Posted by Joe Chuba on 11/24 at 10:46 AM
Steve Jones previews the season finale for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State put a lot of emphasis on special teams from day one of spring practice. It has paid off because Penn State has not lost the special teams battle this season. Saturday it paid huge dividends when Andrew Dailey broke free and blocked a punt allowing Jamie Van Fleet to pick it up and roll home from 21 yards out to give the Nittany Lions the lead.
Matt McGloin played well with a career high 315 yards. He had enough of a support with 171 yards coming on the ground from 9 different ball carriers . Indiana kept Penn State off balance by changing quarterbacks and offenses right in the middle of drives. It took the Nittany Lions awhile to adjust but once they did they gained control of the game. Penn State scored the game’s final 17 points and ran their record to 7-4 overall. Penn State has now won four of its last five games.
It is senior day for the Nittany Lions Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The ceremony won’t take long. Eleven Nittany Lion seniors will run through the tunnel for the final time in their respective career. It is a group that includes all-time leading rusher Evan Royster, all everything guard Stefan Wisniewski, linebacker Bani Gbadyu who made a big play in the Alamo Bowl, leading tackler Chris Colisanti, wide receiver Graham Zug who has made big catches in big games, center Doug Klopacz who waited his turn through injuries, Captain Olli Ogbu has been a mainstay for years and Captain Brett Bracket who has turned in the senior season he was hoping for. It is the group that has hung in there and persevered.
Michigan State has had one of those magical runs. They used a fake field goal to beat Notre Dame. They used a fake punt late to beat Northwestern. Saturday they rallied from a 28-13 deficit to beat Purdue on senior day in East Lansing.
Despite ankle and shoulder injuries quarterback Kirk Cousins has been the heart and soul of the Michigan State offense. He has hit 67% of his passes with 18 touchdowns but with nine interceptions. Mark Dell, B.J. Cunningham and Keyshawn Martin lead the receiving corps.
Edwin Baker has turned in a 1,000 yard rushing season. He has scored 12 touchdowns. Le’Veon Bell puts a lot of speed into the backfield and he has rushed for 592 yards and eight touchdowns.
Linebacker Greg Jones leads the defense. He has 95 tackles and eight of them are for losses. Eric Gordon is right behind him for 82 tackles and seven for losses. Michigan State has 16 interceptions this season. Johnny Adams, Trenton Robinson and Chris L. Rucker have three apiece.
On Special Teams, Keyshawn Martin has returned to the lineup and jump starts everything. Aaron Bates not only throws touchdown passes but he is an outstanding punter. Dan Conroy has had a great season on field goals hitting 14 of 15 and all four of his kicks over 40 yards have been good.
It is senior day and the emotions will run high as Michigan State goes for a Big Ten title while the Nittany Lions look to make it five out of six down the stretch.
Joe Paterno is 13-5 against Michigan State
That includes a record of 8-0 at home
Penn State has not lost a senior day since 1999 to Michigan
Stefen Wisniewski, Pete Massaro, and Chris Colasanti earned first team ESPN CoSIDA Acadamic All-America honors
It is the 3rd award for Wisniewski, the most by and Penn State athlete
Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV
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