Penn State’s offense had a record-breaking day but a 45-22 victory against Indiana Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium came at a high cost. Senior linebacker Michael Mauti suffered an injury that forced him to be carted off the field early in the game and return to the sidelines on crutches later in the game.
Mauti, who has already battled back from two separate ACL injuries during his collegiate tenure, left his teammates, players and fans in shock as he was examined on the field by trainers. The trainers examined Mauti’s left knee, and he was taken off the field without being able to visible put much weight on his left leg. Penn State’s Bill O’Brien had no injury update on Mauti following the win, and will have to wait for an official medical report.
“We meet on all the injuries early in the week so I don’t know the diagnosis,” O’Brien said after the game when asked about Mauti’s injury. “As fortunate as I have been to be around some very special players… he’s one of the most special players I’ve been around.”
Asked if he knows Mauti has played his last down for him, O’Brien said “No.”
Penn State once again controlled the first quarter, as they have done all season. Matt McGloin’s first of four touchdown passes on the day went to Allen Robinson for 26 yards to give Penn State a 7-0 lead through one quarter. With the defense shutting out Indiana’s up-tempo offense, keeping them from getting on track early, Penn State has now outscored their opponents in the first quarter by a combined score of 90-6.
Indiana took the lead in the second quarter by taking advantage of Penn State’s miscues. A 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter was followed a little more than a minute later with a short touchdown pass from Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman to tight end Ted Bolser. Indiana’s 10-7 lead was fueled by a McGloin pass being intercepted to give the Hoosiers a short field to take advantage of. McGloin made up for the errant pass with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Robinson to give Penn State the lead once again, an after a field goal by Indiana it was McGloin to Robinson once more. The two connected three times in the game for the second time this season. McGloin would toss one more touchdown before halftime, with Zach Zwinak being credited for a 16-yard touchdown catch that needed an official video review to confirm the ruling on the field after the ball came loose from Zwinak’s grips crossing the goal line.
Indiana opened the second half with a 79-yard touchdown catch and run from Coffman to running back Stephon Houston, who caught an angle down the right sideline that nobody on Penn State’s defense was able to cut off in time before he raced down field for the score. Indiana cut the Penn State lead to 28-22 a few minutes later after recovering a fumble from Zwinak on a handoff from McGloin, but after that Penn State slammed the door shut despite giving up some other potential scoring drives.
Short touchdown runs by Zwinak and Michael Zordich pushed Penn State’s lead up to 20 points and a Sam Ficken field goal from 28 yards capped the scoring for the game. Ficken converted on all six kick attempts he had in the game, including five extra point attempts.
It was a record-setting day for Penn State. Matt McGloin recorded his 17th career 200-yard passing game, moving him in to first place after breaking a tie wit Kerry Collins and Zack Mills. McGloin also moved in to second place on the school’s all-time passing yardage list, passing Tony Sacca.
McGloin came within four yards of the single game passing record, held by Zack Mills (399 yards). Penn State has never had a quarterback pass for 400 yards in a single game. McGloin builds on the school record for most career 300-yard passing games, with Saturday marking the sixth time he has passed the 300-yard mark.
Sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson broke the Penn State single-season reception record the first time he caught the football. His first reception of the day was his 64th of the season, breaking a school record tied with O.J. McDuffie and Bobby Engram.
What Does it Mean?
Indiana remains one win shy of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. The Hoosiers have played in just two bowl games since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993.
Penn State clinches a winning season.
Penn State is now 16-0 all-time against Indiana.
Penn State wraps up their 2012 season next week with a home game against Wisconsin. The Badgers dominated last year’s meeting in Madison with the Big Ten’s Leaders Division and a trip to the Big Ten championship game on the line. This year the Badgers already have the trip to Indianapolis locked up, aided by postseason bans being served by Penn State and Ohio State.
Indiana will look to become bowl eligible in their regular season finale next week when they visit in-state rival Purdue.
Kevin is a national college football writer for rootshed.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.