UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior defensive end Carl Nassib's journey to the
Penn State starting lineup is a tremendous success story by itself.
Now, the standout defensive end will add another chapter to what is becoming a storied legacy in Penn State lore after becoming the program's season record holder in sacks on Saturday afternoon.
It's almost unfathomable to think that Nassib had not started a single high school or college football game until the season-opener at Temple. He was not a five-star recruit coming out of high school, and he wasn't even sure he was interested in playing college football at the time.
But a driven mindset and an undying work ethic since the day he arrived in the football program has steered Nassib to a truly remarkable senior season.
With his solo sack in the fourth quarter at Northwestern on Saturday, Nassib passed Larry Kubin (1979) and Michael Haynes (2002) as the program's all-time season leader in sacks with 15.5.
Simply put, Nassib plays with the mindset that no one can stop him. No matter how many snaps Nassib is on the field, he plays like it is his last. He practices the same way. He lifts weights the same way. And he's truly unique in how much effort goes into the success he has achieved.
"He works hard. He's humble. He keeps his mouth shut," said defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. "You guys have probably seen it; he doesn't enjoy all of the attention. He's kind of turned off by it. He practices hard every day. He's a great teammate. He's a guy who is going to be successful in whatever happens."
A semifinalist for the Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards, Nassib has tallied at least one sack in every game this season. He's had more than one sack in five of Penn State's 10 games. He has 4.5 sacks more than the second-highest individual sack total in the nation.
Nassib has also been instrumental in helping the defense notch at least 2.0 sacks in 10 straight games and at least 5.0 tackles for loss in 18 consecutive games.
Congratulations to Nassib for a record-breaking season as the Nittany Lions now prepare for their final two contests of the regular season.
Late Bye Week
After four weeks of training camp and 10 weeks of games, the Nittany Lions are on a much-deserved bye week. Standing at 7-3 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play, the Lions will finish the season against No. 15 Michigan and No. 14 Michigan State, respectively. The bye comes at a unique time in the program's history. This is the latest a first-bye date has come on Penn State's schedule since 1958 when the team had it's only bye on Nov. 22. In addition to Penn State, Wisconsin is also on a bye this week. Nebraska's is the Big Ten team with the latest bye, with its lone bye coming on Nov. 21.
White-Hot Red Zone Offense Rolls On
The Nittany Lions continued a streak of superb efforts in the red zone on Saturday at Northwestern. During the last seven weeks, Penn State has converted 25 of its last 26 trips inside the 20 into points. For the season, the Lions own a 92 percent conversion rate (33-for-36). The Nittany Lions are ranked 12th nationally and second in the Big Ten in red zone offense through nine games this season.
Barkley Closing on Freshman Records
Following a 120-yard, two-touchdown effort in Saturday's game at Northwestern, true freshman running back Saquon Barkley is now closing in on a host of Penn State freshman rushing records. With four 100-yard performances, Barkley is now one shy of D.J. Dozier's record five in 1983. Additionally, Barkley is now tied with Dozier for the true freshman rushing touchdown record with seven. On the true freshman rushing yardage list, Barkley has 836. That mark is second only to Dozier, who finished with 1,002 yards in 1983.
Barkley has averaged 104.5 yards per game, which is ranked No. 18 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big Ten. He is second nationally in rushing yards by a freshman. Barkley has averaged 6.29 yards per carry this season, which is only second to Ezekiel Elliott's mark of 6.45 yards per carry in the Big Ten.
The Nittany Lions will have a lighter practice week with it being the bye. Penn State practiced on Sunday, as it normally does, before an abbreviated week. The student-athletes will have some time off from practice towards the end of the week before resuming game preparations on Sunday.
The Lions will finish off their home schedule with a matchup against No. 15 Michigan on Nov. 21. The Wolverines are 7-2 overall and 4-1 in Big Ten play following a 49-16 victory over Rutgers on Saturday. The Michigan game will feature the Penn State White Out, along with Senior Day festivities.
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