Kevin Givens made an immediate impact for Penn State’s defense when he was inserted into the lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2016. Now as an upperclassman, Givens is ready to become one of the Big Ten’s premiere interior lineman as he moves into a full-time starting gig.
Givens found himself suspended for Penn State’s week one contest against Appalachian State, and it became clear quite early in the Pitt game just how much better the defense is with him in the lineup.
Givens was a disruptive force throughout the evening, making everything more difficult for Pitt’s offense as it came to a screeching halt in the second half. His commanding presence also helped take attention away from and unleash Shareef Miller, who was a completely different player than a week ago in a quiet afternoon against App State. In fact, the entire defensive line looked different- after a shaky start they shut down Pitt’s run game while remaining in Kenny Pitts face just about every time he dropped back to pass as Pitt fell further behind.
Givens tied with true freshman Micah Parsons for the team lead in tackles against Pitt with seven. He also contributed two TFLs and one official quarterback hurry, although it felt as though many others could have been tallied as well.
RB Miles Sanders- This is the second time in as many weeks I nearly selected Sanders as the MVP. The junior had his fist career 100-yard game, finishing with 118 yards on 16 carries. He also had two huge gains, including a touchdown reception early in the second half, negated by penalties.
DE Shaka Toney- Toney showed he had the makings of a stellar pass rusher as a freshman, and continues to get better with each passing week. He had his best game yet on Saturday, finishing with five tackles, a sack and two TFLs.
WR KJ Hamler- In his first year of eligibility, Hamler is set to become a star for the Nittany Lions. Hamler followed up his breakout performance against App State and finished with 145 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as a receiver, runner and returner.