Simon Named Big Ten DPOW
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Junior defensive lineman John Simon was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Monday following Ohio State’s 17-7 win over previously unbeaten Illinois.
Photo b y Jim Davidson
The Buckeyes snapped a two-game losing streak in Champaign to pick up their first conference win of the season at the expense of Ron Zook and his Fighting Illini.
Simon collected a career-high eight tackles and four tackles for loss in the victory. He also recorded both of the team’s sacks on Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase as the Buckeye defense blanked the Illini for the first 53 minutes of Saturday’s game at wind-swept Memorial Stadium.
“He’s a warrior,” OSU Defensive Coordinator Jim Heacock said.
Simon and the Buckeyes limited the Illini to 27 points below their average and to just 285 total yards after entering averaging almost 450 yards per game. The defense forced three Illini turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – with two directly setting up Ohio State points.
“The thing about John is you know he’s going to be there, working every single day to get better at what he does,” OSU Head Coach Luke Fickell said after the game.
The third-year junior out of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney was one off the school-record for tackles-for-loss in a game. It was originally set my Judah Herman, who had five tackles for loss in a 16-9 defeat at No. 6 Iowa in 1991.
That record was later tied by Jayson Gwinn in a 23-17 win over No. 19 Indiana in 1993, and again by Andy Katzenmoyer during the 1997 Rose Bowl victory over Arizona State.
Simon is the first Buckeye to win the award since linebacker Brian Rolle last November. Rolle collected 10 tackles and career-best 3.5 tackles for loss in a 20-17 win in Iowa City.
It also deserves mentioning that sophomore defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins had nine tackles and two tackles-for-loss against Illinois. He and Simon really controlled the game up front for the Buckeyes.
The Big Ten Freshman of the Week was Michigan State punter Mike Sadler. The Cincinnati native averaged 41.0 yards per punt on five attempts in Michigan State’s win over previously unbeaten Michigan on Saturday.
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