As has been the case since the start of the 2018 season, Micah Parsons keeps getting better with each game. At the start of his true sophomore season, Parsons has developed into a difference-maker that we’ve all come to expect of someone with his massive potential.
Parsons led the way for the Penn State defense Saturday, as Pitt only managed 24 yards on the ground on 25 carries. Wherever Pitt went with the ball, it seemed as thought Parsons was several steps ahead, ready to stop the play dead in its tracks before it could even get off the ground. Of Parson’s team-leading nine tackles, seven were solo. He also contributed two TFLs, a quarterback hurry and pass defended as he seemed to be everywhere at once throughout the afternoon.
Parsons has learned how to analyze offenses quickly during his time in Happy Valley, becoming a cerebral player who is going to continue to grow and become an even stronger force. When paired with his rare athletic ability, Parsons will only become a bigger nightmare for opposing offenses as the Big Ten portion of the schedule looms.
RB Journey Brown - Most of Brown’s team leading 109 rushing yards came on a single play, but what a play it was. Facing third-and-long from its own three yard-line, a punt from the back of the end zone in a downpour seemed inevitable. Brown then took control of the situation, showing incredible burst as he ran past several Pitt defenders for 85 yards. A couple plays later, Devyn Ford would put the Nittany Lions on a scoreboard for a 7-0 lead. What a swing, all thanks to Brown just flat-out making a play when it was really needed.
RB Noah Cain - Cain made Penn State’s best, and most satisfying, drive of the afternoon possible. The true freshman had seven touches in a 13-play drive that ended with the eventual winning score, which he ran in himself from 13 yards out. To paraphrase James Franklin’s post-game comments, if Cain runs for three yards, he’ll fall forward to pick up 5. If he runs for seven, he’ll move the pile and pick up nine or 10. Franklin also commented that they should have put Cain in towards the end of the game as they were trying to chew up clock. Something tells me he won’t make that mistake the next time the Nittany Lions are trying to close out a game.
K Jordan Stout - It may become a weekly occurrence to sing Stout’s praises in this post. Stout tied the game up heading into halftime with an absolute bomb of a 57-yard field goal, the longest in the school’s storied history. As usual, he also put each kickoff through the back of the end zone, denying Pitt even the thought of attempting a return.
P Blake Gillikin - You need your punter to perform well in a low-scoring affair that often comes down to field position. As usual, Gillikin was up to the task. The senior placed six of his seven attempts inside the Pitt 20, with the other being a 53-yard blast that was downed at the 22. Gillikin averaged 42.4 yards per punt in some pretty sloppy conditions.