Zwinak Comes to Play in Loss to UCF

Story posted September 15, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Ross Insana

In the early stages of the 2013 Penn State football season, freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions offense has found a way to spread the wealth to a multitude of offensive weapons. From tight end Jesse James to receivers Brandon Felder and Eugene Lewis, in addition to the most notable playmaker Allen Robinson, Hackenberg has been provided exciting toys to play with in a hurry-up offense.

In a Bill O’Brien offense that’s not only very dynamic, but diverse, sometimes the running game can tend to sometimes get lost in translation, even with a strong depth chart at running back with junior Bill Belton and sophomore Akeel Lynch. From his tenure as with the New England Patriots, O’Brien did bring with him a knack for the air-attack offense and a multi tight end set.

Nevertheless, in front of 92,855 and a white clad and energetic student section at Beaver Stadium, it was the good old fashioned, gritty, ground and pound running from the legs of senior Zack Zwinak. But much to the chagrin of the final line and box score for Zwinak, his night ended on a low note during a charge down the field for a Penn State comeback late in the fourth quarter down 34-31.

Everything seemed like smooth sailing for Zwinak, as he had himself a phenomenal night in the backfield, but in UCF territory and attempting comeback late in the game down 34-24, the back fumbled. The Knights recovered and were able to pull out a victory.

“It looked like they just stripped it out. He feels bad about that”, said O’Brien. “He ran the ball hard tonight.”

Zwinak finished his night with 128 yards on the ground on 21 carries that included three short touchdown runs of four yards, nine yards and one yard. His longest run of the night came late in the third quarter on a 38-yard run and aided by a UCF pass interference call, set up his third and final touchdown of the game.

Ross Insana is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email