Michigan State's Khari Willis wins Big Ten defensive award

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Khari Willis (27)

Michigan State put together one of its best overall defensive efforts of the season Saturday in a 21-17 victory over Penn State, and it resulted in a first-time honor for safety Khari Willis.

The senior captain was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, the first one of his career.

Willis had a season-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops, while forcing a fumble on Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the first quarter. Willis also had a pass break-up. The Spartans held Penn State to season lows in points (17) and first downs (14).

Willis is the first Michigan State player to earn top defensive honors since linebacker Joe Bachie on Oct. 23, 2017.

No. 24 Michigan State (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) hosts No. 6 Michigan (6-1, 4-0) at noon on Saturday.

Other Big Ten winners:

Co-offense: Iowa QB Nate Stanley, who threw six touchdown passes in the win over Indiana, tying for second most in Hawkeyes history. He finished 21 of 33 passing for 320 yards.

Co-offense: Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel, who had 12 receptions for 220 yards in a win over Nebraska. It is the most receiving yards by a Northwestern player since 1980.

Special teams: Northwestern K Drew Luckenbaugh, who kicked the winning field goal in overtime against Nebraska, a 37-yarder.

Freshman: Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim, who rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Ohio State.