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Shaka Toney Has Game Of His Life Against Indiana

It may not have been pretty, but No. 18 Penn State football got back on track with a victory over Indiana on the road.

The game was very physical and filled with penalties, but defensive end Shaka Toney played the game of his life to help propel the Nittany Lions to victory. Toney finished with six tackles, but he also posted four sacks throughout the game — including two crucial ones in the fourth quarter. His last sack of the day came on the Hoosiers’ final possession.

Indiana was set up with excellent field position after recovering an onside kick. Peyton Ramsey’s offense got started at the 42-yard line, but Shaka Toney and the rest of Sean Spencer’s Wild Dogs immediately got in the quarterback’s face to start of the drive.

The unit forced Ramsey into taking a holding penalty on the first play, and Toney got in the backfield and flattened Indiana’s signal caller on the ensuing 1st and 20. Toney had a huge game on the same day that starting defensive ends Shareef Miller and Yetur Gross-Matos got injured.

Both players returned to the game following their initial injuries, but Toney was thrust into a bigger role while they sat out. He proved that he can handle that kind of responsibility with the game of his life.

Penn State’s defense tallied six sacks and eight tackles-for-loss throughout the game. Toney was responsible for 66 percent of those sacks and half of the Nittany Lions’ TFLs throughout the game.

Toney, a redshirt sophomore, only had one sack this season and 4.5 in his career before today’s game. For those of you counting at home, he nearly doubled his career sack total in one game.

The Philadelphia native didn’t seem poised to play as big of a role on defense as he did today entering the 2018 season. Shane Simmons and Shareef Miller appeared locked in to the two starting roles at defensive end, but Simmons missed the team’s first five games due to an undisclosed injury.

Gross-Matos became the starter in Simmons’ spot, which led Toney into the first-choice substitute spot at defensive end. He didn’t have the most productive first half of the season, totaling 13 tackles and three for a loss in five appearances. He certainly earned a more advanced role after his performance in Bloomington. 

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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