Michael Hart, Michigan, FR, RB, Syracuse, N.Y./Onondaga Central
Hart became just the second player in Michigan history to produce back-to-back 200-yard rushing efforts after racking up 206 yards on 33 attempts while adding the Wolverines’ lone touchdown on a 25-yard reception in a victory at Purdue. The only other UM back to produce consecutive 200-yard games was Jon Vaughn in 1990. Hart also shattered the school’s single-season freshman rushing record as he pushed his season total to 936 yards, breaking the previous best of 748 yards set by Ricky Powers in 1990. This is his first weekly honor.
Marion Barber III, Minnesota, JR, RB, Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata
Barber III averaged an astounding 12.5 yards per rushing attempt while accounting for three touchdowns in the win over Illinois. The junior running back broke loose for 138 yards on only 11 carries with two scores while adding a 21-yard scoring strike to Ernie Wheelwright, his second passing touchdown this season. Barber recorded his third 100-yard effort this season and is now tied with his father for second place in Gophers’ annals with 34 career rushing touchdowns. This marks his second weekly Conference award this season.
Kyle McKenzie, Minnesota, JR, LB, Detroit, Mich./St. Martin Deporres
McKenzie posted career-highs with 12 tackles (nine solo stops), 2.5 sacks (-20 yards) and four tackles for loss (-21 yards) while forcing a fumble as Minnesota blanked Illinois, the Gophers’ first shutout of a Big Ten opponent since a 1990 victory over Indiana. The junior linebacker picks up the first career weekly laurel of his career and the first for a Minnesota defender since Eli Ward was honored on September 9, 2002.
Steve Weatherford, Illinois, JR, P, Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute North
Weatherford placed five of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line while averaging 46.5 yards per attempt at Minnesota. The junior punter compiled 372 yards on his eight attempts, as three punts were downed inside the 10-yard line. Weatherford, who currently ranks fourth nationally with 45.6 yards per boot, picks up the second weekly award of his career.