Penn State’s defense comes up big in 55-10 win over Rutgers
While a 55-10 Penn State win would suggest a dominant showing from beginning to end, that wasn’t always the case for the blue and white on Saturday.
It took the Nittany Lions a while to get things going offensively, with the unit's first touchdown not coming until just over six minutes to go in the second quarter.
However, with that said, the Nittany Lions were already up by four when that moment came. The reason why? Penn State’s defense had arguably its most complete game of the season.
That unit was responsible for two touchdowns while creating three turnovers in the win.
All that success came despite having to start drives in difficult positions, according to James Franklin, with the Nittany Lions' average field position starting at their own 27-yard line.
“We’re playing really good on defense, we’ve done it for multiple weeks, and it didn’t feel like it early in the game because of field position,” Franklin said. “We got 16 different players with a sack. That’s impressive. We have a lot of guys that are able to contribute.”
Four different players came away with a sack in the win on Saturday. One of those players was linebacker Curtis Jacobs who missed the prior week with an injury.
He not only came back but forced a fumble on his sack in the third quarter, which was recovered by safety and New Jersey native Ji’Ayir Brown for a touchdown to extend the Penn State lead.
After the game, Jacobs referred to that play as a game changer.
“That’s obviously a big play in the game, changing momentum,” Jacobs said. “That’s what you need in the game, defense scoring and picking up the offense, offense picking up the defense that’s just complimentary football.”
That defensive touchdown created by Jacobs added to what was already a blowout, but the other defensive touchdown finished by Kobe King first gave the Nittany Lions a lead that they would never relinquish.
Cornerback Marquis Wilson forced a fumble from Johnny Langan, which was recovered by King for a touchdown to put Penn State up 14-10 late in the first quarter.
While being involved in game-changing plays may be a little more commonplace for someone like Jacobs, who has already found the endzone once this season, that’s not the case for King.
He mentioned that the last defensive touchdown he had came back in little league on a pick-six and that scoring at the collegiate level didn’t seem like reality.
“It felt fake to me,” King said. “I was just focused on getting the ball, and I wasn’t trying to kick it out of bounds. I had to slow down and pick the ball up and score.”
Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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