IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior linebacker Christian Kirksey has been named Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week, according to a news release.
Kirksey recorded a team-high 11 tackles in the Hawkeyes victory over Nebraska in Lincoln, 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).
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. 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.
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.