|2011 Penn State Nittany Lions football|
Big Ten Leaders Division co-champion
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Record||9–4 (6–2 Big Ten)|
|Offensive coordinator||Galen Hall (8th season)|
|Defensive coordinator||Tom Bradley (12th year)|
Larry Johnson (interim)
Ron Vanderlinden (interim)
|Home stadium||Beaver Stadium|
|2011 Big Ten Conference football standings|
|No. 11 Michigan State x||7||–||1||11||–||3|
|No. 12 Michigan %||6||–||2||11||–||2|
|No. 24 Nebraska||5||–||3||9||–||4|
|No. 10 Wisconsin xy$||6||–||2||11||–||3|
|Penn State x||6||–||2||9||–||4|
|Championship: Wisconsin 42, Michigan State 39|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 2011 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represented the Pennsylvania State University in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Joe Paterno for the first nine games until he was fired in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal, with defensive coordinator Tom Bradley taking over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The team played its home games in Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania, US. They were members of the Big Ten Conference in the newly formed Leaders Division. They finished the season 9–4, 6–2 in the Leaders Division to be co–division champions with Wisconsin. Due to their head-to-head loss to Wisconsin, they did not represent the division in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. They were invited to the TicketCity Bowl where they lost to Houston 14–30.
The team was ranked number one in academic achievement out of the top 25 ranked BCS teams.
The team captains for Penn State's 125th season of football were tackle Quinn Barham, wide receiver Derek Moye, safety Drew Astorino, and defensive tackle Devon Still.
Penn State began the season with an unsettled quarterback situation. Sophomore Rob Bolden and former walk-on junior Matt McGloin split starting duties in the 2010 season. Rob Bolden was named the starter for the season opener against Indiana State.
|Harris||Not released||RV||24||19||16||12||19||18||22||23||Not released|
|BCS||Not released||21||19||16||12||21||19||21||22||Not released|
Penn State did not play Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota in the 2011 Big Ten football season. The schedule was as follows:
|September 3||12:00 p.m.||Indiana State*||BTN||W 41–7||96,461|
|September 10||3:30 p.m.||No. 3 Alabama*||No. 23||ABC||L 11–27||107,846|
|September 17||12:00 p.m.||at Temple*||ESPN||W 14–10||57,323|
|September 24||12:00 p.m.||Eastern Michigan*||ESPN2||W 34–6||95,636|
|October 1||12:00 p.m.||at Indiana||ESPNU||W 16–10||42,621|
|October 8||3:30 p.m.||Iowa||ABC/ESPN||W 13–3||103,497|
|October 15||12:00 p.m.||Purdue||BTN||W 23–18||100,820|
|October 22||7:00 p.m.||at Northwestern||BTN||W 34–24||40,004|
|October 29||3:30 p.m.||Illinois||No. 21||ABC/ESPN2||W 10–7||97,828|
|November 12||12:00 p.m.||No. 19 Nebraska||No. 12||ESPN||L 14–17||107,193|
|November 19||3:30 p.m.||at Ohio State||No. 21||ABC/ESPN||W 20–14||104,994|
|November 26||3:30 p.m.||at No. 15 Wisconsin||No. 20||ESPN||L 7–45||79,708|
|January 2, 2012||12:00 p.m.||vs. No. 20 Houston*||No. 24||ESPNU||L 14–30||46,817|
|2011 Penn State Nittany Lions football team roster|
|#25 Penn State||14||14||6||7||41|
The Nittany Lions defeated the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Indiana State Sycamores 41–7. Rob Bolden started for the Nittany Lions at quarterback and shared QB duties with Matt McGloin. The game began with a 95-yard kick-off return for touchdown by Chaz Powell. Silas Redd ran for 104 yards on 12 carries scored two touchdowns. and fullbacks Joe Suhey and Michael Zordich each had one running touchdown. Third string quarterback Shane McGregor closed the scoring for Penn State with a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Sycamores were able to score the final touchdown of the game against Penn State's third and fourth string defense. Head coach Joe Paterno, still recovering from injuries sustained in a practice collision with Devon Smith coached from the press box. TV announcers=Big Ten Network Matt Devlin, Glen Mason & Dionne Miller
|#23 Penn State||3||0||0||8||11|
See also: 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
The third ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, coached by Nick Saban, defeated the Nittany Lions 27–11 at Beaver Stadium. Rob Bolden was once again the starting quarterback and shared playing time with Matt McGloin. Bolden completed 11 of 29 passes for 144 yards and one interception while McGloin was 1 of 10 for 0 yards. Penn State took the opening possession down the field and recorded a 43-yard field goal by Evan Lewis. The Nittany Lions were held scoreless through the second, third, and most of the fourth quarters when Silas Redd scored a one-yard touchdown. Bolden converted the two-point conversion to bring the Penn State total to 11 points.
