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Kirksey Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

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Iowa's defense was incredibly aggressive against Nebraska.

I'm going to guess the Hawkeyes blitzed a dozen-plus, with senior Christian Kirksey being the tip of that missile. Or was it Anthony Hitchens? Or was it James Morris?

Either way, Kirksey reaped awards Sunday and Monday. (He was all over the place and might've gotten himself drafted with last Friday's performance. I'd give him these awards just for stopping the fake punt.)

Let's start in chronological order.

From Sunday, the Walter Camp Football Foundation award:

New Haven, CT The Walter Camp Football Foundation has announced the Football Bowl Subdivision National Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, presented by Generation UCAN, for games ending November 30. This is the final Player of the Week selection the 2013 season.

About the Award: This was the 10th year that the Walter Camp Football Foundation honored one offensive and one defensive player as its national Football Bowl Subdivision player of the week during the regular season. Recipients were selected by a panel of national media members and administered by the Foundation.

Senior, Quarterback, Salinas, CA/Palma
Quarterback David Fales accounted for 580 yards of total offense (547 passing, 33 rushing) and seven touchdowns as the Spartans defeated 16th-ranked Fresno State, 62-52. Fales completed his first 13 pass attempts and finished the game 35-of-47 with six touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown in the victory, which made San Jose State (6-6) bowl eligible.

NOTE: David Fales is the second San Jose State player to earn Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors, joining defensive back Bene Benwikere (Nov. 25, 2012).

Senior, Linebacker, St. Louis, MO/Hazelwood East
Linebacker Christian Kirksey totaled 11 tackles, including three for losses, and added one quarterback sacks, one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry as the Hawkeyes defeated Nebraska, 38-17. With the win, Iowa improved to 8-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten.

NOTE: Christian Kirksey is the third Iowa player to earn Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week honors since 2004, joining former Hawkeye linebackers Chad Greenway (Sept. 5, 2004) and Mike Klinkenborg (Sept. 17, 2006).

And then from Monday morning, the Big Ten defensive player of the week (release from UI sports info):


IOWA CITY, Iowa University of Iowa senior linebacker Christian Kirksey has been named Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Iowa's 38-17 win at Nebraska this past Friday. The win was Iowa's third straight, giving the Hawkeyes a regular season record of 8-4. Iowa tied for second in the Legends Division of the Big Ten with a 5-3 conference record.

The Big Ten honor is the first for Kirksey (6-foot-2, 235-pounds), a senior from St. Louis, Mo. (Hazelwood East HS). He is the third Iowa defensive player to earn the honor this season. Defensive back B.J. Lowery was recognized for his play vs. Western Michigan and linebacker James Morris was honored following wins over Minnesota and Northwestern. In addition, Kevonte Martin-Manley was named Special Teams Player of the Week for his play against Western Michigan and defensive back Desmond King was recognized as Freshman of the Week for his efforts at Ohio State.

In addition to the Big Ten honor, Kirksey was named national Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and he was named honorable mention Linebacker of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.

Kirksey recorded a team-high 11 tackles at Nebraska, including four solo tackles and seven assists. He also had three tackles for loss, one sack, a forced fumble and a pass break-up. He led an Iowa defense that held Nebraska to 17 points, 89 net rushing yards and 288 yards total offense. The Huskers entered the game ranked 19th nationally in rushing yards per game (233.7). Kirksey became the 17th Hawkeye defender to surpass 300 career tackles (308).

With an 8-4 record, Iowa is tied for third among all BCS schools in win total improvement from 2012 to 2013, trailing only Auburn (+8), Boston College (+6) and Missouri (+6). The Hawkeyes are tied with Michigan State and Duke. Iowa is bowl eligible for the 12th time in 13 seasons and has won at least eight games in four of the last six years.

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