Penn State Looks to Finish Strong On Senior Day Following Record-Setting Weekend

Story posted November 22, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Jason Shawley

Saturday’s win against Indiana was a monumental game for Penn State. Not only did they take the game 45-22, and hold the high-scoring Hoosiers under their season average of 30, but they set a few individual records in the process.

It has been a memorable season for fifth-year senior Matt McGloin. The Nittany Lion quarterback has exceeded all expectations this season and on Saturday put himself in the Penn State record books. McGloin broke Daryll Clark’s record for single-season passing yardage, accumulating a total of 3,071 yards with one game left. But that’s not all.

McGloin also broke Daryll Clark’s career touchdown passing record, putting up numbers 42, 43, 44 and 45 in the win. Clark’s record was 43. McGloin also came close to another record, coming just five yards shy of the single-game passing record with 395 through the air.

McGloin wasn’t the only record-setter for Penn State on Saturday. Sophomore receiver Allen Robinson had a big day as well. O.J. McDuffie and Bobby Engram had shared the Penn State record with 63 receptions in a season. Robinson took the record and ran with it, recording 10 receptions in the game, bringing his season total to 73 with a game remaining.

Though Penn State had a memorable day for good reasons, there was one play that brought the crowd to a stunned silence. Senior linebacker Michael Mauti was carted off the field in the first quarter with a knee injury after being hit with an illegal chop block by running back D’Angelo Roberts. The play did not draw a flag on the field. The crowd cheered their defensive leader off the field while “Michael Mauti” chants filled Beaver Stadium.

Mauti has been ruled out for Saturday’s finale against Wisconsin, but Penn State will still have many stars on the field, including seniors who have contributed all season. Matt McGloin will be playing his final game in blue and white and will look to go out on top against the Leaders Division representative in this year’s Big Ten Championship game. Wisconsin clinched the berth weeks ago in light of Penn State and Ohio State’s ineligibility for postseason play.

Fullback Michael Zordich will also be playing his last game for the Nittany Lions. Zordich has been one of the main contributors for Penn State on offense this season, getting many carries from the running back position. Zordich is one of Penn State’s offensive leaders and brings a passion and a fire that lights a spark under every one of his teammates.

Other notable seniors playing their final game for Penn State include Jordan Hill, Mike Farrell, Gerald Hodges, Stephon Morris, Matt Stankiewitch, and Sean Stanley.

Given Michael Mauti’s many knee injuries throughout his career at Penn State, it is possible that the NCAA could grant him a 6th year of eligibility, e.g. Case Keenum at Houston. Right now it is not known whether Mauti has played his last game for Penn State.

One returning Nittany Lion that will be looking to have a big day on Saturday is tailback Zach Zwinak. The sophomore has accumulated 821 yards on the ground this season. Though he is only 179 yards shy of 1,000, it will be tough to eclipse that mark with just one game remaining against a stingy Wisconsin defense. The Badgers’ defense ranks 14th in the country with just 17.5 points surrendered per game. Zwinak will be opposed by preseason Heisman candidate Montee Ball. Ball has rushed for 1,417 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season.

Freshman Joel Stave has been the main guy at quarterback for the Badgers since he took over as the starter against UTEP early in the season. Stave has thrown for over 1,100 yards and has completed 59% of his passes. He took over for Maryland-transfer Danny O’Brien, who also considered Penn State as a possible destination.

Wisconsin will likely rely heavily on Ball and the rushing attack, though that is the strongest area of Penn State’s defense. The key for the Badgers is to be able to establish an aerial attack against a shaky Nittany Lion secondary.

The key for Penn State is to not become one-dimensional against a solid Badgers defense. If Penn State can set the tone on the ground and open up passing lanes for McGloin, then they should have success.

Kickoff is at 3:30 on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Coverage on ComRadio begins at 11:30am.

Jason Shawley is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, e-mail jts5353@psu.edu.