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Penn State, Wisconsin highs and lows

November 25, 2012
By Neil Rudel ( , The Altoona Mirror

UNIVERSITY PARK - Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State's 24-21 overtime victory over Wisconsin on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:

Play of the game: Sam Ficken made a 37-yard field goal in overtime that provided the winning margin. Moments later, Wisconsin's Kyle French missed from 44 yards to set off a Beaver Stadium celebration.

Offensive player of the game: Penn State's Zach Zwinak rushed for 179 yards on 36 carries, both career highs, and one touchdown. He also scored on a 2-point conversion.

Defensive player of the game: Nittany Lion defensive tackle Jordan Hill, in his final game, recorded a career-high 12 tackles, including three for 14 yards in losses and two sacks.

Most telling statistic: After allowing Wisconsin to score touchdowns on its first two possessions, the Lions' defense forced eight straight punts.

Hidden statistic: PSU outgained the Badgers 146-17 in the third quarter.

Best run: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon took a screen pass and patiently followed blockers up the right sideline en route to a 57-yard touchdown that opened the scoring.

Best pass: The Badgers' Curt Phillips found Derek Watt up the right sideline for 33 yards in the fourth quarter.

Worst pass: Matt McGloin forced one underneath and was fortunate to have it hit the ground in the second quarter. The play was originally ruled an interception by Mike Taylor, but the call was reversed after a replay.

Best catch: Allen Robinson made a leaping 19-yard reception of a high pass in the third quarter.

Catch it, will ya: Defenders struggled to hang onto interceptions, none bigger than Glenn Carson's third-down drop in overtime, which could have clinched the game. Wisconsin cornerback Devin Smith dropped two catchable interceptions in the first half, keeping the Nits in the game. Badger receiver Kenzel Doe also dropped a pass in the fourth quarter.

Hold it, won't ya: Phillips fumbled, albeit on a blindside hit by Sean Stanley, but Wisconsin recovered in overtime.

Best block: Zwinak did a nice job to pick up a UW blitz on an early PSU completion.

Best tackle: Jesse Della Valle hustled downfield to stop Wisconsin punt returner Jared Abbrederis at the Badger 21 in the fourth quarter.

Best hit: Phillips went airborne in the third quarter, only to be decked by Hill.

Best kick: Wisconsin's Drew Meyer boomed a 53-yard punt, against the wind, to pin the Lions at their 12 late in the first half.

Worst kick: Would have to be French's 44-yarder in overtime that he hooked left.

Best call: On fourth-and-6, Bill O'Brien once again went to tight end Jesse James, who was open and raced in for a 41-yard touchdown that gave the Lions a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Worst call: Down 14-10 in the third quarter, the Lions faced third-and-3 at the Wisconsin 15 and tried springing fullback Michael Zordich wide. The play was held to no gain.

Best effort: With Michael Mauti out, Carson picked up the slack with a game-high 13 tackles.

Unsung hero: Ficken was not only 3-for-3 in field goals - ending the season by hitting 10 straight and 12 of his last 13 - he also made a tackle on special teams.

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