STATE COLLEGE – Sixteen Penn State seniors will play in their final game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday when the Nittany Lions host Rutgers in the regular-season finale.
For Penn State linebacker and captain Cam Brown, this week has been a balancing act for managing the emotions that accompany playing his final game in front of more than 100,000 loyal Nittany Lions supporters.
“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about it, the process, just everything going through,” Brown said. “It’s going to be an emotional weekend for me, like mentally, at least. But the game of football is about containing emotions and playing the game.”
A win against Rutgers on Saturday would solidify Penn State’s third double-digit win season in four years, an achievement Penn State head coach James Franklin deserves widespread acclaim.
“As you guys know, five years ago where the program was compared to where it is now, it’s dramatically different,” Franklin said. “I think you guys have heard me talk about that I don’t know if that story is talked about enough. And the reality is, those guys, and guys like them, guys who were fifth-year seniors before that, they’re owed most of the credit.”
Brown this season has been a consistent source of leadership not just on the defense, but for the entire team. He gave an impassioned message after last year’s loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, and he’s followed his words with actions. He’s accumulated 62 tackles while forcing one fumble and recovering two others this season.
Penn State this season ranks 27th nationally in total defense (325.4 yards per game), and it sits at ninth in the nation in scoring defense (14.4 points per game). While the accolades and statistics are appreciated, Brown said he’d like to be thought of as a player who gave his all when viewed through the lens of Penn State football history.
“I want to be remembered as a guy who played hard all the time, has fought through what he could fight through, and try to be out there for his team and tried to push and lead this year,” Brown said.
Penn State safety and captain Garrett Taylor earned his degree in advertising and public relations last December and is in the process of earning a graduate degree in telecommunications.
He’ll join Penn State’s 15 other seniors who will conclude their home careers on Saturday. Taylor’s recorded 68 tackles and two pass breakups this season, and he’s been a Big Ten All-Academic selection his redshirt freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
For Taylor, the most fulfilling part of his Penn State journey has been providing a positive influence on and off the field.
“I think first and foremost, I just kind of want to be remembered as a great teammate,” Taylor said. “A guy who people on the team felt like they could come to for whatever it may be. Whether it’s personal issues, football issues, I want to be a guy that people found approachable and helpful in their times of need.”