Jared Ellerson was named Big Ten offensive co-MVP

Minnesota wide receiver Jared Ellerson was named Big Ten offensive co-MVP after a big game against Northwestern. The Big Ten honored the following student-athletes as the Conference Players of the Week in football.

CO-OFFENSE:

Jeff Smoker, Michigan State   SR        QB       Manheim, PA/Manheim Central

Smoker connected on an astounding 80 percent of his throws (32-of-40) for 351 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing score to lead the Spartans to a victory over Indiana. His 32 completions tied a school record set by John Leister against Michigan in 1982. Smoker completed 17-of-18 attempts during one stretch on the way to his seventh career 300-yard passing game. The senior quarterback earns the second Big Ten Player of the Week honor of his career and first since November 13, 2000, when he was a freshman.

Jared Ellerson, Minnesota       SO       WR       Copley, OH/Copley

Ellerson hauled in four passes and made the most of each catch, racking up a career-best 189 yards and two touchdowns. His first scoring grab went 96 yards to set a school record, breaking the previous long of 94 yards set by John Lewis in 1992, and his second touchdown went 82 yards. Ellerson's 189-yard outing ranks third in school annals and was his third 100-yard effort this season. It is the first weekly honor of the sophomore's  career and the first for a Minnesota wide receiver since Luke Leverson was selected on October 24, 1998.

DEFENSE:

Greg Taplin, Michigan State    SR        DE        Hollywood, FL/Hallandale

Taplin doubled his season total with three sacks (-15 yards) and recorded five tackles, four solos, as MSU limited Indiana to only a field goal. The Spartans held an opponent out of the end zone for the first time since blanking Northwestern on November 13, 1999. Taplin's three sacks equaled the total from his first three seasons combined. He is the third straight MSU player to collect Defensive Player of the Week accolades, joining Eric Smith and Mike Labinjo.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin        JR        DB        Tony, WI/Flambeau

Leonhard returned three punts for 82 yards (27.3 avg.), including a 65-yard touchdown to give the Badgers a 23-9 lead late in the third quarter. The junior safety, who also recorded four tackles in the win, now has two career punt return scores. It is the second weekly award of his career, as he was honored for his defensive efforts on August 26, 2002.


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