With Mauti in Mind, Hull Frustrated By Indiana’s Low Blocks
Indiana’s offensive strategy of cutting down defenders with low blocks had already stripped one former Penn State senior of his final collegiate game two years ago. On Saturday, a Hoosier cut block threatened to end another’s season.
After Jordan Lucas pushed Indiana quarterback Zander Diamont out of bounds on a short scramble late in the third quarter, a Hoosier offensive lineman dove at the legs of Mike Hull, attempting to cut the senior linebacker’s legs out from underneath him.
Normally a stoic presence both on and off the field, Hull was visibly irate after the low block attempt, and retaliated by pushing Hoosiers center Collin Rahrig to the ground after the whistle. Hull was whistled for a 15-yard personal foul penalty, but took exception to the cut attempt that can put a defender at risk for a serious knee injury.
“A guy just cut me late,” said Hull. “It was unnecessary, so I kind of retaliated. It was kind of dumb on my part. I don’t know. I was just in the moment.”
For Penn State, Indiana has an unfortunate reputation when it comes to low blocks.
In 2012, Indiana’s D’Angelo Roberts chop blocked former linebacker Michael Mauti while he was engaged with Rahrig. Mauti suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on the play, his third tear in five years, and the senior’s college career was finished with one game remaining.
Instead of playing in his final home game at Beaver Stadium after his team was honored with the year “2012” forever fashioned on the stadium’s facade (a team Mauti was an instrumental and vocal leader for and can be credited, along with Michael Zordich, with keeping much of the squad intact after the sanctions), he was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Lions beat Wisconsin in overtime with the number “42” fastened on their plain white helmets.
“You know that they have that tendency,” said Hull, who acknowledged that he remembered the play that injured Mauti, referring to Indiana’s low blocking. “Whenever you play Indiana, you know their team is gonna cut.”
With Hull putting together a remarkable final season in Blue and White, it would have been a shame to see him go down with an injury. The senior from Canonsburg, Pa., leads the Big Ten with 11 tackles per game and was named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award for the nation’s best defender after being snubbed from the Butkus Award for the country’s top linebacker.
Luckily for Penn State, the leader of its defense escaped the Hoosiers unscathed. We still wish we could have said the same for Mauti.