CINCINNATI – Cincinnati senior linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List on Wednesday.
The Bednarik Award is given to the nation’s top defensive player.
Through six games this fall, Pace leads the country in tackles for loss (12.5), ranks fifth in sacks (6.0) and eighth in tackles (63). He leads the AAC in all three categories.
The middle linebacker from Cincinnati’s Colerain High School has been a dynamic playmaker since the minute he stepped on campus last winter after transferring to UC from Miami (Ohio).
Pace made 12 stops, including 3.5 TFLs, in his Bearcats’ debut at No. 19 Arkansas before totaling 11 tackles with one TFL and a forced fumble against Kennesaw State and tallying eight stops and two TFLs versus Miami (Ohio) at Paycor Stadium.
He was arguably most impressive against Indiana to end his first month at UC, stuffing the box score with 15 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries in the 45-24 win over the Hoosier. He was named the Bednarik’s National Player of the Week and the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Week following the performance.
He finished with 12 tackles and 1.5 TFLs at Tulsa before making seven tackles versus USF last weekend.
Pro Football Focus rates Pace as the country’s highest-graded linebacker and defensive player (92.6) through six weeks.
The Bearcats are off this weekend before returning next week at SMU (12 p.m. ET, Oct. 22).
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