East Rutherford, NJ (WBNG Binghamton) Not one, not two, but three tackles for a loss and a team-high nine wrap-ups by Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones helped the Nittany Lion defense hold off a late surge by Syracuse at MetLife Stadium Saturday.
Jones, a Johnson City grad, entered the game with 11 career starts, but may not have been able to envision a performance like this in his senior season opener.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start," he said afterward. "I've felt good all [off] season, losing all this weight and being able to play a lot of plays, go out there and help my team out. So I really felt good going into this game."
His numbers against his hometown team also shattered his previous career high of four tackles in a game.
On the Syracuse side, it's a bitter start for new head coach Scott Shafer and new starting quarterback Drew Allen. However, both believe there are bright spots to take from this one.
"I just love to see kids fight their butt off in tough situations and they'll be life lessons they carry with them forever," said Shafer. "Hey, I hate that we came up short, and we're going to have to find a way to not come up short next week."
"It's why it's the first game and we have 11 more guaranteed," said Allen, a transfer from Oklahoma. "We've got one next week against Northwestern, we're going to correct those things, get rid of those pre-snap penalties and comeback next week strong."
The Orange will be away from the Carrier Dome for a second straight week as they travel to face the Wildcats next Saturday. Penn State returns home to host Eastern Michigan.