Badgers dominate Big Ten honors

Published 9:56 pm Monday, November 29, 2010

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Big Ten Conference co-champion Wisconsin picked up both the offensive and defensive players of the week honors.

Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien and defensive end J.J. Watt led Wisconsin to a share of the conference championship with Michigan State and Ohio State.

The Badgers are also the favorite to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.


Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

SR, QB, Rolling Meadows, Ill./Palatine Fremd

Tolzien connected on 15 of 19 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wisconsin offense to 70 points against Northwestern and clinch a share of the Big Ten Championship. The senior quarterback did most of his damage in the first half, completing 14 of 18 throws for 190 yards and all four touchdowns to stake Wisconsin to a 49-17 halftime lead. He threw only one pass in the second half, a 40-yard completion. Tolzien connected on 78.9 percent of his passes on the day and his pass efficiency rating of 250.1 ranks fifth in Badger history. The Illinois native has completed 74.3 percent of his throws on the season, breaking the Big Ten and school record of 67.8 percent set by Darrell Bevell in 1993. Tolzien collects the third weekly laurel of his career and first this season after being honored on Sept. 27 and Nov. 15, 2009.


J.J. Watt, Wisconsin

JR, DE, Pewaukee, Wis./Pewaukee

Watt racked up seven tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack while helping force five of Northwestern’s six turnovers as Wisconsin clinched a share of its first Big Ten title since 1999. The junior defensive end forced two fumbles, both of which were recovered by Wisconsin, and recorded three quarterback hurries, all of which resulted in interceptions for the Badgers. The Wisconsin native also blocked an extra point. His three tackles for loss pushed the Wildcat offense back 19 yards, including a 12-yard sack. Watt concluded the regular season with 21.0 tackles for loss.

, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, three blocked kicks, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He earns his third career weekly award after being honored on Dec. 6, 2009, and Oct. 25, 2010.

Co-special teams and co-freshman:

Mitch Ewald, Indiana

FR, K, Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley

Ewald was perfect on a pair of field goals and four extra points to help Indiana reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket and post its first road win over Purdue since 1996. The freshman kicker hit a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. After the Hoosiers picked off a Boilermaker pass in the extra session, Ewald connected on a 31-yard field goal for the 34-31 triumph. The Illinois native recorded the first game-winning field goal for Indiana since Austin Starr connected on a 49-yarder to defeat Purdue in 2007. Ewald connected on 16 of 19 field goals in his first season, the third-most field goals in a single season in school annals. He nabs his first career weekly laurel and becomes the first Hoosier to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades.

Venric Mark, Northwestern

FR, KR, Tomball, Texas/St. Pius X

Mark set school records with nine kickoff returns for 273 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown sprint, at Wisconsin. The freshman wide receiver averaged 30.3 yards per return, including four returns that went for 25 or more yards. His 94-yard kickoff return touchdown was the eighth-longest in program annals. Mark’s nine returns also equaled a Big Ten single-game record posted on three previous occasions, most recently when Minnesota’s Troy Stoudermire returned nine kicks against Iowa on Nov. 22, 2008.

The Texas native’s 273 return yards rank second in Big Ten history behind only Stoudermire’s 283 yards against the Hawkeyes. Mark added eight punt return yards to produce 281 all-purpose yards, breaking the Northwestern freshman record of 253 all-purpose yards set by Tyrell Sutton against Wisconsin in 2005. Mark is the first Wildcat to collect Freshman of the Week laurels and earns his first career weekly award.