Nobody realized Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven finished with 20 tackles against Arizona State. Not defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake. Not head coach Chris Petersen. Not even Burr-Kirven himself.
Once they were told, though, nobody really seemed surprised. He was all over the field during Washington’s 27-20 victory over the Sun Devils on Saturday night, so much so that it seemed weird if his name wasn’t announced after a defensive stop.
“It felt like a lot,” Burr-Kirven said. “We were out there all day long. It was a grinder.”
Burr-Kirven accounted for nearly 31 percent of the Huskies’ total tackles and had nine more than any player on either team. His total was also the most by a UW player since John Fiala had 22 at Arizona State on Sept. 7, 1996.
“Unbelievable,” Lake said of Burr-Kirven’s performance. “Like I said last week, he plays violent. He plays at one speed. He practices the same way. He diagnoses plays so quickly.”
Burr-Kirven had 11 tackles at the end of the first half and surpassed his previous career high of 13 in the third quarter. He didn’t just make tackles, either. He also forced two fumbles in the third quarter, recovering the second one himself.
Last week, Burr-Kirven was named the Pac-12’s defensive player of the week for his team-high 11 tackles in the victory over Utah. After the game on Saturday, Lake was already lobbying for a repeat.
“The guy’s a heck of a player, obviously,” Petersen said. “He plays like that all the time. He’s fast. He’s really, really smart and he’s as tough as they come.”