STATE COLLEGE, Pa.
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.
Cameron Coffman threw for 454 yards for Indiana. McGloin finished 22 of 32 passing with an interception, and eclipsed Daryll Clark’s single-season passing record of 3,003 yards.