Gary Russell Named Big Ten Player of the Week

Sophomore running back Gary Russell was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week as he set career highs in rushing attempts (28), yards (188) and touchdowns (3) to lead Minnesota to a road victory at Indiana for the first time since 1985 and bowl eligibility for the fourth straight season. With Big Ten rushing leader Laurence Maroney slowed by an ankle injury, Russell stepped up with his best effort of his college career.

With the Gophers trailing 14-7 at halftime, Gary Russell ran for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter alone as the visitors built a 34-14 advantage entering the final stanza. Russell's first score of the game boosted Minnesota to a 21-14 lead that it would not relinquish before he added a second touchdown run near the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Russell followed up his final scoring run by completing a two-point conversion pass to tight end Matt Spaeth for the final points in a 42-21 triumph. Russell, who ranks second on the team and fifth in the conference with 98.0 rushing yards per outing, recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing effort this year and in his career. He leads Minnesota and ranks third in the league with 15 rushing touchdowns, two shy of the Gophers' single-season record of 17 rushing scores established by Marion Barber III in 2003. Russell's 16 touchdowns overall rate third in the league and sixth in the country, as he has tallied at least two touchdowns in a game seven times this season, which marks a new school record. He picks up the first Big Ten Player of the Week award of his career.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories