The SEC today named Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston its Defensive Player of the Week for his powerful performance in Saturday’s victory at Kentucky.
Houston had 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in the Bulldogs’ 44-31 win. He also was credited with seven quarterback hurries.
A junior from Statesboro, Houston leads the SEC in sacks with nine for the season. His performance has been a major factor in Georgia’s improvement in forcing turnovers. The Bulldogs rank second in the SEC and 18th in the nation with a turnover margin of +7 (15 opponent turnovers vs. eight UGA turnovers).
Houston’s performance Saturday did not surprise his coach. “You could just see it in his eyes that he was ready, that he was ready to play hard and make some noise,” Mark Richt said. “He knew there was a good chance to get some sacks.”
“I know for us to be a great defense, I have to play great,” Houston told reporters after the game. “So that is what I am trying to do — come out and play hard every game, every snap.”
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Week, beating out, among others, Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey for the honor.
Newton, a junior from College Park, rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in leading Auburn to a 24-17 win over LSU, which entered the game as the SEC’s top-ranked defense. Newton broke the SEC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback during the game; he now has 1,077. He also completed 10 of 16 passes for 86 yards against LSU.
Ealey was listed by the SEC among the week’s “other outstanding performances” for his five touchdowns and 157 yards rushing against Kentucky.