2012 Penn State Nittany Lions football
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
DivisionLeaders Division
2012 record8–4 (6–2 Big Ten)
Head coach
Offensive coordinatorBill O'Brien (1st season)
Offensive schemePro Style
Defensive coordinatorTed Roof (1st season)
Base defense4–3
CaptainGame Captains
Home stadiumBeaver Stadium
(Capacity: 106,572)
← 2011
2013 →
2012 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team   W   L     W   L  
Legends Division
No. 25 Nebraska xy   7 1     10 4  
No. 24 Michigan   6 2     8 5  
No. 17 Northwestern   5 3     10 3  
Michigan State   3 5     7 6  
Iowa   2 6     4 8  
Minnesota   2 6     6 7  
Leaders Division
No. 3 Ohio State* x   8 0     12 0  
Penn State*   6 2     8 4  
Wisconsin y$   4 4     8 6  
Purdue   3 5     6 7  
Indiana   2 6     4 8  
Illinois   0 8     2 10  
Championship: Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 31
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • * Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for conference championship game and post-season bowl games due to NCAA sanctions.
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represented the Pennsylvania State University in the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bill O'Brien in his first season and played its home games in Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania, US. It was a member of the Big Ten Conference and played in the Leaders Division. Penn State was ineligible to play in a bowl game for the 2012 season due to sanctions imposed in wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

O'Brien was hired as Penn State's 15th head football coach, replacing Hall of Fame coach, Joe Paterno.[1] He was introduced as the head coach at a press conference on January 7, 2012.[2] The team added player names to the back of their jerseys to recognize the players who stayed with the program despite adversity, and also wore a blue ribbon to support child abuse victims.[3]

After losing its first two games, the Nittany Lions finished their season winning eight of their final 10 to finish with a record of eight wins and four losses (8–4). They were not eligible to participate in a bowl game despite their winning record.


September 112:00 p.m.Ohio[4]*ESPNL 14–2497,186
September 812:00 p.m.at Virginia[5]*ABCL 16–1756,087
September 153:30 p.m.Navy*
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA
ABC/ESPN2W 34–798,792
September 223:30 p.m.Temple*
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA (rivalry)
ABC/ESPN2W 24–1393,680
September 2912:00 p.m.at IllinoisESPNW 35–746,734
October 612:00 p.m.No. 24 Northwesterndagger
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA
ESPNW 39–2895,769[6]
October 208:00 p.m.at IowaBTNW 38–1470,585
October 275:30 p.m.No. 9 Ohio State
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA (rivalry)
ESPNL 23–35107,818
November 33:30 p.m.at PurdueESPNUW 34–940,098
November 103:30 p.m.at No. 18 NebraskaABCL 23–3285,527
November 1712:00 p.m.Indiana
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA
BTNW 45–2290,358
November 243:30 p.m.Wisconsin
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA
ESPN2W 24–21 OT93,505
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Coaching staff


Wide receiver Shawney Kersey left the team on September 12, 2012 for "personal reasons".[15] On September 28, 2012, quarterback and tight end Paul Jones left the Penn State football team.[16]

