Zwinak gets benched
UNIVERSITY PARK Zach Zwinak entered Saturday’s game as Penn State’s first-string tailback, but he didn’t see the field again after a very costly fumble on the first play of the second half.
Zwinak took a handoff at his own 25 and coughed it up, with James Ross III stripping him and Frank Clark picking up the loose ball and scoring on a 24-yard return to bring Michigan within 21-17.
That play turned out to be a major momentum swing, and until PSU scored in the final few seconds to force regulation, it perhaps would have been singled out as the biggest reason why the Lions would lose.
Since they won, the topic never even came up during Bill O’Brien’s postgame news conference.
Bill Belton got every carry the rest of the game, and Zwinak did not return to the field. Third-string tailback Akeel Lynch also did not get his number called as O’Brien went with Belton the rest of the way.
“Billy B. did a great job tonight,” PSU guard John Urschel said. “He ran hard, and he made a lot of things happen when we as an offensive line didn’t make it happen for him.”
Belton wasn’t the only offensive player called upon to make a bigger contribution Saturday.
The tight ends had not lived up to their preseason billing entering the game, but Jesse James, who had only nine receptions coming in, had six and one for a touchdown. He finished with 67 yards receiving.
Brandon Felder also had a big game with six catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Allen Robinson had five catches for 84 yards and two big ones near the end, but quarterback Christian Hackenberg was spreading the ball around to other targets more Saturday.
“We’ve been trying to get it to as many players as we can, get as many people involved as possible,” James said.
Hackenberg finished with 305 yards passing, completing 23-of-44, and had three TDs.