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Nick Scott’s Interception Saves The Day For Penn State

On first and goal with three minutes left, Penn State safety Nick Scott refused to buckle under pressure, picking off Iowa’s Nate Stanley to ultimately seal the 30-24 win.

Although the Hawkeyes threatened again before the clock ran out, it was Scott’s heroic play that saved the game for James Franklin’s Nittany Lions Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

“To see a guy like Nick, who has done everything right, be rewarded is huge for us,” Franklin said. “It sends the right message to our locker room and it sends the right message to college football. I am a big Nick Scott fan.”

There appeared to be some confusion on Iowa’s part in the moments leading up to Scott’s interception, with Stanley frantically trying to check to a different play at the line of scrimmage. Tight end Noah Fant also got a late start on his route, allowing Scott to step in front of him.

“As soon as the ball was snapped, I snapped into game mode,” Scott said. “I felt like I was in good position on him regardless of what he was trying to do. I got my eyes back, saw the ball, and made the play.”

Scott’s journey to becoming a two-year captain and starting safety as a graduate senior has been a winding one. The Fairfax, Virginia, native started his Penn State career as a running back and kick returner before switching to defense prior to the 2016 season.

“I put a lot of trust in God,” Scott said. “I feel like I was on the right path ever since I set foot on this campus. I’m a huge team guy. It didn’t matter to me whether I was on offense or defense or special teams. I just wanted to affect this team in a positive way.”

Off the field, Scott is equally as interested in making an impact. He danced in THON 2018 as a representative of Penn State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board alongside teammate Charlie Shuman and a handful of other athletes.

Scott ensured the Nittany Lions wouldn’t squander another late lead.

Scott is tied with linebacker Cam Brown and fellow safety Garrett Taylor for second place on the defense with 42 total tackles through eight games. Scott, who had five tackles Saturday, said he expected nothing less than a clutch performance from Trace McSorley in the second half.

Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens led Penn State’s offense on three drives when McSorley was injured in the second quarter. He strapped on a knee brace and gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game, 24-17, on a 51-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Scott said. “The fact that he walked off the field, I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s definitely coming back.’ You would either have to strap him to the [bench] or kill him for him not to come back in the game.”

Scott also had an interception in the fourth quarter of Penn State’s 33-28 win over Indiana last weekend in Bloomington. He was pleased with the way Penn State’s defense held strong versus the Hawkeyes, allowing zero offensive touchdowns in poor weather conditions.

“There’s a difference between effort and results, and today we got the results,” Scott said.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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