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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior safety Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and senior linebacker Jason Cabinda are among the 20 student-athletes selected as quarterfinalists for the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy. Additionally, head coach James Franklin is among the 20 coaches selected to the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy honors the top defensive player in college football who makes the biggest impact for his team, both on and off the field. The award is given to a distinguished young man who represents the qualities embodied by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. Penn State’s Carl Nassib won the award in 2015.
In its 32nd year, the Bryant Award recognizes the country’s top college football coaches for their contributions both on and off the field. The Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor selected after all bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association. A Penn State head coach has won the Bryant Award twice times (Joe Paterno, 1986; Bill O’Brien, 2012).
Allen is second on the team with 35 tackles, including 4.0 tackles for loss and a sack. He pulled in his first career interception against Georgia State and returned it 50 yards to set up a Penn State touchdown. Allen also has three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a safety on the season. He earned the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week on Sept. 12 for his 13-tackle performance against Pittsburgh. He was the also named to the Jim Thorpe Award honor roll for his efforts against the Panthers.
Cabinda leads the squad with 40 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack. He also has one fumble recovery with a 4-yard return. Cabinda was the Lott IMPACT Trophy Player of the Week after tying his career high with 14 tackles against Indiana. He was also named to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week for his efforts against the Hoosiers. Cabinda logged eight tackles against Pittsburgh and six stops at Iowa.
Franklin has guided the Nittany Lions to the No. 2 ranking in both polls, its highest ranking since 1999. The Nittany Lions are bowl eligible with a 6-0 start to the season, meaning that Franklin has led his teams to bowl eligibility in all seven of his seasons as a head coach. He is one of nine active coaches to accomplish that feat. Penn State’s 6-0 start is its best start since going 9-0 in 2008 en route to a conference title and Rose Bowl appearance. The Nittany Lions are 15-1 in their last 16 games.
The second-ranked Nittany Lions hosting No. 19/15 Michigan Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. The game can also be heard on GoPSUsports.com and the Penn State Sports Network. Penn State will also host ESPN’s College GameDay Built by the Home Depot Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon on the Old Main Lawn.
Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State football season presented by PSECU are available for two of the three remaining home games (Rutgers, Nebraska). For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 9 a.m-4:30 p.m. More than 9,000 new season tickets have been sold and the season ticket allotment for 2017 has been exhausted.