Trio of Nittany Lions Advance to NFL Conference Championships

The number of playing Penn Staters in remaining in the NFL playoffs is down to three. Seattle’s Garry Gilliam, Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless, and Indianapolis’ A.Q. Shipley all advanced to their respective conference championship games this weekend.

Seahawks’ defensive tackle Jordan Hill was placed on injured reserve prior to Seattle’s divisional matchup. Hill, who had 19 tackles and 5.5 sacks this year, is battling a calf injury.

Here’s how they fared individually.

OT Garry Gilliam — Seattle Seahawks

Gilliam most frequently backs up Justin Britt at the right tackle position. He helped pave the way for Seattle’s strong rushing attack to yet again eclipse triple digits, picking up 100 yards in the 31-17 victory over Carolina.

Gilliam played in 14 games and started once in his rookie season. He had previously gone undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, but signed with Pete Carroll shortly after. Like many of his former Penn State teammates, Gilliam was forced to play numerous offensive line positions throughout the year to fill various injury-caused voids.

He’ll face off against Quarless and the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

TE Andrew Quarless — Green Bay Packers

It was a monumental day for Quarless, who caught his first career postseason touchdown pass, a four-yard haul that served as the game’s first points. He ultimately caught three more passes for a total of 31 yards. In six career postseason appearances, he had only six catches for 54 yards.

Quarless was drafted in the fifth round in 2010, and has been a consistent target for potential NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.  His 323 receiving yards have led to three touchdowns this year.

C/OG A.Q. Shipley — Indianapolis Colts

Shipley’s Colts tamed Peyton Manning’s Broncos Sunday, 24-13. Shipley’s listed as a third string center due to an ankle injury, but the rushing attack which he helps protect rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown. It allowed Andrew Luck to continue his steak of stellar play, as he tossed for 265 yards and two scores.

Shipley was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens before this season, and was thrust into early season action at the center position. The injury in the year’s regular season finale forced him into a day-to-day role prior to the playoffs.

We wish all three Penn Staters the best of luck, and hope to see them follow in the footsteps of Michael Robinson and Jordan Hill and take the field on Super Bowl Sunday.

Photos: Seahawks.com/Rantsports.com/Bleacher Report

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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