If an upset victory for the first Big Ten win of the year wasn’t enough, how about some individual accolades to be the cherry on top?
Two Illini players earned high praise for their performances against Maryland. Junior outside linebacker Seth Coleman was named this week’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week while running back Kaden Feagin earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Coleman, a PFF Preseason All-Big Ten Third-Team member, recorded six tackles, 3.0 sacks and 3.0 TFLs in Saturday’s win. He’s the first player in the Big Ten to record 3.0 sacks in a game this season.
On the other side of the ball, Feagin got it done with his ground game. He led both teams with 19 carries for 84 rushing yards and added a crucial touchdown at the end of the second quarter to tie the game at 14 a piece.
Head coach Bret Bielema gushed about the two honorees in Monday’s press conference.
“Congratulations to Seth and Kaden, two guys get Big Ten Player of the Week,” Bielema said. “I think that’s a huge deal and very well deserved.”
#B1GFootball WEEKLY AWARDS— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) October 16, 2023
Off:@UMichFootball's J.J. McCarthy
Def:@IlliniFootball’s Seth Coleman
Co-Special Teams:@HawkeyeFootball's Tory Taylor
Co-Special Teams:@PennStateFball's Daequan Hardy
Freshman:@IlliniFootball's Kaden Feagin
➕ https://t.co/ICLntMPZMb pic.twitter.com/2T8eE4zUwd
With star defensive tackle Keith Randolph Jr. missing the game at Maryland, Coleman was instantly thrown into a high pressure role to be a difference maker. It’s safe to say he seized the moment.
“To see Seth Coleman come along and have the production he’s had,” Bielema said. “It’s fun to see the growth of some of these guys continuing to get better and better.”
His 3.0 sacks were the most in a game by an Illinois player since Owen Carney Jr. on Oct. 31, 2020, vs. Purdue.
It may have taken seven games, but the Illini seemed to have finally put together a full 60 minutes on both sides of the ball in their win in College Park.
Illinois will look to build off this momentum and make it two conference wins in a row as they host Wisconsin at Memorial this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for this year’s Homecoming game.