Penn State In The NFL: Week 11

Story posted November 25, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Jakob Schnur

As this crazy NFL season heads into Thanksgiving week, former Nittany Lions continue to show why Penn State is one of the best schools at producing NFL talent.

While there were no Penn State products on display for this week’s Thursday night game, many of them made plays in the early window on Sunday.

One game in particular saw rookie edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos and the Carolina Panthers face off against second year corner Amani Oruwariye and the Detroit Lions.

Oruwariye is having a very solid season for Detroit which continued on Sunday when he allowed just one reception for three yards and recorded an interception in the endzone. While the Lions have veteran corner Desmond Trufant and top three pick Jeff Okudah on the roster, Oruwariye has been the best and most consistent corner on the team so far this season.

Gross-Matos was solid as well, recording half a sack en route to a shutout win for the Panthers.

Coming off a week where he rushed for 85 yards against the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders struggled this week against the Browns. He had 66 yards on the ground and didn’t have much of an impact in the receiving game, but the low point for Sanders this week was when he fumbled on Cleveland’s five-yard line as Philadelphia was knocking on the door.

Aside from this game, Sanders has been playing very well this season. However, head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t tend to put much of an emphasis on the run game, limiting Sanders’ production. With the Eagles looking at a 3-6-1 record and on the verge of dropping in the NFC East standings, it might be smart for them to increase his involvement in the offense.

The second window of games featured another matchup between Penn Staters when Mike Gesicki and the Miami Dolphins traveled to Denver to face KJ Hamler and the Broncos.

Both players had solid games as each hauled in four passes. Hamler totaled 35 receiving yards and Gesicki picked up 43. Gesicki also had one of the biggest highlights for Miami as he hauled in a 25-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter.

Two former Penn State offensive lineman, Connor McGovern and A.Q. Shipley saw increased roles for the Cowboys and Buccaneers, respectivley.

With multiple injuries to the Cowboys offensive line, head coach Mike McCarthy decided that it would be best for the team if All-Pro guard Zack Martin moved to right tackle and McGovern started at right guard. This move resulted in the Cowboys’ best offensive performance since Dak Prescott’s injury and was the first game this season that Ezekiel Elliott topped 100 yards on the ground.

Shipley slid in at center for the Buccaneers as starter Ryan Jensen moved to guard with Ali Marpet out due to an injury this week. Shipley did a great job stepping in on Monday night, keeping the usually dominant Aaron Donald out of the sack column.

Another Penn Stater that put on a stellar performance for Tampa Bay was wide receiver Chris Godwin. The former third round pick had established himself as one of the best at his position last season and has continued his exceptional play when healthy.

Godwin was having a slow night until he made one of the best plays of the week. Late in the fourth quarter, he caught a pass from Tom Brady along the sideline and turned upfield, leaping over a defensive back and extending his arm across the goal line for the game tying touchdown. Even with superstars such as Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown on Tampa Bay’s roster, Godwin has managed to make the most of his opportunities and is a major contributor in one of the league’s best offenses.

 

Jakob Schnur is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at jks6463@psu.edu.