Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 14

Week 14 of the NFL season might have been the most productive and entertaining week thus far for Penn Staters in the NFL. We’re talking touchdowns galore! 

KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos

As FOX play-by-play announcer Tim Brando termed in a contest last season, “There goes KJ for a pay day!”

Hamler only caught two passes from Denver quarterback Drew Lock on Sunday, but they went for touchdown passes of 49 and 37 yards, respectively. How’s that for stretching the field? 

Even though Denver is all but out of the playoff race, it’s got to feel good for Broncos fans to see a rapport developing between Lock and some of the talented young receivers at his disposal. 

Read more on KJ’s big day in this profile from ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

Photo By Steve Manuel

It was a bittersweet afternoon for Gesicki and the Dolphins. 

Gesicki terrorized the Chiefs secondary for most of this matchup between two playoff contenders, finding the end zone twice, including this ridiculous grab over three defenders that kept Miami within striking distance of the defending Super Bowl champs.

On a day where Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce proved once again why he’s the best in the league, Gesicki certainly made his case for being one of the best at his position. 

Unfortunately, Gesicki had to exit the game early with an upper-body injury. Let’s hope it wasn’t as serious as it looked on the broadcast and Gesicki can play a part in Miami’s push for a playoff spot. 

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

It had been a quiet few weeks for Miles, struggling to make an impact in an Eagles offense that was stuck in neutral.

Photo By Steve Manuel

A quarterback change for Philadelphia sparked the offense back into life and Sanders benefited. Alongside Jalen Hurts in the backfield, Sanders erupted for 115 yards on 14 carries and found the end zone twice. 

After a difficult stretch the Eagles are still very much alive in the NFC East title chase. 

Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears 

Photo By Steve Manuel

What can we say about Robinson II that we haven’t already? He’s one of the best wide receivers in football and Sunday was another showcase performance as to why.

On a day when Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was in a zone, Robinson II had one of his biggest outings of the season with nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. 

The former Nittany Lion has now surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in a single season for the third time in his NFL career.

Chicago dominated Houston, 36-7, and kept its slim playoff hopes afloat.  

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

Amos might be in the midst of a career year for Green Bay and its defense has benefited greatly from his presence in the secondary. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

He finished Sunday’s win over the Lions with seven tackles (six solo) and a tackle-for-loss. 

The Packers will need him to continue to play at a high level as they push on for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

This also gives us a chance to share a pretty neat feature on Amos that recently ran in the Green Bay Press Gazette. 

Amos has already raised $55,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter this season and now he’s looking to get fans involved.

Adrian launched a new fundraiser this month, asking fans to donate $31 to the chapter, in honor of his No. 31. In return, they’ll receive a green and gold T-shirt that reads “#ENDALZ”Read more about Adrian’s initiative, here.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 13

With just four weeks left to play in the regular season, the playoff push is beginning to heat up in the NFL.

Let’s take a look at a few of the standout Nittany Lions from Week 13.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

Gesicki had his strongest performance since Tua Tagovailoa took over as starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

The former Penn State tight end 88 yards on nine receptions, including this physical grab over a Bengals defensive back for a touchdown.

Photo By Steve Manuel

The score put the Dolphins ahead early in the third quarter and helped propel them to a win that kept them within striking distance of the first-place Buffalo Bills.

Gesicki and the Dolphins welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday.

Jack Crawford, DE, Tennessee Titans

Photo By Steve Manuel

It’s hard to say if anyone on the Titans defense had a “good” day after giving up 41 points in a loss to Cleveland. But Crawford can certainly hold his head high after a strong effort. 

Crawford recorded a season-high seven tackles and forced a fumble.

It was his first appearance of the season in our weekly rundown. 

Jesse James, TE, Detroit Lions

Photo By Steve Manuel

Following the dismissal of Matt Patricia as head coach, the Lions turned in a gutsy performance for interim coach Darrell Bevell. 

Detroit rallied from a late fourth quarter to deficit to stun the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Although most of his contributions come in the running game as a blocker, James also reached the end zone on Sunday, on this impressive nine-yard snag.

It was his second touchdown of the season and allowed Detroit to hang around for its eventual comeback. 

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Kansas City Chiefs (1): Stefen Wisniewski
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

FROM THE ARCHIVES: PENN STATE V. RUTGERS (2014)

For 58 minutes in Penn State’s 2014 clash with Big Ten newcomer Rutgers, the Nittany Lions’ offense sputtered.

