Player Spotlight: Jordan Smith
Minnesota had little trouble moving the ball past Penn State’s defensive line last Saturday. With the linebacking corp still recovering from a wave of injuries, the secondary was left with the brunt of the workload.
Safety Marcus Allen’s productivity exemplified the impact of the secondary. He recorded a career high 22 tackles.
Cornerback Jordan Smith watched the defense from the bench for the start of the game. Smith’s playing time has been cut almost mathematically throughout his college career.
He appeared in every game as a freshman, 9 games as a sophomore, and 6 games as a junior.
With the influx of talent in the defensive secondary, Smith’s senior year productivity was destined to dwindle as it had in past years. However, injuries change things.
Cornerback Christian Campbell was forced to exit the game with a leg injury, leaving Jordan Smith to fill the position. A position that was fleeting for the senior.
Minnesota was in the red zone midway through the fourth quarter, a place where the Gophers had a 100% success rate thus far in the season. The game was tied 20-20. On third and long, quarterback Mitch Leidner dropped back and threw a lofty pass to the corner of the end zone. Smith undercut the receiver and intercepted the ball, shifting the momentum back to the lions. Momentum that would carry them to an overtime victory.
“The main thing I told the guys was to play for each other, go out there and get a win.” Smith told reporters.
Smith recorded four tackles and the first interception of his career to help add a tally to the Lion’s win column. It was the most productive game he has ever had for Penn State.
Smith committed to Penn State at a time when the future of its football program was unclear following the unprecedented sanctions placed on the program by the NCAA.
Coach Bill O'Brien was given the task of recruiting the Maryland Native.
“He didn’t have to do hard selling at all,” said Smith. “I already knew about Penn State’s program, the alumni, the campus.”
Smith and teammate Marcus Allen are from the D.C area and have familiarity with some of the Maryland players they will be competing against this weekend.
“We do know a lot of guys on the Maryland team,” said Smith. “It’s going to make the game that much more fun.”
It would be tough for the game to be as fun as an overtime win, but with the matchups that will be on the field on Saturday, there is no reason to believe the game shouldn't be thoroughly entertaining.
Paddy Cotter is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.