Madison (WKOW) -- Senior captain Mike Newkirk was honored by the Big Ten as its Defensive Player of the Week after his stellar performance in Wisconsin's 35-32 win over Minnesota.
The defensive tackle anchored a defense that only allowed 11 points, 86 passing yards and 37 rushing yards in the second half sparking a come-from-behind Badger victory over the border rival Gophers.
The weekly honor is the first of Newkirk's career and the first defensive honor for the Badgers since LB DeAndre Levy received the honor after his performance at Fresno State.
Newkirk tallied a career-high seven tackles, including two sacks over a three-play span and a safety.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Gophers fumbled a kickoff out of the back of the endzone for a safety.
Minnesota got the ball back less than two minutes later at its own seven-yard line, but Newkirk recorded his first sack to push the offense back to the two-yard line.
After an incompletion, the defensive tackle registered his second sack of the game in the endzone for another safety and a 28-24 advantage.
Newkirk and 15 other seniors will play their final game at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday as the Badgers welcome Cal Poly to Madison for the regular season finale.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.