After two interception returns touchdowns in Northwestern's 44-30 season opening victory at Cal Saturday, Collin Ellis has been named Big Ten player of the week.
The junior linebacker from Gabriel, La had his first pick six, a 56 yard return was arguably the play of the game. It stunted a 14 point Cal run earlier in the quarter and gave the Wildcats a 27-24 lead. They never trailed again.
His second was a 40 yard return in the fourth quarter to push a 30-27 lead to 37-27. It came less than a minute after a 32 yard Jeff Budzien Field goal had given NU the lead.
Ellis also contributed four tackles, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups. Ellis was the first Big Ten player since 1996 to return two int's for Td's in the same game. It was only the second time in school history Northwestern returned two int's in the same game. The last time came in the 2005 Sun Bowl.
Amazingly, those were Ellis' first two career interceptions. He is in second year as a starter. Ellis started ten of 12 games last season. He missed the Illinois and Michigan State games with injuries.
The Cats will have their home opener Saturday against Syracuse at 5pm.