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PSU Seniors Get Chance At Impact vs. Wisconsin's RBs

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Penn State defensive linemen DaQuan Jones can improve his draft standing with good play against Wisconsin's running back duo today. Photo by David Dermer/Getty Images.
Penn State defensive linemen DaQuan Jones can improve his draft standing with good play against Wisconsin's running back duo today. Photo by David Dermer/Getty Images.

Penn State’s seniors will have played their final collegiate snaps within the next 24 hours, barring a marathon of overtimes in Wisconsin.

They could go out like last year’s class, winning an epic overtime battle against the Badgers, though fans wouldn’t storm the field this time.

No worries. This is still their shot, a last chance to show that they belong at the next level.

The greatest battle will be fought in the trenches by Penn State’s DaQuan Jones and Glenn Carson, the leaders of a largely inconsistent, sometimes even historically bad, defense. It’s a defense that gave up 686 yards and 63 points just more than a month ago to Ohio State, one that let no-name quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Nate Sudfeld carve them apart.

Carson and Jones have grabbed the praise of NFL scouts over the last two seasons.

For Jones, it’s an opportunity to showcase his three-down playmaking ability again. Once known as a good run stuffer, Jones lost weight to add dangerous pass rusher to his list of strengths. Most teams have failed to neutralize him. He could solidify a first-round grade with another great performance.

If the draft started today, Carson still would be two days away from being drafted, so this final game is a chance to show that he’s not a late-round afterthought.

And what better team to do it against than Wisconsin?

They’ve got two running backs, Melvin Gordon and James White, who are entering the game with less than 200 carries, but who have each rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns. They are each going to be drafted and given opportunities to be playmakers in the NFL.

As far as the quality of opponent, Carson and Jones couldn’t have asked for a better task. The Nittany Lions haven’t faced a running game as lethal as Wisconsin’s this season and putting a stop to White and Gordon could be the boost that Carson and Jones need before they make the next step in their football careers.