Senior linebacker Koa Farmer shows off his tattoos and what they mean.
Ty Lohr, email@example.com
STATE COLLEGE — Penn State’s new tackle leader is the true freshman from Harrisburg.
The “part-time” linebacker.
Micah Parsons turned in yet another consistent effort in limited snaps. He made seven tackles and provided much-needed pass-rush pressure near the end to help his defense hold on to a crucial victory over Iowa, 30-24.
Parsons’ 43 tackles now lead the team — even though he’s not a starter and shares time with senior Koa Farmer.
That says a lot about the rookie and former five-star recruit who is learning to play linebacker on the fly in the Big Ten. He hasn’t made the “splash” or highlight plays that many expected from one of the nation’s top high school prospects at any position.
He’s just been more steady than anticipated.
And when Saturday’s game was in doubt late, Parsons was on the field. He even lined up as a pass-rushing defensive end to create havoc for shaky Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
Parsons provided the perfect complementary production to one of the Nittany Lions’ fastest-rising stars on defense: sophomore Yetur Gross-Matos.
The 6-foot-5 defensive end led the Lions in tackles for the second-straight week, this time with nine stops. His four tackles for loss were a game-high and included two sacks.
Junior cornerback John Reid also turned in his third encouraging performance in his return from a torn ACL. He was credited with three pass breakups, which included a first-half interception that he returned 44 yards to the 3-yard line.
Penn State scored its first touchdown of the day on the next play.
The savior, though, may well be senior safety Nick Scott. It was his interception of a floating Stanley pass near the goal line in the final few minutes that may have kept the Lions from losing for the third time at home this season, all in excruciating fashion.
Scott also recovered a fumble and snared a late interception last week at Indiana.
He was a former running back who is a first-time starter on defense.
“We talk about championship habits in our program all the time, and Nick’s one of those guys,” coach James Franklin said after the victory. “He‘s doing everything right. … He’s a great leader, he’s a great teammate, he’s tough. He just keeps getting better.
“To see a guy like that who has done everything right get rewarded … it’s huge for us. It sends the right message in our locker room.
“I’m a big Nick Scott fan.”