Through the first half of the Peach Bowl, there was not a player on the field better than Abdul Carter, but Penn State’s star linebacker went down with an ankle injury after being rolled up on by an Ole Miss offensive lineman.
Carter went down grabbing at his ankle and was tended to by trainers. He was removed from the game and Ole Miss went right to a play designed to expose the second-level communication of the Nittany Lions’ defense which resulted in a touchdown.
Carter recorded three tackles before leaving the game but was more impactful than that. On the first drive of the game, he nearly forced an interception when he pressured Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart. Later, Carter got to Dart again and nearly forced a fumble, but it was called an incomplete pass.
In the regular season, Carter was fourth in the team in tackles with 46 and also recorded 4.5 sacks. His impact in the pass-rush was crucial to cover up for Penn State's deficiencies in the secondary with two starting cornerbacks out. Johnny Dixon and Kalen King both opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL draft.
Without Dixon and King, Penn State is already struggling to stop Ole Miss. The Rebels have gained 279 first-half yards and will have at least one more drive before halftime.
Abdul Carter injury status:
Carter is QUESTIONABLE to return
UPDATE: Abdul Carter returned to the field on the first Ole Miss possession of the second half.