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The Walker Report: Newcomers Tinsley, Diaz Made Big Impact in Win over Purdue

Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics: Manny Diaz

Two newcomers made their mark for Penn State in Thursday’s 35-31 win at Purdue: Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Tinsley and new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Tinsley made an early impact, scoring Penn State’s first touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass from Sean Clifford. Then on the game-winning drive, he had a 27-yard catch and run to set up  Keyvone Lee’s game-winning 10-yard touchdown catch.

Tinsley led Penn State with seven catches for 84 yards and put the chemistry that he built with Clifford by rooming together in the offseason on display. Whenever things got dicey in the fourth quarter, Clifford looked to No. 5.

The duo of Clifford-Tinsley duo could be one of the Big Ten’s best if both stay healthy.

Diaz and the Penn State defense are in transition after with losing a lot of talent to the NFL, and lost freshman linebacker Abdul Carter because of a targeting penalty early in the game. But late in the first half and in the fourth quarter, the defense showed what its capable of becoming.

When Purdue was driving down the field towards the end of the first half, Zakee Wheatley forced a critical fumble recovered by Joey Porter Jr.,  leading to a touchdown that put Penn State up 21-10 at the half.

After Purdue scored twice in the third quarter,  Penn State allowed 44 yards and one first down for the rest of the game. There were rough spots, with three pass interference penalties and O’Connell throwing for 358 yards. But Penn State’s defense did enough to win, and recorded two sacks in the fourth quarter, one of them being from another newcomer, Chop Robinson, to close out the game.

When talking to Penn State defensive players in the off-season they described playing for Diaz and his defensive scheme in one word: Energy. That energy is already on full display.

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

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