Penn State's 2012 season has come to a close. As well as some outstanding careers by some fine young men who lived through adversity all season long and still found a way to come out on top! It what was an emotional day for the Nittany Lion Seniors, as not only was it their final home game but also their final game of their collegiate career (Since Penn State is barred from postseason play for 4 years)
Emotions were even higher with Senior Mike Mauti out with a knee injury. In honor of Mauti's contributions to the team prior to the season starting and being the vocal leader, Penn State honored him by wear his number '42' on the side of their helmets, with fellow Senior Linebacker Gerald Hodges even wearing Mauti's number for the game as well.
Wisconsin jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Melvin Gordon took a pass from Curt Phillips 57 yards down the sideline to give the Badgers the early advantage. Penn State would respond with a 15 play 78 yard drive that was finished off with a 3 yd. TD Run by Zack Zwinak to tie it at 7-7 on it's ensuing possession, Wisconsin put together yet another quick scoring drive after a kickoff return gave them good starting field advantage. Montee Ball ran for a 17 yd TD(who now owns the FBS record for 79 career TD scores) to give the Badgers the lead right back with a 14-7 advantage despite 3 straight scoring possessions to open up the game (Wisconsin- 2 Penn State- 1) The score would remain the same at the half.
Penn State opened up the second half with the ball first and seemingly scored a TD on a Matt McGloin TD Pass to Brandon Moseby-Felder. But after further review, Felder didn't maintain control through the process of the catch, so Penn State was forced to settle for a FG to cut Wisconsin's lead to 4. Later on in the mid 3rd, Penn State would again kick another FG to now make it a one point game, which would stay that way heading into the fourth quarter.
In the early part of the 4th quarter Penn State TE Jesse James was called for offensive pass interference that put them in a 3rd and 21 situation. Two plays later Penn State faced a 4th and 6 and had a decision to make, one that would end up paying off and allowed James to redeem himself for his mistake just a few plays earlier when he caught a wide open pass from Matt McGloin and ran down the side lines 41 yards for a TD, giving Penn State it's first lead of the game. Zack Zwinak successfully converted on the 2 Point Conversion, extending Penn State's lead to a touchdown by a score of 21-14. Penn State and Wisconsin played back and forth ball without any plays resulting into scores. Wisconsin would get the ball back one last time with just 4:04 remaining with all three timeouts left.
After giving up two touchdowns in the first quarter on Wisconsin's first two possessions, Penn State's defense would then go on to shutdown the Badger offense since then. With one last chance on 4th and goal, Wisconsin's QB Curt Phillips rolled out to the right and hit Jeff Duckworth for a TD pass and would send this hard fought battle to overtime.
Penn State would receive the ball first to start OT. Unfortunately they were forced to a three and out and would have to settle for a third Sam Ficken FG. His third FG gave the Nittany Lions the lead in the early part of overtime. Wisconsin would now get a shot to score a touchdown and win the game, or at the very least, kick a field and send it into another OT. Like Penn State, Wisconsin went 3 and out and were forced to kick. Wisconsin's Kyle French was called out onto the field to attempt a 44 yard field goal. French was set up to kick and ultimately ended up missing the field goal wide left. Penn State would win and go on to finish the season 8-4, even facing after all of the troubles and adversity this special group of young players have submitted their legacy for what they did for this program and proved all of their critics wrong. Until next season there is only one thing left to say "We are.............."
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