Heading into the final drive of the game for Penn State, the offense had managed to score just six points, despite the defense gifting them five interceptions on the night.

When it mattered most, though, the offense stepped up.

Photo By Steve Manuel

“The fired ­up partisan crowd, whose roar got louder with each passing minute of anticipated victory, reached a crescendo when the visitors were pinned down on their own 20­-yard line with just three minutes left in the game and Rutgers holding tenaciously onto a 10–6 lead,” wrote editor of the Football Letter, John Black.”

That’s when things started to click for the Nittany Lions.

Photo By Steve Manuel

On the first play of PennState’s final drive, 19­-year-­old quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who as Black described, “had been chased, harassed, hurried and sacked throughout the night,” found Geno Lewis on a gorgeous throw down the sideline that ripped off 53 yards of the 80-yard mountain Penn State had to climb to the end zone.

Lewis, who led the Big Ten receiving yards entering that night, outmuscled two Scarlet Knights defenders to snag the pass, bounced off their attempted tackles and raced down the sideline to Rutgers’ 27-yard-line.

Hackenberg looked as though he threw the game-winner two plays later on a dart to tight end Jesse James, but a holding call nullified the would-be touchdown.

The Nittany Lions now faced a third-and-long from the Rutgers 29. Lewis came up big once more, putting a double move on his defender to get open up the right hand side of the field. Hackenberg found him again, dropping the pass right into Lewis’ chest for a 23-yard gain.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Two plays later, on second-and-goal from the five-yard line, terrific blocking from the offensive line opened up a huge hole up the middle and New Jersey native Bill Belton took care of the rest.

Belton dashed through the middle largely untouched before a desperate Rutgers defender tackled him in the end zone. It was a futile attempt as Belton had already reached pay-dirt and the Nittany Lions had the lead.

Photo By Steve Manuel

“All the air was sucked out of the home team’s big balloon,” wrote Black, as the home crowd fell hushed.

Rutgers got the ball back with a chance to take the lead, but the comeback would be denied on another interception from quarterback Gary Nova, this time by safety Ryan Keiser.

Although ugly at times, Penn State had found a way to win in Piscataway, and welcomed Rutgers to the Big Ten by handing them a defeat.

PENN STATERS AT THE NEXT LEVEL: WEEK 12

Hard to believe we’re already through 12 weeks of the NFL season. This season has certainly looked different with a lack of fans, COVID protocols and multiple game postponements, but there’s still been some really entertaining games.

Speaking of 12, there are 12 former Penn Staters up for Pro Bowl voting:

  • Packers safety Adrian Amos
  • Giants linebacker Cam Brown
  • Titans defensive end Jack Crawford
  • Jets kicker Sam Ficken
  • Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki
  • Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin
  • 49ers kicker Robbie Gould
  • Titans defensive tackle DaQuan Jones
  • Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II
  • Eagles running back Miles Sanders
  • Rams special teams ace Nick Scott
  • Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith

Robbie Gould, K, San Francisco 49ers


Don’t look now, but the 49ers are still in the thick of it in the NFC playoff picture.

Former Nittany Lion Robbie Gould nailed the game-winning kick for San Francisco in Sunday’s important win over division foe Los Angeles.

Gould continues to excel at a high level in his 16th season in the NFL and made all three of his field goal attempts.

Cam Brown, LB, New York Giants

Photo By Steve Manuel

In Saquon Barkley’s absence, a Penn Stater has still shined for the first-place (yes, at 4-7) New York Giants. Cam Brown has been an excellent special teams contributor for the Giants this season and made another important play in Sunday’s narrow win over the Bengals.

With his team holding on to a slim lead, Brown made a potentially game-saving tackle on a punt return for Cincinnati by the narrowest of margins.

The tackle might have prevented a score for the Bengals and kept the Giants’ lead in tact.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

Photo By Steve Manuel

It’s been a quiet few weeks for Gesicki, and while he didn’t have his most productive in Sunday’s win over the Jets, he got back into the end zone on a 13-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

It marked his first touchdown reception since Week Three.

It was only one of two touchdowns in the game and kept Miami within reaching distance of division leaders Buffalo.

Trace McSorley, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Trace McSorley has had to remain patient to get his chance in the NFL. He has after all, sitting behind reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III on the depth chart for the Baltimore Ravens.

