Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank With star tailback Tyrell Sutton out for the season, #25 Northwestern was hoping backup quarterback Mike Kafka could provide a metamorphosis in the offense. With starting quarterback C.J. Bacher also out with an injury, the second string signal caller Kafka was on trial against a tough University of Minnesota defense. He responded by shattering a record that previously stood for nearly 40 years. He rushed for 217 yards, the most ever in a single game by a Big Ten quarterback against the Golden Gophers, ranked #20 nationally at the time. For leading the Wildcats to their first victory over a ranked opponent since 2005, Kafka was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
On Election Day afternoon, it was announced that Kafka was one of four players selected nationally by ESPN as this week’s potential A T&T All-America Player of the Week award, given to the player with the most outstanding performance on Saturday. Fans can text message VOTE to 51234 on their wireless phone to opt in and vote for their player. Fans have no limit voting opportunities until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday so like they say in Chicago, “vote early, vote often.” Each vote counts as one entry in the sweepstakes chance to see the 2009 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship game in Miami. Full sweepstakes rules can be found here.
NU also brought home the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award, with senior safety Brendan Smith earning this distinction. Smith sealed the Cats victory in Minneapolis when intercepted Gopher QB Adam Weber with 12 seconds remaining and took it 48 yards back for a touchdown.
It is still uncertain whether Kakfa or the convalescing C.J. Bacher will start this week at home versus #12 Ohio State. Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald told the media on Monday that despite Kafka’s huge game, Bacher will not lose his starting job due to injury. The current depth chart lists both as the potential starter. “It will be C.J. or Mike, we’ll make that evaluation as things go along, I feel C.J. is improving every day and if we can get him up to full speed or as close to it, he is our starting quarterback. I’m very proud of the way Mike stepped up though in his opportunity to play,” Fitzgerald said.
For my Washington Times.com blog “Chicago Blue State.”