DALLAS (FWAA) Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard made a career-high 19 tackles that included 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack as the Bears remained undefeated with a 29-23 overtime win at TCU. For posting Baylor's highest tackle total since 2011, Bernard earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 9, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Bernard, a 6-1, 222-pound sophomore from La Porte, Texas also hauled in his first interception of the season and the second of his career to halt a TCU drive at the end of the third quarter. Bernard began the season starting the first three games at weakside linebacker. He didn't start the next three games before moving into the middle when seasoned starter Clay Johnston suffered a season-ending injury Oct. 12 in an overtime win over Texas Tech. Bernard has since surpassed Johnston as the team's tackles leader with 68, 29 of those being solo tackles (second on the team to Johnston).
Since taking over as the starter at middle linebacker (three starts), Bernard is averaging 12.7 tackles per game with 5.0 TFL's and 2.0 sacks, and has an interception. On the season, the Baylor defense is on pace to re-write its record book. The Bears have 29 sacks in the first nine games of a season, most in its Big 12 era and Baylor has held nine straight conference opponents to less than 30 points for the first time since joining the league.
Baylor is the only Big 12 team yet to allow 28 points in regulation and leads the conference and is 17th nationally in scoring defense (19.0 ppg). It has allowed 30 points or less in nine straight games, the seventh-best streak in FBS. The Bears lead the Big 12 and are 14th nationally with those 29 sacks after only posting 25.0 in 13 games in 2018. Their 69.0 TFL's this season is tops in the Big 12 and 16th in the FBS.
Bernard's honor is only the second time for a Baylor player to earn the FWAA's National Defensive Player of the Week. Travon Blanchard earned it in 2016 after an 11-tackle, 4.5-TFL game against Oklahoma State. The last time a Baylor player had as many as Bernard's 19 tackles was Sam Holl (21 against Kansas in 2011).
Baylor's defensive prowess, led by Bernard, comes with its biggest test looming on Saturday when it hosts Oklahoma, the nation's total offense leader, in a primetime showcase.
Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. Bernard will be added to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Wed., Nov. 20. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2019 FWAA All-America Team.
The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists. The committee members then select the winner as the best defensive player in college football.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet presented by LendingTree will be held on Mon., Dec. 9 in Charlotte. In addition to the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner's announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award.
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw "Bronko" Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club's activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.
About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on our network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree's purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life's meaningful moments through choice, education and support.
2019 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
Weekend of Aug. 31: Alijah Halliburton, Wyoming
· Weekend of Sept. 7: Evan Weaver, Cal
· Weekend of Sept. 14: David Reese II, Florida
· Weekend of Sept. 21: Demetrius Taylor, Appalachian State
· Weekend of Sept. 28: Benny Walls, Temple
· Weekend of Oct. 5: Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
· Weekend of Oct. 12: Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina
· Weekend of Oct. 19: Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
· Weekend of Oct. 26: Chase Young, Ohio State
· Weekend of Nov. 2: Dele Harding, Illinois
· Weekend of Nov. 9: Terrel Bernard, Baylor