WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A pair of Purdue true freshmen have been recognized by the Big Ten Conference for their performances in the Boilermakers’ 34-31 overtime victory Saturday at Illinois. Kicker J.D. Dellinger has been named Special Teams Player of the Week and running back Brian Lankford-Johnson the Freshman of the Week.
Dellinger, who entered the game against the Fighting Illini 2 of 5 on field goal attempts this season, connected on both his kicks, including a game-winning 28-yarder in overtime. He also connected on a career-long 37-yard field goal in the third quarter to stake Purdue to a 24-23 lead at the time. With four PATs added to his day, Dellinger accounted for 10 of Purdue’s 34 points in the game. Dellinger’s final kick Saturday was first game-winning overtime field goal in school history. He is the first Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week at Purdue since kicker Paul Griggs was recognized Nov. 10, 2014.
Lankford-Johnson, who made his first collegiate start in place of injured sophomore Markell Jones, led a potent Boilermaker rushing attack with a team-high 127 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries. He added two receptions for 12 yards and a pair of kick returns for 43 more to amass a game-high 182 all-purpose yards. As a team, Purdue rushed for 231 yards against Illinois, the most by the Boilermakers against a Big Ten opponent since totaling 298 yards on the ground at Minnesota on Oct. 18, 2014 (13 conference games). Lankford-Johnson is Purdue’s first Big Ten Freshman of the Week since cornerback Frankie Williams was feted Nov. 26, 2012.