Harvey Levine/FOS

VOTE NOW: Penn State’s Defensive Player Of The Year

FightOnState.com offers the original fan poll where the Nittany Nation gets to vote for PSU's MVPs.

There was plenty of focus on the Penn State offense during the 2016 regular season, and with good reason.

Under first-year coordinator Joe Moorhead and new starting QB Trace McSorley, the No. 5 Nittany Lions head into their Rose Bowl matchup with No. 9 USC having already posted the third most total yards in school history (5,591), and their average of 36.7 points per game is nearly a two-TD improvement over 2015.

Somewhat lost among all of the offensive fireworks, however, has been a solid showing by the defense — particularly late in the season, once the unit got healthy. Even after struggling early on when the linebacker corps was decimated by injuries, the defense is now allowing 23.4 points per game — or less than two more than it did in 2015.

First-year coordinator Brent Pry’s unit allowed a total of 108 points after halftime all regular season, or 8.3 per game. In the nine-game winning streak to end the regular season, Penn State allowed 19.2 points per game despite facing five of the B1G’s top seven scoring offenses in that span.

Now it is time for the Nittany Nation to pick the MVP of the PSU defense. Here are your candidates:

Marcus Allen

Harvey Levine/FOS

The junior leads the Nittany Lions with 102 tackles, including six tackles for loss, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. His outstanding play in run support was critical when Penn State lost all three of its starting linebackers early in the season. In an overtime win vs. Minnesota, he had 22 tackles.  http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1737838-convenient-fos-gif...

Allen was also involved in two of the biggest plays of the year for the Nittany Lions. His blocked field goal in the fourth-quarter against No. 2 Ohio State led to DB Grant Haley’s 60-yard return for the game-winning TD. Allen also teamed with Haley to stuff Wisconsin RB Corey Celment on fourth-and-1 in what became the clinching play of the Big Ten title game.

LB Brandon Bell

Harvey Levine/FOS

The senior missed four games earlier in the season with an undisclosed leg injury. It is no coincidence that the defense morphed into one of the best in the Big Ten when Bell returned for the Ohio State game in Week No. 7. He had a career-high 18 tackles and a sack in the upset of the Buckeyes. He capped the regular season with 18 more tackles vs. Michigan State and then 13 in the Big Ten championship win over Wisconsin. His high-flying, fumble-causing sack vs. the Badgers was one of PSU’s highlight plays of the year.

By the end of the regular season, no linebacker in the Big Ten was playing as well as Bell. In fact, his 9.66 tackles per game are tied for tops in the conference with Indiana’s Tegray Scales.

So how come he only got honorable-mention All-Conference honors from the media and coaches? After his absence, Bell never reached the qualifying standard of having played in 75 percent of his team’s games to be listed among the league tackles leaders. So he was not (and still is not) listed among the leaders in tackles. Which is comical when considering he had 87 total stops, and there are athletes on the list with as few as 50 tackles.

DE Garrett Sickels

Harvey Levine/FOS

Despite missing two games with injuries, the redshirt junior is tied for the team lead with six sacks and paces the Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss. He was the clear leader on Penn State’s overhauled defensive line. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1739158-penn-stat...

And Sickels was at his best when the spotlight was brightest. After being benched for the first half of the Ohio State game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, he entered the action in the second half and laid waste to the No. 2 Buckeyes’ offense. In what may have been the greatest 30 minutes of football ever played by a PSU D-lineman — and we don’t say that lightly — Sickels had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

After PSU pulled off the upset, Lion coach James Franklin jokingly said he might bench Sickels for the first half of every game. Sickels only had one sack the rest of the regular season, as opponents gave him added attention. But as a team, PSU averaged right around three sacks per game down the stretch.


Fight On State Top Stories

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There was plenty of focus on the Penn State offense during the 2016 regular season, and with good reason.

\n

Under first-year coordinator Joe Moorhead and new starting QB Trace McSorley, the No. 5 Nittany Lions head into their Rose Bowl matchup with No. 9 USC having already posted the third most total yards in school history (5,591), and their average of 36.7 points per game is nearly a two-TD improvement over 2015.

\n

Somewhat lost among all of the offensive fireworks, however, has been a solid showing by the defense — particularly late in the season, once the unit got healthy. Even after struggling early on when the linebacker corps was decimated by injuries, the defense is now allowing 23.4 points per game — or less than two more than it did in 2015.

\n

First-year coordinator Brent Pry’s unit allowed a total of 108 points after halftime all regular season, or 8.3 per game. In the nine-game winning streak to end the regular season, Penn State allowed 19.2 points per game despite facing five of the B1G’s top seven scoring offenses in that span.

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Now it is time for the Nittany Nation to pick the MVP of the PSU defense. Here are your candidates:

\n

Marcus Allen

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\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS
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The junior leads the Nittany Lions with 102 tackles, including six tackles for loss, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. His outstanding play in run support was critical when Penn State lost all three of its starting linebackers early in the season. In an overtime win vs. Minnesota, he had 22 tackles.  http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1737838-convenient-fos-gif...

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Allen was also involved in two of the biggest plays of the year for the Nittany Lions. His blocked field goal in the fourth-quarter against No. 2 Ohio State led to DB Grant Haley’s 60-yard return for the game-winning TD. Allen also teamed with Haley to stuff Wisconsin RB Corey Celment on fourth-and-1 in what became the clinching play of the Big Ten title game.

