|Follow PSU Football:||Follow @PennStateFball|
Oct. 23, 2011
By Tony Mancuso
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State sophomore tailback Silas Redd prides himself on yards after contact.
The Norwalk, Conn., native rarely goes down after the initial hit. Redd put his hard-nosed running on display Saturday night with another career performance in Penn State's (7-1, 4-0) 34-24 victory at Northwestern (2-5, 0-4). The sophomore leads the Big Ten in rushing during conference games with 566 yards (141.5 ypg) in four contests.
Always humble, Redd was quick to say thank you to the Nittany Lion offensive line for their efforts on Saturday night. But the evening belonged to No. 25. He registered a career-high 164 yards on 18 carries (9.1 ypc), many of which coming after initially being hit.
"From being a young boy, (yards after contact) was something I prided myself with," Redd said. "My mother, father instilled in me as a kid."
Just down the Lake Michigan shore from Ryan Field, Chicago Bears all-time great Walter Payton made a career out of superb running after contact. Redd is a football history buff, and he likes to play with some of Payton's running style that he has watched on film since he was a child.
"His ways of running the ball kind of instilled in me, as well," said Redd.
One season after scoring his first career touchdown in Penn State's 35-21 victory over Northwestern, Redd added another career night against the Wildcats. Redd laughed after the game when he was asked if it was something about Northwestern that brings out the best in him.
"It feels great," said Redd. "I just want to keep progressing every week."
Of Redd's 18 carries on Saturday night, none was more important than the 19-yard gallop for a touchdown in the third quarter. The scoring play came one snap after Gerald Hodges returned a Dan Persa interception 63 yards. Redd wasted little time putting the Lions up 34-24.
"We were up going into halftime and that touchdown gave us a 10-point lead," said Redd. "You knew our defense was going to come through when it counted and they did."
Hodges was the face of the Penn State defense in a challenging matchup against a potent Northwestern offense. Hodges tallied a career-best 14 tackles (eight solo) and 1.5 sacks to go along with his pivotal interception in the third quarter.
"I just try to do my best to help the team," Hodges said. "And I just try to use my talent to the best of my ability."
Hodges caught his first career interception after defensive tackle Jordan Hill tipped the Persa pass at the line of scrimmage. Hodges appeared to have an opportunity to visit the end zone play. He saw the open field and jetted towards the goal line, but fell short.
"I just ran out of gas at the end of it," Hodges joked. "I didn't want my defense to go back on the field too fast (laughter). I definitely got a little tired, but we got a touchdown out of it on the next play, so everything worked out fine."
Penn State's defense did not allow a point in the second half on Saturday night. The Lions were much more aggressive getting into the backfield in the second half en route to a season-high 7.0 sacks.
"It is definitely a blessing to come out of here 7-1," Hodges said. "Each and every week we look forward to trying to add another win to our record."
Hodges and the Nittany Lions will be looking for their eighth win at Beaver Stadium on Saturday with a crucial 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Leaders Division foe Illinois.