Safety Drew Astorino got his 2011 campaign off to a good start on Saturday by playing a key defensive role in the Nittany Lions' 41-7 victory against Indiana State.
In the first quarter, he picked off a Ronnie Fouch pass and returned it deep into Sycamore territory. Penn State was unable to cash in on the ensuing possession, but the interception set Indiana State back nevertheless.
"We were playing cover two, he kind of over threw it and I was there," Astorino said postgame. "I just made a play."
The safety also knocked down a pair of passes later in the game in addition to notching a tackle in the Penn State victory.
Astornio wasn't the only player to have a big day in the secondary, however. Adrian Amos picked off a pass in the fourth quarter to set up a Shane McGregor touchdown run, and as a unit, the secondary held Fouch and the Sycamore passing game to just 105 yards on the day.
After the game, Astornio was pleased with the secondary's effort, but said he still sees room for improvement.
"I thought we did OK," Astorino said. "We gave up one big pass that I can recall. I thought we played well, but we've got to keep working."
Next week, the competition should kick up a notch with Alabama visiting Happy Valley. The Crimson Tide's two quarterbacks fighting for the starting job could be vulnerable to some interceptions, however. Both threw two against Kent State on Saturday in Alabama's 48-7 win against just one combined touchdown. We'll see if Astorino and the Penn State secondary can have another big day against that group.