UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — After losing six starters to the NFL, there were a lot of questions about how good Penn State’s defense would be, but Ji’Ayir Brown was never worried.

“”I knew this defense was gonna be a great defense. I knew the kind of things we were going to be able to accomplish with this defense,” said Brown. “I just knew that it was a matter of time before we realized that as a whole. But me personally I knew we had the guys. We had the guy’s last year in the Arkansas bowl game where I saw them play.”

James Franklin refers to Brown as the quarterback of the defense and the return of the sixth year senior has been a big boost for the Nittany Lions defense. He leads the team in tackles and on the season he has three interceptions and three sacks. In recent weeks his playing time has gone up too. Franklin said that when looking deeper into the play of the secondary, all of their defensive backs play their best football when Brown is on the field.

“We’re a better defense when Tig’s on the field in the back-end kind of running the back seven,” said Franklin. “He’s able to impact the game in both the run game and in the pass game. He’s a really well-rounded football player and he’s been a phenomenal leader for us.”

Penn State shutout a stout Maryland offense last week and has held seven of its 10 opponents to 17 or fewer points. Penn State’s defense is on a roll now as they travel to Rutgers to take on an offense that’s hit the 20 point mark just four times this season.