Northern Illinois senior defensive tackle Ron Newcomb has been honored as the Mid-American Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Week after a dominant performance Saturday in NIU’s 40-10 victory over Kent State at Huskie Stadium.
The honor is the first MAC weekly award for Newcomb, a Wheatfield, Ind. product who attended Chicago’s Mt. Carmel High School, and the first for a Huskie defender this year.
The 6-3, 279-pound defensive tackle was unstoppable versus the Golden Flashes as he tallied two-and-a-half quarterback sacks for losses totaling 20 yards, and 4.5 tackles for loss for minus 24 yards. His career-best nine tackles, including five solo stops, led the team.
On Kent State’s first drive, Newcomb pressured KSU quarterback Spencer Keith into throwing an interception that Nabal Jefferson returned for the Huskies’ first score of the game. Newcomb also forced one of four Kent State fumbles on the day and capped his day by blocking a 45-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter.
Newcomb, who came into the game with six career tackles for loss and one career sack, had never had more than one-and-a-half tackles for loss in any single game in his four-year career.
He was a key cog in a Huskie defensive effort that held Kent State to just one rushing yard on 38 carries, thanks in large part to eight quarterback sacks. The Flashes had just 64 total yards in Saturday’s NIU victory. The defense did not give up a touchdown (KSU scored on a fumble return) and held Kent State to a 1-of-16 mark on third down conversions.
Newcomb is the Huskies’ second NIU player to be honored with the MAC weekly award this year. Quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week following the Army game on Sept. 3.