NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The big takeaway from Rutgers' season-opening win over Michigan State was all those takeaways, and no one did it better than Olakunle Fatukasi.
Fatukasi became the first Scarlet Knight in six years to be named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, after he had10 tackles, an assisted tackle-for-loss, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in their 38-27 victory Saturday.
The linebacker, in his 11th career start, was part of the seven takeaways generated by RU, the most by the team since 2000 and most by a Big Ten squad since 2010.
The Scarlet Knights recovered five fumbles and picked off two passes. In addition, Rutgers held the Spartans to 50 yards on the ground, the best rushing defense performance for the program in a Big Ten game since joining the league.
Fatukasi gathered a fumble caused by Avery Young in the first quarter and later punched out and recovered a fumble in the third quarter.
He is the first Scarlet Knight with multiple fumble recoveries in a game since Lorenzo Waters versus North Carolina in the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl. In addition, he became the first RU player with two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in the same game since Deway Thompson at Pittsburgh in 2000.
Fatukasi shares the award with Indiana’s Jamar Johnson. The Hoosiers, who are coming off a 36-35 overtime victory over Penn State, will be Rutgers' opponent for its opener at SHI Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Yard at Rutgers will be hosting a viewing party at 40 College Ave.