Big Ten: Neil Rackers
|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.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final South Florida 10 19 Wisconsin 27 Final Tulane 6 Rutgers 31 Final Iowa 24 Purdue 10 Final Wyoming 14 9 Michigan State 56 Final Northwestern 29 Penn State 6 Final Maryland 37 Indiana 15 Final Minnesota 30 Michigan 14 Final Cincinnati 28 22 Ohio State 50 Final Illinois 14 21 Nebraska 45