University of Minnesota senior linebacker Blake Cashman was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after making 20 tackles against Northwestern. Cashman added 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup against the Wildcats.
Cashman's 20 tackles were a career high and came during his last game at TCF Bank Stadium. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native started his career as a walk-on, but is leaving a legacy for the Gophers. His 20 tackles were the most by a Big Ten player in a non-overtime game since Ohio State's Ryan Shazier made 20 against Indiana in 2013. Cashman's 20 tacklers were the most by a Gopher since Eli Ward had 22 against Wisconsin in 2002.
Cashman's 20 tackles set a TCF Bank Stadium record for a Gopher and are the second most in stadium history behind San Jose State's Keith Smart's 21 tackles against Minnesota in 2013.
Cashman has excelled on special teams for Minnesota for four years, but has started at linebacker this season. He leads Minnesota with 101 tackles and 15.0 tackles for loss. Cashman has also broken up five passes and has forced and recovered one fumble (returned it 40 yards for a touchdown) against Purdue.
For his career, he has 180 tackles, 31.0 tackles for loss (seventh in program history) and 12 sacks (tied for 13th in program history).
Cashman is the first Gopher to be named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week since Antoine Winfield, Jr., on Sept. 10, 2018. This is the second time that Cashman has received this honor, as he was also named conference defensive player of the week on Nov. 21, 2016, after totaling 10 tackles, two sacks and forcing one fumble in a win against Northwestern.
Cashman is the seventh Gopher to be recognized by the league this year, joining Antoine Winfield Jr. (special, defense), Emmit Carpenter (special), Mohamed Ibrahim(freshman), Tanner Morgan (freshman) and Rashod Bateman (freshman). The seven honorees ties a program record set in 2014 when Minnesota also had seven players recognized by the Big Ten.