Posted November 17, 2012 on AP on Fox
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 (7-4, 5-2 Big Ten) 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.'' ---- Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Penn State football: Lions look to rebound against Indiana

Perhaps the best thing for the Penn State (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) football team to do following a emotional and drama filled loss last week is to simply get back on the field. They’ve done just that this week, holding some spirited practices in advance of their matchup with Indiana (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) Saturday at Beaver Stadium. All the talks of whether tight end Matt Lehman’s touchdown...

Penn State fans show appreciation for Michael Mauti

It is hard not to root for a guy like Michael Mauti. After battling back from a pair of ACL injuries to perform at the level he has during his Penn State career and to represent the football program at a time when true leadership was needed in the fashion he has this season it is no wonder he has become a fan favorite. After going down with a knee injury in a win against Indiana...

Penn St. LB Mauti out vs. Wisconsin

Penn State star linebacker Michael Mauti will miss Saturday's season finale against Wisconsin with a left knee injury. Coach Bill O'Brien made the announcement Monday. The team's worst fears came true after Mauti was carted off the field during the 45-22 win last week over Indiana. Mauti's college career came to an early end. The senior leader and emotional anchor...

Mauti injury hits Penn State hard

Surrounded by microphones and recorders, Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof stared into the distance as if in a daze. Tears welled up in Roof's eyes when the subject turned to injured senior Michael Mauti. The fiery Mauti is so much more than a linebacker to the Nittany Lions (7-4, 5-2). ''He means so much to me, personally,'' Roof said in a soft voice...

Mauti injury hits Penn State hard at season's end

Surrounded by microphones and recorders, Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof stared into the distance as if in a daze. Tears welled up in Roof's eyes when the subject turned to injured senior Michael Mauti. The fiery Mauti is so much more than a linebacker to the Nittany Lions. ''He means so much to me, personally,'' Roof said in a soft voice. ''...

Penn State blows out Indiana; loses Mauti to knee injury

Penn State won a football game on Saturday, but the headline on Monday will likely be about the loss of perhaps the most influential player in the country. The Nittany Lions were able to pull away from the pesky Indiana Hoosiers and eventually settle on an offensive fireworks induced 45-22 win, but did so after learning that star senior linebacker Michael Mauti had suffered a left...

Amidst tears, there is still a lot to celebrate

  Penn State beat Indiana 45-22 Saturday at Beaver Stadium and there should’ve been a lot of things to celebrate. The only problem was there were more tears than celebration. Michael Mauti’s injury muted much of the enjoyment. Tears flowed freely from his parents, coaches and teammates. And when the entire stadium could see Mauti himself on the giant scoreboards...

FRAME GAME: Allen Robinson Catch & Run

See how Penn State's super sophomore turned a screen pass into the Nittany Lions' longest play from scrimmage of the season in a win over Indiana.
College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.