Originally written on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 11/26/12
Buzz On Broad is proud to bring to you a brand new segment called "Inside PSU." We are all aware of the recent events surrounding the proud university involving some deranged higher-ups formerly employed by Penn State. The 2012 football season at PSU marks the first season under a new regime and even more monumentally, the start of a brand new chapter in Penn State history. While the national media will have their eyes closely affixed to the school from the outside looking in, you can now rely on Buzz On Broad and our newest contributor, PSU Insider Dan Smith, to shed light on the morale and attitude from within the confines of Happy Valley. Look for Dan Smith to break down every game this season each week, from a gridiron perspective to the pulse of the fan base and student body. Enjoy this recap from Penn State's season finale against Wisconsin. FINAL SCORE Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21 (OT) PASSING Matt McGloin (PSU): 19-37, 200 yards, 1 TD Curt Phillips (WIS): 12-25, 191 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT RUSHING Zach Zwinak (PSU): 36 carries, 179 yards, 1 TD Montee Ball (WIS): 27 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD RECEIVING Jesse James (PSU): 3 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD Melvin Gordon (WIS): 1 reception, 57 yards, 1 TD SCORING SUMMARY First Quarter 13:11 - WIS - Curt Phillips 57 Yd TD Pass to Melvin Gordon (Kyle French Kick) ... WIS 7-0 8:17 - PSU - Zach Zwinak 3 Yd TD Run (Sam Ficken Kick) ... Tied 7-7 6:27 - WIS - Montee Ball 17 Yd TD Run (Kyle French Kick) ... WIS 14-7 Third Quarter 10:55 - PSU - Sam Ficken 23 Yd FG ... WIS 14-10 2:58 - PSU - Sam Ficken 32 Yd FG ... WIS 14-13 Fourth Quarter 13:32 - PSU - Matt McGloin 41 Yd TD Pass to Jesse James (Zach Zwinak Run for Two-Point Conversion) ... PSU 21-14 0:18 - WIS - Curt Phillips 4 Yd TD Pass to Jeff Duckworth (Kyle French Kick) ... Tied 21-21 Overtime PSU - Sam Ficken 37 Yd FG ... PSU 24-21 NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS - For seniors like me, it was an incredible way to go out. I watched the second half from the front row (you can see me in the picture above wearing a black jacket above the "Incredible Zordich" banner. It was the team's most impressive win of the season in its biggest game against the biggest odds. There was no Michael Mauti. There was no Kyle Carter. Yet there was justice for this Penn State team. - It was a shaky day for Penn State's passing offense, especially in the first half. Matt McGloin never looked particularly comfortable. Kyle Carter's injury has made a difference, though Mauti's has gotten much more attention. Carter's slack has been somewhat picked up by guys like Brandon Moseby-Felder and Jesse James, but the Nittany Lions lost a big weapon, and it showed. Fortunately, the team found some good adjustments and had three second half scoring drives. - Zach Zwinak is a great bruiser in the backfield. He can carry a heavy workload and wear down a front seven. He still has problems holding onto the ball, but Zwinak's been very valuable for Penn State this season. - And Jesse James needs to get his due. He's been used only in spots since he is the Y-tight end and a freshman at a deep position on Penn State. But after struggling early in the season with blocking, he has improved enough to earn some of Carter's minutes and to turn things around. He's a great passing threat with his ability to find open space where McGloin can take advantage of his massive frame, and he's been impressive running after the catch despite his size. He was a big difference maker Saturday. - Credit also needs to be given to the much maligned (particularly by me) defensive coordinator Ted Roof. The team looked terrible on the first two drives, but Roof made good adjustments to contain Montee Ball and force Phillips to try to do it through the air. Phillips was not up to the task, as expected. - The player of the game was defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who seemed to be involved in nearly every defensive play. His penetration on the interior disrupted Wisconsin's offensive gameplan time and time again. Hill has been doing this week in and week out, despite a lingering knee injury he suffered against Purdue. He's going to be a high draft pick in April. - Sam Ficken came up big, making all three of his average-length field goals. Ficken's season was an interseting one, starting with the disaster at Virginia and ending with the winner in this game. He never made any field goals longer than 38 yards, but was effective when they needed him in the last few games. It will be more interesting to see if he can improve upon that next season. - Penn State finished 8-4 and 6-2 in the Big Ten. This season has to be considered a success for Bill O'Brien. The team rallied around the cause of keeping the program together and came back from a nightmare start. Finishing the season winning 8 of 10 against quality opponents like Northwestern and Wisconsin is an accomplishment for this team. - That said, the most critical days of the program are upon us: the free agency period re-opens now that the season is over, and any player can transfer. The main targets for other programs will be wide receiver Allen Robinson and defensive end Deion Barnes. If either leaves, it could start a chain reaction that results in more player exits, as well as de-commitments from incoming freshmen. There are also concerns that Bill O'Brien is not long for State College with offers potentially coming in from the NFL. - Thank you for reading my posts this season. It's been fun joining Buzz on Broad and sharing some insight every week. I will probably follow up with some offseason reports as well as updates on Penn State men's basketball in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned. Dan Smith is Buzz on Broad's Penn State Insider and the Executive Editor of Penn State's ComRadio. Contact him by email at des5249@gmail.com or on Twitter at @ThatDanSmith.
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