2012 Penn State Nittany Lions football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
TB 1 Bill Belton So
QB 2 Shane McGregor Sr
WR 6 Shane Phillips
WR 7 Eugene Lewis Fr
WR 8 Allen Robinson So
RB 9 Michael Zordich
QB 11 Matt McGloin
QB 12 Steven Bench Fr
WR 13 Tyler Lucas
QB 14 Garrett Venuto
WR 15 Alex Kenney
WR 17 Matthew Mege
TE 18 Jesse James Fr
WR 20 Malik Golden Fr
WR 21 Trevor Williams Fr
TB 22 Akeel Lynch Fr
TB 24 Derek Day Sr
TB 26 Curtis Dukes
RB 28 Zach Zwinak
FB 30 Andre Dupree
FB 32 Jack Haffner Fr
RB 33 Colin Bryan Fr
FB 34 Dominic Salamone Fr
FB 35 Pat Zerbe
RB 36 Deron Thompson
WR 37 Evan Lewis
FB 41 J.R. Refice
FB 45 P.J. Byers Sr
G 50 Anthony Stanko Fr
C 54 Matt Stankiewtich Sr
C 55 Wendy Laurent Fr
G 56 Anthony Alosi
T 58 Adam Gress
C 60 Ty Howle
C 62 Frank Figueroa
G 64 John Urschel
C 65 Miles Dieffenbach
G 66 Angelo Mangiro
G 68 Bryan Davie
T 70 Nate Cadogan
G 73 Mark Arcidiacono
G 75 Eric Shrive
T 76 Donovan Smith
G 77 Patrick Christie
T 78 Mike Farrell Sr
T 79 Kevin Blanchard
WR 80 Matt Zanellato
TE 82 Brian Irvin Sr
TE 83 Brent Wilkerson Fr
TE 84 Matt Lehman
WR 85 Brandon Moseby-Felder
TE 86 Bryce Wilson
TE 87 Kyle Carter
WR 88 Jonathan Warner Fr
TE 89 Gary Gilliam
Pos. # Name Class
CB 2 Jake Kiley Fr
CB 3 Da'Quan Davis Fr
CB 4 Adrian Amos So
LB 5 Nyeem Wartman Fr
LB 6 Gerald Hodges Sr
S 7 Stephen Obeng-Agyapong
LB 8 Gary Wooten Fr
S 10 Malcolm Willis
CB 12 Stephon Morris Sr
S 14 Jordan Lucas Fr
CB 14 Mike Wallace
CB 15 Patrick Flanagan
CB 16 Devin Pryor
DE 18 Deion Barnes
S 21 Bryant Harper Fr
LB 22 T.J. Rhattigan
S 23 Ryan Keiser
S 27 Jacob Fagnano Sr
S 29 Jeff Cully
LB 30 Charles Idemudia Fr
DE 31 Brad Bars
LB 33 Michael Yancich
LB 38 Ben Kline
CB 39 Jesse Della Valle
LB 40 Glenn Carson Jr
LB 42 Michael Mauti
LB 43 Mike Hull
LB 46 Adam Cole Fr
DL 47 Jordan Hill Sr
DE 48 Jordan Kerner
LB 49 Brennan Franklin Fr
LB 51 Drew Boyce
DE 52 Brent Smith Fr
DT 53 Derek Dowrey Fr
LB 54 James Van Fleet Sr
DE 59 Pete Massaro
DT 72 Brian Gaia Fr
DT 84 Kyle Baublitz
DE 86 C.J. Olaniyan
DT 88 Tyrone Smith
DE 90 Sean Stanley Sr
DT 91 DaQuan Jones Jr
DE 92 Albert Hall Fr
DT 93 James Terry
DE 94 Evan Schwan Fr
DE 95 Carl Nassib
DT 96 Cody Castor Sr
DE 98 Anthony Zettel
DT 99 Austin Johnson Fr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
P 29 Reynolds Parthemore Fr
P 32 Joe Baker Sr
LS 44 Michael Fuhrman Sr
P 45 Alex Butterworth Jr
K 48 Kevin DiSanto
LS 57 Emery Etter
LS 63 Joe Marvin Fr
PK 97 Sam Ficken So
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
  • Redshirt

Last update: October 20, 2012

Game summaries

September 1 vs. Ohio

See also: 2012 Ohio Bobcats football team

Penn State vs. Ohio -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Ohio 0 3 14724
Penn State 7 7 0014

at Beaver Stadium

Game information

The Ohio University Bobcats spoiled Head Coach Bill O'Brien's PSU debut defeating the Nittany Lions 24–14. Penn State led 14–3 at the half due to passing touchdowns by QB Matt McGloin to Bill Belton (6 yard) and Matt Lehman (14 yard). Ohio came out of the half-time intermission with 21 unanswered points from passing scores from QB Tyler Tettleton to Landon Smith (43 yard) and Donte Foster (5 yard) and a Tettleton run (1 yard). Penn State committed several costly turnovers including a muffed punt by linebacker Gerald Hodges which set up an Ohio TD and an interception thrown with a minute left by Matt McGloin which essentially put the nail in the coffin. Beau Blankenship led the way for the Bobcats rushing for 109 yards on 31 carries and catching 7 passes for 72 yards. Allen Robinson led the Lions catching 9 passes for 92 yards. Penn State tight end Kyle Carter also caught 6 passes for 72 yards.[17]

September 8 at Virginia

See also: 2012 Virginia Cavaliers football team

Penn State at Virginia -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Penn State 7 0 0916
Virginia 0 3 7717

at Scott Stadium

  • Date: September 8
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game attendance: 56,087
  • TV: ABC
Game information

Penn State was without starting running back Bill Belton due to injury, so senior Derek Day got the start. Penn State's opening drive of the game lasted 17 plays and 75 yards and took up about 6 minutes resulting in an 8-yard TD pass from QB Matt McGloin to Kyle Carter. Their first-half offense was thwarted, however, when they could not convert on 2 FG attempts. Drew Jarrett's 46-yard FG put Virginia on the scoreboard with 3:56 remaining in the first half. True freshman Steven Bench took over QB duties for Penn State late in the first half when McGloin left the field after being hit in the elbow on 2 consecutive series.
Virginia's opening drive of the second half resulted in a 1-yard TD pass from QB Michael Rocco to Jeremiah Mathis. Penn State's FG woes continued in the third quarter when Sam Ficken missed a 20-yard FG which would have tied the game. In the fourth quarter, McGloin completed a long pass to Allen Robinson, who made the diving catch but was shaken up after the play. Ficken's PAT attempt was blocked. Penn State's final scoring drive began when Michael Mauti recovered a Virginia fumble deep in UVA territory. On the ensuing drive, Ficken attempted a 32-yard field goal and, for the first time on the day, made it. Rocco's 6-yard pass to Jake McGee and the ensuing PAT gave Virginia a 1-point lead with 1:28 remaining in the contest. Ficken missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired.[18]

