Amir Pinnix Named Big Ten Player of the Week

Amir Pinnix, a sophomore running back from Minnesota, stepped in for an injured Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell to set career highs in yards (206) and carries (32) with a touchdown in their victory over Michigan State to win Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. The sophomore running back, who entered the game with only two rushing attempts in the first five conference games, was elevated to backup when the league's leading rusher, Laurence Maroney, missed the game with an injury.

When starter Gary Russell, who earned Big Ten weekly accolades last week after stepping in for Laurence Maroney, was knocked out in the second quarter, Amir Pinnix responded by carrying the ball 11 times for 60 yards on the Gophers' opening drive of the second half, an 80-yard march that led to a 28-3 lead.

The New Jersey native added his first rushing touchdown of the year in the final stanza to build the lead to 34-10. Pinnix more than doubled his previous career-best performance of 88 yards against Toledo in 2004 to become the 12th Gopher to break the 200-yard barrier.

Minnesota becomes the first school in Big Ten history to have three different running backs pick up weekly league accolades in the same season after Pinnix joined Maroney (Sept. 26) and Russell (Nov. 7) as Offensive Player of the Week honorees. Four other teams have watched two rushers pick up weekly laurels in the same year -- the Gophers in 2000 (Thomas Tapeh, Tellis Redmon), Iowa in 1997 (Tavian Banks, Rob Thein), Wisconsin in 1993 (Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher) and Michigan State in 1990 (Tico Duckett, Hyland Hickson). This is the first weekly honor for Pinnix.

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