IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and junior kicker Keith Duncan has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week, following Iowa’s 27-24 win at Nebraska. The announcement was made Monday by the Big Ten office.
Epenesa (6-foot-6, 280-pounds) is a native of Glen Carbon, Illinois, (Edwardsville High School) and earns the fourth weekly honor of his career and second of the season (Minnesota). Duncan (5-foot-10, 180-pounds), a graduate of Weddington, North Carolina, High School, earns his third weekly honor of the season (Iowa State, Illinois), and fourth of his career.
Epenesa set career highs in tackles (14) and tackles-for-loss (4.5-22 yards), with nine solo tackles and two sacks against Nebraska. Epenesa has recorded six sacks in his last five games. He leads the team with nine and ranks sixth in the Big Ten in sacks per game (0.75). His nine quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles are also team bests.
Epenesa is also one of five candidates for the Lott IMPACT Trophy Defensive Player of the Week (http://lottimpacttrophy.org/player-of-the-week-2019/).
Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked ninth in the nation last season with 10.5 sacks. He earned preseason All-America honors from six publications and was named to watch lists for the Nagurski, Bednarik, Lott, and Hendricks awards.
Duncan connected on a 48-yard field with one second remaining to help lead Iowa to a 27-24 win over Nebraska. It was Duncan’s second field goal of the game (49, 48). His 29 field goals made are the most in the NCAA this season, a single-season school record, a Big Ten record, and tied for the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history.
Duncan is 29-of-34 on field goal attempts this season, including 14-of-18 on tries of 40-plus-yards, and is a perfect 25-of-25 on PATs. Duncan’s 38 career made field goals are the sixth-most all-time in school history. He is also one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award.
Iowa (9-3, 6-3) will learn its bowl destination Sunday, Dec. 8.