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Kevin Givens Provides Spark In Return From Suspension

Penn State football got a key part of its defense back in the lineup for Saturday night’s game against Pitt.

Defensive tackle Kevin Givens was suspended for the team’s 45-38 victory over Appalachian State due to a violation of team rules, but he got the start in his team’s emphatic 51-6 victory over Pitt on Saturday night.

Givens finished tied with Micah Parsons for the team lead in total tackles with seven, two of which came for a loss of yardage. He also drew a holding penalty in Pitt’s end zone to force a safety and extend the Nittany Lions’ lead to 23-6 midway through the third quarter.

Head coach James Franklin praised No. 30 for his effort following the suspension and emphasized how important the offensive and defensive lines are in the game of football.

“Huge,” Franklin said of Givens’ involvement in the game. “D-Tackles, defensive linemen, offensive linemen is how this game is made. That’s where we’re going to win this season. We all realize Kevin Givens is a difference maker.”

Senior cornerback Amani Oruwariye, who hauled in his second interception in as many games this season during the victory, also had plenty of praise for Givens and was happy to see him back in the starting lineup.

“He was huge,” No. 21 said. “We know what Kevin Givens can bring to this defense. Getting him back was huge, and he definitely helped us spark that defensive line.”

Givens’ big performance came after the Nittany Lions’ front seven struggled mightily against Appalachian State. In week one, the unit tallied just one sack and five tackles-for-loss, but the unit totaled nine TFLs and four sacks in Saturday’s victory.

The Altoona native didn’t tally a sack in the game, but he finished tied for the team lead with two tackles-for-loss as the Nittany Lions’ defense stifled Pitt for most of the second half.

Redshirt freshman KJ Hamler also noticed Givens’ strong game and thought that he was a massive part of the team’s victory.

“KG did awesome,” Hamler said. “He was a big part of our defense that we lost, and now we got him back. I think he performed great. I feel like we’re getting back to where we were [with Givens in the lineup].”

Penn State (2-0) will host Kent State on Saturday, September 15 to wrap up its non-conference schedule for the 2018 season.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a senior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Sports Editor. He grew up in Bedminster, NJ and is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is hard. If you're dying to see more hockey/golf content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail, death threats, and your vote for the best chicken parm in State College to [email protected]

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