Illini sweep Big Ten Offensive and Defensive POW awards

No. 5 is Rashard Mendenhall.The Big Ten announced this morning that two Illini, running back Rashard Mendenhall and defensive end Will Davis, have been named conference players of the week. Mendenhall is the Offensive Player of the Week and Davis is the Defensive Co-Player of the Week, along with Michigan safety Jamar Adams.

Maybe you’ve heard Mendenhall’s name too many times already in the past few days, but in case you can still stomach it, here’s what the announcement from the Big Ten says about Mendenhall and Davis. I found it interesting that his 7.9 yards per carry is described as “incredible.” Incredible? Really?

From the Big Ten:

Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, JR, RB, Skokie, Ill./Niles West
Mendenhall broke loose for a career-high 214 rushing yards, averaging an incredible 7.9 yards on 27 carries while scoring a touchdown both on the ground and through the air to lead the Illini to a victory at Indiana. The junior running back scored on a 15-yard reception near the end of the first half to give the visitors a 20-7 lead at the break and added a five-yard scoring run to open the final stanza to boost Illinois to a 27-7 advantage. Mendenhall became the first Illini rusher to crack the 200-yard mark since the 1998 season and led the program to its first Big Ten opening win in 14 years. The Illinois native surpassed the 100-yard plateau for the third straight game against a Hoosiers defense that entered the game ranked 10th in the country in rushing defense. Mendenhall rates second in the Big Ten with 134.0 yards per outing and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry. He picks up his first career weekly accolade and the first for an Illini offensive player since 2003.
LAST ILLINOIS OFFENSIVE POW: QB Jon Beutjer on Sept. 22, 2003

Will Davis, Illinois, JR, DE, Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt
Davis set career highs with five tackles for loss and four sacks, the second-best single-game performance in Illinois history, to help shut down an explosive Indiana offense. The junior defensive end collected seven tackles, including five solo stops, and also forced a fumble to lead an Illini defense that limited Indiana to only 14 points, more than 30 points below its season average. The Hoosiers entered the game ranked third in the conference and 17th nationally with 44.3 points per outing. Davis’ four sacks are tied for the third-highest single-game total in Big Ten history and were the most for an Illinois player since Simeon Rice set the school record with five sacks against Washington State in 1994. The Maryland native earns his first career weekly honor.

Jamar Adams, Michigan, SR, S, Charlotte, N.C./Butler
Adams equaled the second-best single-game performance in Michigan annals with five pass breakups, including one on each of Penn State’s final two offensive plays to secure a victory over the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions. The senior safety matched his career high with eight tackles while earning half of a tackle for loss as the Wolverines held PSU to only three field goals, more than 30 points below its season average of 45 points per contest entering the game. Adams’ performance ranks second only to Marlin Jackson, who broke up a school record six passes against Washington in 2002. Three of the North Carolina native’s five breakups came in the fourth quarter and four thwarted third or fourth down opportunities. Adams collects the first weekly laurel of his career.
LAST MICHIGAN DEFENSIVE POW: DE LaMarr Woodley on Oct. 16, 2006


  1. Mendenhall deserves this award. First contact did not bring him down, he constantly made people miss, or just flat ran them over. I hope the IU staff took note that 190lb running backs like Thigpen, don’t get the job done in the Big Ten, that you need a 220ln+ Bryan Peyton or Sears to punish teams up the middle. Eventually it will open up the play action.

  2. Hey Mike, did Lynch borrow some of your pee wee players to start on D? I think the D-fense play calling was right out of the Bobby Boucher hand book… If only we had Adam Sandler at linebacker…

  3. Juan Blanco – Nope. My kids can stop the run. We forced 3 fumbles, and recovered 2 yesterday, 2 of those forced were by my own son, including the one we recovered in OT to preserve the win! I was a proud coach, and even more proud daddy.

  4. Mike, Its time to fit your son for the Cream and Crimson!
    Jim, Iowa has a nasty front four! If our protection is anything like it was on Saturday, Kellen is in for a long, tuff day..

  5. Kellen can’t stand in the pocket against Iowa. He will have to roll out, get seperation with his legs, and scramble on more than just the designed QB draw. Something he just did not do against the Illini.

  6. He couldn’t do it against Illinois because we were actually playing teams with athletes on defense.

    He can run wild on the Indiana State’s, Western Michigan’s, and Akron’s of the world. He can’t do that facing real teams with real players.

  7. Laffy, Chris is supposed to talk to Zeller tonight. He spoke with his parents yesterday and they said Tyler was busy studying last night, but would be available tonight.

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