Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 11

Trace McSorley has a new home in the NFL.

Penn State’s all-time passing leader was signed by the Arizona Cardinals on Monday off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad.

McSorley was drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and has spent his two seasons in Baltimore as a backup to Lamar Jackson.

Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

It’s almost more of a surprise if Micah Parsons isn’t included in our rundown.

He is not only a leading contender for the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, but has also played his way into NFC overall Defensive Player of the Year.

Parsons was all over the field in Dallas’ defeat at Kansas City on Sunday, including a strip-sack of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Chris Godwin, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin’s six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Giants on Monday night moves him into fourth-place in Bucs franchise history for career receptions.

He passed franchise legends Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn.

Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions fell to a league-worst 0-9-1 in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to Cleveland, but Amani Oruwariye continued his strong takeaway prowess.

Oruwariye picked off Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield early in the game to set Detroit up with great field position.

That gives him four INTs on the year.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 10

This week is all defense in our Penn Staters At The Next Level recap.

We start off with Micah Parsons, of course. The Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite continues a stellar start to his NFL career.

Parsons led the Cowboys with six tackles and also recorded a strip-sack.

Adrian Amos, Safety, Green Bay Packers

Photo by Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Aaron Rodgers’ return to the field garnered most of the pre-game headlines, but the play of the Packers defense stole the show in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks.

Adrian Amos and his teammates shutout the Seattle offense in a 17-0 win, with the former Nittany Lion grabbing his second interception of the season. Amos also finished with four tackles and three pass deflections.

The Green Bay defense has quickly developed into one of the league’s best this season under first-year coordinator Joe Barry.

Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Detroit Lions

Photo by Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

It seemed like nobody wanted to win Sunday’s matchup between the Lions and Steelers, with turnovers, mistakes and penalties the story of the game.

As a result, nobody did win. Pittsburgh and Detroit played to a 16-16 tie after a pretty wild overtime finish.

Amani Oruwariye helped the Lions avoid the loss column for the first time this season, finishing with seven tackles, two pass deflections and a critical fumble recovery in overtime.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Nine

Hard to believe we’re already through the halfway point of the NFL season. Nine weeks down and nine to go.

It was a quiet start to Pat Freiermuth’s NFL career, but the rookie has officially entered the spotlight for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Freiermuth is quickly becoming a fan-favorite in the Steel City.

“MUUUUUUUTH,” as Steelers fans have dubbed Pat in the mold of “HEEEEEEATH” for former tight end Heath Miller, caught two touchdowns in Pittsburgh’s Monday Night victory over the Bears.

Freiermuth is now tied with Falcons star Kyle Pitts as the two highest-rated rookie tight ends in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Pretty, pretty good.

Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami Dolphins

Welcome back to the win column, Dolphins fans. Miami snapped a seven-game losing streak on Sunday by topping the Houston Texans, 17-9.

Mike Gesicki made some spectacular grabs in the Miami win. Despite all the struggles for the Dolphins this season, Gesicki has been a constant bright spot. He leads the team with 529 receiving yards on the season.

Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

While Micah Parsons hasn’t appeared on our countdown each week, it certainly seems like he has.

Dallas’ six-game winning streak came to an end in a 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos, but Parsons shined once more. He led the Cowboys with 10 tackles while also recording 2.5 sacks.

If he’s not the NFC Defensive Rookie of The Year, it will be an outrage.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Eight

Missing starting quarterback Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys needed their defense to play at a high level on Sunday night. They did just that and former Nittany Lions Micah Parsons was a big part of it as Dallas came away with the 20-16 win.

Parsons recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including four tackles-for-loss as the Cowboys D bottled up Dalvin Cook for 78 yards on 18 attempts.

Micah was subsequently named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week Eight.

Blake Gillikin, Punter, New Orleans Saints

A third-straight appearance in this rundown for Blake Gillikin? You bet ya!

Gillikin was his usual terrific self in Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers, sending off three punts for an average of 52.7 yards and a long of 63 yards.

Gillikin’s stellar play has earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Month

Pat Freiermuth, Tight End, Pittsburgh Steelers

Four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown for Pat Freiermuth as he continues to find a bigger and bigger role within the Steelers offense.

Freiermuth also had one of the plays of the weekend in Sunday’s win over the Browns.

Check out this circus grab for six.

Chris Godwin, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Another great week for Chris Godwin in an otherwise disappointing day for the Bucs.

