Brees’ arm gives Purdue inside track toward Pasedena

by Sarah Mitchell

With a 31-27 comeback win over Ohio State last weekend, Purdue became the favorite to win the Big Ten championship.
Boilermakers quarterback Drew Brees fired the game-winning touchdown with 1:55 remaining.
“The game with Ohio State proved to be a gut-wrenching game, a very dramatic game,” Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller said. “It was certainly a very emotional game for our team, one that is much better obviously when you end up on the positive side versus the negative side.”
Purdue controls the race to the Rose Bowl. If the Boilermakers win-out, they are headed to Pasadena.
Tiller and his team enjoy a bye week this weekend and then must defeat Michigan State and Indiana to secure the crown.
“We now have a bye week and many people have asked me about is this coming at a good time or a bad time,” Tiller said. “I guess my response is, ‘ask me after the Michigan State game.'”
BCS rankings
Two conference teams represent the Big Ten in this week’s BCS rankings. Purdue is ranked at No. 10 while Michigan is in the 12th spot.
The top two teams at the end of the season will play in the national championship game. Oklahoma and Virginia Tech occupy the top two spots, respectively.
Players of the week
A pair of quarterbacks shared offensive player of the week honors.
Brees earned his fourth Big Ten award of the season. Against the Buckeyes, Brees completed 39-of-65 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns. It was the seventh 400-yard game of his career.
“Drew Brees is probably the best quarterback I’ve faced since playing in this league,” Buckeyes coach John Cooper said.
“I can understand why (the Big Ten) picked Drew Brees as the offensive player of the week. He’s certainly a great football player. We feel like our defense played their hearts out.”
Northwestern’s Zak Kustok was also chosen as offensive player of the week following his team’s come-from-behind 41-35 defeat of Minnesota. Kustok completed 18-of-32 pass attempts for 209 yards, including his 45-yard Hail Mary pass to wide receiver Sam Simmons at the end of regulation.
Purdue’s Akin Ayodele took defensive honors. The defensive end posted eight tackles — three for loss — and a pair of sacks against the Buckeyes.
Buckeyes cornerback Nate Clements and Penn State kicker Ryan Primanti were named as co-special teams player of the week.
Clements recorded three run-backs for 131 yards, including an 84-yard return for a touchdown against Purdue, leading the conference in returns. The junior also posted six solo tackles, two PBUs and an interception with a 35-yard return.
Primanti booted a 39-yard game-winning field goal with only 18 seconds to play in the Lions 27-24 defeat of Indiana.

Sarah Mitchell covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]