Northern Illinois junior Jimmie Ward has been named the Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week after leading a stellar Huskie defensive effort Saturday in NIU’s 35-7 win over UT Martin at Huskie Stadium.
Ward made a team-leading 10 tackles, five solo, from his safety position and broke up two passes.
In the fourth quarter, he hauled in the first NIU interception of the season, which he returned 18 yards to the UTM 20-yard line. On the season, Ward leads the Huskies in tackles with 22 and has broken up four passes.
Northern Illinois allowed just one touchdown as UT Martin went one-of-three in the red zone Saturday. The Skyhawks were held to 63 rushing yards on 33 carries for an average of 1.9 yards per carry and the Huskies forced three turnovers.
Ward, a second team All-MAC choice a year ago, picks up his third career MAC West Player of the Week honor. As a freshman in 2010, he was twice named the MAC West Specialist of the Week after blocking punts versus Minnesota (Sept. 25) and Buffalo (Oct. 16).
A Northern Illinois player has won the MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honor in three consecutive weeks, dating back to the final regular season game of 2011. Huskie senior defensive end Sean Progar earned the award for that performance versus Eastern Michigan and for his play in the 2012 season opener against Iowa at Soldier Field.
NIU (1-1) travels to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army (0-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. The Huskies return home Saturday, Sept. 22, to take on Kansas. Kickoff for that game is at 2:30 p.m. (CT) at Huskie Staduim.