TV announcers ABC: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe
See also: 2011 Temple Owls football team
Penn State defeated Temple 14 – 10 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Fullback Michael Zordich scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard dive with 2:42 to play in the game. While the offense, once again led by quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, struggled the defense was able to keep the game within reach. Derek Moye had 7 receptions for 112 yards with all 7 catches being good for a Penn State first down. Chaz Powell and Michael Mauti each picked off one Temple pass and Nick Sukay recovered a fumble. Mauti's interception set up the Penn State offense at the Temple 44 with 8:46 remaining. Bolden led the game-winning drive that was highlighted by two successful fourth down conversions and a Zordich recovery of a fumbled snap between Bolden and center Matt Stankiewitch. Despite the close score, Temple finished with only 197 yards of offense, their fewest since a 27–13 win over Army in 2009, where they had only 195. It's also only the fourth time since 2008 that Temple has finished with less than 200 yards of offense.
The Nittany Lions defeated the Eagles 34–6. The victory marked the first time in the 2011 season that head coach Joe Paterno coached from the sidelines. He spent the first half on the field and coached the second half from the press box. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin shared quarterback duties again. McGloin threw three touchdown passes, one to fullback Joe Suhey and two to wide receiver Derek Moye who became the sixth Nittany Lion to have more than 2,000 yards receiving in his career. Bolden threw a 71-yard pass to receiver Devon Smith. Kickers Anthony Fera and Sam Ficken each kicked a field goal. Fera was the first Penn State player to punt, kick-off, and serve as the place kicker in a single game since 1975 when Chris Bahr did the same. The Penn State defense limited the Eagles offense to just two fourth-quarter field goals and picked up three turnovers including an interception by Nick Sukay. Malcolm Willis blocked an Eastern Michigan punt. Linebacker Michael Mauti and cornerback D'Anton Lynn both left the game with apparently severe injuries. Mauti injured his knee and is out for the season with an ACL injury to his left knee. Lynn was placed on a backboard as a precautionary measure and was admitted to the local hospital. Post game reports said that Lynn was able to move his arms and legs and may have suffered a stinger, which caused a burning sensation in his extremities.
See also: 2011 Indiana Hoosiers football team
The game against the Indiana Hoosiers was Joe Paterno's 700th game as a member of the Penn State coaching staff. He has been coaching at Penn State since 1950 when he moved to Penn State from Brown University with his mentor and predecessor Rip Engle. The Nittany Lions defeated the Hoosiers 16–10 for Paterno's 405th career win as head coach. Both offenses struggled throughout most of the game. Rob Bolden started for Penn State at quarterback and shared playing time with Matt McGloin. Derek Moye caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from McGloin in the third quarter. Kicker Anthony Fera was successful on 3 of 4 field goal attempts. Chaz Powell had one interception and Devon Still recovered a fumble that was forced by Sean Stanley. Silas Redd led the Nittany Lion ground game with 126 yards on 30 carries. Penn State committed two turnovers in the red zone, Bolden threw an interception to Forisse Hardin and Redd fumbled the ball at the three-yard line.
See also: 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes football team
Penn State defeated Iowa 13 – 3. The victory over the Hawkeyes was just the second win in the series for the Nittany Lions since 2000. Rob Bolden started the game, but played just two series. Matt McGloin took the rest of the snaps at quarterback and completed a 2-yard touchdown to Kevin Haplea. The Penn State defense produced five sacks and three turnovers, one fumble and two interceptions to help control the game. The running game led by Silas Redd and Curtis Dukes ran up 231 yards on the ground to help control the clock and keep the Iowa offense off the field. Joe Paterno, still recovering from off season injuries spent the first half on the sidelines before moving to the pressbox in the second half. Penn State honored the 1986 National Champions at halftime of the game to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Penn State's upset victory over the Miami Hurricanes in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.
See also: 2011 Purdue Boilermakers football team
Penn State defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 23 – 18 for a homecoming victory and to go to 6 – 1 on the season and 3 – 0 in the Big Ten. Rob Bolden once again started at quarterback, but Matt McGloin took the great majority of the snaps. He threw one interception that bounced off the feet of receiver Bill Belton and into the arms of the Boilermaker's Albert Evans who returned it 55 yards from the endzone. Silas Redd ran for 131 yards and one touchdown. Backup tailback Curtis Dukes scored his first career touchdown. The Penn State defense came up with three interceptions, two by linebacker Nate Stupar and one by safety Nick Sukay. Starting wide receiver Derek Moye missed the game with a foot injury and coach Joe Paterno, still recovering from off season injuries, spent the entire game in the pressbox.
