Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Butkus Award Watch: Two of Nation’s Best on Display, Saturday


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The match-ups inside the match-up. This weekend will display a couple of huge ones defensively for both BYU and Wisconsin.

For the Badgers, Chris Borland. For and BYU, Kyle Van Noy.

Both senior linebackers come into Saturday as finalists on board the Butkus Award nominee list. Both likely chomping at the bit to make an impression on national television and bolster their credentials as the best linebacker in all of college football.

Van Noy is an intimidating presence in the middle. At 6-3, 245 lbs., his frame is built for the middle. He leads his team is sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss (11.0).

Out of McQueen High School in Reno, Nev., Van Noy was heavily recruited by UCLA, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Nevada, UNLV, Washington, Oregon State, Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, San Diego State and LSU.

He’s been awarded FBS Independent defensive player of the week, twice. He also is on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player overall, regardless of position.  His best game of the year came against Utah State where he picked-off the first pass of the game, returned it for a touchdown and ended the day with three sacks, to boot.

The BYU senior has made 47 tackles this season, including 11 for loss and four sacks. Recently, he was invited to be part of the Senior Bowl, a showcase of college talent meant to act as an informal scouting combine.

Taking a look at Borland’s credentials, they measure right up.

Along with the Butkus award, Borland has been named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was elected to the All-Big Ten (coaches) first team last season, and began his senior season with 13 forced fumbles, one shy of tying FBS career record (14). He is one of three players in UW history to have forced and recovered at least three fumbles in the same season (twice, 2009 and 2012).

One of his best games of the season came when he tallied 10 tackles, a sack, a pass break up and a QB hurry at home against Northwestern, Oct. 12. He tied his career high for tackles in a game with 16 against Ohio State.

Borland has been nursing a hamstring injury since being injured in a win at Illinois, three weeks ago. He missed last week’s 28-9 win at Iowa, but all signs point to him getting the start this Saturday against BYU.

Tags: Butkus Award BYU Chris Borland FBS Kyle Van Noy UW Badgers