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Wisconsin football: Ryan Connelly named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week

Another former walk-on earns the weekly honor.

Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Wisconsin Badgers inside linebacker Ryan Connelly earned Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in Saturday’s 23-17 overtime win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the conference announced on Monday.

Connelly recorded 11 tackles (seven solo), including two for loss. He was also credited with two pass breakups.

Both Connelly and redshirt junior Leon Jacobs each registered 11 tackles for the Badgers (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) in the victory on Saturday night in place of redshirt junior Jack Cichy, who was lost for the remainder of 2016 due to a torn pectoral suffered in their road win at Iowa.

Connelly and Jacobs paced a defense that held a Nebraska offense averaging over 211 yards per game rushing and 236 passing to 152 and 153, respectively.

The former walk-on from Eden Prairie, Minn., shared this week’s honors with Indiana linebacker Marcus Oliver.

This year alone, two other Wisconsin defenders have earned the Defensive Player of the Week honor, both linebackers. Cichy was bestowed the distinction after recording 15 tackles in Wisconsin’s 30-23 overtime loss to Ohio State two weeks ago. The conference awarded redshirt junior T.J. Watt the honor after his performance against Michigan State where he recorded 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.