KJ Hamler Gives Classy Response To Chippy Pitt Defenders
In No. 13 Penn State football’s nerve-wracking victory over Pitt Saturday at Beaver Stadium, the Panthers’ defensive backs were aggressive, to say the least.
Pat Narduzzi’s corners constantly played Nittany Lion wide receivers tight throughout the game and remained combative through the whistle. There was plenty of pushing and shoving after plays. One Pitt cornerback even seemed to take a swipe at Justin Shorter as the sophomore ran back to his team’s huddle.
Despite these gritty moments, Nittany Lions receiver KJ Hamler still had plenty of respect for the Panthers after Saturday’s contest.
“All hail to Pitt, to be honest,” Hamler said. “They gave us a good game. Players, they played their heart out, so I respect them. Much love.”
Hamler seemed to be one of Pitt’s top targets for needling and mind games. But he finished the day with three receptions for 68 yards, including a 53-yard catch and run in the first quarter that gave an early boost to the Beaver Stadium crowd.
One of the most chippy moments of Saturday’s game was on one of Hamler’s punt returns. The redshirt sophomore came up slow after hurting his leg on the play, but Pitt defenders continued to step over him after the whistle, causing several Nittany Lions to shove them away.
While the Nittany Lions came away with the victory, the Panthers were clearly successful in stifling their passing game.
Sean Clifford threw for a solid 222 passing yards, but he struggled to find a consistent target throughout the game. Hamler’s three receptions were the most by any Nittany Lion receiver Saturday. He was the only player to break 50 receiving yards on the day.
The Nittany Lions found some success on screen passes, but their main source of offense came from their strong run game. Clifford and Co.’s deep ball success from Penn State’s first two games went completely missing Saturday thanks to Pitt’s defensive style. If other team’s on Penn State’s schedule can execute a plan similar to Pitt’s, Ricky Rahne’s offense could continue to struggle through the air.
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