Your snap count update has returned, after taking the bye week off. Injuries have caused Penn State to simply rely more on the guys still standing. Let's take a look at how things developed with the regular season nearing its close.
|OL||66||RS Senior||Angelo Mangiro||60||100%|
|C||55||RS Junior||Wendy Laurent||60||100%|
|RG||72||RS Junior||Brian Gaia||60||100%|
|RT/LT||59||RS Sophomore||Andrew Nelson||60||100%|
|WR||5||RS Sophomore||DaeSean Hamilton||45||75%|
|TE||87||RS Senior||Kyle Carter||37||62%|
|WR||7||RS Junior||Geno Lewis||32||53%|
|TE||11||RS Junior||Brent Wilkerson||29||48%|
|OL||70||RS Sophomore||Brendan Mahon||24||40%|
|OL||53||RS Junior||Derek Dowrey||5||8%|
|RB||22||RS Junior||Akeel Lynch||4||7%|
|QB||9||RS Freshman||Trace McSorley||1||2%|
|WR||3||RS Freshman||DeAndre Thompkins||1||2%|
Christian Hackenberg was forced to sit out one play after being hit hard in the third quarter. Trace McSorley stepped in for a third down play and threw an incomplete pass. That incompletion was left tackle Paris Palmer's final play at tackle for the game, as he was pulled for Brendan Mahon. Palmer would return for a play in the fourth quarter near the goalline (along with Derek Dowrey, who was brought in as an extra lineman five times in the game) in which Penn State lost several yards.
At wide receiver, Chris Godwin has emerged as the team's number one receiver, with DaeSean Hamilton being the clear number two. When they moved to three wide receiver sets, Geno Lewis or Saeed Blacknall joins them on the outside with Hamilton playing the slot. Brandon Polk is still being used mostly for jet sweeps and jet sweep fakes, including lining up in the wildcat. Mike Gesicki's drop problems have seen his playing time decrease, though he made a third down catch across the middle against Michigan.
Only two running backs were used in this game, a first for the 2015 season. Saquon Barkley is generally on the field for every play, only leaving on certain third-and-long plays where the staff would prefer to see Akeel Lynch in to pass protect.
|S||9||RS Junior||Malik Golden||69||99%|
|DT||99||RS Junior||Austin Johnson||61||87%|
|OLB||42||RS Freshman||Troy Reeder||60||86%|
|DE||19||RS Freshman||Torrence Brown||42||60%|
|DE||94||RS Junior||Evan Schwan||40||57%|
|DE||90||RS Sophomore||Garrett Sickels||36||51%|
|DE||52||RS Sophomore||Curtis Cothran||18||26%|
|DT||41||RS Sophomore||Parker Cothren||11||16%|
|DT||93||RS Freshman||Antoine White||3||4%|
Carl Nassib got the start on Senior Day, but after a video replay review two snaps into Michigan's first drive, Nassib left and never returned. The injury that kept him out of the game for much of the second half against Northwestern ended his Senior Day almost before it began. In his stead, a surprise: the leader in defensive end snaps was freshman Torrence Brown, who had a big sack early in the game of Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock. Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan also saw over half of the snaps at defensive end. At defensive tackle, we saw the typical five man rotation, though Austin Johnson played more snaps than normal for a defensive lineman on this squad.
At linebacker, for the second straight week, Penn State did not rotate in any backups. Against Northwestern, this wasn't that big of a deal because they spent a lot of time in nickel and dime packages. But in this game, Michigan consistently gained positive yardage on first and second downs, keeping the Nittany Lions in their base defense. Brandon Bell and Troy Reeder saw a higher number of snaps than either usually sees, and neither got spelled by the team's young backup outside linebackers.
In the secondary, injuries kept this rotation tight as well. Senior safety Jordan Lucas is out for the season, and sophomore cornerback Christian Campbell has now missed several weeks with his own injury problems. This left just three men rotating in at each corner and safety. With Lucas out, the team has lost its normal nickel corner, so Grant Haley has been playing nickel corner in those situations since the Northwestern game. If Haley is playing outside in base, whoever is on the bench will come in to replace him on the outside when they switch to nickel to let him slide inside to the slot.