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Shaun Prater Named Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Week

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Prater did a whole bunch of this on Saturday. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Prater did a whole bunch of this on Saturday. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
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After taking a one-week hiatus from winning B10 POTW honors (that's kinda what happens when you lose a game, unfortunately), Iowa returned to racking up hardware from the league office this week, with Shaun Prater nabbing Defensive Player of the Week honors from the league:

Shaun Prater, Iowa
JR, CB, Omaha, Neb./Central
Prater collected a game- and career-high 10 tackles and recorded his third interception of the season to help hold fifth-ranked Michigan State to only six points and hand the Spartans their first loss this season. Seven of Prater’s 10 defensive stops were solo tackles and he added 0.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in the game. With Iowa holding a 17-0 lead, MSU drove to the Hawkeyes’ 27-yard line before the junior cornerback picked off a pass and returned it 42 yards into Spartans’ territory. Three plays later, Iowa scored a touchdown to build a 23-0 advantage on the way to the 37-6 victory. The Hawkeyes collected three interceptions in the game and held the Spartans to only 31 rushing yards, more than 160 yards below their season average entering the contest. Prater collects the first weekly laurel of his career.
LAST IOWA DEFENSIVE POW: DE Adrian Clayborn on Oct. 4, 2010.

Prater becomes the third different Iowa defender to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors this year (joining Mike Daniels and Adrian Clayborn) and the fifth different Hawkeye to earn Player of the Week honors of any sort (Paki O'Meara got Special Teams Player of The Week honors after the Eastern Illinois game and Ricky Stanzi garnered Offensive Player of the Week plaudits after the Michigan win) this year, which is a pretty impressive collection of honors.  I had a difficult time deciding which member of the secondary to single out after Saturday's performance (which is why I punted and put them all on the poll), but you can certainly make a convincing case for Prater, since he led the team in tackles* and got the interception that arguably drove a stake into Michigan State.  Sparty had a decent drive going and was looking to cut into Iowa's 17-0 lead; three plays after Prater's interception Stanzi hit A-Rob down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass that put Iowa up 23-0 and effectively shut the door on any hope of a Spartan comeback.  So while you can make cases for Micah Hyde and Tyler Sash (who combined for the most spectacular play of the game -- and season) or Brett Greenwood (who was his usual quietly effective self), I have no problem with Prater getting singled out by the Big Ten this week.

* How Michigan State decided after studying hours of game footage that picking on Prater, and not Hyde, would be the most effective offensive strategy is one of the great mysteries of the weekend.