The recipient of Saquon Barkley's 31-yard touchdown strike late in the fourth quarter, just happened to add his name atop the record books and leaves a legacy of his own amongst the greatness that represents Penn State. He burst onto the scene in Dublin, Ireland as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. He led the Big Ten with 82 receptions that year and has been the consummate teammate as our offense added more tools to its weaponry ever since. On Saturday, DaeSean Hamilton had nine catches for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns (the first multiple touchdown game of his career) and surpassed Deion Butler as Penn State's leader in career receptions with 181 and counting. Mr. Hamilton, this week’s Game Ball belongs to you, for all you’ve accomplished on the field and for what you have represented as a Nittany Lion off it. You make us all proud.
The King leads the way with the Helmet Stickers for his 211 total yards’ performance and The Wizard, Trace McSorley, follows up with one of his own for again surpassing the 300-yard benchmark in passing. Juwan Johnson is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential but little by little #84 is slipping into those shoes vacated by Chris Godwin. Mark my words, the triple-threat of Johnson, Hamilton, and DeAndre Thompkins will give Big Ten defenses heart attacks as the season moves on.
Irvin Charles and Nick Scott get Helmet Stickers for that hit and pick-up on the kickoff following Saquon's 98-yard return. Charles for laying the wood and Scott for being there to scoop up the easiest touchdown he will ever see. On defense, Jason Cabinda was a monster all day and had a game-high 14 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery on the afternoon. After a quiet start to the season, Captain Cabinda has begun to play like a man possessed. Marcus Allen continues to rattle bones as the hardest hitting safety in college football; Amani Oruwaryie returned to action after missing a couple of games to injury by collecting an interception – one of four turnovers overall on the day, and I can’t say enough about the physical play of fellow senior cornerback Grant Haley. The individual standouts were few, but as a whole this defense shut down a Hoosier offense that gave Ohio State all it could handle in the season-opener and ripped off 50+ points a week ago.
And with that, September comes to a close. Five weeks in, WE ARE five victories strong and remain at No. 4 in the weekly polls. Questions still linger, but the few that remain are truly not questions of ‘if,' but questions of ‘when’ things will get shored up, and when they do, look out. A little bit stronger on the O-Line, a little bit surer in the passing game, and fixing whatever it is that ails our field goal unit is all that stands between us and near perfection. Up next, the dreaded ‘trap' game as the Nittany Lions head to the outskirts of Chi-town to take on Northwestern; a recent thorn in FrankLion's side as he's gone 0-2 against Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats. Nothing comes easy at this stage in the Big Ten, but handle our business in Evanston and we can all take a deep breath and a week off before the real fun begins.