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Connelly named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week

Stepping into the starting lineup for an injured teammate, Ryan Connelly made sure the Wisconsin defense didn’t skip a beat last Saturday.

The sophomore replaced teammate Jack Cichy at inside linebacker and played an integral role in the Badgers’ 23-17 overtime win over No. 7 Nebraska at Camp Randall Stadium.

For his efforts, Connelly was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota, native logged a career-high 11 tackles – matching teammate Leon Jacobs for the game high – and finished with 2.0 tackles for loss and a pair of pass breakups.

Connelly made crucial tackles on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter, dropping Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp for a 1-yard loss on second down and combining to halt Terrell Newby on third down to hold the Huskers to a field goal that tied the game at 17-all.

He made another big stop in overtime, tackling Newby for a loss of 1 on a drive that saw the Badgers hold Nebraska out of the end zone to cap their third win over a top-10 team this season, a program first.

Connelly has helped keep the Badgers’ defense dominant despite the loss of two of its primary starting inside linebackers (Cichy and sophomore Chris Orr) to season-ending injuries.

The Badgers rank No. 3 in the FBS in scoring defense, allowing just 14.6 points per game, and stack up ninth in total defense, allowing 301.1 yards per contest.

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