Stood Up: The Penn State Run Defense Shines Against Kent State

By Nick Polak on September 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Sep 15, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back Jo-El Shaw (33) runs with the ball to the outside of Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Kent State 63-10.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports


There were many storylines in Penn State's crushing 63-10 victory over Kent State, but one of them was also a storyline to watch heading into the game. After getting gashed on the ground for six straight quarters by Appalachian State and Pitt, Brent Pry's defense made a change at halftime in Pittsburgh. The results spoke for themselves.

One of the questions surrounding the Penn State team heading into week three was whether or not that adjustment was going to lead to sustained change for a previously-struggling run defense, or if the second half against Pitt was just a flash in the pan. Well, after holding Kent State to just 41 yards rushing on 37 carries, I think we can say that the defense may have turned a corner.

That's not to say that they'll hold every team they face in 2018 to a measly 1.1 yards per carry but it seems that there has been a refocusing of sorts that has allowed the defense to truly clamp down and make teams try and beat them through the air.

Pry's unit will have its work cut out for it when they go up against the likes of J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber, Johnathan Taylor, and others, but if the past six quarters of football are any indication, they're up for the challenge.