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Anthony Zettel Earns First Career Big Ten Co-Defensive Player Of The Week Honors

A day after tragically losing his father to a long battle with cancer, Penn State senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel chose to play in the Nittany Lion’s Saturday showdown against San Diego State. Zettel recorded an inspired performance, logging a career- and team-high seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. The Big Ten recognized Zettel’s performance Monday morning, naming him the conferences’ Co-Defensive Player of the Week with Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun.

It’s Zettel’s first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award, and the first for a Penn State defensive player since Trevor Williams turned in a massive performance last year at Rutgers. Zettel joins Saquon Barkley as the only other Penn Stater to be recognized for a weekly conference recognition so far this year.

Zettel’s seven tackles trumped his previous high of six, a tally he has recorded three times including in the Pinstripe Bowl. The fumble recovery was his second of his career. Zettel is climbing the all-time Penn State leaderboards in a number of categories. He’s now 15th in tackles for loss with 32. His half sack on Saturday also jumped him to 15th with 16.5 in his storied Nittany Lion career.

But most importantly, Penn State players, coaches, and fans rallied around Zettel during the emotional game. Here’s what James Franklin said following the performance:

“I think it shows the type of commitment and the type of bond these guys have as a family, not like as Anthony’s family, but as our family…We’re all going through something together and are doing whatever we can to support him as much as we can. Everybody handles these situations differently, and however these young men decide to handle these situations we’ll be there to support them — whether that’s playing or not playing, Anthony thought that was the right thing to do for that situation and his family supports that. We love him, and his family, and I’m just really proud of him and the whole team.”

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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