FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior linebacker Tony Bua has been named the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in Arkansas’ 41-14 win over Boise State.
Bua, who had 109 tackles last year to earn second-team All-SEC honors, recorded nine tackles with two tackles for 12 yards in losses, including a nine-yard sack. Bua, who has been named a preseason honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith’s and is on the Dick Butkus Award watch list, also intercepted a pass, blocked a punt, forced a fumble and had a pass breakup.
His punt block, the first of his career, came on Boise State’s first possession and was returned 22 yards for a touchdown by Bo Mosley.
“When a young man plays as hard as he does on every snap from start to finish for 60 minutes, it isn’t a surprise when he succeeds,” head coach Houston Nutt says. “I’m really proud of the way Tony played and the way he competes. He helps set the tone for our defense. He owes a lot to his teammates. I think the honor is a recognition of not only his effort but the performance of our entire defensive unit.”
UA’s defensive unit is ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (+5.0) and No. 2 in rushing defense (27.0 yards per game).
Bua’s selection is the second straight year an Arkansas player has earned league defensive honors following the season-opener. Free safety Ken Hamlin was the defensive player of the week last year following the UNLV victory. Former linebacker Jermaine Petty also earned SEC honors last year following the seven-overtime victory at Ole Miss.