Trio of Spartans honored
Published 2:37 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010
PARK RIDGE, Ill. — A trio of players from undefeated Michigan State were selected for Big Ten Conference Player of the Week honors.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins, defensive end Tyler Hoover and punter Aaron Bates were all selected for the weekly honor. Hoover and Bates shared their awards with Wisconsin’s J.J. Watts and Brad Nortman respectively.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
JR, QB, Holland, Mich./Holland Christian
Cousins matched or surpassed career highs with 29 completions, 43 attempts and three passing scores at Northwestern, the last of which gave Michigan State its first lead with two minutes left to maintain its undefeated record. The junior quarterback completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 331 yards. With MSU trailing 27-21 with less than 10 minutes remaining, Cousins completed seven of eight passes to drive the Spartans 88 yards. He capped the drive with a nine-yard scoring strike with two minutes left to give them their first lead, 28-27. Cousins earns the first weekly accolade of his career.
Tyler Hoover, Michigan State
SO, DE, Novi, Mich./Novi
Hoover matched his career high with nine tackles, including a career-best two sacks, and forced a key fumble at Northwestern. Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, the sophomore defensive end forced a Wildcat fumble on first-and-goal to stop a potential scoring drive. He added two sacks later in the game and collects the first weekly laurel of his career.
J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
JR, DE, Pewaukee, Wis./Pewaukee
Watt produced five tackles and two tackles for loss, including a sack on Iowa’s final drive, and also blocked an extra point in a 31-30 road triumph. After Iowa’s first touchdown, Watt broke through to reject the extra point. Then with 26 seconds left in the game, he recorded an 11-yard sack to push the Hawkeyes back to their own 38-yard line and force them to use a timeout. Iowa would run out of time trying to move into field goal position. Watt earns his second career weekly award after being honored last season on Dec. 6, 2009.
Last Wisconsin POW: DE J.J. Watt on Dec. 6, 2009.
Aaron Bates, Michigan State
SR, P, New Concord, Ohio/John Glenn
Bates recorded six punts for 258 yards and succesfully converated a fake punt to help Michigan State rally from a 17-point deficit at Northwestern. The senior punter placed one boot inside the 20-yard line and had a long of 53 yards. Trailing 24-14 in the fourth quarter, Bates completed a 21-yard pass on fourth-and-11 to give MSU a first down. The Spartans scored on the next play to narrow the gap to 24-21 on their way to a 35-27 victory. The Ohio native collects weekly laurels for the second time this season and in his career, after being honored on Sept. 20.
Brad Nortman, Wisconsin
JR, P, Brookfield, Wis./Central
Nortman averaged 48.0 yards on two punts at Iowa, including a long of 54 yards, but made the biggest play of the game without kicking the ball. Trailing 30-24 with under eight minutes to play and facing a fourth-and-four on his own 26-yard line, the junior punter took the snap and sprinted up the middle for 17 yards and a first down. Wisconsin capped that drive with a touchdown to take a 31-30 lead and held on for the victory. Nortman nabs special teams accolades for the second time in his career after being honored as a freshman on Oct. 27, 2008.
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
FR, QB, Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst
Scheelhaase earns his third Freshman of the Week honor after accounting for 168 yards rushing and passing with a pair of touchdowns to help lead Illinois to a 43-13 triumph over Indiana. The freshman quarterback completed 13 of 21 passes (61.9 pct.) for 123 yards with two scoring strikes and no interceptions and added 45 yards on six carries (7.5 avg.). Scheelhaase was also named Freshman of the Week on Sept. 13 and Oct. 11.