Nelson, Carter earn Big Ten weekly honors

MINNEAPOLIS — A pair of freshman on the Gophers football team earned weekly honors for their performances in Saturday’s 44-28 win over Purdue.

Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson was named co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while senior cornerback Michael Carter was named co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.

Saturday was just the second career start for Nelson, a standout at Mankato West High School and the former top-ranked prep quarterback in the state of Minnesota. Against the Boilermakers, Nelson was 15-of-22 for 246 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half. He connected on touchdown passes of 34, 38 and 63 yards as the Gophers build a comfortable 34-7 halftime lead.

Nelson shared the weekly award with Nebraska freshman linebacker David Santos, who had 10 tackles and one tackle for loss in the Cornhuskers’ 23-9 win over Michigan.

Carter led a Minnesota pass defense that held Purdue to 198 passing yards on Saturday. Carter tied a school record by breaking up six passes, including three on one Boilermakers drive. He also intercepted Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to make it a 41-7 Minnesota lead. It’s the first time in Carter’s career that he has won this honor. He became the second Gopher to win it this year, after safety Derrick Wells did so in Week 1 following a two-interception game against UNLV.

Joining Carter as the other co-Defensive Player of the Week was Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, who had eight tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception return for a touchdown.

Nelson, Carter and the rest of the Gophers now prepare to host Michigan on Saturday. Minnesota improved to 5-3 with the win over Purdue and needs just one more victory to become bowl eligible.

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