Godwin snagged eight 140 yards and a touchdown.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Seven

After a quiet couple of weeks, Chris Godwin produced one of his best performances of the season on Sunday.

Tampa Bay rolled to a 38-3 win over the Bears and Godwin led the way for the Bucs with eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.

The Buccaneers now head into a big Week Eight matchup with the divisional rival Saints.

Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki celebrated National Tight Ends Day in style, accumulating seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.

The Dolphins dropped a close one to the Falcons, but Gesicki continues his fine form of play with Tua Tagovailoa back under center.

Nick Scott, Safety, Los Angeles Rams

Nick Scott recorded his second interception of the season on Sunday and it proved to be a big one.

The former Nittany Lion closed out a tougher-than-expected win for the Rams over the winless Detroit Lions with a game-sealing INT.

Blake Gillikin, Punter, New Orleans Saints

Blake Gillikin appears on our rundown for a second straight week.

Gillikin booted six punts in New Orleans’ Monday Night win in Seattle, dropping four of them inside the 20-yard line.

A couple other notes to mention from this past weekend’s action.

We’re sending out best wishes to former Penn Stater Miles Sanders, who left the Eagles’ loss to Las Vegas with an ankle injury and did not return. Miles had to be carted to the locker room late in the first quarter.

Former Penn State lacrosse star Chris Hogan, who played 11 seasons in the NFL and won a pair of Super Bowls, announced his retirement from football this past weekend. Heck of a career, Chris!

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Six

Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

It’s been a tough year for the Detroit Lions but former Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye has been one of the bright spots.

Oruwariye snagged another interception on Sunday in the Lions’ loss to the Bengals. He picked off Joe Burrow toward the end of the first quarter and returned the ball 18 yards.

That now gives him three interceptions on the season, which is a career-high and also ties him for second-most in the NFL this season.

Pat Freiermuth, Tight End, Pittsburgh Steelers

It was a season-best showing for Pat Freiermuth as the Steelers picked up a narrow overtime win against Seattle on Sunday Night Football.

Freiermuth caught seven catches for 58 yards.

Hopefully this means he starts to get more and more involved in the Steelers offense moving forward.

Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami Dolphins

Speaking of former Penn State tight ends with a season-best showing on Sunday, Mike Gesicki balled out for Miami in an otherwise pretty poor afternoon for the Dolphins.

Despite the team’s loss to the previously winless Jaguars, Gesicki caught eight passes for 115 yards.

With Tua Tagovailoa back at quarterback we should see more performances like this from Gesicki in the games ahead.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Five

I’m going to start this week’s Penn Staters At The Next Level post with a punter. Blake Gillikin continues his terrific start to the 2021 season.

The former Nittany Lion was dominant — yes, punters can dominate — in the Saints win over the Washington Football Team.

Gillikin booted five punts for 268 yards, including three that were downed inside the five. On the season, he’s averaging 49.8 yards per punt, which is tied for fourth-best in the NFL.

Nick Scott, Safety, Los Angeles Rams

Photo by Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Nothing like a game-winning interception to defeat your NFC West rivals in primetime.

Nick Scott sealed a win for the Rams on Thursday Night Football this past week with his first career INT.

He’s made his name on special teams the past two seasons, but Scott has also now found a nice role within the Rams defense in 2021.

Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

Photo by Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Another week, another appearance for Micah Parsons in this blog.

Parsons led the Cowboys with eight tackles in Sunday’s win over the Giants and he’s already one of — if not the best — players on the Dallas defense.

He’s the Defensive Rookie of The Year favorite through five weeks of play.

Austin Johnson, Defensive Tackle, New York Giants

Photo by Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

This week’s blog has been defense/special teams heavy and that isn’t changing with our next Nittany Lion on the list.

The Giants struggled at Dallas on Sunday, thanks in large part to injuries to Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. Penn State alum Austin Johnson was a bright spot for the G-Men.

Johnson recorded another sack (giving him three on the season), four tackles and two tackles-for-loss.

To check out the full list of Penn Staters currently on NFL rosters, click here.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Four

Coming off of a knee injury he suffered last season, Saquon Barkley looked back to his old self in Week Four.

Saquon accumulated 126 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, including this stellar six-yard score that delivered the first win of the season for the Giants.

No. 26 also burnt the Saints secondary on a wheel route (feel like we’ve seen that before from Saquon) for his first touchdown of the day.

Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Micah Parsons has been one of the standout rookies of this young NFL season.

He added another sack and four tackles to his name this past Sunday in the Cowboys’ 36-28 win over the Panthers.

