Steve Breaston, Michigan
SR, PR/KR, North Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills
In just one half of action, Breaston racked up 201 all-purpose yards in a win over Indiana, including 78 yards on three punt returns (26.0 avg.), a 47-yard kickoff return and an 11-yard touchdown reception to give Michigan a 41-7 lead at the half. The senior wideout moved into second place on the Big Ten career list with 1,195 punt return yards. He picks up his third career weekly special teams accolade.
Dave Brytus, Purdue
SO, P, McDonald, Pa./West Allegheny
Brytus pinned Illinois inside the 20-yard line on three of his four punts while averaging 39 yards per boot in Purdue's second straight victory. The sophomore punter, who is the lone Big Ten semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, is averaging 39.7 yards per punt this season and has placed 21 of his 57 kicks inside the 20-yard line