Marcus Allen’s Career-High 22 Tackles Lead Nittany Lions To Victory
Marcus Allen had himself a ballgame Saturday. The junior safety out of Upper Marlboro, Md., led the Penn State defense with a career-high 22 tackles en route to a 29-26 overtime victory over Minnesota.
Allen finished just two tackles shy of tying Greg Buttle (1974 at West Virginia) and Bill Banks (1977 at N.C. State) for the program record of 24 in a single game. Allen discussed what it meant for him to step up when the Nittany Lions needed him most and dished on some of his motivations.
“I wanted to [get] this win for my roommate Christian Campbell, [who went down with an injury in the first half], I wanted to get this win for Coach Franklin — he definitely deserves it — and for Coach Limegrover,” Allen said during his postgame press conference.
“I do this for my family. I do this for my grandmother and grandfather [who] just passed. It’s just a lot of passion for me going into these games…I didn’t know that I was gonna break out like this, but like I said, all glory to God.”
Allen’s previous career-best came last season on Senior Day, as the 6-foot-2, 202-pounder posted 12 tackles in a 28-16 loss to Michigan, but he blew that number out of the water Saturday. No other defender for Penn State or Minnesota had more than nine.
“That’s crazy. You guys know he’s a physical safety. He came down and read his reads right and I thought he played a tremendous game,” Junior corner Grant Haley said. Haley made his return from injury after missing the past two contests and most of Pitt, posting seven tackles.
Sophomore linebacker Manny Bowen, who finished with seven tackles, including a game-high two for loss, spoke about Allen’s performance and how he was seemingly in on every big stop. “He was all over the place. Every time I heard his name being called,” Bowen said. “He contributed to the team on the defensive side of the ball a lot and we just need that type of energy out of him every week.”
After ranking second on the defense with 81 total tackles last season, behind only Jason Cabinda (100), Allen is now firmly in the lead with 50 for the 3-2 (1-1 Big Ten) Nittany Lions through only five games. Not having fellow safety Malik Golden in the starting lineup certainly hurt Penn State’s defense, as he had been a key cog in helping to move past the litany of injuries it’s suffered to this point. In his place, junior Troy Apke showed promise with six tackles.
The high-energy Allen is routinely seen bouncing around during pregame warmups, showing off his favorite dance moves with teammates like Saquon Barkley and Mark Allen. That swagger carried over to the gridiron.
Allen will need to have another big game next weekend when his home-state Maryland Terrapins head to State College for a noon Homecoming kick. The hard-hitting safety is playing the best football of his career at just the right time, and the tests will keep coming as the Nittany Lions dig into October.