Penn State Football Players Win Big Ten Accolades
The 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions football team has played their final game, finishing the season at 8-4, certainly above preseason expectations. Many may worry that they have nothing to show for the heart and hard work that the team put in this year, as the team will not play in the postseason, but that is not necessarily the case.
Last night, the Big Ten Conference annual football awards were announced, and Penn State made a killing both with the individual award winners and the All-Big Ten Conference coaches’ picks.
Allen Robinson, who led the conference in receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns was named the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year and was also named to the All-Big Ten team for his exemplary play this year. Robinson is just a sophomore and is already establishing himself as the best pass-catcher in the conference.
Not surprisingly, linebacker and team leader Michael Mauti was named the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year after an incredible season. Mauti had 95 tackles and three interceptions this year in 11 games. But that doesn’t tell the whole story, as he was all over the field and altered the way that the opposing offense played each and every week. Mauti was also picked to the All-Big Ten First Team.
Along with Mauti and Robinson, offensive linemen Matt Stankiewitch and John Urschel were named to the coaches First Team All-Big Ten, blocking for what was at times an explosive pass game and run game over the course of the season. Tight end Kyle Carter was first-team All-Big Ten in the media selections. Senior defensive lineman Jordan Hill rounded out the First Team picks from Penn State, finishing on a high note after a great game in the overtime win against Wisconsin on Saturday.
Gerald Hodges, the counterpart to Mauti as Penn State’s second starting linebacker, was picked by the coaches to be on the All-Big Ten Second Team. Along with Mauti, Hodges made opponents struggle to both run and pass-block this year. The team will certainly miss both of them next year as they graduate and hopefully both land spots on NFL rosters.
Sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos, sophomore running back Zach Zwinak, freshman cornerback Deion Barnes, senior quarterback Matt McGloin, senior offensive tackle Mike Farrell, and senior cornerback Stephon Morris were all honorable mentions in last night’s award announcement from the Big Ten.
One individual is selected from each Big Ten team as a Sportsmanship Award Honoree, an accolade that is given to a player that personifies virtuous gamesmanship and hard, yet clean play on the field. Hill was selected as Penn State’s recipient of the award, and he certainly represents everything that it stands for.
The one notable absence from the Big Ten Conference awards was McGloin. He might not be as flashy as Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez or Ohio State’s Braxton Miller — both of whom like to run the ball when rushed out of the pocket — but McGloin was arguably the best pure passer in the conference this season.
McGloin finished the year with 3,271 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions with a 60.5 completion percentage. Compare that with Martinez’s 2,483 yards, 21 touchdowns, 8 interceptions with a 63.3 completion percentage and 833 yards rushing for eight touchdowns. Miller finished with 2,039 yards, 15 touchdowns, 6 interception, a 58.3 completion percentage and 1,271 yards rushing for 13 touchdowns.
There is no doubt that the rushing ability of both Miller and Martinez is impressive, but I was still surprised not to see McGloin receive more than an honorable mention. Despite that, it was an incredible year for Penn State football and that is reflected within last night’s award announcement.
A few additional awards including Coach of the Year will be announced tonight.