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IWe are just a day away from Penn State‘s matchup against the Auburn Tigers. We all know what Auburn’s quarterback Bo Nix is capable of. Some games, he can be on his game, but other times he struggles with inconsistency.
This is a perfect game for Penn State’s defense to put themselves on the map and make a statement.
Let’s take a look at the top defensive keys to win this game tomorrow.
Pressuring Bo Nix
This has been mentioned a few times from previous opponents, but out of every matchup this season for Penn State, this will be a crucial component to this game. Bo Nix hasn’t beaten a top-tier SEC school since Auburn’s matchup against Arkansas last season. You could even go as far back as 2019 when he defeated Alabama at the beginning of the season. Nix doesn’t have too much experience against Big Ten schools, losing to Northwestern last year. If the Nittany Lions defense can be lethal like they have been the past two games, this should be a field day for them.
Auburn Tigers quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws the ball during warm ups at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.
Stop Tank Bigsby
Penn State has a very productive run defense. To stop Bigsby, the Nittany Lions are going to need a big game from defensive tackle PJ Mustipher. He’s been off to a solid start. This will be a good game for Mustipher to raise his draft stock, especially against one of the most productive running backs in college football. Bigsby had an incredible your last season and he’s been off to a solid start in 2021. Penn State‘s run defense is going to get worked tomorrow. If they can stop Bigsby, that will be a huge turning point to this game.
Auburn Tigers running back Tank Bigsby (4) runs the ball at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Auburn Tigers leads Alabama State Hornets 20-0 at halftime.
Big Game from Linebacker Duo
Auburn has a productive passing game, but Penn State’s secondary is more than capable of preventing the big plays. This last factor ties into applying pressure to Bo Nix. That factor is guys like Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks having productive games. Brooks didn’t play until the second half last week after a targeting ejection against Wisconsin week one. Smith has played lights out the first two weeks. If both players can you continue to be hot, this will be an exciting defense to watch all game.
Sep 4, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Kendric Pryor (3) rushes with the football in front of Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Smith (12) after catching a pass during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks tackles Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi (6) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
It’s a white out in Happy Valley tomorrow. Penn State’s defense can apply these three components to the game, this will be a nice win on their resume as they continue to rise up the polls.