Jordan Lucas

Penn State loses senior safety Jordan Lucas to season-ending injury

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Penn State is entering a bye week with just two games left to play in the regular season before heading to whatever bowl may come their way. They will play these final three games of the season without senior safety Jordan Lucas. The school announced today Lucas is done for the year due to an unspecified injury.

Penn State head coach James Franklin rarely shares much information regarding injuries, so the exact extent of the injury not being revealed is not unexpected. The loss of Lucas is a significant one with games against Michigan and Michigan State still to play. Lucas leaves the team as the defense’s fourth-leading tackler (56) and a forced fumble. Before the injury, Lucas appeared in 40 consecutive games for the Nittany Lions, including a number of games  in the abbreviated sanction phase for the program. A New York native, Lucas now wraps up his Penn State career with 180 career tackles, 117 of which were solo tackles. He has at least 50 tackles in each of the past three seasons, including 2015.

With Lucas out of the picture, Penn State’s next man up will likely be Malik Golden, who has appeared second on the depth chart behind Lucas this season. The redshirt junior has appeared in all 10 games this season and has recorded 17 tackles and intercepted one pass.

It took one sack allowed to break Penn State’s confidence

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Penn State head coach James Franklin is facing many questions about his team after the Nittany LKions opened the new season the program’s first loss to Temple since 1941. Penn State’s offensive line was tissue-paper thin against the Owls, allowing 10 sacks when all was said and done and the clock finally showed triple zeroes Saturday. Apparently it took just one sack to break the confidence of Penn State’s offense.

This all went down in the city of brotherly love, and Penn State was not mentally prepared to fight back like Rocky Balboa. Penn State was more Glass Joe than The Italian Stallion.

In his Tuesday press conference with the beat reporters, Franklin said Penn State lost its confidence on the sideline after Temple recorded its first sack of Christian Hackenberg. Franklin suggested the team and fans need to remain calm and keep a positive vibe going, as difficult as that may be at this early juncture following that performance on Saturday. Offensive coordinator John Donovan is already under a microscope in Happy Valley, with Franklin saying his coordinator is being evaluated along with everything else within the program. Penn State’s playcalling was suspect last fall and it got off to another rough start in 2015. Things started well but as Temple gained control of the game and established a confidence level Penn State was unable to match, Penn State’s playcalling seemed to play to Temple’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. Running east-west and needing too much time for a play to develop never allowed Penn State’s offense to get back in the swing of things. The offensive line can take plenty of blame for this, although there was plenty of blame to spread around.

Penn State allowed 41 sacks on Hackenberg last season. The Nittany Lions seemed to add some depth to the line this offseason with the additions of Stanford graduate transfer Kevin Reihner and JUCO transfer Paris Palmer, and things actually started well for the Nittany Lions in the first quarter. Penn State’s running game had an early impact as Penn State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but it was all Temple from that point on. Temple’s solid defense lived up to some of the preseason hype and showed why the Owls could be a contender in the American Athletic Conference. Temple will have to keep that intensity up when the Owls travel to Cincinnati this weekend. The Bearcats are the preseason favorite in the American. If Temple can get out of there with a win, the Owls should feel extra confident the rest fo the way.

Penn State will be getting ready to host Buffalo, but not before putting the Temple loss to bed. Penn State’s team captains used a shovel to bury the Temple game tape on the practice field.

Bednarik Award watch list names 76 players

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Watchlist season continued Monday with the release of the 2014 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list by the Maxwell Football Club. A total of 76 players were named to the watch list.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is awarded to the nation’s top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was named the Bednarik Award winner each of the first two years the award was presented (1995 and 1996), and Penn State has had four Bednarik Award winners, the most of any school. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the 2013 Bednarik Award winner.

This year’s watch list includes three of last year’s semifinalists, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and USC defensive end Leonard Williams. Georgia has three linebackers on the watch list and Stanford continues to gain respect on defense with four players named to the watch list.

Here is the 2014 Bednarik Award watch list:

DE Henry Anderson, Stanford

LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson

DE Vic Beasley, Clemson

DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State

DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DT Malcom Brown, Texas

DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

CB Alex Carter, Stanford

S Sam Carter, TCU

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

DE Frank Clark, Michigan

S Landon Collins, Alabama

DT Christian Covington, Rice

S Su’a Cravens, USC

DT Carl Davis, Iowa

LB Trey DePriest, Alabama

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane

S Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State

DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky

DE Mario Edwards, Florida State

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

DE Devonte Fields, TCU

DE Try Flowers, Arkansas

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

DE Dante Fowler, Florida

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DE Markus Golden, Missouri

DE Randy Gregory, Nebrska

LB Bryce Hager, Baylor

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

DE Eli Harold, Virginia

S Anthony Harris, Virginia

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas

DT Chucky Hunter, TCU

DE Martin Ifedl, Memphis

LB Myles Jack, UCLA

DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson

LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington

CB Jordan Lucas, Penn State

DT Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech

LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple

LB Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville

LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Terrance Plummer, UCF

S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

DE Cedric Reed, Texas

S Jordan Richards, Stanford

DE A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

DT James Rouse, Marshall

CB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame

LB Jake Ryan, Michigan

LB Frank Shannon, Oklahoma

DT Danny Shelton, Washington

S Derron Smith, Fresno State

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma

LB A.J. Tarpley, Stanford

S Robenseon Therezie, Auburn

LB Shaq Thompson, Washington

CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State

DE Leonard Williams, USC

CB P.J. Williams, Florida State

LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia

Earlier today the Paul Hornung Award watch list was released. The Maxwell Award watch list was released alongside the Bednarik Award watch list as well.