Nov. 13, 2006
Troy Smith, Ohio State, SR, QB, Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Smith equaled a career high with four touchdown passes while completing 63.2 percent of his passes (12-of-19) for 185 yards despite missing the final quarter in a 54-10 win at Northwestern. The senior quarterback connected on two scoring tosses to Brian Hartline and hit Ted Ginn Jr. on a 34-yard touchdown strike with three seconds left in the first half to give OSU a 33-10 advantage. He added a scoring pass to Anthony Gonzalez early in the third quarter to match his personal best of four touchdowns accomplished against Iowa and Indiana earlier this year. The preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year now has 26 passing touchdowns this season, the fifth-highest total in conference annals and second in Buckeyes history behind only the 29 scoring tosses by Bobby Hoying in 1995. Smith picks up the fifth weekly conference accolade of his career and his fourth this season, which ties him with six other players for the most offensive awards in a single year — Indiana’s Anthony Thompson (1989), Michigan’s Desmond Howard (1991), Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1999), Purdue’s Drew Brees (2000) and Kyle Orton (2004) and Penn State’s Larry Johnson (2002).
Tony Hunt, Penn State, SR, TB, Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams
Hunt ripped off 10.4 yards per carry to rack up a career-best 167 rushing yards on only 16 attempts while adding a personal-best four touchdowns, including three on the ground, in a victory over Temple. The senior tailback broke loose on scoring sprints of 22, 26 and 11 yards to give Penn State a 31-0 halftime lead and then caught an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter before sitting out the rest of the game. He recorded two catches for 25 yards on the day to compile a career-high 192 all-purpose yards. The Virginia native ended the game with 1,098 rushing yards on the year to become only the sixth Nittany Lion to produce a pair of 1,000-yard seasons along with John Cappelletti (1972-73), Curt Warner (1981-82), Blair Thomas (1987, 1989), Ki-Jana Carter (1993-94) and Curtis Enis (1996-97). Hunt picks up the first weekly accolade of his career. DEFENSE:
Willie VanDeSteeg, Minnesota, JR, DE, Silver Lake, Minn./Glencoe-Silver Lake
VanDeSteeg helped keep Minnesota’s bowl dreams alive by matching a school record and setting a career high with four sacks in a road victory at Michigan State. The junior defensive end posted five solo stops on the day, with four of them coming on quarterback hits which led to a loss of 33 yards. His four sacks rank as the third-highest single-game total in Big Ten history and equal Karon Riley’s program mark set against Iowa on Nov. 18, 2000. VanDeSteeg was part of a defensive effort that limited the Spartans to three rushing yards and forced three turnovers. He collects the first Player of the Week honor of his career.
Steve Breaston, Michigan, SR, WR, North Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills
Breaston broke loose for 231 all-purpose yards, including a career-long 83-yard put return touchdown, in a road win at Indiana. The senior wideout added three receptions for 103 yards, highlighted by a career-long 62-yard scoring strike, and two kickoff returns for 45 yards. He now has four punt return touchdowns in his career, which equals a school record and ranks as the third-most in Big Ten history. Breaston already ranks first in conference annals in career punt returns and yards while appearing among the top 10 in kickoff returns and yards. He picks up special teams accolades for the third straight season (Oct. 17 and Nov. 14, 2005; Nov. 13, 2004) and the fourth time in his career.