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Shaka Toney Sets Tone for Penn State Defense in Another Dominating Performance: BSD MVP

Toney used his speed and smarts to help shut down Purdue’s offense.

Purdue at Penn State Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Wild Dogs were set losoe on Saturday, putting together a team effort to shut down yet another opponent. As the dust settled on another dominating performance from the defense, it was Shaka Toney’s turn to lead the way as Top Dog.

Toney’s impact was immediate on Saturday, helping Penn State build a 28-0 lead by the start of the second quarter. On Purdue’s first drive of the game, the Boilermakers quickly found themselves in a third-and-six situation. Toney sped by the right tackle and quickly brought down Jack Plummer, who would be sacked a total of 10 times by Penn State’s defense. Purdue would be forced to punt, eventually leading to a KJ Hamler touchdown reception to give the Nittany Lions an early 7-0 lead.

Purdue would get the ball back, but after two incompletions faced another quick third down. Once again, Toney displayed his incredible quickness to blaze past the right tackle and then move in on Plummer for his second sack of the first quarter. After its second three-and-out to start the game, Purdue would punt the ball away again. The Nittany Lion offense would take advantage of the short field thanks to a 26-yard punt return by Hamler, going up 14-0 on a three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sean Clifford.

Two Purdue possessions, two three-and-outs, two Shake Toney sacks, and two Penn State touchdowns. Just like that, the Nittany Lions were in control of the gamer for good.

Late in the second quarter, Toney would earn his third sack of the game to halt yet another Purdue drive on third down. This time, Toney gave a masterclass on technique to get to Plummer. Toney faked the outside speed rush that had worked so well in the first half, but this time had something special up his sleeve. After the initial step outside, he quickly cut back inside of the tackle and used a swim move to blow right past him yet again for his third sack.

Toney’s three sacks led the way for Penn State in a game where they had the most sacks in a Big Ten Conference game since 2007. His four tackles were tied for third on the day for the Nittany Lions.

Other Considered:

S Lamont Wade- Wade has looked like a different player from the start of the season, with Saturday making it clear he’s turned the corner to become a difference-maker at safety. It was impossible to miss Wade against Purdue as he made plays all over the field to constantly stymie the Boilermakers offense. Wade led the team with 11 tackles - more than double any other Nittany Lion on the day — that included a a sack on a beautifully-timed safety blitz.

DE Yetur Gross-Matos and the rest of the Wild Dogs - Penn State once again proved to be among the elite defensive lines in the nation. From start to finish, the front four were in Plummer’s face, making it impossible for the freshman to get anything going outside of one successful touchdown drive. They played with fierceness and purpose as they never took a play off throughout the afternoon.

RB Noah Cain - It’s fair to say that Cain has set himself apart in the Lawn Boyz four-deep rotation. Cain shows unusual vision and patience for a true freshman. He knows how to shift to find the hole on each play and burst through it, and then fall forward after contact for another couple yards. He’s the guy who can keep the chains moving, especially in the second half as he wears on a tired defense. Cain managed to hit the century-mark on just 12 carries, picking up 105 rushing yards with an 8.8 yards per carry average. He also scored a touchdown, which was already the fifth of his young career.