Jason Cabinda Steps Up Again On White Out Stage
Jason Cabinda thrives on the biggest stages. Penn State’s senior linebacker tallied 13 tackles in the White Out for the second year in a row, helping the Nittany Lions hold Michigan’s offense to a meager 269 total yards.
No. 2 Penn State put together its most complete showing of the season with all eyes on Beaver Stadium, dominating the Wolverines 42-13 in front of the largest home crowd in program history.
“110,000 people screaming their butts off — it’s easy to have energy to take that all in and use it,” Cabinda said postgame. “You see us on defense getting the crowd hyped up to mess around with the offense.”
Cabinda and the rest of Brent Pry’s unit clearly felt slighted by all the praise heaped on Michigan’s so-called suffocating front seven.
“I think it definitely played a factor in how we played with a chip on our shoulder, without a doubt,” Cabinda said. “Everyone was talking about their defense, their defense, their defense, so we had to come out and make a statement. I think we did today.”
James Franklin, who earned his first win over Jim Harbaugh, echoed Cabinda’s sentiment.
“That’s a really good defense. All week long everybody was talking about their defense. We’ve got a pretty good defense around here too,” Franklin said.
Penn State held the Wolverines scoreless in the first quarter, marking the seventh consecutive time it’s accomplished the feat to start the season. Michigan hadn’t given up more than 20 points to an opponent entering Saturday’s contest, but Joe Moorhead’s bunch easily doubled that figure.
“When you have an explosive offense like we do and you’re playing really good first-quarter defense and you can get a lead, it changes how people have to play,” Franklin said.
Chris Fowler had high praise for Cabinda Friday, noting the Flemington, N.J., native’s on-air potential whenever his playing career comes to a close. There’s a high likelihood he’ll be suiting up on Sundays next fall, though.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll even break into the music scene.
Notice that's Jason Cabinda talking & me taking notes. As impressive an analyst-in-waiting as I've run into across 3 decades in CFB!
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) October 20, 2017
Teammates look to Cabinda to set the energy level in practice, and he never fails to make sure they optimize each opportunity to get better. He was pleased with the gap-sound coverage on defense against the maize and blue.
“They had a couple chunk plays that hurt us a bit,” Cabinda said. “Overall, we communicated well, guys read their keys and played fast.”
Penn State’s defense swarmed John O’Korn all night, bringing down the redshirt senior for seven sacks, one of which can be credited to Cabinda. He now leads the team with 53 tackles.
“A lot of guys were getting to the ball. That’s one of our biggest things is pursuit. Pursuing to the ball and finishing tackles,” Cabinda said.
Penn State has won its last 13 Big Ten games dating back to last season. It will face by far its toughest test next Saturday in Columbus against No. 6 Ohio State. The last time Cabinda played the Buckeyes, it was all thumbs up.
The Nittany Lions will need another heroic performance from Cabinda and this vaunted defense in the Horseshoe to keep the train rolling toward the College Football Playoff.