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Nittany Lion of the Month: Anthony Zettel

Hometown: West Branch, Michigan

Class: Senior

Position: Defensive Tackle

Height: 6-4

Weight: 284

Key Stat: 34 percent of Zettel’s 96 career tackles have come behind the line of scrimmage. He wrecks offenses.

Did You Know? Zettel does a few really good animal impressions and has hit two holes-in-one in golf. He’s also an accomplished dancer. Really, he is!

The Skinny: No Penn State player played the past few weeks with as heavy a heart as Zettel whose father passed away the day before Penn State’s game against San Diego State after a long battle with cancer.

Zettel responded by playing one of the best games of his career. He led the team with seven tackles with 2 ½ for a loss, helped out on a sack, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.

He’s been one of Penn State’s better – maybe its best – defensive linemen the last three seasons and he spoke with reporters for the first time since his father’s death the night before the San Diego State game. He revealed he’d been driving back to Michigan to visit his dad the last few weeks, a trip he made three times.

Here’s a bit of the exchange:

Belated condolences. I wondered if you could talk about what it's been like for you.
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Me and my family went through a hard time but I think when you got a group of guys in the locker room like I have and a group of guys at home, family friends that surround me with support, I think that really takes the edge off everything and makes me be able to fight through it and deal with it better.

Q. What was your last time like with your dad, do you mind sharing that? Just some of the proud talk that you guys had, father and son?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I seen him last at Temple, I got to go up and speak with him, and that moment will stay with me forever. Also, I talked to him on the phone Tuesday. Trying to support my mom and sister and everybody. I think it was -- it was good to see him and Coach gave me a lot of leeway to go home and spend time.

Q. That San Diego State game was one of your best. What did it mean to you to come out after your father's passing and have a strong game like that?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: I think everybody was on point, I was more focused than I've ever been. I felt like he was with me there every step of the way so it just felt different, and I know every game I play from now on out or whatever I do in life he's going to be with me.

Q. Anthony how has being at Penn State helped you through everything and how much does the rest of your season mean to you?
ANTHONY ZETTEL: Yeah, I think I was looking back, my time at Penn State is slowly coming to an end. I've been here for four or five years and it's amazing to think that I've been here that long and I've played in this stadium for that many times. Looking into these next couple of games I want to do this for the Penn State football family, this town, this community, my teammates, my coaches, my family back home, I have a lot to play for and it really makes playing hard every game a lot easier, so I have a lot of passion and stuff for this school and this university.