Micah is one of the key reasons why the Dallas defense has been greatly improved from the all-time terrible unit that it was last year.

Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins continue to struggle in the absence of injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but Mike Gesicki had his best performance of the 2021 season to date in Miami’s loss to the Colts.

Gesicki had five receptions for 57 yards and this touchdown.

Odafe Oweh, Edge Rusher, Baltimore Ravens

If Micah Parsons is the top rookie performer through four weeks, fellow former Lion Odafe Oweh can’t be far behind.

Oweh recorded another sack on Sunday as the Ravens smothered the Broncos offense all afternoon.

Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Detroit Lions

Another week, another INT for for Amani Oruwariye.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Three

The juggernaut Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in what could be an early-season preview of the NFC Championship Game.

Former Nittany Lion Chris Godwin continued his strong start to the season.

CG14 tallied six catches for 74 yards and a rushing touchdown in the first quarter.

Pat Freiermuth, Tight End, Pittsburgh Steelers

Boy, the Steelers offense sure is struggling at the moment. Pittsburgh certainly has the skill players to be a good offense. It’s just looking like Ben Roethlisberger is over the hill and the offensive line isn’t at the level of recent Steelers seasons.

Still, Pat Freiermuth provided a nice highlight for both fans of the black and gold and fans of the blue and white.

The former Penn State tight end notched his first NFL touchdown on this neat play design late in the first quarter to get Pittsburgh on the board. Pat finished with three catches for 22 yards and that score.

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants

The Giants are a bit of a mess, and Saquon is still able to produce highlights.

He had some eye-catching leaps during his time in Happy Valley and showed that prowess off again on Sunday against the Falcons.

Blake Gillikin, Punter, New Orleans Saints

Photos: Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

I’m always eager to show punters a little love, especially when they’re a Penn Stater!

Blake Gillikin had the best day of his NFL career to date, tallying five punts for a 48.9-yard average. His long came on a 56 yard boot.

The Saints remain somewhat of a hot and cold team. In Week One, they hammered the Green Bay Packers, who have gone on to win two straight since. In Week Two, New Orleans was dominated by the Panthers. This week, they handled the Patriots in Foxborough with relative ease.

Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Detroit Lions

Overshadowed by Justin Tucker’s mammoth 66-yard game-winning kick for Baltimore (seriously, that was incredible), Amani made a huge play when Detroit needed it late in the fourth quarter.

On third-and-10, Oruwariye intercepted Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to give the ball back to the Lions offense. Detroit nailed a field goal of its own to go up 17-16. Unfortunately for the Lions and their fans, Justin Tucker might be the greatest kicker of all time. Tough break, but Amani still made a huge play and hats off to him for that.

To view each of the Nittany Lions currently on NFL rosters, click here.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week Two

As a die-hard Chiefs fan it pained me a little bit to write this week’s Penn Staters At The Next Level story, as former Nittany Lion Odafe Oweh made the game-changing play for the Baltimore Ravens in their thrilling win over Kansas City on Sunday Night Football.

With the Chiefs driving into Ravens territory late in the game and looking to take the lead, Oweh came up huge for his defense.

The rookie edge rusher fought off a block and knocked the ball loose from the arms of the usually fumble-proof Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Oweh proceeded to pounce on the ball and secure a win for Baltimore.

Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys

In his first game at defensive end since high school, all Micah Parsons did was earn Pro Football Focus’ Rookie of The Week honors. Playing on the edge of the line because of several injuries for Dallas, Micah made his presence felt in the team’s 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

He recorded eight quarterback pressures and his first career sack after forcing LA quarterback Justin Herbert into an intentional grounding penalty in the fourth quarter. The penalty put LA in a hole and forced them to kick a field-goal instead of punching in a touchdown.

Allen Robinson II, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

Photo By Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

For the first time this season, Allen Robinson found the end zone. Robinson beat his defender on an inside move and snagged the pass from Andy Dalton to put the Bears ahead early 7-0.

A-Rob finished the day with just two catches for 24 yards and that score, but it proved to be a key play in Chicago’s narrow 20-17 win.

DaQuan Jones, Defensive Tackle, Carolina Panthers

Another productive day for a former Nittany Lions defensive star. DaQuan Jones registered his first sack of the season by bringing down Saints quarterback Jameis Winston on fourth down.

Jones and the rest of the Panthers defense stifled the same high-powered Saints attack that ran roughshod over the Packers just a week ago.

To view each of the Penn State players on NFL rosters, click here.