Olakunle Fatukasi had a huge day for Rutgers, the linebacker registering 18 tackles and one tackle for a loss as the Scarlet Knights lost 23-7 at home to Penn State.

It is just the latest installment from a body of work this season from Fatukasi, who is making a case to be a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.

The senior linebacker has been dominant this year but Saturday he was special, registering a career-high in tackles. It is the sixth time this season that Fatukasi has double-digit tackles this season.

It led to praise from head coach Greg Schiano about the player nicknamed ‘O3.’

“03 is a very special player. He has a very good nose for the ball. He’s a very good tackler,” Schiano said after the game.

“Glad we have him. I think he plays very smart football. Understands what offenses are doing. I think the other thing I didn’t mention when I talked to Fogg’s injury, I thought Rashawn Battle, without watching anything, I thought Rashawn Battle stepped in and did a solid job. Yeah, just not well enough to win.

Fatukasi is a Butkus Award semifinalist, given to the nation’s top linebacker. Through seven games this year, he has a career-high with 92 tackles and two sacks.

He is a major reason why Rutgers, despite a 2-5 record, has surprised in exceeding expectations, having hung in close in losses to Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan – each of which came by fewer than a touchdown.

As for Fatukasi, he’s had just one game this year where he hasn’t had double-digit tackles. Saturday’s performance eclipsed his previous career-high of 17 tackles in Rutgers’ triple-overtime loss to Michigan three weeks ago.