Penn State Players, Coaches Rally Around Amani Oruwariye Following Michigan State Loss
No. 8 Penn State dropped its second consecutive home game on Saturday night, falling to Michigan State 21-17 after allowing a last-minute touchdown.
Obviously, the loss won’t sit well with anyone on the team, but senior cornerback Amani Oruwariye took it much harder than others. He was visibly emotional following the conclusion of the game because of his role in the game’s final minutes.
Oruwariye broke up four passes and came up with four tackles, but he was covering Spartan receiver Felton Davis III when he hauled in the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Davis caught the ball at the sideline of the four-yard marker, then sidestepped the senior to break the plane and give Michigan State its first lead of the evening.
The cornerback wasn’t the only player on either side of the ball to not come up with a big play during the game. Michigan State fumbled the ball four times throughout the game, but Penn State couldn’t fall on any of them. Members of the defense not named Oruwariye dropped interceptions, missed tackles, and left receivers open throughout the game.
Head coach James Franklin offered his words of support for Oruwariye during his postgame press conference.
“I love Amani,” Franklin said. “He’s made huge play after huge play in our program and will continue to do that. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. We get great support here, and I want to make sure every single one of those players knows that they got unconditional love from me. They’re stuck with me for the next 50 years.”
Starting safety Nick Scott spoke to Oruwariye right after the game. Oruwariye has a tendency to be very critical of his own game, which is why Scott made sure to offer his teammate support.
“I spoke to him,” Scott said. “Amani’s an extremely emotional player. He’s very hard on himself and things like that, but nobody should ever look and be upset at Amani. He’s one of the best playmakers we got on this team. We’re going to band around him and keep him strong.”
Garrett Taylor — who broke up a career-high five passes, intercepted another, and forced a fumble on Saturday — said he was proud of Oruwariye’s effort. He said that defensive coordinator Brent Pry praised his aggressiveness in terms of making plays on the ball in the locker room after the game.
“[Amani] has that mentality where he always goes after the ball,” Taylor said. “We’re going to live and die by that. We all have his back.”
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Although several Penn State undergraduate students have run for seats on the State College Borough Council, few have made it past the primary election. Two undergraduate students are currently on a mission to change that trend.
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