Erasmus James was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Monday, becoming the first Wisconsin player to earn back-to-back conference defensive honors.
On the first play from scrimmage in the Badgers' 16-3 win over Penn State Saturday, James drilled quarterback Zack Mills immediately after he threw the ball, separating Mills' shoulder. The Nittany Lion signal-caller left the game after one more play. Later in the first quarter a helmet-to-helmet hit from James gave quarterback Michael Robinson a concussion. Robinson was taken from the field on a stretcher and released from University Hospital Sunday morning.
James also recovered a fumble that led to the game's only touchdown. He finished with five tackles, including four solo stops and two sacks. He led a defensive effort that held Penn State to 157 yards and just three points after entering the game averaging 465.3 yards and 30.7 points per game.
James won the award last week after contributing five tackles, three for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in Wisconsin's win over Arizona. He leads the Big Ten with five sacks and eight tackles for loss this season.
Prior to Monday, the only Badger defender who had won two conference player of the week honors in a single season was defensive end Tom Burke, who did so in 1998.
This is the third weekly award for James, as he was also selected following his collegiate debut on August 27, 2001.
James back-to-back Big Ten honoree
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