Pair of Gophers earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors

MINNEAPOLIS — Two members of the Gophers football team were honored by the Big Ten for their performances in Saturday’s win over Indiana. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson was named a Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week, while punter Peter Mortell earned Special Teams Player of the Week conference honors.
Nelson had a career day on Saturday, passing for 298 yards and four touchdowns to help the Gophers escape Bloomington with a 42-39 win to improve to 7-2. Nelson found wide receiver Derrick Engel for a pair of touchdowns and hit tight end Maxx Williams for a 50-yard go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.
The sophomore from Mankato, Minn., shared the weekly honor with Penn State running back Bill Belton, who rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown. Nelson becomes the first Gophers player to win the conference’s offensive player of the week honor since quarterback Adam Weber did so in 2009.
Mortell becomes the second Gopher in as many weeks to win the conference’s special teams award — kicker Chris Hawthorne won it last week after Minnesota’s win against Nebraska. On Saturday against Indiana, Mortell averaged 43.0 yards per punt and had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line. The longest of his five punts went for 52 yards.
After Saturday’s win against the Hoosiers, the Gophers now prepare to host Penn State this Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

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