2. Manny Diaz’s Defense Works
It certainly was not easy going for the Penn State defense in the first half.
Utah had 14 points on the board and was the moving the ball with ease. At one point, the Utes were 8-12 on third down. Things were not looking great.
Utah quarterback Cam Rising then suffered an injury and the Utes got way off script on offense. This injury certainly played a role, but Penn State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz seemed to make some strong adjustments for the second half.
At the end of the day, Diaz’s group did not surrender any more points until the very end of the game when Penn State had backups in. The Nittany Lions also recorded six tackles, nine tackles for loss and two interceptions.
That’s exactly what Diaz wants to do, cause chaos.
For the vast majority of this season, Diaz and his defense performed extremely well by being ultra-aggressive. It may have backfired against Michigan, but outside of that, Penn State’s defense showed up to every game. (Keep in mind four turnovers really hurt Penn State against Ohio State, the 44 points were not all on the defense)
As long as Diaz sticks around for 2023, the Nittany Lions can expect another step forward on defense as the players continue to get comfortable with his system.