STATE COLLEGE — Lamont Wade began his Penn State career in 2017 as a cornerback, but he was moved to safety last season.
He's thrived in his new position.
Wade recorded seven tackles against Indiana last week in a game where he recorded his 100th-career tackle. He ranks fourth on the defense this year with 51 tackles.
On Saturday, the junior will help anchor a secondary that will face its toughest task to date when No. 9 Penn State visits No. 2 Ohio State.
Wade is up for the challenge.
“I feel like these guys are one of the best teams in the country, and they have the best offense in the country right now,” Wade said. “It’s a task we’re looking forward to going up against. Their guys are really athletic and fast, they have a lot of speed everywhere. I feel like we match up pretty good.”
The Nittany Lions’ defense this year has mostly faced traditional, pro-style quarterbacks, but Saturday it’ll be tasked with corralling one of the country’s most prolific dual-threat signal-callers in Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Fields owns 31 passing touchdowns and 2,164 yards passing this season, and his mobility has earned him another 511 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
“They’ve put together an impressive roster, and they’re playing at a high level right now,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said on Wednesday. “And obviously, Justin has come in … I think he’s taken it to another level for them.”
As the Nittany Lions’ defense prepares for Fields, Wade said facing Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey last Saturday was good preparation.
“He’s a real mobile guy," Wade said of Ramsey. "He’s in the pocket, he’ll drop back (or) drop back and run, you never know. So I feel like it’s a good task going up against a quarterback like that."
Ohio State’s offense is averaging an FBS fourth-best 7.26 yards per play and 541.7 yards per game, which is also good enough to rank fourth in FBS. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 318-38 in the first half.
While the Buckeyes have feasted on explosive plays this year to build insurmountable leads on opponents, Wade said possessing a short memory and taking the game one play at a time are traits he carries into each contest. Saturday won't be any different.
“That’s what you sign up for whenever you come to a place like this, where week in and week out we’re playing good teams, quality teams, teams that have guys just like us,” Wade said. “Playing in this league, guys are going to make plays. But we’re going to make plays, too. So we can’t hang our head over one play, because we have four quarters to play.”