Penn State’s defense is a bit of an enigma after the first two weeks, which makes sense considering they only return two starters from 2017 and are relying on several players with little-to-no previous experience. The defense looked solid for the first three quarters in week one, only to allow 28 points in the fourth quarter against Appalachian State. They continued to look out of sorts early against Pitt, only to dominate the second half en route to a commanding 51-6 victory.
While Pitt is just plain bad at football, the defense showed major progress from week one to week two- most notably along the defensive line with Kevin Givens back in the line-up. With so many new faces, the defense should continue to improve from week to week.
Fortunately, the schedule sets up nicely with opportunities for the players to grow and the staff to make tweaks with Kent State and Illinois coming up on the schedule. But then things get real, with Ohio State coming to town on Sept. 29. The Buckeyes are, well, the Buckeyes, so you know their offense is stock-piled with future NFL talent. Ohio State is averaging 64.5 points in its first two games, both against Power 5 programs — so there obviously will be little drop-off without J.T. Barrett.
We’ll learn soon enough if this young defense is ready to hang with the big dogs. But what say you, BSD reader? Are you bullish on the Nittany Lion defense after a (mostly) dominating performance against Pitt? Or do you still need to see more before you feel comfortable with the new-look defense?