Epenesa named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

A.J. Epenesa earned conference honors after playing a key role in Iowa's victory over Minnesota.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa rushes the passer during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Epenesa finished with 2.5 sacks on the day.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa has been named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week after he helped the Hawkeyes take down No. 7 Minnesota 23-19 on Nov. 16, the conference announced Monday.

Epenesa recorded 2.5 sacks, four tackles, and a forced fumble, as Iowa ended the Gophers’ perfect season.

It’s the third conference honor of Epenesa’s career. He earned the award twice last season for his performances in wins over Iowa State and Illinois.

Epenesa leads the Hawkeyes with seven sacks and nine quarterback pressures, and he ranks second with seven tackles for a loss. He’s also tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles.

The Glen Carbon, Illinois, native led the Big Ten with 10.5sacks last season, which also ranked ninth in the nation.

Iowa will close its home schedule against Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Epenesa racked up 1.5 sacks against the Illini last season to go along with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt.

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