Nov. 21, 2005
Ed Hinkel, Iowa
SR, WR, Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep
In his final game at Kinnick Stadium, Hinkel celebrated senior day by equaling a school record with four touchdown catches while also setting career highs with seven receptions for 151 yards against Minnesota. The senior wide receiver, who missed three games after breaking his arm at Purdue on Oct. 8, tracked down scoring strikes of 46, 38 and three yards from Drew Tate while also collecting a 26-yard touchdown from wideout Clinton Solomon. Hinkel's four receiving scores, which ranks second in Big Ten history, matched the school record set by Quinn Early against Northwestern in 1987. Hinkel picks up his second weekly league accolade after being named Special Teams Player of the Week as a freshman on Nov. 11, 2002.
Troy Smith, Ohio State
JR, QB, Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Smith directed the Buckeyes' offense on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to rally Ohio State to a 25-21 road victory at Michigan and a share of the Big Ten title. The junior quarterback connected on 73 percent of his passes on the day, completing 27-of-37 throws for a career-best 300 yards and a touchdown while adding 48 yards on 11 carries and another score. After the Wolverines took a 21-12 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Smith drove the Buckeyes 67 yards on five plays in just over a minute, connecting on a 26-yard scoring strike to Santonio Holmes with 6:40 on the clock to cut the lead to 21-19. The OSU defense then forced a Michigan punt to give the ball back to the Buckeyes' offense at the 12-yard line with just over four minutes left. Smith led the visitors on a 12-play, 88-yard scoring drive, completing seven-of-eight passes for 77 of those yards before Antonio Pittman scored on a three-yard run to give Ohio State the lead with only 24 seconds remaining. The Cleveland native picks up his first career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week laurel.
Alan Zemaitis, Penn State
SR, CB, Rochester, N.Y./Central
Zemaitis notched a career-high three interceptions at Michigan State to lead Penn State to a share of the school's first Big Ten title since 1994. The senior cornerback equaled his season high with seven tackles while adding a pass break up and became the first Nittany Lion to pick off three passes in a game since the school joined the Big Ten in 1993. After the Nittany Lions took a 3-0 lead on their opening possession, the hosts drove right down the field before the New York native picked off a Drew Stanton pass at the Penn State three-yard line to halt a potential scoring drive. The Spartans' cut the lead to 17-7 in the third quarter before Zemaitis recorded his second interception, returning it 17 yards to the MSU four-yard line to set up a touchdown and a 24-7 advantage. His final pick stopped a Spartans' drive at the eight-yard line in the fourth quarter to ensure the victory. This is the first weekly Big Ten accolade for Zemaitis.
Rob Ninkovich, Purdue
SR, DE, New Lenox, Ill./Joliet J.C.
In his final game with the Boilermakers, Ninkovich equaled a Big Ten record with seven tackles for loss, including a school-record four sacks, to lead Purdue to a road victory at Indiana. The senior defensive end set a career high with 11 tackles, including 10 solo stops, while also forcing a fumble. His seven TFLs matches the school and conference record set by Jeff Zgonina against Northwestern in 1992 and equaled by Michigan State's Julian Peterson (1998) and Michigan's Larry Foote (2001). Ninkovich's four-sack performance, the third-highest single-game total in league annals, duplicates his own school record established against the Hoosiers last season and set originally by Purdue's Tom Kingsbury in 1980. This marks the first weekly conference honor for Ninkovich.
Donnie Johnson, Penn State
JR, S, Cincinnati, Ohio/North College Hill
With Penn State leading 3-0 midway through the second quarter, Johnson blocked a Michigan State punt which was recovered by Matt Hahn for a touchdown and a 10-0 advantage. After the Nittany Lions took a 17-0 lead a few minutes later, the junior safety ended the first half by picking off quarterback Drew Stanton in the endzone to halt a potential Spartans' scoring drive. This is Johnson's first weekly Big Ten laurel.