Earning Big Ten player of the week honors this week were Iowa's Kenny Iwebema on special teams, Minnesota's Adam Weber and Purdue's Curtis Painter on offense, and Penn State's Dan Connor on defense.
Kenny Iwebema, Iowa
SR, DE, Arlington, Texas/Bowie
Iwebema equaled his own school record by blocking two Syracuse field goals to lead the Hawkeyes to their first shutout since the 2005 season opener. The senior defensive end, who added three tackles and a sack in the game, also blocked a pair of field goals against Illinois in 2005. He picks up his first career weekly honor and the first for an Iowa special teams performer since the 2004 campaign.
LAST IOWA SPECIAL TEAMS POW: K Kyle Schlicher on Nov. 13, 2004
Adam Weber, Minnesota
FR, QB, Shoreview, Minn./Mounds View
Weber established Minnesota freshman records with 368 yards of total offense and four touchdown passes to lead the Gophers to a triple overtime victory over Miami (Ohio). The first-year starter completed 26 of 40 passes (65.0 pct.) for 271 yards and four touchdown strikes while adding 16 carries for 97 yards (6.1 avg.) and a rushing score. Weber started the scoring with an eight-yard run in the opening stanza before connecting on three touchdown passes to stake the hosts to a 28-12 fourth quarter lead. After the visitors rallied to force overtime and scored on their first possession, Weber tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker on third-and-10 to knot the score. Both teams missed field goals in the second extra session before Weber led Minnesota on the winning scoring drive in triple overtime. His 271 passing yards are the most by a Gophers freshman since Rickey Foggie threw for 272 yards against Northwestern on Sept. 10, 1987. The Shoreview, Minn., native picks up his first career weekly laurel and the first offensive accolade for a Minnesota freshman since running back Laurence Maroney was honored on Nov. 20, 2003.
LAST MINN OFFENSIVE POW: QB Bryan Cupito on Nov. 6, 2006
Curtis Painter, Purdue
SR, QB, Vincennes, Ind./Lincoln
Painter equaled the Purdue single-game record with six touchdown passes while also setting or matching career highs in attempts, completions and completion percentage in a victory over Eastern Illinois. The senior quarterback completed 38 of 49 passes (77.6 pct.) for 348 yards, hitting 12 different receivers and tossing his sixth touchdown pass at the start of the fourth quarter before sitting out the rest of the game. Painter's six scoring strikes matched the school record held by Drew Brees and Kyle Orton, the last two Big Ten signal callers to accomplish the feat in 1998 and 2004, respectively. Painter's scoring explosion also ranks second in conference history behind only the seven touchdown passes thrown by Iowa's Chuck Hartlieb against Northwestern in 1987. The Vincennes, Ind., native picks up his third offensive player of the week accolade after being honored twice last season on Oct. 16 and Nov. 27.
LAST PUR OFFENSIVE POW: QB Curtis Painter on Nov. 27, 2006
Dan Connor, Penn State
SR, LB, Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven
Connor produced 12 tackles, a pass break-up and 2.5 tackles for loss, including an 11-yard sack, to help the Nittany Lions smother Notre Dame. The senior All-American spearheaded a PSU defense that limited the Fighting Irish to three offensive points, zero rushing yards and 144 yards of total offense. After its opening drive of the game, Notre Dame was held to 97 yards the rest of the night. Connor recorded the 13th double-digit tackle effort of his career and moved into fourth in the school records book with 291 tackles. The Wallingford, Pa., native earns his third career weekly laurel, after being honored on Sept. 4 and Oct. 30 last season, and joined teammate Sean Lee as the second straight PSU linebacker to collect the weekly defensive award.
LAST PSU DEFENSIVE POW: LB Sean Lee on Sept. 3, 2007