September 15 vs. Navy

See also: 2012 Navy Midshipmen football team

Penn State vs. Navy -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Navy 0 0 077
Penn State 14 6 7734

at Beaver Stadium

  • Date: September 15
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Game attendance: 98,792
Game information

In the game where new head coach Bill O'Brien celebrated his first victory at Penn State,[20] the Lions overpowered Navy 34–7. Senior quarterback Matt McGloin threw for 231 yards (13–21) and 4 touchdowns including three to sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson who had 5 catches for 136 yards. For the second consecutive game, Penn State was without starting halfback Bill Belton. Fifth year senior Michael Zordich, who has spent his career at PSU playing fullback carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards. Teammate Curtis Dukes carried 11 times for 47 yards. Navy turned the ball over several times including a fumble which was recovered by Linebacker U Mike Hull and returned for a 74-yard touchdown. Gerald Hodges also recorded an interception.[21]

September 22 vs. Temple

See also: 2012 Temple Owls football team

Penn State vs. Temple -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Temple 0 3 3713
Penn State 7 7 7324

at Beaver Stadium

  • Date: September 22
  • Game time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Game attendance: 93,680
Game information

Led by a strong effort by senior quarterback Matt McGloin who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, the Lions defeated Temple 24–13. With running back Bill Belton out for the third straight game, it was up to McGloin to lead the team around the goal line. He did, with a one-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a two yarder. He also threw a touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson, who recorded 5 catches for 82 yards and a score. Sophomore Zach Zwinak saw the first extensive action of his career at running back; he ran for 94 yards on 18 carries. Fullback Michael Zordich added 15 carries of his own for 75 yards. Kicker Sam Ficken, who had missed 4 field goals and an extra point the previous week, converted on all 3 extra points and a 21-yard field goal. Defensively, the Lions were led by another strong effort from senior linebacker Michael Mauti, who recorded 9 tackles, and defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who added 7 tackles and a sack.[22]

September 29 at Illinois

See also: 2012 Illinois Fighting Illini football team

Penn State at Illinois -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Penn State 14 7 7735
Illinois 0 0 707

at Memorial Stadium

Game information

After getting a quick three and out on Penn State's first series, Illinois muffed the punt and set up Penn State with great field position. Kicker Sam Ficken attempted a field goal, which he made, but a running into the kicker penalty on Illinois, Penn State was set up inside the 5-yard line. Zach Zwinak ran the ball for a 1-yard touchdown. Later in the quarter, Matt McGloin ran for a score. Taylor Zalewski missed a short field goal late in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Sam Ficken missed a 47 yarder of his own. In the second quarter, Matt McGloin threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Matt Lehman, his tenth of the year. As Lehman was falling into the end zone, an Illinois defender hammered Lehman helmet to helmet and was ejected. At the end of the first half, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase threw an interception to Michael Mauti who returned the ball 99 yards and was stopped at the one-yard line with one second left. Sam Ficken's 18 yard was blocked to end the half. On a trick play, receiver Josh Ferguson threw a 22-yard touchdown to Spencer Harris in the third quarter. Matt McGloin capped a long drive late in the third quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. Michael Mauti intercepted Nathan Scheelhaase for the second time of the day near the end of the third quarter. Zach Zwinak went over the century mark with his second touchdown run of the day early in the fourth quarter to put Penn State up 35–7.[citation needed]

October 6 vs. Northwestern

See also: 2012 Northwestern Wildcats football team

Penn State vs. #24 Northwestern -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
#24 Northwestern 0 14 14028
Penn State 3 7 72239

at Beaver Stadium

Game information

In the Lions' first game against a ranked opponent, they defeated Northwestern 39–28 at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won the toss and elected to receive. Their first drive showed promise, but a false start penalty pushed them back and forcing them to punt. Alex Butterworth's punt was downed at the Northwestern 1. The Wildcats were forced into a quick three-and-out. The ensuing drive for the Lions included two fourth down conversions on their way to inside the five-yard line where, rather than risking a third fourth down on the drive, the Nittany Lions settled for a 21-yard field goal try by Sam Ficken. On Penn State's fifth drive of the game, which began at the Northwestern 40, they slowly drove down the field using the no-huddle offense, converting on fourth and short at one point for their third 4th down conversion of the game. The drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown plunge by Zach Zwinak to give Penn State a 10–0 lead. Northwestern's ensuing drive managed to pick up a couple first downs, but ultimately stalled and they were forced to punt for a fifth time. Penn State, however, muffed this punt and Northwestern recovered at the Penn State 17. Three plays later, Northwestern scored its first touchdown of the game on a two-yard run by Venric Mark to make the score 10–7. After another exchange of punts, Penn State drove from its 21-yard line to the Northwestern 34 where the drive stalled and Penn State was forced to 4th and 4. Penn State elected to try to convert its fourth 4th down of the game, but they failed this time. Northwestern took advantage of this to drive down the field, aided by a controversial pass interference call, and scored another touchdown before the half on a Trevor Siemian pass. At the end of the first half, Penn State trailed 14–10.