But this is a strange season that has created strange circumstances. With multiple players out of Wednesday’s game between the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, including Jackson, McSorley was suddenly the back up to Griffin III.

RGIII left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter and Trace got his chance. Like he’s done his entire career, he took advantage of the opportunity and gritted out an impressive showing that included his first NFL touchdown pass.

McSorley connected with Hollywood Brown down the sideline and the wide receiver did the rest on a 70 yard pitch and catch.

The Steelers emerged victorious 19-14, but McSorley proved he can hang at the NFL level.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Kansas City Chiefs (1): Stefen Wisniewski
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 11

While it wasn’t a spectacular weekend for Nittany Lions in the NFL, a few former Penn Staters turned in solid performances for their respective teams.

Amani Oruwariye, CB, Detroit Lions

The Lions had a miserable Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, getting shut out for the first time in 11 years by the Carolina Panthers, 20-0.

The score could have been worse if not for a pair of red zone interceptions by Detroit’s defense, including one from Amani Oruwariye, his first of the season.

Oruwariye has been the Lions best cornerback this season, outperforming top-three pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jeff Okudah of Ohio State.

As noted by MLive.com, Oruwariye is allowing just one yard per coverage snap for the season, which ranks among the top 25 cornerbacks who have played at least half their team’s defensive snaps. 

According to Pro Football Focus, the former Nittany Lion was the Lions highest-graded defensive player in Week 11 and third-best among all defenders in the NFL. 

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Godwin’s fourth quarter touchdown to tie Tampa Bay with the Rams looked as though it was going to give his team a huge boost heading into crunch time on Monday Night Football.

Photo By Steve Manuel

That didn’t prove to be the case, though, as the Los Angeles offense connected on a field goal on its ensuing drive and Tom Brady subsequently threw an awful INT on the next Bucs possession. 

No team has been more up and down this season by Tampa Bay. The Bucs have some impressive wins over Green Bay and Las Vegas, but equally out-of-sync performances like the one against the Rams. 

Godwin has remained a consistent contributor, however. He finished Monday’s game with 53 yards on seven receptions and that touchdown. 

Even with Tampa’s eventual defeat, it was a heck of an effort on the part of Godwin to reach the end zone for the tying score, leaping over a defender near the goal line and stretching out for six. 

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

It’s tough to put all the blame on the Packers’ defense for the team’s second half collapse in Sunday’s loss at the Colts, as the Green Bay offense was stagnant and turnover prone after halftime.

Amos was his usual solid self in the Green Bay secondary, coming up with seven tackles and a pass defended. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

He and the Packers’ defense held their own for as long as they could, but too many mistakes by the offense — including a fumble on their own side of the field in OT — proved decisive in Indianapolis’ 34-31 win.

Amos and his teammates will look to bounce back at home on Sunday Night Football against the Chicago Bears in Week 12.

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Kansas City Chiefs (1): Stefen Wisniewski
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

FROM THE ARCHIVES: PENN STATE V. IOWA (2007)

When Penn State hosted Iowa in Week 6 of the 2007 season, it was looking to stop two separate losing streaks.

The Nittany Lions were coming off of two-straight losses to open up their Big Ten campaign to Michigan and Illinois, respectively.

Penn State had also not beaten the Hawkeyes in the past five tries, including an ugly 6-4 home loss in the previous meeting between the two teams in 2004. 

Rodney Kinlaw, a fifth-year senior on that 07 team, said the Nittany Lions’ mindset heading into their matchup with the Hawkeyes was to “take care of the little things.”

“It’s all about executing,” Kinlaw said. “Play to the best of your ability and give it all on the field. Don’t stop playing until the clock reads double zeros at the end of the fourth quarter.”

As far why it seemed Iowa had Penn State’s number in recent meetings, Kinlaw said the common denominator was always the Hawkeyes’ toughness along the defensive and offensive lines.

Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

“They’re always good in the trenches,” Kinlaw said. “That’s where the game is pretty much going to be won. If the line can’t block, you’re running back and quarterback aren’t going to be productive. Iowa always seemed to have big, tough guys up front.”

Penn State controlled the line of scrimmage, took care of the little things and snapped their duo of losing streaks, dominating Iowa 27-7.

“With the vociferous support of 108,951 fans — the largest crowd to watch a football game that Saturday — the struggling Lions were resuscitated with a 27-7 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener in Happy Valley,” editor John Black noted in The Football Letter

For Kinlaw, his performance against the Hawkeyes was reminiscent of his college career as a whole.

He missed his freshman season in 2004 with a knee injury and was forced to redshirt. He battled his way back, but sat behind Tony Hunt on the depth chart.

By the time his senior season arrived, he was splitting carries with the likes of Evan Royster, Austin Scott and Stefon Green.

His confidence never wavered, though.

“It took a while, but I always knew I was going to get back on the field,” Kinlaw said.

Kinlaw overcame a fumble early in the game, which drew the ire of Paterno, to finish with a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was a great feeling to have that kind of day at home in an important game for us, especially after tearing my ACL and working so hard to get back into the lineup,” Kinlaw said. “It was a blessing to get that chance to show what I could do.”

The Nittany Lions went on two win their next two contests and five of their final seven overall, including the 24-17 success over Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. 

Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

The early-season struggles Kinlaw and his teammates faced during that 2007 season sort of mirror the kind of struggles the current Nittany Lions squad face today, sitting at 0-4 in the Big Ten.

Kinlaw said the best advice he can give to the 2020 team is to stick together and lean on one another as teammates.

“If you see your teammate giving 100 percent, it’s probably going to push you to give 100 percent. So, you want to be the guy who sets that example. Lean on that fight together. Be that person where your teammates know that they can count on.”

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 10

It was another productive weekend for some former Penn State stars in the NFL, so let’s get to the highlights.

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

Photo By Steve Manuel

Amos continues to shine in Green Bay’s secondary. In Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, it was the Green Bay defense, not it’s high powered offense, that had to carry the Packers for most of the game. 

With Jacksonville approaching midfield in the second quarter, Amos jumped in front of the intended receiver and snagged an interception — his first of the 2020 season. 

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

It’s safe to say Tampa Bay was a little ticked off after its drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints a week ago on Sunday Night Football. 

The Bucs offense was unstoppable in their bounceback win over Carolina in Week 10, racking up 46 points and 544 yards of total offense. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

Godwin was once again a focal point, with six receptions for 92 yards. 

Even with Antonio Brown in the lineup, the former Nittany Lion is sure to continue to receive a high-amount of targets from Tom Brady. 

Carl Nassib,  DL, Las Vegas Raiders

Photo By Steve Manuel

Hey, who doesn’t love when a defensive lineman gets an interception?

Nassib snagged his first career INT in Las Vegas’ 37-13 win over divisional rivals Denver on Sunday, catching Broncos QB Drew Lock completely by surprise as he dropped into coverage in the middle of the field.

Nasib and the Raiders will now host the Kansas City Chiefs for a huge matchup on Sunday Night Football in Week 11. 

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos

It was a tough day at the office for the Denver offense, but Hamilton came up with another touchdown grab. 

That gives him two touchdowns in as many weeks.

Photo By Steve Manuel

He finished the game with three receptions for 33 yards and that score.

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 9

After our first eight Penn Staters At The Next Level recaps were dominated by offensive players, Week 9 saw defensive players take the spotlight. 

DaQuan Jones, DL, Tennessee Titans 

The Titans defense had struggled mightily in recent weeks, but had a nice performance against the Bears in Week 9.

At the heart of this improved effort was former Nittany Lion DaQuan Jones. The seven-year vet was a force along Tennessee’s defensive line, recording five solo tackles, two assisted stops and a half sack. 

Jones and the Titans D held Chicago to just 56 yards rushing. 

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

It was another strong showing for Adrian Amos as Green Bay got a little bit of revenge on a depleted 49ers squad with a 34-17 win. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

Amos recorded five tackles (second highest on the team) and Green Bay turned the tables on San Francisco after an embarrassing loss to the same foe in the NFC Championship Game just over 10 months ago.  

Amos and the rest of the Packers defense will look to keep this momentum going against a bad Jacksonville team in Week 10. 

Carl Nassib,  DL, Las Vegas Raiders

Don’t look now, but the Raiders are 5-3 and look to have a very good shot to make the playoffs in this year’s expanded format.

Former Lion Carl Nassib had two tackles and a sack in Las Vegas’ 31-26 win over the division rival Chargers on Sunday.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Two more clashes with AFC West Opponents — the Broncos and Chiefs — loom large in the Raiders’ quest to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. 

KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos

A week after snagging the game-winning touchdown for Denver against Los Angeles, Hamler turned in another strong showing for the Broncos in Week 9.

