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Take a Bow, Penn State Defense: BSD MVPs

The defense earned its third shutout of the year in yet another dominant performance

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State’s defense did it again. Just like they have all season, the Nittany Lions defense went out and put up a showstopping performance full of big plays and making it near-impossible to simply move the ball past the line of scrimmage. And for the third time this season, they removed any chance of defeat by completely shutting out the oppoent, this time to the tune of 42-0 to end the regular season with a blowout victory over Michigan State.

To get an idea of Penn State’s dominance on defense against the Spartans, here is the end result of each Michigan State drive:

Interception
Punt
Punt
Punt
End of Half
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt

And here are the yard totals for each of those drives:

46
8
-11
29
-2
-13
1
-11
-19
-2
-4

Like I said, it took a herculean effort by the Spartans offense just to make it to the line of scrimmage.

Let’s take a look at some more eye-popping figures produced by the Penn State defense on Driday night:

53
Michigan State’s total yards for the game. There’s no missing digit, just 53 yards for the Michigan State offense in four quarters, setting a new program low for the Spartans. It was the lowest amount allowed by the Penn State defense this season, topping the previous season-low of 76 yards allowed against Iowa.

-35
Michigan State had -35 yards rushing on the night.

5
Total amount of first downs allowed by the Spartans. It was the third time this season Penn State’s defense allowed five or fewer first downs in a game.

7
Amount of sacks produced by Penn State’s defense, which leads the nation in sacks.

12
Amount of tackles for loss produced by the defense

-1.3
Michigan State’s yards per carry

Friday night was one more feather in the cap for the Penn State defense that was fantastic from beginning to end all season long. They stuffed the run. They got to the quarterback better than any team in the nation. They created turnovers and momentum-shifting plays each week. They made it a joy to tune for 12 games.

Manny Diaz and each member of the defense deserve a massive amount of praise for playing at such a high level all season long. Diaz was able to get maximum effort from his players all season, while the men on the field bought into the season and put in the work that produced perhaps the nation’s best all-around defense in 2023. Some players will be playing on Sunday next season, while we’ll see if Diaz is whisked away by an ever-growing coaching carousel, but Penn State has the right pieces in place for more dominanting defenses in Happy Valley for the forseeable future.