Big Ten alums shine in Super Bowl XLIV

About a month after Iowa cemented a strong Big Ten bowl performance at Miami's Sun Life Stadium, the Big Ten once again stood out on the same field in a huge game.

Former Big Ten players had major roles for the New Orleans Saints in a 31-17 win against Indianapolis on Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees took home MVP honors after completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Brees, a standout at Purdue, became the fourth former Big Ten player in the last nine seasons to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, joining former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady (2002, 2004) and former Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes (2009).

Brees was brilliant Sunday, but the game's biggest play came from former Indiana cornerback Tracy Porter, who intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and raced 74 yards to the end zone with 3:12 left. Porter finished the game with four tackles.

Former Illinois running back Pierre Thomas recorded six receptions for 55 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown that gave the Saints their first lead early in the third quarter. Thomas also had 30 rush yards on nine carries.

Former Iowa tight end Dallas Clark recorded a game-high 86 receiving yards on seven receptions for the Colts.

And who can forget former Wisconsin linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who recovered the onside kick for New Orleans at the start of the second half.

Other Big Ten notables:

  • Former Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins recorded five tackles for the Saints, including one for loss, and had a key pass breakup.

  • Former Illinois cornerback Kelvin Hayden recorded six tackles (five solo) for the Colts.

  • Former Indiana wideout Courtney Roby stood out on special teams for New Orleans with four kick returns for 102 yards and a great tackle on punt coverage. He also downed a punt at the Indianapolis 4-yard line in the first quarter.

  • Former Ohio State defensive end Will Smith recorded a tackle for the Saints.

  • Former Michigan running back Mike Hart had two carries for four yards for the Colts.

In case you missed it, here's the full list of former Big Ten players and coaches who participated in the game.