The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

November 18, 2012

Win proves costly for Penn State

STATE COLLEGE — Aided by crutches, star linebacker Michael Mauti stood arm-in-arm with his Penn State teammates to sing the alma mater after what should have a satisfying win over porous Indiana.

Quarterback Matt McGloin and receiver Allen Robinson had career days, but the Nittany Lions’ 45-22 victory Saturday was tempered by what appeared to be a serious left knee injury to Mauti. The fiery senior helped keep most of the team together in a stormy offseason marked by NCAA sanctions.

The rest of his teammates responded Saturday the best they could – by clinching a winning record for the year, an accomplishment few prognosticators thought Penn State (7-4, 5-2 Big Ten) could reach following the turmoil. Just one game remains for Penn State in a season of change – next week against Wisconsin.

“This team is a bunch of resilient guys,” first-year coach Bill O’Brien said. “When a guy like (Mauti) who’s a leader on a football team goes down in a game, it was a good response ... They knew what they had to do.”

McGloin threw for a career-best 395 yards and four touchdowns, while Robinson burned the Hoosiers for a career-high 197 yards and three highlight-reel scores.

Zack Zwinak added 135 rushing yards on 29 carries, but the Nittany Lions did most of their damage through the air against the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5).

McGloin said Robinson is playing at his best at season’s end.

“Hopefully, he can finish on a high note,” McGloin said. “As a quarterback, you have to love playing with him and knowing that he’s going to make some plays for you.”

Indiana did turn two turnovers into 10 points, including a 46-yarder from Mitch Ewald to get within 28-22 in the third quarter.

But Zwinak rumbled in from 1 yard out on the ensuing drive to put Penn State back ahead comfortably by two touchdowns.

Cameron Coffman threw for 454 yards for Indiana. With just a trip to Purdue left on the schedule, the Hoosiers lost a chance to become bowl eligible with six wins.

“We don’t like to lose bowl eligibility because of the season, the way we didn’t manage it, call or execute or get our guys ready to win some games,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said.

Coffman was 33 of 59 passing for two picks to go with his touchdown passes, while Shane Wynn had 12 catches for 108 yards for Indiana.

They were both overshadowed by Penn State’s go-to combination of McGloin-to-Robinson.

McGloin finished 22 of 32 passing with an interception, and eclipsed Daryll Clark’s single-season passing record of 3,003 yards.

Robinson, a smooth sophomore, set the school single-season reception mark with 73. He’s become a master of making mid-air adjustments for spectacular catches.

One score from 26 yards out came after jumping high and reaching across his body over cornerback Brian Williams in the end zone; the third touchdown catch was on a one-handed grab in the air from 10 yards with another defensive back draped over him.

Those scores sandwiched a 53-yard catch-and-run for a TD after Robinson twisted out of a tackle and pulled away from the gassed secondary.

The success of McGloin and Robinson is testament to the job O’Brien has done in reviving a Penn State offense that had struggled in the previous two seasons under the late coach Joe Paterno.

In this new era of Penn State football, the high-octane offense has just as much fun as the defense.

With Mauti out after the first-quarter injury, the other half of O’Brien’s outstanding outside linebacker duo took charge with Gerald Hodges registering 12 tackles and an athletic interception. Several plays after leaving briefly for a cramp, Hodges leaped to block Coffman’s pass at the line of scrimmage then stumbled forward and caught the ball before it hit the ground late in the second half.

“We lost a leader ... and we all needed to step up, including myself,” Hodges said.

McGloin connected with Zwinak for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the drive after Hodges’ interception for a 28-13 lead going into halftime.

The emotional anchor of the Penn State defense, Mauti was having a standout season before getting hurt while being blocked after appearing to get hit low by another Hoosier, running back D’Angelo Roberts.

“It’s part of our game, but I hate it when a great player like that gets hurt,” Wilson said. “He’s a special player.”

A silent crowd rose to its feet and then applauded Mauti as he was taken to the locker room, his hands on the front of his helmet. Injuries – one to each knee – already cut short two seasons for Mauti earlier in his career.

O’Brien said after the game he was unsure about the severity of Mauti’s latest injury. Tears streamed down the eyes of Mauti’s mother as she watched her son sing the alma mater with the team after the game.

Mauti and running back Michael Zordich helped keep most of the team together after making impassioned statements they were sticking with O’Brien two days after the sanctions were announced in July by the NCAA for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“We’re going to continue to rally around him. He’s a team leader physically and vocally,” Hodges said about Mauti. “We’re going to continue to lift him up.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo