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Penn State Football: McGloin, Robinson Pass and Catch Records in 45-22 Win Over Indiana

by on November 17, 2012 9:20 AM

On its way to a 45-22 victory over Indiana in Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Penn State’s offense was an equal opportunity deployer.

And in the process the Nittany Lions, now 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, have set themselves up for a strong finish to an historic season.

Before a Beaver Stadium crowd of a larger-than-anticipated 90,358 on a perfect fall afternoon for football, Penn State jumped out to a 28-13 halftime lead and weathered the emotional first-quarter loss of senior linebacker Michael Mauti.

Penn State’s offensive barrage included:

Senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who completed 22 of 32 passes for a career-high and near-school record 395 yards, and four touchdowns. It was 17th game passing for 200 yards, a Penn State record, and his sixth 300-yard game, also a PSU record. He now holds the Penn State single-season passing yardage record for PSU, with 3,071 yards -- 68 more than Darryl Clark had in 2009 -- as well as Penn State's leader for single-season completions (251) and all-time touchdown passes (45).

Sophomore receiver Allen Robinson, who had three touchdown receptions on his way to setting the single-season receiving record for most catches (64, passing Bobby Engram and O.J. McDuffie). On the day, he had 10 receptions for 197 yards. Robinson has 73 receptions for 983 yards in 2012; only Engram (1,084, 1995; 1,029, 1994) had has more receiving yards in a season for the Nittany Lions.

The school record for most yards passes in a game is 399 (Zack Mills, Iowa, 2002) and most yards receiving in a game is 216 (Deon Butler, Northwestern, 2006).

Throw in Zack Zwinak’s 135 yards on 29 carries (his fifth 100-yarder in seven games), with the back scoring touchdowns both rushing and catching, and you have the Nittany Lions’ biggest outburst of the season and momentum heading into their final game of the (bowl-less season), at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday against Wisconsin in Wisconsin.

Michael Zordich did his part as well, scoring the team’s sixth TD on a four-yard run and rushing nine times for 49 yards overall. Sam Ficken made six extra points and a 28-yard field goal to add to the total.

The bad news: Zordich’s running mate all season, senior linebacker Michael Mauti, left the field on a motorized cart in the first quarter with an apparent left leg/knee injury. In the second half, he returned to the Penn State sidelines, wearing street cloths, and sat at the training table. Crutches were nearby.

Nittany Lions Gerald Hodges and Adrian Amos both registered interceptions for the defense, which held off the Indiana at the goal line to end the game. Hodges had a dozen tackles for Penn State and Mauti's backup, Mike Huill, had 11, while cornerback Stephon Morris had nine.

Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman was 33 of 59 passing for an astounding 454 yards, with two TD passes and two picks. The Nittany Lions outgained the Hoosiers, 546-478.

THIRD QUARTER: PENN STATE 42, INDIANA 22

A pivotal moment in the contest came midway in the third quarter, when Penn State was faced with a fourth-and-9 from on the Hoosiers’ 33. O’Brien went for it. And McGloin, in the midst of a career day, completed an 11-yard pass to Brandon Moseby-Felder for a first down.

The pair converted three plays later on a 15-yarder that set up a one-yard scoring dive by Zwinak. The TD vindicated him for an earlier fumble and, with a Ficken PAT, gave Penn State a 35-22 lead with 5:33 left in the third quarter.

Indiana’s offense – which ran an impressive 48 plays in the first half -- does everything fast. Take the opening second half. They certainly. The Hoosiers scored on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Coffman to Stephon Houston just 116 seconds into the third quarter. Luckily for the Nittany Lions, Indiana kicker Mitch Ewald missed the PAT. Although the quick TD pulled the Lions to within 28-19, the miss kept the contest a two-score game.

Indiana quickly tried to capitalize with an onside kick, which the Hoosiers recovered. But Penn State held, only to – yes, quickly -- surrender the football on a fumble by Zwinak. Zwinak, who has a penchant for dropping the ball, fumbled earlier in the game (it was recovered by a teammate) and barely held onto his second-quarter touchdown reception n the end zone. Not sure who was unhappier when Zwinak hit the sideline – O’Brien or the running back.

Indiana promptly turned the turnover into a 46-yard field goal by Ewald, pulling the Hoosiers to within 28-22 with 8:34 left in the third quarter. Earlier in the quarter, Ewald missed on a 55-yarder.

HALFTIME: PENN STATE 28, INDIANA 13

Robinson not only caught former Penn State greats McDuffie and Engram in the record book, he grabbed three touchdown passes as well. Here’s the catch: They all came in the first half. Robinson, who set the single-season Nittany Lion receiving record of 64 grabs with his first catch Saturday in Beaver Stadium against Indiana, connected with McGloin for a trio of scoring plays in the first two quarters.

The touchdowns gave Penn State a 21-13 lead. They also gave Robinson the No. 2 spot on the single-season TD list for Penn Staters, with 11, behind Engram’s 13 in 1993.

