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Mustafa Johnson named Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week

Johnson was a star against Nebraska.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado’s comeback victory would not have been possible without Mustafa Johnson’s big day. He had 8 tackles and 3 sacks and was rewarded with Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Each of Johnson’s sacks came in the fourth quarter or overtime. His first sack of the game was with 11 minutes left in the game and the Buffs down 24-21. The Buffs faked a blitz and Johnson got around the right tackle with a stunt. He finished the sack with a strip sack that was recovered by Nu’umuto Falo. The Buffs used that field position to tie the game on a field goal.

He was credited with another sack later on, when he pressured Adrian Martinez into an intentional grounding penalty. That drive was crucial because it was immediately after Laviska Shenault fumbled on the kickoff return. There was only 5 minutes left in the game and the Buffs were down 31-24. Johnson’s pressure was essentially the drive killer.

His final sack was virtually the game-winning play. After James Stefanou made the field goal in overtime, the Buffs had to make a stand. On 3rd-and-9 from the 24-yard-line, Johnson blew past right guard on a stunt and wrapped up Martinez for a 7-yard loss. The Huskers then had to attempt a 48-yard field goal, which never had a chance of going in.

Plays like these are why Johnson is considered one of the best defensive linemen in college.