It’s Marcus Allen’s world, and we’re all living in it.
Penn State’s star safety had a banner day against Pitt with 12 total tackles, a pass breakup, and a key safety to ice the game in the fourth quarter.
Marcus Allen: seek and destroy pic.twitter.com/PsRMEtjW38
— Sam Cooper (@SamDCooper) September 9, 2017
His aggression was palpable; Penn State’s defense was able to hold Pitt scoreless for most of the first half, and sure tackling was a big reason why. But Allen wants to focus on how his team can improve instead of keeping his mindset in the past.
“Success minimizes the problems, losing maximizes it,” Allen said. “There’s still going to be problems on defense, offense. Although we were tackling well, I’m pretty sure there’s something we can improve, too. That’s why we’ll go back tomorrow and watch film, and correct what we need to.”
He added that redzone defense, where the Nittany Lions were efficient against Pitt. “We harped on redzone defense big time,” Allen said. “We hit on that issue during camp and got a new gameplan going on with that.”
Allen, a player who’s already steadily climbing draft boards in his final season, understood which elements of his game needed refining after flirting with declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft before opting to return to school. There’s also some personal history with this game that carried over from last season. Allen played with a heavy heart in last season’s contest — and he sought his chance at revenge.
“My grandmother was supposed to go see that game with my grandfather,” Allen said. “They weren’t doing too well. My grandmother died before the game last year, so I play with a lot of passion. That’s why I came into this game hyped and ready to play.”
Allen’s production spanned the field as the game progressed; the senior safety produced play after play in huge moments — including a key forced drop against Pitt tight end Chris Clark. One of his primary responsibilities was to help keep all-purpose weapon Quadree Henderson at bay. His unit did just that in holding Henderson to a mere five yards on only two catches.
“KJ. Hamler and Josh McPhearson played key roles in the defense’s preparation,” Allen said. The two young Nittany Lions are among the fastest players on the team, and were evidently able to provide an effective simulation of Henderson. “They definitely showed us a great look as far as guys we’re definitely going to see during the game, like No. 10,” Allen said. “Josh McPhearson showed a great look of how he’s going to play. We were ready for him.”
At the end of the day, Allen’s out there having fun. He sets the tempo for the defense, and even got to enjoy watching his young fellow defensive backs enjoy some success. “I get hyped. Those guys, they deserve it. They earned that,” Allen said. “Nick Scott, he’s part of the Sniper Gang. Anytime he makes a big hit, I’m getting hyped.” He referenced Scott’s WWE-style takedown of Pitt’s Darrin Hall as evidence.
But who could fault Allen for having as much fun as he does? I’d say he’s deserved it.
Forever our mood !!!!! 🤣💯💯 pic.twitter.com/DI6zIvOeXe
— Marcus Allen (@Chico_Hndrxx) September 10, 2017