Sept. 8, 2009
IRVING, Texas — Baylor senior linebacker Joe Pawelek was named Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week following the Bears’ 24-21 season-opening victory at Wake Forest, the league office announced Tuesday. Pawelek was so honored for the second time in his career; he also earned the conference’s weekly honor last season following the Bears’ victory over Texas A&M.
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert was named Offensive Player of the Week, while Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox was named Special Teams Player of the Week.
Along with the Big 12 weekly honor, Pawelek also joins Gabbert, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and UCLA’s Rahim Moore as nominees for this week’s AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the Week, decided by a fan vote at www.espnallamerica.com.
A product of Smithson Valley [Texas] High School, Pawelek tallied seven tackles with five solo stops. He also had one sack and an interception, his fifth in the last five games dating back to last season. Pawelek, who has forced at least one turnover in five of Baylor’s last six games, anchored a defense that held Wake Forest to 269 yards of total offense and produced the Bears’ first non-conference road victory over a BCS opponent since a 14-0 victory at North Carolina State in 1995.
Pawelek’s interception was the ninth of his career, tying for the sixth most among active Division I FBS players and most among FBS linebackers. He also leads all active FBS players with 320 career tackles. Pawelek’s performance against Wake Forest also garnered a “Helmet Sticker” from ESPN College Football Scoreboard’s Reese Davis.
Baylor (1-0) returns to action Sept. 19, hosting Connecticut at Floyd Casey Stadium for a 4 p.m. CDT kickoff in the Bears’ 2009 season opener. Tickets are available online at www.BaylorBears.com or through the Baylor Ticket Office at 254.710.1000.