PJ Mustipher

Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher is helped off the field at halftime after sustaining an injury in the first quarter on Saturday.

STATE COLLEGE — Much of the focus surrounding Penn State on the injury front is centered around the status of quarterback Sean Clifford, but the Nittany Lions also took another significant blow in last weekend’s loss at Iowa.

Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher, a team captain, will miss the rest of the season with an injury, coach James Franklin said Wednesday.

“PJ is out of the year,” Franklin said Wednesday evening after practice. “As you know, that’s the one time I’ll answer that, if you ask specifically about a guy. I talked to PJ ahead of time. I never want to make an announcement without talking to a player first. I think that’s the right thing to do. But PJ will be out for the year, for the season.”

Franklin’s announcement on Mustipher’s season-ending injury came after he didn’t provide an update on Clifford’s status moving forward.

Mustipher left No. 7 Penn State’s 23-20 loss at No. 2 Iowa last Saturday after the fifth play from scrimmage. Mustipher was down on the field for an extended period of time and needed to be helped off the field. He remained on the sideline for the rest of the first half and spent some time on an exercise bike, but he returned to the sideline in street clothes and on crutches after halftime.

The 6-foot-4, 326-pound Mustipher, a senior, was an anchor in the middle of the Penn State defensive line this season. He had 21 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack this season.

There are some questions for the Nittany Lions about the depth behind Mustipher at the position. Duke transfer Derrick Tangelo, a fifth-year senior, has been solid next to Mustipher, while redshirt sophomore Dvon Ellies emerged as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the rotation, Ellies was injured against Iowa but returned.

Redshirt senior Fred Hansard helped fill in at defensive tackle, while redshirt freshman Coziah Izzard has flashed at times this season and fellow redshirt freshman Amin Vanover has seen playing time in particular packages.

“I thought the guys that went in behind did some good things,” Franklin said. “Obviously, PJ, we think, is an elite level player, so they still got work to do. But I thought overall, those guys did some pretty good things.”

Redshirt freshmen Fatorma Mulbah and Cole Brevard could be options to see more time, along the sophomore Jordan van den Berg, a junior college transfer from Iowa Western who joined the team this summer.

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