【N.J】 Penn State’s Ji’Ayir Brown receives national recognition after win over Auburn – New Jersey News

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Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown received another honor Tuesday for his performance at Auburn when the Football Writers Association of America named him the Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.

Brown, a 5-11, 202-pound senior from Trenton, N.J., made five tackles (four solo), one sack, one forced fumble, one interception and one quarterback hurry in the Nittany Lions’ 41-12 romp past the Tigers.

On Monday, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He tied for the national lead with six interceptions last year.

“It’s about time,” Brown said about his first interception this season after the game. “I haven’t been getting much action at all. Finally, somebody threw it my way and I got to make a play. I’m gonna continue to do that.”

Penn State forced four turnovers, registered 11 tackles for loss and sacked Auburn quarterbacks T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford six times.

“The first two games we played (against Purdue and Ohio), the offensive schemes kind of limited our DBs,” Brown said. “They were getting the ball off quick, not trying to go down the field, not really trying to test us and playing the safer route.

“Auburn came out today, and they wanted to test their athletes against ours. We were able to make some plays.”

Manning goes undercover: Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning went undercover to film an episode of Eli’s Place last month at Penn State, which ESPN released this week.

Manning put on a disguise as “Chad Powers” and participated in Penn State’s walk-on tryouts with the blessing of Nittany Lions coach James Franklin. He participated in drills and threw several passes to students who were trying out without them knowing his actual identity.

Lions offensive analyst Danny O’Brien, the former Maryland quarterback, conducted the drills and was not in on the joke until Manning peeled off his wig and latex disguise.

“We got a pretty good relationship with the Manning family,” Franklin said. “When they reached out about doing this, obviously we wanted to be a part of it because I think Eli has done a great job with all this.

“It worked out. It was something I thought was kind of unique and different, but it also wasn’t going to cause us any distractions or issues.”

During Manning’s visit to Penn State, he spoke in front of the team and surprised punter Barney Amor, telling him the Lions had put him on scholarship.

“When you’re able to have somebody like that on campus and deliver a message,” Franklin said, “it was a good opportunity.”

Hammer time: A Penn State defensive player has carried a huge mallet onto the field for each game as a reward for having the hardest hit in the previous game, Franklin said.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has created the award in his first season with the Lions.

“It’s something that Manny brought with him (from Miami) and wanted to do,” Franklin said. “Where it came from, I don’t know. Maybe Manny made it in his woodshop in his basement. I’m not sure of the details.”

Franklin said the offense began presenting a similar award last year to the best finisher.

“We’re just trying to reinforce the physical aspect,” he said, “and emphasize toughness.”

High ratings: CBS Sports said that Penn State’s victory at Auburn last Saturday was the most-watched college football game on any network last weekend.

The game averaged more than 4 million viewers. It was Penn State’s first appearance on CBS since 2000.

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