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Abdul Carter Continues To Turn Heads In Win Over Michigan State

Penn State’s defense put up another dominant performance Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium.

In the Nittany Lions’ 35-16 victory over Michigan State, Manny Diaz’s defense held the Spartans to 229 passing yards and just 25 rushing yards. Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne was also sacked three times during the game, with two of those coming at the mercy of true freshman linebacker Abdul Carter, making him a topic of conversation amongst Penn State fans, once again, after the game.

Carter made a sizeable splash to begin his career at Penn State, and he continued that momentum today. The Philadelphia native registered two sacks for a combined loss of 16 yards and seven total tackles against the Spartans. That marks his third consecutive game with a sack. He also came into the game with the “hit hammer.”

It’s been the same story all season, really. Carter leads the team with 6.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss on the year. He also ranks second on the team with 55 total tackles, coming ten behind Ji’Ayir Brown’s team-leading 65.

Not only is the true freshman fast and agile on his feet, but he also has a very high football IQ for a player with his experience. It seems that he has a very good, natural knack for timing snaps and breaking through opposing offensive linemen, making it look easy. Head coach James Franklin attributed Carter’s success to becoming more confident with the defense’s scheme.

“I’m proud of him…he’s gotten better every single week,” he said. “He’s got a ton of natural, visible ability, and he’s getting more and more confident within the scheme…His ability to burst and chase the quarterback…it’s impressive.”

Franklin continued to mention that he has enjoyed watching his development throughout the season.

His fellow defenseman gave him high marks, as well. Defensive end Nick Tarburton went as far as calling Carter a “freak,” citing his impressive athletic ability. He also went as far as comparing him to former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

“You look at [Carter], and you can see Micah,” Tarburton said in his postgame media availability. “It’s kind of interesting. Abdul has got a way to go with that, but he’s a hell of a player, and it’s fun playing beside him.”

Defensive captain PJ Mustipher also compared the two linebackers in his postgame media availability. Mustipher played with both Parsons and Carter during his Penn State career, but he didn’t stop short of saying that he somewhat doesn’t want to keep seeing the two compared, as Carter will pave his own path throughout his career.

“I saw [Carter] the first week and said, ‘Dang, that looks like another 11 I saw,'” he said. “He’ll definitely have his own journey and own path. I know him and Micah are very similar, but I don’t want Micah’s success to get in the way of his success because he’ll have plenty, and he’ll carve out his own path.”

When you have a linebacker on your team that’s as explosive as Carter, it’s easy for that type of play to rub off on his teammates. Fellow linebacker Tyler Elsdon complimented his ability to energize the defense with his impressive bursts.

“It’s a momentum piece,” Elson in his postgame media availability. “He does a lot of great things on the field, and his big-play talent really fires us up. The guy is very consistent. You see it week in, week out. He’s getting better each week…I’m proud of him. I’m learning off of him. It’s cool.”

Now through his first season as a Nittany Lion, it’s apparent that Carter has become a favorite amongst fans, especially since he carries the weight of wearing the traditional No. 11. If he continues to build on the momentum left from his true freshman season, Carter could go down as a Penn State great. Of course, he’s got a long way to go, but he’s certainly off to a fantastic start as a Nittany Lion.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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