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Maryland Snap Counts: The Defense Survives

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They played a whole lot of snaps, and did just enough to win.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

In what will likely go down as one of the more forgettable Penn State games in recent memory, Penn State defeated Maryland 31-30 in Baltimore on Saturday. The game involved what will likely be considered a theme moving forward with more shuffling along the offensive line. On defense, James Franklin will likely want to see the total number of snaps decrease in future weeks, as they were on the field for quite a long time. And for the first time of what will likely be many times, we saw Saquon Barkley in the starting lineup.

Maryland has a player named Will Likely and if you did not notice, that fact amuses me.

Offense

Pos. No. Class Offense Snaps %Snap
LT 73 Junior Paris Palmer 61 100%
LG 66 RS Senior Angelo Mangiro 61 100%
C 55 RS Junior Wendy Laurent 61 100%
QB 14 Junior Christian Hackenberg 60 98%
WR 5 RS Sophomore DaeSean Hamilton 52 85%
WR 12 Sophomore Chris Godwin 51 84%
RG 72 RS Junior Brian Gaia 49 80%
RB 26 Freshman Saquon Barkley 47 77%
TE 11 RS Junior Brent Wilkerson 36 59%
RT 70 RS Sophomore Brendan Mahon 31 51%
RT 59 RS Sophomore Andrew Nelson 30 49%
TE 88 Sophomore Mike Gesicki 29 48%
TE 87 RS Senior Kyle Carter 25 41%
WR 7 RS Junior Geno Lewis 21 34%
WR 10 Freshman Brandon Polk 16 26%
RG 53 RS Junior Derek Dowrey 12 20%
WR 3 RS Freshman DeAndre Thompkins 9 15%
RB 22 RS Junior Akeel Lynch 8 13%
WR 13 Sophomore Saeed Blacknall 8 13%
RB 24 RS Freshman Nick Scott 3 5%
QB 9 RS Freshman Trace McSorley 1 2%

Saquon Barkley finally started a game after solidifying himself as the team's premier running back only a few games into his freshman season. Even after Barkley showed fumbling problems, that was not enough to lost snaps to Akeel Lynch or Nick Scott. Barkley even saw a couple of direct snaps come his way.

On the offensive line, Brian Gaia started at right guard. Derek Dowrey replaced him in the first half, but Gaia returned at the start of the second half and finished the rest of the game. Wendy Laurent started at center, which kicked Angelo Mangiro out to left guard. Both played the whole game. Andrew Nelson started at right tackle but was injured on the first series of the second half. Brendan Mahon replaced him and finished the game there.

At wide receiver, starters Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton saw heavy action. Geno Lewis saw more snaps than he had been, and Saeed Blacknall saw less. Brandon Polk and DeAndre Thompkins are slowly seeing more snaps as well, with Penn State using less three and two tight end sets in this game. Speaking of tight end, a bit of a surprise was seeing Brent Wilkerson lead the way in snaps.

Christian Hackenberg missed one snap after being shaken up briefly trying to run for yardage on a broken option play. Trace McSorley stepped into the game and took a sack before yielding to Hackenberg.

Defense

Pos. No. Class Defense Snaps %Snap
MLB 40 Sophomore Jason Cabinda 78 100%
S/CB 9 Senior Jordan Lucas 78 100%
S 2 Sophomore Marcus Allen 78 100%
DT 99 RS Junior Austin Johnson 68 87%
OLB 42 RS Freshman Troy Reeder 66 85%
DE 95 Senior Carl Nassib 63 81%
DT 98 Senior Anthony Zettel 59 76%
CB 10 Senior Trevor Williams 58 74%
DE 90 RS Sophomore Garrett Sickels 53 68%
OLB 11 Junior Brandon Bell 52 67%
CB 15 Sophomore Grant Haley 45 58%
CB 29 Freshman John Reid 44 56%
S 6 RS Junior Malik Golden 24 31%
DT 91 Senior Tarow Barney 18 23%
DE 94 RS Junior Evan Schwan 17 22%
DE 19 RS Freshman Torrence Brown 16 21%
OLB 33 Freshman Jake Cooper 11 14%
DT 41 RS Sophomore Parker Cothren 10 13%
CB 1 Sophomore Christian Campbell 9 12%
DE 52 RS Sophomore Curtis Cothran 7 9%
OLB 43 Freshman Manny Bowen 3 4%
S 28 Sophomore Troy Apke 1 1%

As is normal when both are healthy, starting safeties Jordan Lucas and Marcus Allen played the entire game, as did middle linebacker Jason Cabinda. At outside linebacker, Troy Reeder played most of the snaps while being briefly spelled by Jake Cooper. Aside from a few snaps in which Manny Bowen spelled him, Brandon Bell played all of the base defense snaps and came off the field in nickel situations.

Penn State was in nickel a decent amount Saturday. Nickel safety Malik Golden played more than 30 percent of the defensive snaps. The team avoided dime sets almost entirely, as Troy Apke only played one snap late in the game. As per usual, in nickel and dime situations, former cornerback Jordan Lucas moved down to play the slot.

On the line, despite a high number of defensive snaps, we saw a lot of the first unit in this game. Austin Johnson in particular played close to 90 percent of the snaps. Tackle Tarow Barney and end Evan Schwan led the second unit in snaps. Torrence Brown played more snaps than Curtis Cothran, as he has continued to be relied on more, albeit in small doses in a game like this. Antoine White appears to be out of the defensive rotation at this point, as he has not seen meaningful snaps in weeks.

At corner, the snaps continue to be even between Grant Haley and John Reid, with Trevor Williams being leaned on a little bit more than those two. Christian Campbell is clearly the fourth cornerback and only saw action in one first half series.