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Monday, September 7, 2009
Big Ten names players of the week

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Looks like the Big Ten is announcing its football players of the week on Sunday nights, not Mondays, this season. In an effort to one-up the league office, I'll start picking my own honorees next week.

There was a bit of indecision here, but some good choices nonetheless.

CO-OFFENSE

Penn State QB Daryll Clark -- Clark broke a school record with 254 passing yards in the first half on his way to setting career highs with 29 completions, 40 attempts and 353 yards through the air against Akron. The senior quarterback guided the Penn State offense to 515 total yards for the game, despite working with new starters at wide receiver and at three offensive line positions. He tossed three touchdown passes in the game and his 353 passing yards rank as the fifth-highest single-game total in school history.

Purdue RB Ralph Bolden -- Bolden averaged an astounding 11.1 yards on 21 carries against Toledo to rack up a career-high 234 rushing yards, the third-highest single-game effort in program annals. After rushing for just 28 yards as a freshman last season, Bolden nearly tripled his first-year effort on his opening carry of the game, rumbling 78 yards for a touchdown. The sophomore running back added a 14-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Bolden’s effort marked just the 12th game in school history in which a Boilermaker has topped the 200-yard mark.

My pick (for what it's worth) -- Bolden

DEFENSE

Minnesota LB Lee Campbell -- Campbell registered a career-high 13 tackles, including 11 solo stops, while adding 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and a pass breakup to help lead Minnesota to a road victory at Syracuse. After giving up 190 total yards and 20 points in the first half, the Gophers' defense rallied to hold the Orange to only 67 yards and no points in the second half and overtime to allow the offense to rally for the 23-20 victory. The senior linebacker recorded three of his solo tackles in overtime to set up the third-down pass attempt that was picked off in the end zone.

My pick -- Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman (9 tackles, interception, forced fumble)

CO-SPECIAL TEAMS

Iowa LB Jeremiha Hunter -- Leading by only a point with one second on the clock, Hunter blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt by Northern Iowa to secure the victory. The block was the second of back-to-back blocked field goals by the Hawkeyes in the last seven seconds of the game. With Iowa holding a narrow 17-16 advantage, the visitors drove to the 23-yard line and attempted a 40-yard field goal on first down. While the hosts blocked the kick, Northern Iowa recovered with one second left to allow a second attempt from 41 yards, which was turned away by Hunter.

Minnesota K Eric Ellestad -- In his first collegiate game, Ellestad connected on three field goals, including a 26-yarder to tie the game with less than one minute remaining and a 35-yarder to clinch the victory in the extra session at Syracuse. The junior kicker added a 26-yarder in the third quarter to pull the Gophers within 20-17.

My pick -- A ton of great choices here, but I'll go with Hunter. If he doesn't step up with the blocks, Iowa could be 0-1 and in major trouble.