(WCIA) — Turnovers have been a huge part of the Illinois defense so far this season, and leading the way on takeaways is linebacker Jake Hansen.
He was recently honored as the Big Ten Defensive player of the week after forcing two fumbles against No. 6 ranked Wisconsin in an upset win on Saturday. Hansen now leads the nation with 7 forced fumbles, after earning just one last season.
“I kind of didn’t understand how important it actually is, like until you start getting them, it shows up and it’s able to change the game, and it’s the biggest type of play you can make on defense,” says Hansen.
“I think guys look at what you do, not necessarily what you say. So we’ll need him to continue to act like a captain, and continue to play like one of our best players, ” says head coach Lovie Smith. “I don’t think it’s something like ‘how do guys catch a football’ or ‘how do guys run?,’…it’s a trait and I think Jake has that.”
The Illini will be back in action on Saturday October, 26th. They hit the road to take on Purdue at 11 a.m. CT.