Penn State safety Marcus Allen still soaring off elusive 1st interception
UNIVERSITY PARK — From an outsider point of view, Penn State safety Marcus Allen is known as the guy who blocked the field goal against Ohio State or posts crazy locker room videos on social media following Penn State victories or as a potential top-five NFL defensive back prospect for the 2018 draft. But to the Penn State football team, he's even more.
This year, Allen was named one of team captains and was dubbed a field general by coach James Franklin.
“To see Marcus get a turnover tonight was awesome,” Franklin said following the 56-0 victory over Georgia State. “He has been one of the better field generals in the country in terms of getting our defense lined up and making adjustments.”
Allen is known to be more of tackler. Last season he finished with team-high 110 tackles. On Saturday, he passed Brandon Short, Shane Conlan and John Skorupan to move to eighth on the Penn State all-time list for career tackles. He is 32 shy of 300 for his career. However, it was Allen's first career interception that stole the spotlight.
Just under six minutes left in the second quarter, Allen dropped back into coverage and Georgia State's Conner Manning threw it right to Allen, who returned it 50 yards.
“I said to my dad, ‘I promise you I am going to get an interception before I leave Penn State,' and it came, so I'm really happy,” Allen said. “You don't understand how much work that I have been putting in.”
The 102,000 people in the crowd erupted, however they were not the only ones who were ecstatic. Star running back Saquon Barkley, who Allen describes as a brother to him, fellow running Mark Allen were seen going crazy on the sidelines and jumping all over Allen. Allen's fellow defensive teammates felt the same regarding the senior's first interception.
“That was awesome for him,” linebacker Brandon Smith said. “Marcus is a big hitter and a lot of times he goes for the breakup and tackle, but he finally found the ball and got an interception.”
With a strong social media following (Allen goes by @Chico_Hndrxx on twitter and has over 50,000 followers), the safety loves posting videos of the Penn State locker room following games. However, this past week he and linebacker Jason Cabinda were upset by an image showing a flier that was posted by a white supremacist group and took to social media to voice change. Penn State released a statement later on, condemning the fliers and the group, which Penn State said is not affiliated with the university.
With Penn State preparing to go up against a 3-0 Iowa team on the road to open Big Ten play, artificial noise has been used at practice to help prepare for a tough home crowd. Franklin has stated the noise at practice has reached over 100 decibels in preparation for Saturday's game.
“I wouldn't say (the noise) should have any effect on us at all,” said Allen. “We'll just stick together and play to our standard.”
Iowa has been a tough matchup for Penn State in the past. In 2008 and '09, when Penn State was ranked in the top-5, the Hawkeyes handed the Nittany Lions their first loss in both seasons. However, Penn State has three straight victories over Iowa, including a 41-14 blowout last season.