Nick Tarburton hasn’t seen this much playing time since he starred at Pennridge High School in Bucks County.
Despite missing more than two seasons at Penn State with an unspecified injury, Tarburton has played in every game for the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions, including three starts. He’s been part of a three-man rotation at defensive end.
“Obviously you’re going to be a little sore here and there, but my body feels great, really healthy,” Tarburton said. “Just being able to play and log as many snaps as I have so far, it’s been a blessing. I’m just continuing to look forward to the rest of this season.”
He’s been part of a defense that ranks third in the country in points allowed (12.0) and that handed Indiana its first shutout loss in 21 years last week.
The 6-3, 255-pound Tarburton, a junior, has six tackles, two pass break-ups and one fumble recovery.
“I think I’ve done my job up to this point,” he said. “I need to continue to get better each and every day. That’s kind of my goal. I’m never satisfied. I feel good with where I’m at.”
Tarburton and fellow ends Arnold Ebiketie and Jesse Luketa have tried to make up for the loss of projected starter Adisa Isaac, who suffered a non-football injury that will sideline him the entire season.
“Losing a guy like Adisa was really tough,” Tarburton said. “They put a lot of stress on us. We were down. Losing a guy like that, it was really tough. It’s one of our brothers. Through that, you have to figure out who we are and continue to get better every day.
“Seeing him on the sideline at times hurts me. That’s why I want to continue to fight and push every day just to get better.”
Key matchup: One of the most intriguing matchups Saturday at Kinnick Stadium will be Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher against Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum.
Mustipher and Linderbaum are among the very best at their positions in the Big Ten.
“It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of PJ Mustipher, the football player, the student-athlete, the young man and a leader in our program,” Lions coach James Franklin said. “He does everything right. Their center is as good as I’ve seen. His athleticism, his ability to pull and run and get out on the edge, the mentality he plays with, it’s really impressive.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for both of them, so that’ll be an interesting matchup that I think will play a big part in this game and who’s successful and who’s not.”
Stout honored: Penn State senior punter and kicker Jordan Stout has been honored twice this week for his performance in the 24-0 win over Indiana.
He was named the Punter of the Week by the Ray Guy Award, which is presented to the nation’s top punter. He also was selected the Big Ten Co-Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time.
Stout punted six times for a 46.3 average, including four that ended up inside the Hoosiers’ 20-yard line. None was returned.
He also made a 50-yard field goal, the fourth of his career 50 yards or longer. Stout trails only former Penn State kicker Chris Bahr, who holds the school record with six field goals of at least 50 yards.
Stout also has a touchback on 28-of-30 kickoffs this season. His 93.3 touchback percentage is the highest in the FBS among kickers with 30 or more kickoffs. He’s yet to allow a kickoff return.
Source: Berkshire mont