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San Diego State Snap Counts: Dealing with Injuries

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Several key players missed significant time against the Aztecs.

I'll bet when Nick Scott did well in high school the local newspaper used the headline "Great Scott!"
I'll bet when Nick Scott did well in high school the local newspaper used the headline "Great Scott!"
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State entered the San Diego State game on Saturday already down a man in senior safety Jordan Lucas. The game itself saw James Franklin and his staff also having to adjust to a number of injuries during the game. It forced some changes in rotations and scheme that we had not seen before.

Offense

Pos. No. Class Offense Snaps %Snap
QB 14 Junior Christian Hackenberg 70 100%
LT 73 Junior Paris Palmer 70 100%
LG 53 RS Junior Derek Dowrey 70 100%
C 66 RS Senior Angelo Mangiro 70 100%
RT 70 RS Sophomore Brendan Mahon 70 100%
RG 72 RS Junior Brian Gaia 68 97%
WR 12 Sophomore Chris Godwin 53 76%
WR 5 RS Sophomore DaeSean Hamilton 53 76%
TE 88 Sophomore Mike Gesicki 41 59%
TE 11 RS Junior Brent Wilkerson 39 56%
TE 87 RS Senior Kyle Carter 34 49%
WR 7 RS Junior Geno Lewis 26 37%
WR 13 Sophomore Saeed Blacknall 22 31%
RB 22 RS Junior Akeel Lynch 21 30%
RB 8 RS Freshman Mark Allen 21 30%
RB 26 Freshman Saquon Barkley 14 20%
RB 24 RS Freshman Nick Scott 14 20%
WR 10 Freshman Brandon Polk 8 11%
WR 3 RS Freshman DeAndre Thompkins 3 4%
RG 55 RS Junior Wendy Laurent 2 3%
WR 80 RS Senior Matt Zanellato 1 1%

The big story on the offensive side of the ball involved injuries to starter Akeel Lynch and feature back Saquon Barkley, both in the second quarter. That meant relying throughout the second half on co-third stringers Mark Allen and Nick Scott. Allen received a few more carries, but it was a somewhat even split.

The tight end position is starting to resemble the depth chart, as Mike Gesicki earned more snaps this week. A couple of key dropped passed against Buffalo had him playing less and Kyle Carter playing more. It seems that Gesicki is earning his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff.

Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton continue to be the top wide receivers, with Geno Lewis and Saeed Blacknall mixing their way in. Brandon Polk and DeAndre Thompkins are still mostly being used in jet sweeps and fake jet sweeps, though Polk ran a couple of patterns Saturday. Matt Zanellato saw his first offensive action of the season, getting in for a snap on the last series of the game.

Speaking of the last series of the game, Wendy Laurent briefly appeared in place of Brian Gaia. It did not appear that Gaia was injured, and that they simply just wanted to get Laurent onto the field for a couple of snaps.

Defense

Pos. No. Class Defense Snaps %Snap
S 6 RS Junior Malik Golden 63 100%
S 28 Sophomore Troy Apke 61 97%
MLB 40 Sophomore Jason Cabinda 55 87%
OLB 42 RS Freshman Troy Reeder 54 86%
OLB 11 Junior Brandon Bell 49 78%
CB 10 Senior Trevor Williams 44 70%
DE 95 Senior Carl Nassib 42 67%
DT 98 Senior Anthony Zettel 41 65%
DT 99 RS Junior Austin Johnson 41 65%
CB 15 Sophomore Grant Haley 41 65%
CB 29 Freshman John Reid 40 63%
DE 90 RS Sophomore Garrett Sickels 39 62%
DE 52 RS Sophomore Curtis Cothran 21 33%
DE 19 RS Freshman Torrence Brown 20 32%
DT 91 Senior Tarow Barney 19 30%
DT 41 RS Sophomore Parker Cothren 18 29%
DT 93 RS Freshman Antoine White 10 16%
MLB 8 RS Junior Gary Wooten Jr. 8 13%
CB 1 Sophomore Christian Campbell 7 11%
OLB 33 Freshman Jake Cooper 4 6%
CB 21 RS Freshman Amani Oruwariye 4 6%
CB 12 Junior Jordan Smith 4 6%
DE 94 RS Junior Evan Schwan 3 5%
LB 35 Senior Matthew Baney 2 3%
S 2 Sophomore Marcus Allen 2 3%
LB 25 Junior Von Walker 1 2%

Though it was not mentioned until much later by the television broadcasters, Marcus Allen got hurt on the second play of the game and did not return. With Jordan Lucas already declared out of the game before kickoff, that left the safety position in the hands of Malik Golden and Troy Apke for the remainder of the game. Normally in nickel situations, Lucas played slot corner and Golden entered the game for a linebacker. With Lucas being injured, Grant Haley played slot corner in nickel situations. Haley also played outside cornerback in rotation with Trevor Williams and John Reid.

Gary Wooten made his first appearance at middle linebacker since the Temple game, playing on two series in the fourth quarter. Jake Cooper briefly appeared as an outside linebacker. The garbage time secondary saw appearances by Amani Oruwariye and Jordan Smith at cornerback.

The other defensive injury that occurred early in the game knocked Evan Schwan out of the rotation at defensive end. Beyond that, the defensive line rotation went mostly as it has over the last few weeks, albeit with some more staggering from the "pair in, pair out" style that kept a starter at the tackle and end positions at all times. At times three starters were on the bench. What they do there against Army may be an indication of how they intend to rotate the defensive line heading into the rest of the Big Ten play.