Big Ten: Arizona Cardinals
|AP Photo/Charlie Riedel|
|For the second year in a row, a Big Ten receiver made the game-winning touchdown grab in the Super Bowl. This year it was former Ohio State standout Santonio Holmes.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
For the second straight year, a former Big Ten wide receiver made the winning touchdown catch in the Super Bowl with exactly 35 seconds left in regulation.
And this time, he took home MVP honors.
Former Ohio State star Santonio Holmes made an electrifying grab in the back of the end zone to lift Pittsburgh past Arizona 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII on Sunday night. Holmes, who made news earlier in the week with an admission that he sold drugs as a kid, had nine receptions for 131 yards to win the game's MVP award.
He's the first Big Ten player to win the award since former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady claimed the second of his two trophies in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Five former Big Ten players -- Brady, Holmes, Len Dawson (Purdue), Desmond Howard (Michigan) and Franco Harris (Penn State) -- have been named Super Bowl MVP.
The Super Bowl was an impressive showcase for the Big Ten, which certainly needed a boost. The Big Ten will continue to take flak for its bowl performances, but arguably no league better prepares its players for the NFL.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Former Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley had the Steelers' only two sacks and forced a Kurt Warner fumble that sealed the victory with five seconds remaining.
- Former Minnesota running back Gary Russell scored the game's first touchdown, a 1-yard run for the Steelers early in the second quarter.
- Former Michigan wide receiver Steve Breaston had six catches for 71 yards to go along with 43 yards on kickoff and punt returns for the Cardinals.
- Former Purdue linebacker Chike Okeafor finished second on the Cardinals in tackles with six tackles (all solo).
- Former Minnesota tight end Matt Spaeth and former Illinois fullback Carey Davis both had a reception for six yards with the Steelers.
- Former Illinois kicker Neil Rackers connected on all three of his extra-point attempts for the Cardinals. He did not attempt a field goal.
- Former Penn State tackle Levi Brown started for the Cardinals and gave Warner time to rack up 377 pass yards and three touchdowns against the vaunted Steelers defense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Michigan has the most connections with seven players on the active roster for the matchup, including Steelers starting linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote and Cardinals reserve wideout and punt returner Steve Breaston. Penn State and Minnesota also are well represented.
- Safety Tyrone Carter -- attended Minnesota
- Fullback Carey Davis* -- attended Illinois
- Guard Trai Essex -- attended Northwestern
- Linebacker Larry Foote* -- attended Michigan
- Wide receiver Santonio Holmes* -- attended Ohio State
- Tight end Sean McHugh -- attended Penn State
- Nose tackle Scott Paxson -- attended Penn State
- Running back Gary Russell -- attended Minnesota
- Tight end Matt Spaeth -- attended Minnesota
- Linebacker Lamarr Woodley* -- attended Michigan
- Linebacker Mike Humpal (injured reserve) -- attended Iowa
- Running back Rashard Mendenhall (injured reserve) -- attended Illinois
- Update: Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau -- attended Ohio State and played cornerback
- Wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner -- attended Purdue and served as a graduate assistant for both the Boilermakers and Michigan
- Running backs coach Kirby Wilson -- Played his final two seasons at Illinois
- Defensive tackle Alan Branch -- attended Michigan
- Wide receiver Steve Breaston -- attended Michigan
- Tackle Levi Brown* -- attended Penn State
- Linebacker Victor Hobson -- attended Michigan
- Long snapper Nathan Hodel -- attended Illinois
- Defensive end Kenny Iwebema -- attended Iowa
- Defensive end Chike Okeafor* -- attended Purdue
- Kicker Neil Rackers* -- attended Illinois
- Tight end Jerame Tuman -- attended Michigan
- Defensive tackle Gabe Watson -- attended Michigan
- Defensive line coach Ron Aiken -- coached Iowa's defensive line from 1999-2006, earned AFCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2002
- Defensive backs coach Teryl Austin -- coached defensive backs at Michigan from 1999-2002 and served as a graduate assistant at Penn State from 1991-92
- Linebackers coach Bill Davis -- Served as a graduate assistant at Michigan State
* -- starter
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State