Big Ten selections for Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week following the initial week of play in the 2006 college football season. This information will also be included later today in the weekly press release.
Alex Daniels, Minnesota, SO, RB, Columbus, Ohio/Brookhaven
In his first game as a running back after playing on defense last season, Daniels broke loose for a game-high 155 yards on 24 carries (6.5 yards per rush) and scored three touchdowns to lead the Gophers to a road victory at Kent State. The 6-3, 255-pounder played in 12 games and recorded 14 tackles as a linebacker last season before moving to the offensive side of the ball due to the loss of several running backs in the offseason. The Columbus, Ohio, native scored his first rushing touchdown from three yards out in the first quarter to give the visitors a 14-0 lead. He opened the second half by carrying all seven times on a 56-yard scoring march, culminating with a one-yard score, and added a six-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter. Daniels picks up his first conference weekly laurel and became the fifth different Minnesota rusher to earn Offensive Player of the Week honors in the last three seasons, joining teammate Amir Pinnix (2005) and former Gophers Marion Barber III (twice in 2004), Laurence Maroney (2003 and 2005) and Gary Russell (2005).
Troy Smith, Ohio State, SR, QB, Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Smith opened the 2006 season by completing his first five passes, including three for touchdowns, as Ohio State rocketed out to a 28-0 lead on its way to a victory over Northern Illinois. The senior quarterback left the game in the fourth quarter after completing 72 percent of his passes (18-for-25) for 297 yards and three scores, the seventh time in his last eight games he has surpassed 200 yards through the air. The Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year led OSU to touchdowns in each of its first four possessions, connecting with high school teammate Ted Ginn Jr. on scoring strikes of five and 58 yards to open the game before hitting Anthony Gonzalez for a 15-yard touchdown later in the opening stanza. Smith collects the second weekly conference accolade of his career after earning Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 21, 2005.
Dan Connor, Penn State, JR, LB, Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven
Connor led the Nittany Lions defense with a career-high two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss as Penn State limited defending Mid-American Conference champion Akron to only 33 rushing yards on 34 attempts in the season opener on Saturday. The junior linebacker added a game-high 13 tackles, including seven solo stops, and a forced fumble while his TFLs led to 23 yards of loss (including 21 yards on the two quarterback drops). He racked up 10 or more tackles for the seventh time in his career. Connor garnered his first weekly honor.
Erryn Cobb, Northwestern, SR, TE/FB, Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove North
Following a scoreless first half on the road at Miami (Ohio), in the first game since the passing of head coach Randy Walker, Cobb blocked a punt and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 advantage early in the third quarter. The Wildcats would score on their next two offensive possessions to build a 21-3 advantage on their way to an emotional season-opening victory on the campus where Walker both played and coached. This is the first weekly conference honor of Cobbâ€™s career.
Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin, SO, LB, New Brunswick, N.J./New Brunswick
Casillas gave Wisconsin its first lead of the game against Bowling Green, 14-7, after blocking a punt in the second quarter and recovering it in the endzone. The sophomore linebacker has now blocked three punts in 13 career games, including a blocked punt at Minnesota last season to conclude a 10-point comeback in the final minutes. Casillas, who added 12 tackles on defense, picks up his first career Big Ten weekly laurel.
Courtesy of the Big Ten