The Big Ten announced this morning that two Gophers were named to the conference's Players of the Week list. Damien Wilson was named Defensive POTW and Jalen Myrick was named Special Teams POTW. Both honors are well deserved and an exciting cap to a weekend that saw the Gophers move to 5-1 (2-0 Big Ten) and a tie for first place in the B1G West Division.
At this point I wonder if we've become a little spoiled or desensitized to the great play of Damien Wilson. Because that was certainly the quietest 15 tackle performance I can remember seeing. That's my fault, as I've let his consistency get in the way. Consistency and leadership may be what Gophers fans have come to expect from Damien, but we should never take them for granted.
Jalen's nomination as Special Teams POTW is no shock. When you return a kick 100 yards for the go-ahead (and ultimately game winning) touchdown, conference honors will almost always be coming your way. One can only hope that this return (the fourth 100 yard kick return in team history) will be only the first of many game changing plays from the speedy sophomore.
Here's some of what the U had to say:
Wilson made a career-high 15 tackles and tied his career high with 1.5 tackles-for-loss in Minnesota's win. The Gophers were credited with 80 tackles against Northwestern, which means Wilson was responsible for 18.75 percent of Minnesota's tackles. Wilson now has 66 tackles this year and is averaging a Big Ten-best 11.0 tackles per game. He finished second on the team last year with 78 tackles.
Myrick returned one kickoff for 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown against Northwestern. Myrick's kick return came right after the Wildcats completed a 13-play, 97-yard drive to tie the game 17-17. Myrick is filling in for the injured Marcus Jones (was hurt against San Jose State on Sept. 20) and has now returned two career kicks, as he also had a 28-yard return at Michigan earlier this season. Myrick became only the fourth Gopher ever to return a kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown. The last to do so was Jermaine Mays at Indiana in 2000. Bobby Weber (1977 vs. Ohio State) and Rick Upchurch (1974 vs. Wisconsin) also record 100-yard career kickoff returns for touchdowns in their career. The kickoff return for Myrick was his first for a touchdown at any level.