Later in the quarter, McGloin connected with Zwinak at the east edge of the end zone for a 16-yard score that was ruled a touchdown after officials review. Ficken’s PAT gave Penn State a 28-13 halftime lead after a 21-point second-quarter outburst.

In the first quarter, McGloin completed 12 of 18 passes for 218 yards, with the four TD passes and one interception. Robinson hag six catches for 103 yards, to complement his three touchdown receptions. Zwinak ram 15 times for 90 yards, and is on the verge of his fifth 100-yard game in seven contests. He's already at 90 yards for the sixth time in his last eight games.

At the half, Indiana's Coffman was 20 of 36 for 210 yards, with one TD, and Wynn had 98 yards on nine catches. The Hoosiers had just 21 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Robinson’s third touchdown of the day came in the south end zone, when he outmaneuvered Indiana defensive back Antonio Marshall for a 10-yard score. This is how good Robinson is: Marshall was called for pass interference on the play, yet Penn State’s sophomore receiver still caught it.

First score was a 26-yard catch in the first quarter. On the second touchdown, Robinson took a bubble screen pass from McGloin two yards off the line of scrimmage, hit one Indiana defender, spun off another and then raced to the south end zone for a 53-yard touchdown reception. Ficken’s PAT gave Penn State the lead, 14-10.

Indiana responded with a 44-yard field goal by Ewald following another of its quick-moving drives – 7 plays, 51 yards, 1:50, thanks in part to a 32-yard pass from Cameron to Wynn through the heart of the Penn State defense. They were preceded by a pair of Indiana scored twice in less than two minutes into the second quarter for a 10-7 lead with 13:20 left in the quarter.

The Hoosiers took the lead after McGloin was intercepted by Marshall off a deflection from PSU tight end Matt Lehman. Six plays and 1:11 later Indiana scored on a 2-yard pass from Coffman to a wide-open tight end Ted Bolser in the Penn State end zone.

Indiana opened the second quarter by racing down the field, covering 55 yards on 10 plays and just 11 seconds. The Hoosiers started quickly, with Indiana’s Coffman completing three passes for 27 yards and Indiana running three times for 27 yards. The Penn State defense stiffened on its own 9-yard line, stopping Coffman on three consecutive times, including Jake Fagnano’s break-up deep in the end zone on third down. Indiana settled for a 26-yard field goal by Ewald. Penn State led 7-3 early in the second quarter.

FIRST QUARTER: PENN STATE 7, INDIANA 0

Seven minutes into Penn State’s game against Indiana, the news was not good for the Nittany Lions:

Senior linebacker Michael Mauti was injured.

The team’s inspirational and and on-the-field defensive leader was taken from the game on a small, green four-wheeler. It appears to be a left knee injury. He left the Beaver Stadium field to a student cheer of, “Let’s go, Mauti.” He kept his helmet on and had his hands up to his face.

Teammate and fellow squad leader Michael Zordich ran over to Mauti to offer words of encouragement as the cart went off the field.

Seconds later, all of the Penn State players gathered at the edge of the field in a big team huddle.

The Nittany Lions responded. In a big way.

First, the Penn State defense buckled down and stopped an Indiana drive that had started on the Hoosiers’ own 2. The Hoosiers went 68 yards all the ay to the PSU 30, but a snap over Coffman’s head ended the drive.

The Penn State offense then went to work on its own 9, advancing 91 yards in just seven plays. There were a couple of big ones, though. Zordich caught a 27-yard pass. Zwinak ran for 18 yards. Then McGloin connected with Robinson in the left corner of the end zone on a 26-yard TD pass. Ficken’s PAT gave Penn State a 7-0 lead with 4:26 left in the first quarter.

Earlier, Robinson set the Penn State record for receptions in a season when he grabbed his 64th pass of 2012, on a pass from McGloin that lost one yard on a third-six from the Penn State 48. He passed notables Engram (1995) and McDuffie (1992). That ended Penn State’s first possession, as the Lions went 34 yards in eight plays. McGloin completed two passes for 12 yards, while Zack Zwink ran four times – all up the middle – for 22 yards, with one 15-yard burst.

On the first possession of the game, Indiana started on its own 35-yard line after a poor kickoff by Sam Ficken to open the game went three and out.

Game captains for Penn State are Frank Figueroa, Andre Dupree, Patrick Flanagan and Christian Kuntz.

PRE-GAME NOTES

The redheads on offense are fire. ARob is about to catch – and surpass – Penn State receiving greats O.J. McDuffie and Bobby Engram. Be on the lookout for McG TDs. And let's wait and see if the Nittany Lions continue to soar and score in the first half, while crashing and sometimes burning in the second half.

This is Records Watch. With the noon kickoff between Indiana (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) and Penn State (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) at Beaver Stadium closing in, here are some numbers to watch – besides the players, of course:

-- Penn State is finishing its season with two home gams for just the third time in 20 years. In some ways, that’s not a good thing. Expect a much smaller student section today vs. Indiana, although many of the 21,000 Penn State students with season tickets are expected on hand next week for Senior Day against Wisconsin.