See also: 2011 Northwestern Wildcats football team
Penn State defeated Northwestern 34–24 giving Joe Paterno his 408th career win and tying him with Grambling's legendary Eddie Robinson. Matt McGloin started and played the entire game at quarterback. The first half was an offensive shoot-out and the second a defensive struggle. Despite the fact that McGloin took every snap at quarterback, both Joe and quarterback coach Jay Paterno stated that the competition between McGloin and Rob Bolden to be the starter was still active. The defensive star of the game was linebacker Gerald Hodges. He had a career-high 14 tackles and returned an interception thrown by Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native Dan Persa for 63 yards. Anthony Fera kicked two field goals to go with the four touchdowns produced by the Nittany Lions. McGloin threw touchdown passes to Justin Brown and Devon Smith. Silas Redd and Stephon Green both scored one running touchdown.
Paterno earned his 409th win and passed Grambling State's Eddie Robinson as Division I's winningest coach in what would unexpectedly become his final game at Penn State. The game at halftime was 0–0, Illinois took a 7–0 lead in the 3rd quarter on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to wide receiver Spencer Harris. A blocked punt by Brad Bars set up Penn State's first score of the game, a thirty-yard field goal by Anthony Fera with 7:00 remaining. Matt McGloin led Penn State on the game-winning drive that was sparked by the return from injury of Derek Moye. The Nittany Lions drove 80 yards down the field in the final three minutes of the game. A three-yard touchdown run by running back Silas Redd put the Lions ahead 10–7. Illinois drove into field goal range, and attempted a 42-yard field goal. The field goal hit the right upright, and Penn State won 10–7. Redd topped 1,000 yards for the season while running for 137 yards on 30 carries. Linebacker Gerald Hodges led the defense with 19 tackles, a forced fumble, and two pass break-ups.
|#12 Penn State||0||0||7||7||14|
See also: 2011 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team
This was the first Nittany Lion's game not coached by Joe Paterno in 46 years due to his firing for his involvement in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Penn State fell behind 10–0 at halftime and trailed 17–0 after a Matt McGloin fumble in the third quarter that led to a Nebraska touchdown. Penn State rallied, however, and even had a chance to win after scoring two touchdowns and narrowing the deficit to 17–14. Had Penn State won the game, they would have been two regular-season wins away from a likely Big Ten championship appearance. (They went on to beat Ohio State and to lose to Wisconsin.)  However, a last gasp play from near mid-field ended hopes of a comeback. This game was marked with much emotion with a blue-out (in contrast to the normal white-out) at Beaver Stadium in support of the alleged victims of Sandusky's crimes. Nebraska and Penn State gathered for a prayer at midfield for the victims and the fans showed the support for their team with a standing ovation at the end of the game despite the loss.
See also: 2011 Ohio State Buckeyes football team
Penn State defeated Ohio State 20–14. Stephon Green ran for two touchdowns and Anthony Fera kicked two field goals for the Nittany Lions. It was Penn State's first and only win with Tom Bradley as coach. All of the scoring in the game was contained to the first half. Penn State had success running the Wildcat formation with Curtis Drake and Bill Belton taking snaps while quarterback Matt McGloin lined up in the slot. This victory took the show down for the Leaders Division championship to their final regular season game at Wisconsin. Penn State won the game despite being a seven-point underdog according to Las Vegas bookmakers. It was the first time since 2001 against Northwestern that the Nittany Lions were victorious despite being so heavily favored to lose.
|#19 Penn State||7||0||0||0||7|
See also: 2011 Wisconsin Badgers football team
The winner of this matchup was guaranteed to represent the Leaders division in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Penn State lost to Wisconsin 7–45 to close out the regular season. The Nittany Lions took a 7–0 lead in the first quarter on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to Curtis Drake. Penn State turned the ball over four times, three fumbles and one interception. The Badgers, led by quarterback Russell Wilson and tailback Montee Ball, were able to convert all four turnovers into scores.
|#23 Penn State||0||7||7||0||14|
Penn State lost to Houston 14–30 in the TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas to end the season. Houston quarterback, Case Keenum, was the game MVP completing 45 of 69 passes for 532 yards and three touchdowns. Rob Bolden started at quarterback in place of the injured Matt McGloin for Penn State. Bolden, the offense, and the defense struggled throughout the game.
Penn State's football players were recognized for outstanding academic performance by the New America Foundation's Academic Bowl Championship Series. The team was ranked number one out of the top 25 ranked BCS teams. The criteria in the rankings include the graduation rate of the team as compared to the rest of university, the difference between the graduation rate of African-American players and the rest of the squad as well as the same statistics for the rest of the students at Penn State, and the graduation rate differences between African American players and students. This marked the second time that the football team at Penn State was ranked number one. Chris White was awarded the Ray Guy Award for the nations best Punter. The 2009 team earned the same honor.
Seven players were invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, held February 22 to 28 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana: Jack Crawford, D'Anton Lynn, Derek Moye, Chaz Powell, Devon Still, Nate Stupar, Johnnie Troutman.
|2012 Casino del Sol College All-Star Game||January 16, 2012||Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium
|2012 East-West Shrine Game||January 21, 2012||Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, Florida
|2012 Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl||January 21, 2012||The Home Depot Center
|2012 Senior Bowl||January 28, 2012||Ladd–Peebles Stadium,