Oct. 25, 2010
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Three Michigan State football players have earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors, the conference office announced Monday. Kirk Cousins was named the Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career, while Tyler Hoover was named Defensive Co-Player of the Week, also marking his first career Big Ten honor. In addition, Aaron Bates garnered Special Teams Co-Player of the Week accolades for the second time this season.
It marks the first time MSU has had players earn at least a share of all three weekly honors since the Big Ten began honoring Players of the Week for offense, defense and special teams in 1994. It also marks just the eighth time in Big Ten history (since 1994) that a team has had at least a share of all three weekly honors, and on three of those occasions, it was the only team playing that week.
Cousins completed 29-of-43 throws for 331 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan State rallied from a 17-point deficit to remain unbeaten at 8-0 with a 35-27 victory at Northwestern. Cousins posted career highs in pass completions (43), pass attempts (43) and TD passes (3 - tied). He completed scoring passes of 7 and 15 yards to Mark Dell and 9 yards to B.J. Cunningham.
Cousins completed 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards and two TDs in the second half. He connected on 7-of-8 throws for 98 yards on MSU's game-winning drive (11 plays, 88 yards), including a 9-yard scoring strike to Cunningham with 2:00 left that gave the Spartans their first lead at 28-27. It marked his sixth-straight 200-yard passing game and his third career 300-yard game. In addition, Cousins has thrown at least one TD pass in 15 consecutive games (school record: 16 by Drew Stanton, 2005-06).
Hoover matched his career high with nine tackles, including a career-best two sacks (5 yards), and forced a fumble against the Wildcats. The Spartan defense recorded eight sacks against the Wildcats, a single-game best during Mark Dantonio's tenure as head coach. Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, Hoover ended another Northwestern scoring threat, forcing Jacob Schmidt to fumble on a first-and-goal play from the MSU 1-yard line that Johnny Adams recovered. In his last two games, Hoover has posted 18 tackles, including three sacks.
Bates averaged 43.0 yards on six punts at Northwestern and his 21-yard completion off a fake punt helped fuel Michigan State's fourth-quarter comeback. Trailing 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, Bates completed a 21-yard pass to Bennie Fowler on a fourth-and-11 play to give MSU a first down at the Wildcat 15. On the next play, Cousins fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dell in the right corner of the end zone as the Spartans pulled to within three at 24-21. Bates was also named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week following the win over Notre Dame.
MSU has had either a Big Ten Player of the Week or a Big Ten Freshman of the Week every week this season.
2010 BIG TEN PLAYER/FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS - MICHIGAN STATE
Week 1: Le'Veon Bell (Freshman)
Week 2: Dan Conroy (Special Teams)
Week 3: Aaron Bates (Special Teams), Le'Veon Bell (Freshman)
Week 4: Greg Jones (Defense)
Week 5: Keshawn Martin (Special Teams)
Week 6: Trenton Robinson (Defense)
Week 7: Greg Jones (Defense)
Week 8: Kirk Cousins (Offense), Tyler Hoover (Defense), Aaron Bates (Special Teams)
BIG TEN TEAMS WITH THREE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (OFFENSE, DEFENSE, SPECIAL TEAMS) IN SAME WEEK (SINCE 1994):
Nov. 28, 1998 - Penn State (TB Eric McCoo, Co-Offense; DE Courtney Brown, Defense; PK Travis Forney, Special Teams)
* Aug. 28, 1999 - Penn State (WR Chafie Fields, Offense; LB LaVar Arrington, Defense; P Pat Pidgeon, Special Teams)
Sept. 11, 2000 - Wisconsin (RB Michael Bennett, Co-Offense; DB Jamar Fletcher, Co-Defense; PK Kevin Stempke, Co-Special Teams)
Oct. 1, 2001 - Purdue (QB Brandon Hance, Co-Offense; DB Stuart Schweigert, Defense; P/PK Travis Dorsch, Co-Special Teams)
* Nov. 28, 2005 - Wisconsin (QB John Stocco, Offense; LB Dontez Sanders, Defense; PK Taylor Mehlhaff, Special Teams)
* Nov. 27, 2006 - Purdue (QB Curtis Painter, Offense; LB Cliff Avril, Defense; P Jared Armstrong, Special Teams)
Dec. 6, 2009 - Wisconsin (RB John Clay, Co-Offense; DE J.J. Watt, Defense; KR/PR David Gilreath, Special Teams)
* - denotes only Big Ten team playing that week.