Nov. 17, 2008
IRVING, Texas — Baylor junior linebacker Joe Pawelek was named Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. He was so honored for the first time in his career and is the first Baylor player to earn the weekly defensive honor since Jordan Lake last year following the Bears’ game at Buffalo. Pawelek is the second Baylor player to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season; quarterback Robert Griffin was the offensive honoree in week three.
Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz earned the league’s weekly offensive honor, while Kansas State kick return specialist Brandon Banks was the league’s weekly special teams honoree.
Pawelek, who leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with 11.0 tackles per game, tallied seven tackles and intercepted two passes in Baylor’s 41-21 rout of Texas A&M last Saturday. It was the first career multiple-interception game for Pawelek, who leads all Bowl Subdivision linebackers with six picks this season and ranks eighth overall.
An All-America and Butkus Award candidate, Pawelek led a Baylor defensive unit that held Texas A&M to 308 yards of offense and limited the Aggies to seven points through the game’s first 51 minutes. The 20-point win was Baylor’s fifth-largest margin of victory ever over Texas A&M and its largest against the Aggies since 1980.
Pawelek, who has at least one interception in three straight games, has established a Baylor season record for interceptions by a linebacker and has the most interceptions by a Bear since 1991. He is tied for eighth on Baylor’s all-time single-season interceptions list. Pawelek’s 121 total tackles this season is the 11th-best single-season total in Baylor history and the most by a Baylor linebacker since LaCurtis Jones had 126 in 1994.
Baylor returns to action Saturday, Nov. 29, concluding its 2008 season at second-ranked Texas Tech. Kickoff at Jones AT&T Stadium has not yet been scheduled.