DeAngelo Malone Named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week
Defensive end DeAngelo Malone was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week, it was announced on Monday. The junior from Atlanta spearheaded a WKU defense that held Southern Miss to its fewest points at home in six years, as the Hilltoppers took home a 28-10 victory in Hattiesburg.
Malone had two tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks, and seven total tackles on the day. But his biggest play of the game was the nail in the Golden Eagles’ coffin, forcing a fumble on a strip sack, then recovering the fumble and taking it into the end zone for a 5-yard scoop-and-score touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was WKU's first “fumble six” since Wonderful Terry’s 95-yard score at Illinois on Sept. 6, 2014.
Earlier in the game, Malone surpassed the 18.5-tackle for loss mark on the season to set the Hilltoppers’ single-season record in the program’s FBS Era (since 2009). With 20 tackles for loss on the season, Malone is only the 11th defender in WKU’s 101-season history to have at least that many. And with 10.5 sacks, Malone is only the 4th defender in the Hilltoppers' 101-season history to reach double-digit quarterback takedowns in a single season.
Malone leads C-USA with 20 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks on the season; while among FBS defenders he is tied for second in tackles for loss and eighth in sacks. His 7.5 total tackles per game ranks tied for 88th in the country, which leads all defensive linemen. The next-best trench defender is Jessie Lemonier of Liberty, who is tied for 212th in the nation with 6.2 per game.
Malone is WKU’s third C-USA Defensive Player of the Week this season (safety Devon Key on Nov. 11 and linebacker Kyle Bailey on Sept. 30), and eighth since the Hilltoppers joined the league prior to the 2014 season. WKU’s three C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honorees this season matches how many the team had over the past four years combined.
The Hilltoppers' (7-4, 5-2 C-USA) next game will be the regular-season finale vs. Middle Tennessee (4-7, 3-4 C-USA) on Saturday, November 30 at Houchens-Smith Stadium. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. and be broadcasted on ESPN+. Senior Day festivities will likely take place around 30 minutes before kickoff.