Shareef Miller delivered a huge performance in Penn State’s 22-10 win over Wisconsin, finishing with two sacks and a fumble recovery Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
The redshirt junior defensive end is now second on the team with six sacks this season. Only sophomore Yetur Gross-Matos has more (eight).
The Nittany Lions have recorded 34 sacks through their first 10 games following a five-sack showing versus the Badgers. Penn State entered Saturday’s game tied with Michigan for the most sacks in the Big Ten.
Miller recovered a Wisconsin fumble midway through the fourth quarter, but coughed the ball up himself before the Badgers fell on it deep in their own territory.
“We wanted to make a big statement,” Miller said. “They kept talking about their offensive line. We kept hearing offensive line this and that. We understood that they were a great offensive line, and we were ready for the test.”
Miller and Gross-Matos are two of the more formidable defensive ends in the conference and both are likely to play on Sundays in the future. Gross-Matos, who forced his own fumble recovery in the win, may even be the best pro prospect on Penn State’s roster given the supreme value elite pass rushers command in today’s NFL.
Miller and the rest of Brent Pry’s defense did an excellent job containing a Wisconsin passing attack led by backup quarterback Jack Coan, who started in place of West Chester, PA native Alex Hornibrook. Penn State held Coan to just 60 passing yards and Amani Oruwariye and Nick Scott came down with interceptions.
Hornibrook missed both games against his home-state Nittany Lions, sitting out the 2016 Big Ten Championship and Saturday’s contest while going through concussion protocol.
Miller has 24 tackles so far in his second season as a starter for defensive line coach Sean Spencer. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Miller is no doubt a stabilizing force for a young Penn State team.
His pressure off the edge allowed Wisconsin native Robert Windsor to collect the first of his two sacks on the afternoon. James Franklin discussed Miller’s development as a player and a person earlier this season.
“I’m really proud of Shareef in so many ways,” Franklin said. “His evolution across the board has been really impressive. I think Shareef’s a great example of why we’re in college athletics.”
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