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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions' Special Day Away

by on November 20, 2010 8:25 PM

If I do say, in many ways Saturday was a special day at FedEx Field, as “visiting” Penn State beat Indiana 41-24.

IT WAS A SPECIAL PLAY for Nittany Lion special teamers Andrew Dailey and James Van Fleet. In the third quarter, with the score tied 24-24 after Indiana roared back from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit, Dailey broke through the Hoosiers’ line to block a Chris Hagerup punt.

In fact, he practically took it off Hagerup’s foot.

Dailey, a junior from Massillon, Ohio, and a sometimes safety and nickel back, gave special thanks to teammate Nate Stupar for making it happen.

“They had to block one of us, and they took Nate,” Dailey was happy to say.

Van Fleet scooped the ball at Dailey’s feet and ran 21 yards into the end zone for a touchdown that put Penn State ahead 31-24 with 100 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The score, Van Fleet said, was “almost” as big as the time he shot a 370-pound bear.

IT WAS A NOT-SO-SPECIAL DELAY for captain Ollie Ogbu and fellow defensive tackle Devon, starting offensive right tackle Chima Okoli and backup tackle DeOn’tae Pannell.

They were 1,219 pounds of late for the Penn State team bus Saturday morning and Joe Paterno didn’t play them in the first half.

IT WAS A SPECIAL AWAY game for the multitude of Penn State fans among the announced crowd of 78,790 at FedEx, home of the Washington Redskins and the biggest professional sports venue in the United States.

The Penn State faithful, although they were 208 miles from University Park, seemed happy to trade for a FedEx package that was 649.2 miles closer than Bloomington, Ind. Happiest had to be the 42,000 Penn State alumni in the Baltimore-D.C. corridor.

(Not that they would have gone to Hoosierville, anyway. In six games since PSU joined the Big Ten in 1993, the average PSU-IU game drew 35,171 fans in Indiana. And despite an expensive renovation of Memorial Stadium, Indiana averaged only 41,833 fans per home game in 2009 – and 120 more in 2010.)

Penn State fans easily outnumbered Indiana fans 10-to-1. It was such an overwhelming margin that Nittany Lion fans hijacked the Indiana band’s selections to do their “We Are…Penn State” cheers to music.

IT WASN’T A GOOD DAY FOR A SALE A LA eBAY for Indiana fans. Indiana A.D. Fred Glass, an Indiana grad and Indy lawyer who became athletic director in 2009, sold the rights to the game for $3 million. It looked like he sold out the Indiana fans.

They had to be lonely. Walking from a tailgate in Parking Lot C11 to the press box and then to loge club seats, I spied 14 Hooiser fans dressed in red. Counting the “Marching Hundred,” red covered about 1/12th of the stadium.

IT WASN’T A GOOD BAND FORAY. The aforementioned Marching Hundred left Bloomington at 4 p.m. Friday, stopped along the way for a musical performance, then suffered a bus breakdown on its way to D.C. The band finally arrived at 11 p.m., 19 hours later. That’s trouble with a capital “T.”

IT WAS A GOOD NUMBERS PLAY. Even though it was an Indiana “home game,” the Hoosiers decided it was a better fiscal play to bring to D.C. Penn State’s statistical savants, John (J. Wally) Dixon and Tom Herrington, to crunch the numbers. The avuncular Dixon and Herrington are longtime veterans of the Penn State stat crew in Beaver Stadium, and added a bit more of a behind-the-scenes hometown feel.

IT WAS A SPECIAL  JAY (Paterno) KIND OF DAY for Penn State sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin, who recovered from his nightmarish second half at Ohio State, no doubt buoyed by the continued care and confidence of the Penn State’s quarterbacks coach.

McGloin completed 10 of his first 11 passes, leading Penn State to a pair of first-quarter drives that went a combined 186 yards in 23 plays and nine minutes and 59 seconds. He finished with two TD passes on 22 of 31 passing for a career-high 315 yards. Those 315 yards tied McGloin with Chuck Fusina (N.C. State, 1977) for 10th on Penn State’s all-time single-game passing chart.

Let’s see: Third career start for McGloin, best passing game ever for Fusina – the 1978 Heisman runner-up.

IT WAS A SPECIAL DEREK MOYE (I know, the rhyme is a bit off…). The junior receiver entered the game  ranked second in the Big Ten with an average catch of 17.6 yards. Against Indiana, Moye grabbed six passes for 90 yards – 15 yards per catch – with a touchdown receptions, as well as two rushes for 39 yards, one of them for 27 yards.

IT WAS A SPECIAL STAY. What a stadium. Two Phillips and one Hooters restaurants, about 400 HD televisions, two video boards wider than Old Main, a dozen Bloody Mary carts, middle and upper deck seating seemingly at a 75 degree angle from the field and a finely knit natural grass surface that felt like the fringe on the Blue Course.

OY VEY!

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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for StateCollege.com since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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Penn State Football: McGloin Leads Lions to 41-24 Victory
November 20, 2010 1:42 PM
by Terry Casey
Penn State Football: McGloin Leads Lions to 41-24 Victory
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