UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With Big Ten Championship game preparations well underway, following the close of the conference regular season, Penn State Football saw 10 defensive or special teams Nittany Lions earn a spot on either one of three All-Big Ten teams or pick up honorable mention distinction.
The league also honored Penn State head coach James Franklin as the Dave McClain Big Ten Coach of the Year. For more on Franklin's award click here.
Take a quick glance at some of the Nittany Lion defensive and special teams All-Big Ten honorees.
Tyler Davis - First Team All-Big Ten
(Coaches), Second Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Following a career-high performance on the road at Rutgers, Franklin noted that if there was one person he was going to name MVP, it was Davis. Quietly kicking his way through the Nittany Lion record books this season, Davis has established himself as both a consistent and clutch performer when called upon. When asked about his secret to success, Davis humbly replies with hard work and a commitment to preparation.
"It's a testament to how hard we've been working," Davis said. "Working with two different holders, our snapper, our line has been ever-changing, so I think it's really a team award for how good our field goal unit has been."
- Davis is ranked eighth on the Penn State single season scoring charts after a nine-point outing in the season finale against Michigan State, extending his career total to 113 points.
- Having never even played a snap of football in high school, just one of the former soccer star's clutch performances came against Minnesota, where Davis forced overtime kicking a 40-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in regulation. In total, he kicked three field goals against the Badgers to match a then-career-high mark and move his consecutive field goal streak to 17 straight, breaking a school record for the most consecutive field goals made.
- Davis is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented to the top kicker in the nation annually.
- At Rutgers, he posted a career-high four field goals, tying a season-long mark with a 40-yard field goal in the shutout victory in some of the most challenging weather conditions of the season.
- In the rankings, Davis leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.913) and field goals per game (1.8) and ranks 11th and eight in the FBS in the two categories, respectively.
- He's currently 29-for-31 in career field goal attempts with his only two misses coming on blocks.
- Davis is a perfect 55-for-55 in extra point attempts, having secured starting place kicking duties late last season.
Garrett Sickels - Second Team All-Big
Ten (Coaches), Third Team All-Big Ten (Media)
A pivotal piece of the Penn State defensive line, defensive end Garrett Sickels has show both quickness and strength in his pursuit, leading the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and tying for a team-high mark with six sacks on the year. For Sickels, he notes the second half of this year's comeback upset victory against second-ranked Ohio State as a bit of a turning point, as he came off the bench to tally career-high marks in tackles (9), tackles for loss (3.5) and sacks (2.5).
- Following the career-high showing against the Buckeyes, Sickels was tabbed to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week.
- He earned the same honor following the win at Indiana, where he posted 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack.
- Within Penn State's eight-game winning streak, Sickels has contributed at least a half of a tackle for loss in each of the last eight games, including a combined 4.5 sacks during the stretch.
Evan Schwan - Third Team All-Big Ten
(Coaches and Media)
Another key piece of the Nittany Lion defensive line is senior Evan Schwan, who has not only earned his way into the starting lineup, but also developed into a veteran leader along the way. One of 18 first time starters this season, Schwan entered the starting lineup against Kent State and has nearly never looked back. Ranked third on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss on the year, Schwan is also tied with Sickels with a team-high six sacks.
- In the last eight games, Schwan has contributed at least a half of a sack in all but one game. He's also totaled three sacks across the last four games.
- At Rutgers, Schwan sacked quarterback Gio Rescigno in the fourth quarter, forcing his first career fumble.
- Schwan matched a career-high mark originally set against Kent State with four tackles in the win against Maryland, helping limit the then-unbeaten Terps to 14 points.
Jason Cabinda - Third Team All-Big
Ten (Coaches) Honorable Mention (Media)
After retuning from an injury that sidelined him for five games, Cabinda picked right up where he left off in his first game back on the field, helping the team to a comeback victory against second-ranked Ohio State. Returning as a veteran leader of the linebacker unit, Cabinda logged 13 tackles in the win against the Buckeyes, including a career-high 2.0 tackles for loss.
- Following the standout performance against the Buckeyes, Cabinda was awarded a Helmet Sticker by College Football Final.
- Since returning against Ohio State, Cabinda is averaging 8.3 tackles per game across the last six games, with no fewer than eight in all but one outing in the stretch.
- Dating back to 2015, Cabinda has logged eight or more stops nine of his last 11 games he has played in the Blue and White.
Marcus Allen - Third Team All-Big
Ten (Coaches) Honorable Mention (Media)
Nittany Lion safety Marcus Allen has made tremendous contributions to the Penn State secondary as a key impact player throughout the season. Some of those notable performances include a 22-tackle performance in the overtime win against Minnesota and of course, the unforgettable Ohio State field goal attempt he blocked just in time for Grant Haley to return it 60-yards for the game-winning touchdown.
- With injuries hindering the linebacker unit, Allen stepped up for the 22-tackle performance against the Golden Gophers, registering the most tackles by a Penn State player since Paul Posluszny had 22 against Northwestern in 2005, and the most by a Big Ten Player since 2011.
- Allen also earned Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors following the career-high performance against Minnesota as well as Rose Bowl Game Player of the Week honors.
- Allen's blocked field goal against Ohio State set up what is believed to be the only time in program history a blocked field goal has been returned for a touchdown. His blocked field goal was the first since Kyle Baublitz blocked a field goal try in the quadruple overtime win against Michigan in 2013. He also posted six tackles against the Buckeyes, on the way to Co-Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors, which he shared with Haley.
All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
- Linebacker Brandon Bell
- Cornerback John Reid
- Punter Blake Gillikin
- Defensive tackle Parker Cothren
Big Ten Sportsmanship Honoree
- Long snapper Tyler Yazujian