Sunday, September 22, 2013
Week 4 helmet stickers
By Josh Moyer
Recognizing the best and the brightest from the Nittany Lions in Week 4:
Penn State's three-headed running attack: Take your pick -- this trio was unstoppable Saturday. Zach Zwinak played the role of goal-line back and Mr. Consistency. He finished with 65 yards and three touchdowns. Bill Belton was the spark plug in the first half who rushed for 90 yards and walked a tightrope for a 15-yard TD catch. And then there was Akeel Lynch, who played the role of closer by entering the second half with one carry and then going off. "Big Maple" Lynch peeled off one big run after another and compiled a game-high 123 rushing yards -- 116 of which came in just the final two quarters. Picking just one player here for a helmet sticker is like picking your favorite parent or child. They all played big roles at different times, so they all get that coveted sticker.
Safety Ryan Keiser: He entered Penn State as a preferred walk-on, but he earned a scholarship after last season -- and he showed just why he deserved one against Kent State. The Selinsgrove (Pa.) product came up with a sack and an interception, but that was just the effort that showed up on the stat sheet. He nearly came up with another pick and had three pass breakups on the day. He always seemed to be around the football, and PSU didn't skip a beat when it rotated him in for Adrian Amos. Keiser came up big, and he can likely expect a bigger portion of playing time after that.
Linebacker Glenn Carson: There may be questions marks at outside linebacker right now, but there's an exclamation mark who lines up in the middle. Carson isn't a flashy linebacker, but he's consistently played well each week. He came up with seven tackles -- two in the backfield -- against Kent State, and he helped limit the Kent State running game. The Flashes averaged just 2.3 yards a carry.
Defensive end Deion Barnes: He received some criticism for not getting a sack through the first three weeks and for compiling just five tackles, but he reversed that trend Saturday. The redshirt sophomore finished second on the team with six tackles, set the edge and also came up with a half-sack that was aided by Jordan Lucas. He twice assisted on tackles in the backfield, and this might've been his strongest game of the season. Barnes said he was pushing too hard for those sacks when he just has to let them come to him. He did that -- and, as a result, a helmet sticker is also coming his way.
Kicker Sam Ficken: Another appearance on the helmet sticker list? You bet. With the way Ficken's been playing, he might end up with more helmet stickers than the rest of his teammates by season's end. He nailed a career-long 54-yard field goal Saturday, which was the longest field made by a Nittany Lion since 1979. And it was the longest field goal ever made by a Nittany Lion in Beaver Stadium. Raise your hand if you thought Ficken would be breaking those kinds of records at this point last season. And, if you did just raise your hand, smack yourself for lying to a blog. He might've made the biggest one-year turnaround in the country, and he's missed just one field goal so far this season -- a 57-yard attempt that fell just short.