The Nittany Lions cleared the third of three straight tough hurdles on Saturday ahead of an all-important bye week.
See whose stock went up and whose stock went down following the victory.
Safe to say that Saturday was a big day for Baby Gronk. Freieirmuth was unstoppable in the red zone, reeling in three touchdowns, all of which came inside the 20. In total the Moose reeled in five catches for 60 yards and three scores. With those three touchdowns he tied the program record for touchdowns by a tight end, matching Mike Gesicki in less than half the number of games.
It had been coming. Penn State fans heard all about the potential of redshirt freshman defensive end Jayson Oweh over the summer. Oweh, who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and 250-plus pounds, was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on defense after a two-sack, two-forced fumble performance against the Spartans. After some inconsistency to start the season, Oweh seems to be hitting his stride, particularly as a pass rusher.
We could easily just plug Blake Gillikin in here after his second straight week as the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week, but the entire unit was great against Michigan State. Gillikin and Jordan Stout controlled field position despite the horrendous weather. Penn State blocked a field goal, and KJ Hamler returned a punt for a touchdown that was called back for a phantom penalty. Thus far, Lorig has been worth every penny for Penn State.
Weather slowed things down a bit in the second half on Saturday, but Rahne had the perfect gameplan to beat the Spartans. The offense came out on fire despite the adverse conditions and Penn State was able to bury Michigan State before the half. Rahne had his unit prepared and the offense showed a great balance of run and pass early on to finish off Sparty.
It’s not that Cain struggled on Saturday. On the contrary, he was his usual self, picking up 21 yards on six carries and moving piles. However, at some point in the second quarter Cain picked up a lower body injury that kept him out of the rest of the game. Thankfully, James Franklin said he doesn’t expect the injury to linger past the bye week.
Already without starting slot corner Donovan Johnson, the Nittany Lions took two more hits in the defensive back injury department on Saturday. John Reid went down early in the game with a non-contact injury and fill-in slot corner Trent Gordon was injured not long after. Penn State adjusted with more time for Keaton Ellis and Marquis Wilson, the latter of whom burned his redshirt and picked up his first career interception. We also saw of Lamont Wade at corner with Jaquan Brisker and Jon Sutherland continuing to rotate in at safety. While there’s no timetable for Johnson’s return, Franklin said he hopes Reid and Gordon will be able to return against Minnesota.