Player Spotlight: PJ Mustipher
The player spotlight for the Penn State Nittany Lions football team will week focuses on PJ Mustipher.
Mustipher is a sophomore defensive tackle from Owings Mills, Maryland who has played a significant role in this year’s defensive front. He has recorded 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo, and three for losses. He also has one forced fumble on the year. Mustipher was named to the Pro Football Focus second-team Big Ten Team of the Week for his performance against Buffalo in week two, where he four total tackles including one for loss.
Saturday night, the Nittany Lions will face off against 16th-ranked Michigan under the lights at Beaver Stadium. This game will also feature the famous “White Out” by the fans. Mustipher shared his thoughts when asked about the atmosphere of the White Out game.
“It’s going to be tough for people who haven’t experienced it, everybody is really loud," Mustipher said. "For me, that really helps and for this defense that really helps because you can’t hear anybody next to you, in front of you and behind you.”
The Nittany Lions defense has been special to say the least this season, holding opponents to an average of just over eight points per game. Mustipher was asked about the offseason preparation that head coach James Franklin expected and required of the defensive front.
“When you put in work all offseason, you know it’s definitely nice to have something to show for it and coming into the season, we wanted to be the best defense in the country," Mustipher said. "We were together, whether it was one unit or all the units coming together making that decision, and then going out and executing during the offseason. It’s definitely paid dividends so far in this season, and we’re going to continue to grow each week.”
Mustipher has made his presence known and his voice heard both on and off the field the season. However, he is not among the starting group of defensive linemen. He was asked about how he handles his role on the team and how important it is for him to know his place in this defensive unit that is regarded as one of the best in the country.
“I think that’s who we are, you know, whether we’re a starter or not we’re always going to prepare like we’re the starter,” Mustipher said. “Each of us wants to be great, and each of us has to be great in order for this unit as a whole to be great. The guys in this room want to execute to perfection ourselves because we know that’s what it takes to be great as a unit.”
In the biggest game of the year so far for the Nittany Lions, and the most important home game of the year, Mustipher is bound to show the 110,000 fans in white Saturday night why he belongs out on the field with the dominant defense from Happy Valley. You can be sure to see 97 making stops with the hard nose defensive line against Michigan.
Danny Murray is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.