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Oct. 22, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) delivered a superlative effort in Penn State's 36-31 victory at Indiana as he continues his emergence as one of top defensive linemen in the nation.
Evans recorded six tackles (five solo), setting career-highs with 4.5 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks for minus-36, two forced fumbles, a 55-yard fumble return and a pass break-up in the win over the Hoosiers.
Late in the third quarter, Evans made the play of the game. Indiana had a first down at the PSU 19, trailing 23-17, when Evans sacked Kellen Lewis, forcing a fumble at the PSU 32, which he picked up and returned 55 yards to the IU 13, losing one of his shoes along the way. Kevin Kelly made a 21-yard field goal to extend the lead to 26-17.
Evans continued his torrid play on IU's next possession. He grabbed Lewis' jersey and swung him around, forcing a fumble that DT Phil Taylor recovered at the IU 7. Kelly connected on a 20-yard attempt to push the lead to 29-17 with 12:30 to play.
A standout at Christ The King High School, Evans recently was added to the Mid-season Watch List for the Ted Hendricks Award, presented to the nation's top defensive end.
Evans has recorded at least two sacks in each of the last three games. For the season, he is fourth on the team with 33 tackles (22 solo), with 18.5 TFL (minus-106), 10.5 sacks (minus-85), two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass break-ups.
The former U.S. Army All-American is No. 2 in the nation in sacks, trailing only South Florida DE George Selvie, who has 11.5 sacks. Evans is third nationally in TFL, trailing only Selvie (21.5) and Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable (19.5).
Evans has moved into ninth place on the Penn State season sacks list with 10.5. His 18.5 TFL are the most by a Nittany Lion since All-America DE Michael Haynes posted 23 in 2002.
Evans has played a significant role in the success of the Penn State defense, which is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in four categories. The Nittany Lions recorded six sacks at Indiana to move back into first nationally with 35. Penn State is tied for No. 4 in scoring defense (15.0 ppg), No. 7 in total defense (279.5 ypg), No. 9 in rushing defense (79.8 ypg) and No. 23 in pass efficiency defense (109.1 rating).
The Nittany Lions are No. 2 in the Big Ten in all the above categories other than sacks (first).
The No. 24 Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-2) will host No. 1 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) for a showdown on Saturday at 8 p.m. A "Rally in the Valley" will be held Friday at 8 p.m. in Rec Hall, with Coach Joe Paterno and the team participating. A Student White Out has been declared for the clash, which will air on ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State will be hosting the nation's No. 1 team for the first time since Notre Dame visited Happy Valley in 1989.