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Defensive player of the week: Eli Howard

Big dog has to eat.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I know the big man did not rack up the tackles or other stats. But for the first time this season, I felt like a defensive lineman really made his mark on the game.

Eli Howard had two big pass deflections and two quarterback hurries. This season, defensive linemen generating pressure has been a luxury rarely seen out there on the field. Howard was in the backfield chasing Bender around making his life miserable, that deserves some recognition.

Dakota Allen is the guy most would have expected to get this award, but I like to recognize unsung heroes. Howard deserves our respect for his efforts on Saturday. Allen, as I harp on almost every week, is a true stud but his teammates can ball too.

With Freshman Brock Purdy exploding onto the scene next week, we need Howard to have himself a game in Ames.