-- Penn State is definitely a first-quarter, first-half team. They’ve been the first team to score in nine of their 10 games. The Nittany Lions, 6-4 overall, are 8-1-1 after the first half. But on second-half points alone, they are just 4-4-2. In their four losses in 2012, they have been outscored 89-28 – scoring just 0, 9, 16 and 3 second-half points in those games. In the first half of its 10 games, Penn State has out-scored the opposition, 83-6, in the opening period. The Nittany Lions are tied with Utah State (6) as the lowest scoring first quarter defenses in the country. Penn State has outscored its opponents, 157-39, in the first half this season. Against Nebraska, the Nittany Lions lost their first game of the season when leading after the third quarter. PSU was 5-0 when leading after the third quarter before playing the Cornhuskers.

-- Allen Robinson is about to grab one of Penn State’s biggest records. And he’s done it with patience, hard work and an amazing kinesthetic sense that is at times acrobatic, graceful and entertaining. Robinson enters the game with 63 receptions, after just 10 games tied for the best season in Penn State with All-Americans McDuffie (12 games, 1992) and Engram (12 games, 1995). Robinson leads the Big Ten in receptions (63), yards (786), yards per game (78.6) and receiving touchdowns (8). The sophomore from Southfield, Mich., played his high school football at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, the same school as the departed Rob Bolden.

-- Sophomore fullback Zach Zwinak is on a roll. After rushing just three times for two yards in the Lions’ first three gams (against Virginia), the Mount Airy, Md., native has had five games where’s rushed for 94 yards or more over the past seven games (94, 100, 121, 134, 141).

That’s not quite the pace the not-so-dearly departed Silas Redd had last season, but Zwinak is getting close. Heading into the final games of the 2011 season, Redd was ailing. The seven games prior to that he ran 156 times for 819 yards, a 5.25-yard average. Heading into the final two games of the 2012 season, in his last seven games Zwinak has had 135 carries for 684 yards, a 5.06-yard average. Redd finished with a combined 119 yards over his last two gams as a Nittany Lion. If Zwinak has a big day today – entirely possible against a porous Indiana defense that yields a staggering 244 yards per game rushing – and does well against Wisconsin, his final nine-game stretch could rival Redd’s. Redd had 938 yards over his final nine games; a pair of 100-yard efforts would give Zwinak 884.

-- Call it the Zwinak Effect. Over the past nine games, running back Bill Belton did better against Iowa than he has in the other eight combined. Belton had 16 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns against the Hawkeyes. But in the other games, he missed three with injuries, was held out of the Purdue game for poor practice practices, and has carried the ball 31 times for 102 yards and no scores.

-- Quarterback Matt McGloin, a fifth-year senior from Scranton, has thrown for a touchdown in all 10 games this season. He enters the game with 41 TD passes -- tied with the mixed QB bag of Todd Blackledge, Tony Sacca and Zach Mills -- just two from equaling Darryl Clark’s career record of 43.

This season, McGloin has thrown for 200 yards in every game but one (Virginia) and has had three 300-yard games – including two of the past three. Has 16 overall, tied all-time with the apparently now-unappreciated Mills and Kerry Collins. For the season, in Penn State history McGloin ranks No. 3 in passing yardage (2,676) and passing completions (229), No. 4 in passing attempts (377) and is tied for No. 5 in passing touchdowns (19). In his career, McGloin now sits No. 2 in passing attempts (825; Mills had 1,082) and passing completions (472; Mills had 606), and is No. 3 in passing yardage (5,795; Mills is tops again, at 7,212). Sacca had 5,869 and McGloin needs just 75 yards to move to No. 2.

McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing yardage (2,676), completions (229) and passing touchdowns (19). He has thrown only four interceptions. Since the 2111 Outback Bowl against Florida, when he threw five picks, McG has thrown just nine interceptions in 608 passing attempts.

-- Senior linebacker Michael Mauti from Mandeville, La., has recovered three fumbles in 2012; the team record is 5, by Tom Odell in 1975.

-- Sam Ficken takes a licking and keeps on kicking. The sophomore field goal kicker form Valparaiso, Ind., has made his last six field goals attempts, albeit some of the chip-shot variety – 24 yards, 27, 27, 27, 35 and 38. He’s also made 8 of his last 9, missing only a 43-yarder at Iowa and dating back to the Northwestern game. Prior to that, to start the season he made just 2 of his 8 attempts – including a disastrous 1 of 5 performance against Virginia that cost Penn State the win.



Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979. He is a senior lecturer in Penn State's College of Communications and teaches a pair of classes in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism: “Sports Writing” and “Introduction to the Sports Industry.” He created and taught for several years the Center’s course on “Joe Paterno, Communications and The Media.” 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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