Penn State Football Players of the Game vs Pitt

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 09: Saquon Barkley /

The Penn State football team is now 2-0 this season

On Saturday afternoon the Penn State football team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 33-14 victory over their arch rivals the Pitt Panthers. While this victory is one that feels great for Penn State players and fans alike it was not a pretty win for the Nittany Lions. However, an ugly win is always better than any type of loss.

Trace McSorley was shaky on Saturday, the Penn State defense limited the points but struggled to get off the field, and it took until the third quarter to get Saquon Barkley and the running game going. Despite all of the issues on Saturday the Nittany Lions still did what great teams do and found a way to win, and by three touchdowns to boot.

Offense – Running Back Saquon Barkley

Heisman Trophy candidate Saquon Barkley continued to build up his Heisman resume on Saturday afternoon. After struggling in the first half, Barkley began to run wild on the Panther defense in the second half.

Barkley averaged 6.3 yards per carry, 11.3 yards per reception, and he posted 133 yards of total offense on Saturday. He ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown. The best player in college football was the best player on the field on Saturday.

Honorable mention: TE Mike Gesicki, QB Trace McSorley

Defense – Defensive End Shareef Miller

After sustaining a leg injury on the opening series of the game against Akron and then missing the rest of the afternoon it was an unknown as to rather or not Shareef Miller would play on Saturday. Well, not only did Miller play he had a major impact on the game from the defensive end position.

The redshirt sophomore defensive end spent the entire afternoon wrecking havoc on the Pitt backfield. This led to Miller finishing the game with 2.5 tackles for a loss, as well as a pair of sacks. There were also multiple other plays that Miller blew up with his play at defensive end.

Entering the season a lot of people expected big things out of Miller at the defensive end position. He showed everybody why with a monster game on Saturday afternoon against Pitt. Hopefully, he will have a lot more games like Saturday’s this season.

Honorable mention: CB Grant Haley, S Marcus Allen

Special teams – Punter Blake Gillikin

A big reason Penn State was victorious on Saturday afternoon was a great afternoon from their special teams units. On these units no one was better than sophomore punter Blake Gillikin.

Gillikin punted the ball six times on Saturday afternoon and averaged 43.2 yards per punt. On four occasions he pinned the Panthers inside the 20-yard line, twice inside the 10-yard line, and once inside the 5-yard line. His punt that pinned Pitt inside the five would lead to the Nittany Lion defense recording their first safety since 2010.

Pitt’s All-American return man Quadree Henderson was a total and complete non-factor in Saturday’s game. A big reason for this was the punting of Blake Gillikin.

Honorable mention: S Nick Scott, S Garrett Taylor

That will do it for Saturday’s game. As I said above, it was not a pretty win for the Nittany Lions but an ugly win is always better than any type of loss. All that matters is that the Nittany Lions are now 2-0 on the season as they prepare to host Georgia State next Saturday.