After a 24-21 upset with over No. 2 Ohio State, a trio of Penn State Nittany Lions were honored by the Big Ten Conference with weekly accolades.
Senior linebacker Brandon Bell was named the Defensive Player of the Week. The junior duo of Marcus Allen and Grant Haley shared Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
With Bell’s award, a Nittany Lion has claimed Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in three of the last four weeks. The one week a PSU player didn't win the award, the Lions had a bye. The Lions have won conference defensive accolades in three consecutive games for the first time since 2012, when Michael Mauti (Illinois), Gerald Hodges (Northwestern) and Jordan Hill (Iowa) garnered weekly plaudits.
Allen and Haley are the first Penn State players to win Special Teams Player of the Week since Sam Ficken was a two-time winner in 2014.
Bell, who was also selected as the College Sports Madness National Defensive Player of the Week, returned to the field after missing the last 4.5 games because of injury and posted a career-high 18 tackles. His previous high was 13 against Ohio State in 2014. Bell made three stops on the crucial final drive for Ohio State, which ended in back-to-back sacks.
Allen blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt by Ohio State with 4:39 minutes remaining. The block was scooped up by Haley, who returned it 60 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It was the first career block for Allen and the second career touchdown for Haley, who had a pick-6 against Temple in 2014. It is Penn State’s first blocked field goal attempt returned for a touchdown since at least 1960. The score also completed the 14-point fourth-quarter comeback, which is the largest in the fourth quarter since at least 1967.
Allen’s field goal block was the first for the Nittany Lions since Central York High School graduate Kyle Baublitz rejected a field goal attempt in the quadruple overtime win over Michigan in 2013. The Nittany Lions also blocked a punt in the fourth quarter, marking the first time that Penn State has blocked two kicks of any type in a single game since blocking two against Florida International in the 2007 season opener (a field goal and a punt).
In addition to the individual Big Ten awards, the Nittany Lions were selected as the Athlon Team of the Week, while defensive coordinator Brent Pry was named Athlon Coordinator of the Week (defensive).
Penn State is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play after the victory over the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions are back in action at Purdue Saturday at noon on ABC (with an ESPN2 mirror).