After both were forced out of the game against Ohio State due to injuries at various points, Penn State will be without starting defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and starting cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields for the regular-season finale against Rutgers.
Hello from Beaver Stadium, just heard from @JoeHermitt who was at the team arrival that PSU standout DE Yetur Gross-Matos "has arm in a brace". Gross-Matos, a third-year junior, was a standout in the Ohio State loss— Bob Flounders (@BobbyFlo7) November 30, 2019
CB Tariq Castro-Fields also in street clothes today.— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) November 30, 2019
Same with CB Donovan Johnson. Johnson hasn't played since getting hurt in September.
Gross-Matos has had another strong season in Happy Valley as a true junior, racking up 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks, giving him 17.5 total for his career. The former four-star recruit has been a full-time starter for Brent Pry's defense for the past two seasons. Jayson Oweh will get the start in his place.
Castro-Fields has played through injuries for much of the 2019 season but has still made several big-time plays. He has 48 tackles on the season, including 3 for a loss. He also has 2 interceptions and 8 passes defended for the season. Keaton Ellis will make his first career start with Castro-Fields out.
This is widely-expected to be Gross Matos' final season in Happy Valley as he is expected to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
The absence of Gross-Matos will mean extended playing time for Oweh, as well as Shane Simmons, and could perhaps mean additional snaps for true freshman Adisa Isaac. It's also possible that Penn State uses this as an opportunity to find some snaps for true freshmen with secured redshirts, such as Hakeem Beamon and Smith Vilbert.
On the other side, Castro-Fields will be replaced by Ellis, with Trent Gordon, and Marquis Wilson likely to see additional time. The freshmen, Ellis and Wilson, have seen their playing time tick up more and more as the season has moved on due to numerous injuries at cornerback.