\n

LB Brandon Bell

\n

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

\n

The senior missed four games earlier in the season with an undisclosed leg injury. It is no coincidence that the defense morphed into one of the best in the Big Ten when Bell returned for the Ohio State game in Week No. 7. He had a career-high 18 tackles and a sack in the upset of the Buckeyes. He capped the regular season with 18 more tackles vs. Michigan State and then 13 in the Big Ten championship win over Wisconsin. His high-flying, fumble-causing sack vs. the Badgers was one of PSU’s highlight plays of the year.

\n

By the end of the regular season, no linebacker in the Big Ten was playing as well as Bell. In fact, his 9.66 tackles per game are tied for tops in the conference with Indiana’s Tegray Scales.

\n

So how come he only got honorable-mention All-Conference honors from the media and coaches? After his absence, Bell never reached the qualifying standard of having played in 75 percent of his team’s games to be listed among the league tackles leaders. So he was not (and still is not) listed among the leaders in tackles. Which is comical when considering he had 87 total stops, and there are athletes on the list with as few as 50 tackles.

\n

DE Garrett Sickels

\n

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS
\n

Despite missing two games with injuries, the redshirt junior is tied for the team lead with six sacks and paces the Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss. He was the clear leader on Penn State’s overhauled defensive line. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1739158-penn-stat...

\n

And Sickels was at his best when the spotlight was brightest. After being benched for the first half of the Ohio State game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, he entered the action in the second half and laid waste to the No. 2 Buckeyes’ offense. In what may have been the greatest 30 minutes of football ever played by a PSU D-lineman — and we don’t say that lightly — Sickels had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

\n

After PSU pulled off the upset, Lion coach James Franklin jokingly said he might bench Sickels for the first half of every game. Sickels only had one sack the rest of the regular season, as opponents gave him added attention. But as a team, PSU averaged right around three sacks per game down the stretch.

\n

","mobileBody":"

Follow @MarkXBrennan

There was plenty of focus on the Penn State offense during the 2016 regular season, and with good reason.

Under first-year coordinator Joe Moorhead and new starting QB Trace McSorley, the No. 5 Nittany Lions head into their Rose Bowl matchup with No. 9 USC having already posted the third most total yards in school history (5,591), and their average of 36.7 points per game is nearly a two-TD improvement over 2015.

Somewhat lost among all of the offensive fireworks, however, has been a solid showing by the defense — particularly late in the season, once the unit got healthy. Even after struggling early on when the linebacker corps was decimated by injuries, the defense is now allowing 23.4 points per game — or less than two more than it did in 2015.

First-year coordinator Brent Pry’s unit allowed a total of 108 points after halftime all regular season, or 8.3 per game. In the nine-game winning streak to end the regular season, Penn State allowed 19.2 points per game despite facing five of the B1G’s top seven scoring offenses in that span.

Now it is time for the Nittany Nation to pick the MVP of the PSU defense. Here are your candidates:

S Marcus Allen

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

The junior leads the Nittany Lions with 102 tackles, including six tackles for loss, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. His outstanding play in run support was critical when Penn State lost all three of its starting linebackers early in the season. In an overtime win vs. Minnesota, he had 22 tackles. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1737838-convenient-fos-gif...

Allen was also involved in two of the biggest plays of the year for the Nittany Lions. His blocked field goal in the fourth-quarter against No. 2 Ohio State led to DB Grant Haley’s 60-yard return for the game-winning TD. Allen also teamed with Haley to stuff Wisconsin RB Corey Celment on fourth-and-1 in what became the clinching play of the Big Ten title game.

LB Brandon Bell

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

The senior missed four games earlier in the season with an undisclosed leg injury. It is no coincidence that the defense morphed into one of the best in the Big Ten when Bell returned for the Ohio State game in Week No. 7. He had a career-high 18 tackles and a sack in the upset of the Buckeyes. He capped the regular season with 18 more tackles vs. Michigan State and then 13 in the Big Ten championship win over Wisconsin. His high-flying, fumble-causing sack vs. the Badgers was one of PSU’s highlight plays of the year.

By the end of the regular season, no linebacker in the Big Ten was playing as well as Bell. In fact, his 9.66 tackles per game are tied for tops in the conference with Indiana’s Tegray Scales.

So how come he only got honorable-mention All-Conference honors from the media and coaches? After his absence, Bell never reached the qualifying standard of having played in 75 percent of his team’s games to be listed among the league tackles leaders. So he was not (and still is not) listed among the leaders in tackles. Which is comical when considering he had 87 total stops, and there are athletes on the list with as few as 50 tackles.

DE Garrett Sickels

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

Despite missing two games with injuries, the redshirt junior is tied for the team lead with six sacks and paces the Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss. He was the clear leader on Penn State’s overhauled defensive line. http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1739158-penn-stat...

And Sickels was at his best when the spotlight was brightest. After being benched for the first half of the Ohio State game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, he entered the action in the second half and laid waste to the No. 2 Buckeyes’ offense. In what may have been the greatest 30 minutes of football ever played by a PSU D-lineman — and we don’t say that lightly — Sickels had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

After PSU pulled off the upset, Lion coach James Franklin jokingly said he might bench Sickels for the first half of every game. Sickels only had one sack the rest of the regular season, as opponents gave him added attention. But as a team, PSU averaged right around three sacks per game down the stretch.

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