Penn State Football’s Defense Secures Second Straight Shutout In Beaver Stadium
Penn State football’s defense is statistically the best in the nation, yet each week, it keeps getting better.
After the Homecoming game against UMass, Penn State has not allowed a point in ten straight quarters at Beaver Stadium, with the last score coming on Delaware’s 66-yard touchdown run in early September.
While the defense only managed to force one turnover during the blowout win over UMass, it allowed just 109 total yards of offense, 62 of which came in the fourth quarter against Penn State’s reserves.
Curtis Jacobs and Dvon Ellies led the team with five tackles each, while Tony Rojas and Adisa Isaac each recorded four total tackles. The Nittany Lions consistently found themselves in the UMass backfield, recording seven total sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
James Franklin praised his defense’s ability to dictate games after Saturday’s contest, saying that UMass was statistically the most explosive offense his team has faced all season.
“We play a style of defense where, when you’re the offensive coordinator or the opposite head coach and you watch the tape, there’s just not a lot of gimme yards,” Franklin said. “To me, it’s their ability to control the game and really put our team in a position to be successful.”
Cornerback Cam Miller also had an impact on the stat sheet, recording three total tackles and two sacks during the win. Miller, however, has come to expect this level of play from the defense and doesn’t expect it to go away any time soon.
“That’s just the standard for us on the defense,” Miller said. “Tonight, we lived up to that standard.”
While Penn State’s secondary limited starting quarterback Taisun Phommachanh to 25 yards through the air on 14 attempts with a 43% completion rate, the defensive line held its own as well.
At the end of the first half, UMass had just one rushing yard, a testament to the level of play sustained by the defensive line throughout the first half of the season.
Chop Robinson has been an integral part of that defensive line. The Maryland transfer has become a presence on the line that is capable of wrecking games at any moment. Against UMass, Robinson recorded two of the defense’s seven sacks.
While Robinson has been wreaking havoc on defensive lines, he’s careful to not become complacent.
“I feel like we’re getting there,” Robinson said. “Every week, we’re trying to learn something new.”
Fellow defensive end Isaac had an outstanding game against the Minutemen, recording three solo tackles and 2.5 sacks while adding a tackle-for-loss.
While the UMass game was another dominant showing from the defense, Isaac says everyone needs to remember their role moving ahead.
“Keep your poise, stick to the ground rules,” Isaac said. “Nobody do anything extra, stay in your lane.”
Next week, Penn State will head to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State. James Franklin spent a significant amount of time deflecting questions about the Buckeyes during his postgame press conference, and players throughout the defense echoed their coach’s sentiments.
Robinson says it’s not yet time to focus on Ohio State until after he finishes celebrating Saturday’s big win.
“I’m gonna enjoy this all night until tomorrow,” Robinson said. “We’ll come in, watch our mistakes, watch the film, and then look ahead to Ohio State.”
Ohio State is Penn State’s first real test of the season after both West Virginia and Iowa didn’t put up much of a fight against the blue and white. For the defense specifically, they’ll head to Columbus and face a talented receiving corps with the likes of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka waiting.
Despite the large game looming at the end of this week, Robinson believes that the preparation throughout this week won’t be any different than normal.
“It’s just another game,” Robinson said. “Right now, we’re just enjoying this win.”
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