When you total seven sacks against any team, it’s grounds for celebration. But it’s how such a feat comes together that speaks volumes about this team — namely, its defense.
Everybody got in on the fun tonight, with Jason Cabinda (1), Manny Bowen (0.5), Parker Cothren (1), Curtis Cothran (1), Christian Campbell (1), Ryan Buchholz (0.5), Shaka Toney (1), and Kevin Givens (1) all recording sacks against Michigan and a clearly overwhelmed John O’Korn.
The Nittany Lions clipped Michigan at the knees, and did it with a smile. The team dynamic of Penn State’s constant pressure put on O’Korn is what’s helped Penn State find success in 2017. It was a primary reason Michigan had no answer — specifically after the second half started. “We noticed that O’Korn — he’s a really good scrambler — and he kind of finds ways through our rush,” Koa Farmer said. “We just tried to focus on bottling that pocket up so he had no lanes.”
“Shoutout to our defensive line, because you know, it makes our job as corners easier when they come off the ball and put pressure on the quarterback,” Christian Campbell said about the line’s help in all phases of the game. “We work with each other, we cover for a long time and they get their sack. That’s why I love football — it’s just a team game.”
Domination was a word thrown around by Campbell and his teammates — can you blame him? Tonight’s display of ferocity can only be described with one word. But the element of team brought up by Campbell is an excellent point — it sounds cliche, but with a stat line like tonight’s, everybody played a role. Displays like this are becoming commonplace for the Nittany Lions — something that should give fans confidence ahead of the team’s crucial two game stretch.
Defensive end Ryan Buchholz credited the mastermind behind the entire operation for his unit’s success; Brent Pry put his coaching acumen on display for a national audience to enjoy. “The blitzes we call and the defense coach Pry runs sets us up for success,” Ryan Buchholz said. “Like on my sack — I didn’t really do much it just came to me because of the other guys. I don’t want to take credit, but I have to because I did it.”
Tonight’s performance was fun, and for the Nittany Lions, fun is swarming and overwhelming anything and anybody who dares to cross its path. Defense wins championships, and Penn State has arguably the best defense in the country.