The rookie wideout hauled in six receptions for 75 yards on a team-high 10 targets. 

He seems to be developing a good rapport with Denver QB Drew Lock, and assuming the pair can stay healthy, that bodes well for the team from Mile High.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen, Stefen Wisniewski 
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

FROM THE ARCHIVES: PENN STATE V. MARYLAND (2015)

Prior to the 2014 defeat to Maryland — its first season in the Big Ten — Penn State was unbeaten in its last 29 games against the Terrapins.

The lone minor blemish in that streak was a 13-13 tie in Baltimore, which was the Nittany Lions’ last tie in program history. 

On Oct. 24, 2015, Penn State and Maryland met once more in Baltimore at the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, with the Terrapins now looking to start a streak of their own. 

The game, as editor of The Football Letter John Black wrote, was a “barnburner” from start to finish. 

“Together the two teams thrilled a crowd of 68,948 with big offensive plays, tough defensive stops, critical takeaways and giveaways in a game that went back and forth with exciting action for 60 minutes, before Penn State claimed a one point victory,” Black wrote afterward.

The contest featured five lead changes, six touchdown plays of 10 or more yards, 13 plays of 20 or more yards from scrimmage (with a long of 48), and eight combined turnovers.

After a slow offensive start from both teams, Penn State opened up the scoring through freshman running back Saquon Barkley’s 6-yard touchdown run halfway through the first quarter. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

Maryland tied things up at 7-7 on its ensuing possession as the teams battled back and forth the rest of the opening half, which saw the Nittany Lions enter the halfway point on top 17-13. 

The Terrapins regained the lead, 20–17, by moving 68 yards on nine plays (all on the ground) in 4:10 on their first possession of the second half.

On Penn State’s next possession, the Lions grabbed the lead back at 24– 20 with a seven­-play, 79-­yard march in under four minutes. The drive was capped off by Christian Hackenberg’s 20-yard strike to DaeSean Hamilton. 

The two sides traded two more touchdowns, with the Penn State score coming via a gorgeous catch from Geno Lewis as he lept for the ball over his defender near the corner of the end zone. 

From there it was a defensive struggle with a cascade of turnovers and just a sole Maryland field goal to cut the deficit to 31-30. 

After a Penn State punt, the Terrapins had one last chance with the ball at their own 25 and 1:21 left on the clock.

Photo By Steve Manuel

But on the very first play of the drive, Terps quarterback Perry Hills’ pass went off his receiver’s hands and into the arms of Malik Golden.

The pick was sealed and so was the win for the Nittany Lions to give them their sixth victory, moving them to bowl eligibility for a second consecutive season. 

Hackenberg completed 13-of-29 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns, thus setting Penn State’s all­-time record for pass completions at 608 and passing yardage at 7,453. 

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 8

Even with Chris Godwin out of Tampa Bay’s lineup due to a finger injury, it was still a stellar weekend for Penn State wide receivers in the NFL.

KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos

It seemed like the Broncos were finished in the third quarter of Sunday’s game with their division rival Los Angeles Charges. Trailing 24-3 and an offense that was sputtering, it seemed pretty improbable Denver had enough firepower to turn it around.

Photo By Steve Manuel

That proved not to be the case as the Broncos rallied for a stunning 31-30 win and the fourth largest comeback in franchise history.

Former Nittany Lion KJ Hamler one of the biggest heroes of the day for Denver, doing just enough to stay in bounds and corral a pass from Drew Lock to score the game-winning touchdown — the first touchdown of Hamler’s NFL career.

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos

Hamler’s teammate (and fellow former Penn Stater) DaeSean Hamilton also had a big day for Denver.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Hamilton snagged Lock’s pass near the Chargers’ 20-yard line and sped toward the end zone to cut the deficit at that point to just three points at 27-24.

Overall, Hamilton finished with four receptions for 82 yards and that touchdown. The receiving total was Hamilton’s highest in a single game in his NFL career.

Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears

Photo By Steve Manuel

Another week, another Allen Robinson II appearance in our recap.

Even with the Bears offense continuing to struggle in their second straight loss, Robinson II continues to be a workhorse for Chicago.

He finished with six passes for 87 yards and this terrific touchdown grab. That’s some elite concentration to haul that one in while diving on to the cold turf of Soldier Field.

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen, Stefen Wisniewski 
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant