The regular season concluded with a 38-3 destruction of the Maryland Terps. Our 9-3 Nittany Lions play no one for several weeks, awaiting news of their opponent from the bowl selection committee, and Emperor Delany. Instead of Film, let’s take a look at a few random stats from the regular season.
Kill The Lights
The table below shows the Tackles For Loss stats for PSU’s starting defensive line over the last ten seasons. This 2018 pack of Wild Dogs already secured the top spot, with one game yet to play.
|YEAR||WDE||TFL||NT||TFL||DT||TFL||SDE||TFL||TOTAL DL TFL|
|2009||Eric Latimore||6.0||Ollie Ogbu||8.0||Jared Odrick||11.0||Jack Crawford||14.5||39.5|
|2010||Pete Massaro||8.0||Ollie Ogbu||8.5||Devon Still||10.0||Jack Crawford||4.5||31.0|
|2011||Sean Stanley||6.5||Jordan Hill||8.0||Devon Still||17.0||Jack Crawford||7.5||39.0|
|2012||Sean Stanley||9.5||DaQuan Jones||2.0||Jordan Hill||8.5||Deion Barnes||10.0||30.0|
|2013||CJ Olaniyan||11.0||Kyle Baublitz||3.0||DaQuan Jones||11.5||Deion Barnes||4.0||29.5|
|2014||CJ Olaniyan||5.5||Austin Johnson||6.0||Anthony Zettel||17.0||Deion Barnes||12.5||41.0|
|2015||Garrett Sickels||5.5||Austin Johnson||15.0||Anthony Zettel||11.0||Carl Nassib||19.5||51.0|
|2016||Garrett Sickels||12.5||Parker Cothren||5.5||Kevin Givens||7.0||Evan Schwan||8.5||33.5|
|2017||Ryan Buchholz||2.5||Parker Cothren||2.5||Curtis Cothran||4.0||Shareef Miller||11.0||20.0|
|2018||Yetur Gross-Matos||20.0||Robert Windsor||11.0||Kevin Givens||8.5||Shareef Miller||14.0||53.5|
Yetur Gross-Matos just recorded the only 20 TFL season by a PSU defensive lineman in the last decade. Robert Windsor, with 11 TFL, posted the second-best season by a (primarily) nose tackle - trailing only 2015 superhero Austin Johnson. Shareef Miller, despite being the obvious target of offensive coordinators all season long, posted an even better season than his breakout 2017 campaign.
Replacing so many starters in this defense never figured to be an easy task. But if there was a turning point to this defense’s season, it looks like the flight home from Bloomington, Indiana. Through its first four Big Ten games, this defense allowed an average of 5.20 yards per play - despite playing three mediocre to horrible offenses, in Illinois, Sparty, and Indiana. In its final five Big Ten games - including three run-it-down-your-throat squads, back to back to back - the defense trimmed that figure to 4.40. Maybe experience matters?
|vs Ohio State||76||389||5.12|
|vs Michigan State||89||418||4.70|
Over the next few months we’ll learn who decides to dip his toes into the NFL waters. And the numbers below will change. But for now, subtracting only seniors (and Rashan Gary, who couldn’t wait to declare his draft eligibility), the tables below show who returns what at the top of the Big Ten East - which, of course, is the same as saying the Big Ten.
Hit The Lights
Friends, this defense could be something really special in 2019.