MISSOULA — Patrick O'Connell's fast start to the season earned recognition from the Big Sky Conference on Monday, as the league office announced that O'Connell has been named the league's Defensive Player of the Week.
O'Connell helped lead the way for the Griz defense in Saturday's win over Indiana State. The senior from Kalispell tallied nine total tackles, three for loss, along with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. That fumble caused by O'Connell was scooped up by defensive lineman Kale Edwards who then took it to the house for the game's first score.
O'Connell is the second Grizzly to earn the Defensive Player of the Week honor this year after Braxton Hill won the weekly award after UM's opener against Northwestern State. It's the second time O'Connell has earned the weekly honor in his career.
O'Connell, who was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award last year, has picked up where he left off from his 2021 campaign. O'Connell leads the Big Sky in sacks with five on the year. He also has 26 total tackles, seven for loss, plus an interception on the year.
Against ISU, the Griz defense tallied four sacks and allowed just 219 yards of offense and also held the Sycamores to 5 for 18 on third down. Montana welcomes Portland State to begin Big Sky play on Saturday.