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REPORT: Penn State football loses second defensive lineman to season-ending injury this week

The season-ending injury is the second on the defensive line this week for Penn State football.



Penn State football, Alonzo Ford, defensive lineman
Penn State football head coach James Franklin listens to a question from a member of the media during football media day at Beaver Stadium on Sunday, August 6, 2023, in State College.

Late Thursday night, news surfaced that Penn State football had lost defensive lineman Alonzo Ford for the season due to injury. The news, first reported by Sean Fitz of Blue-White Illustrated, is a serious blow to the Nittany Lions’ depth on the defensive front. Penn State added Ford from the transfer portal in May, and the junior figured to be a rotational piece this fall. Ford’s absence is the second blow to Penn State’s defensive front this week, also losing Smith Vilbert for the season.

Penn State defensive lineman Alonzo Ford suffers season-ending injury

Thursday night, Blue-White Illustrated reported that Penn State would lose transfer defensive tackle Alonzo Ford for the season due to injury. The news was later confirmed by 247Sports and others. Little else is known about the nature of the injury at this time due to the program’s policy to keep injury details largely private.

Alonzo Ford joined the Nittany Lions’ roster from Old Dominion via the transfer portal in May. Coached by former Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne, Ford recorded over 70 tackles in two seasons at Old Dominion. Last season, Ford’s 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks were enough to earn him an All-Sun Belt Conference honorable mention. A true junior, Ford can redshirt this season and maintain his eligibility for 2024.

Ford didn’t figure to factor into the starting rotation on the defensive line this season. Viewed as an area of improvement this offseason, Penn State has a talented first wave of defenders up front, but needed depth on the back end. “We’re in a good place right now,” James Franklin said of the position following April’s Blue-White Game. “But I think we need some more depth and more competition at D-Tackle.”

This is where Ford’s loss will hurt the most. On Sunday, news surfaced coming out of Penn State football media day that defensive end Smith Vilbert was also lost for the season due to injury. One of the key pieces for a potential push for a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff run this fall, Penn State will now need to figure out how to backfill depth up front to get through a grueling conference slate.

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A third-generation Penn Stater, Matt is Associate Editor for Basic Blues Nation and co-host of the podcast PSU Tailgate Talk. Matt also works as a staffer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Matt lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and a small army of pets.