Pittsburgh—Pitt junior defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Panthers’ 27-3 victory over South Florida this past weekend.
Donald (Pittsburgh, Pa./Penn Hills) led Pitt’s defensive charge with a career-high four tackles for loss (totaling 14 yards in losses). He had five total tackles and a nine-yard quarterback sack against the Bulls.
Donald’s constant pressure up front helped limit USF to just 117 yards in total offense, the lowest output by a Pitt opponent since 2001. The Bulls netted only eight rushing yards, the fewest given up by the Panthers since 2002.
The 6-foot, 275-pound Donald leads the Big East and ranks sixth nationally in tackles for loss with an average of 1.68 per game (18.5 total). He has 63 total tackles and leads Pitt with 5.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries.
Donald spearheads a Pitt defense that has shown dramatic improvement this season. The Panthers currently boast top-25 national rankings in five different categories: total defense (16th, 325.83 yards/game), scoring defense (21st, 19.67 points/game), pass efficiency defense (22nd, 112.71 rating), pass defense (24th, 196.75 yards/game) and rush defense (tied for 24th, 129.08 yards/game).
Donald and the Panthers have accepted an invitation to play Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The game, held at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., will be played on January 5, 2013 in front of a national ESPN television audience (1 p.m. ET).
It will be the inaugural game between the Panthers (6-6) and Rebels (6-6).