McGloin’s Career Day, Inspired by Mauti Injury, Lifts Lions past Hoosiers
The Penn State Nittany Lions (7-4, 5-2 B10) received career days from Matt McGloin and Allen Robinson as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers, 45-22, at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The offensive exploits, however, were overshadowed by a devastating injury to emotional leader and defensive captain Michael Mauti in the first. The senior linebacker got his knee chopped by Indiana running back D’Angelo Roberts. No flag was thrown. Mauti was carted off the field, but not before the entire Nittany Lion bench came onto the field to greet their leader, and the fans echoed chants of “Mic-hael Mau-ti.”
Coach Bill O’Brien declined to give full details on Mauti’s status.
“He’s one of the most special players I’ve been around,” said O’Brien. “He embodies what Penn State’s all about; he’s just a fantastic kid.”
Following the loss of their leader, the Penn State defense held the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5 B10), and on the ensuing drive, McGloin went to work immediately.
With 4:26 to go in the first, on a 4th-and-3 from the Indiana 26-yard line, McGloin lofted a fade to the corner of the end zone, where Robinson leaped and snagged the pigskin to put Penn State on the board, 7-0.
After ten unanswered Hoosier points, the unfazed Nittany Lions snatched the momentum back quickly. On a 3rd down from his own 47, McGloin hit Robinson on a bubble screen, and the Michigan native broke free from the Hoosier defense and bolted 53 yards for the score. Robinson’s tenth touchdown of the season was also the longest Nittany Lion play from scrimmage in 2012.
After Indiana cut the Penn State lead to 14-13, Penn State struck back. From ten yards out, McGloin detected single coverage on Robinson and flared another lob to the sophomore, who hauled it in through interference to put Penn State up, 21-13, with 2:25 in the half. McGloin set the Penn State career record for touchdown passes with 44 following the toss to Robinson.
Not to be outdone, the Penn State linebacking corps, sans Mauti, came up with a turnover. Gerald Hodges read a Cameron Coffman pass at the line of scrimmage, leaped and made a tipping, diving interception at the Penn State 38-yard line with 1:25 on the clock.
“We took (Mauti’s injury) as motivation,” said Hodges. “When you lose a leader, we all needed to step up, and that’s what we did.”
The Nittany Lions wasted no time picking apart the Hoosiers’ secondary, as McGloin found Jesse James on the left sideline, and the tight end rumbled 42 yards down to the Indiana 20-yard line. Later, Zach Zwinak found himself alone in the flat on a wheel route, and McGloin hit him for a 16-yard touchdown to give Penn State a 28-13 lead at halftime.
Zwinak bobbled the catch as he was crossing the goal line, and after review, Penn State got the benefit of the play being called a touchdown on the field.
Indiana would not go down easy after the break. A 79-yard strike on a flat screen from Coffman to Stephen Houston put Indiana back within nine at 28-19 following an Ewald extra point miss.
Ewald countered his mistake by recovering his own surprise onside kick near midfield, but the Hoosiers failed to score on the ensuing possession.
Second half rushing scores from Zwinak and Zordich, coupled with a late Sam Ficken 28-yard field goal rounded out the scoring.
McGloin’s 395 yards passing was a new career-high, and his four touchdowns tied a career best.
In the process, McGloin also set the single season passing yardage record, breaking the previous mark of 3,003 yards by Daryll Clark in 2009.
For Robinson, his ten catches and three scores tied career highs to go along with a career-best 197 yards receiving, in the wake of his teammate’s emotional departure.
“(Mauti’s injury) amped us up a little bit,” said Robinson. “Mike (Mauti) would want us to go out fired up and win the game.”
The Nittany Lions wrap up their season on Senior Day next Saturday when they host Wisconsin. Kick time is slated for 3:30 p.m., with coverage on ComRadio beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Ryan Smith is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan Smith is a senior Sports Director at ComRadio. A Philadelphia native, Ryan’s dream career is to be a play-by-play broadcaster for the Flyers in the winter and the Phillies in the summer. Ryan is perhaps the biggest hockey fan at ComRadio. He has visited Toronto and admittedly wishes he lived there.
Ryan can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ryandsmith28