Bill Belton did something on Saturday no Penn State running back had accomplished in more than a decade.
The junior’s 201-yard performance on the ground in Penn State’s 24-17 overtime win over Illinois was the first time a Penn State player had rushed for 200 or more yards in a game since Larry Johnson churned out 279 against Michigan State in 2002.
For his efforts, which included the game’s first touchdown and a career-high 36 carries against the Illini, Belton was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
It was the first time Belton earned the award in his career and the fourth time this season a Penn State player had earned a laurel from the conference.
Kicker Sam Ficken, quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive end C.J. Olaniyan have also earned Big Ten weekly awards this season.
Belton shares the award with Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns in a win against Indiana.
The Nittany Lions (5-3, 2-2) and Golden Gophers (7-2, 3-2) will meet at TCF Bank Stadium at noon on Saturday.
Lions, Boilermakers have noon kick
Penn State’s game against Purdue at Beaver Stadium on Nov. 16 will kick off at noon.
The contest, which also will be Military Appreciation Day, is the next-to-last home game for the Nittany Lions this season and will be shown on the Big Ten Network.
Penn State is 12-3-1 all-time against the Boilermakers and won 34-9 at Purdue last season.
Purdue hosts Iowa on Saturday.