Northwestern opened the second half on offense and after one first down was forced to punt. Penn State then moved the ball 80 yards in 12 plays and scored a touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Matt McGloin to Allen Robinson to take a 17–14 lead. Northwestern responded in kind with a touchdown scored on a 10-yard run by Kain Colter to put Penn State down again, this time by a score of 21–17. Penn State's next drive also stalled, and the ensuing Penn State punt resulted in a disaster when Northwestern's Venric Mark returned it 75 yards for a touchdown to widen the gap to 28–17. Penn State responded to this score with its own 18 play 82-yard drive that ended on a touchdown pass from McGloin to Robinson on 4th and 4 from the Northwestern 6. A successful two-point rush by Michael Zordich trimmed the deficit to 25–28 with just under 10 minutes to play. Penn State forced a Northwestern three-and-out, but a good Northwestern punt backed up Penn State to its own 15. Penn State drove, in 13 plays, down the field to the Northwestern 4, along the way converting on another 4th down to make it 5 for 6 on 4th downs. On 2nd and Goal, McGloin was stripped of the ball from behind, but managed to fall on it for a loss of one. One 3rd and Goal, McGloin escaped the pass rush and dove into the end zone to give the Lions a 32–28 lead with 2:37 to play. Northwestern had all three timeouts for what ultimately would be its last chance, but ran four plays and turned the ball over on downs. Penn State ran three consecutive handoffs to Michael Zordich, who took the second one all the way to the three and the third into the end zone to make the score 39–28, the final score.[citation needed]

October 20 at Iowa

See also: 2012 Iowa Hawkeyes football team

Penn State at Iowa -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Penn State 14 10 7738
Iowa 0 0 01414

at Kinnick Stadium

Game information

October 27 vs. Ohio State

See also: 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes football team

Penn State vs. Ohio State -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
#9 Ohio State 0 7 21735
Penn State 0 7 31323

at Beaver Stadium

Game information

November 3 vs. Purdue

See also: 2012 Purdue Boilermakers football team

Penn State vs. Purdue -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Purdue 3 0 069
Penn State 10 10 14034

at Ross–Ade Stadium

Game information

November 10 at Nebraska

See also: 2012 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

Penn State at Nebraska -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Penn State 7 13 3023
#18 Nebraska 3 3 141232

at Memorial Stadium

Game information

November 17 vs. Indiana

See also: 2012 Indiana Hoosiers football team

Penn State vs. Indiana -Game Summary
1 2 34Total
Indiana 0 13 9022
Penn State 7 21 14345

at Beaver Stadium

Game information

Receiver Allen Robinson caught three touchdown passes in the first half. Senior linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges each left in the first half due to injury. Hodges subsequently returned and made an interception late in the second quarter where he tipped the ball to himself and made a diving catch. Mauti was expected to miss significant time with a left knee injury. Quarterback Matt McGloin set both a single-season record for most passing yards in school history and broke Zack Mills' record for most career touchdown passes.[citation needed]

November 24 vs. Wisconsin

See also: 2012 Wisconsin Badgers football team

Penn State vs. Wisconsin-Game Summary
1 2 34OTTotal
Wisconsin 14 0 07021
Penn State 7 0 68324

at Beaver Stadium

Game information


Despite the Lions' ineligibility to play in bowl games, several players were named to the All-Conference Team or received other individual awards.



Four players were invited to the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, held February 20 to 26 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana: Jordan Hill, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti, and Matt Stankiewitch.[33][34]

All-star games

Game Date Site Players
2013 Casino del Sol College All-Star Game January 11, 2013 Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium
Tucson, Arizona
Mike Farrell[35]
2013 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl January 19, 2013 The Home Depot Center
Carson, California
Michael Zordich[36]
Sean Stanley[35]
Pete Massaro[37]
2013 East–West Shrine Game January 19, 2013 Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, Florida
Gerald Hodges[38]
Matt Stankiewitch[38]
2013 Senior Bowl January 26, 2013 Ladd–Peebles Stadium,
Mobile, Alabama
Jordan Hill[36]
2013 Texas vs The Nation February 2, 2013 Allen, Texas Matt McGloin[36]


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