Meanwhile, Zwinak worked his way up the depth chart after another bruising tailback, Silas Redd, left for USC. He ran behind a dominating line that included three starters who have eligibility remaining, who could have transferred to Illinois or other places in a heartbeat.
In a unique aspect of the NCAA sanctions, coaches could call Penn State players during the regular season, and still can. Nittany Lions players still are allowed to transfer and gain immediate eligibility from now until the start of next year's preseason workouts in August.
There were no signs of any recruiters hanging around in the cold outside the locker room Saturday night.
“Winning your last football game, the taste that leaves in your mouth, as opposed to losing your last game — there's a huge difference,” said Roof, the defensive coordinator, acknowledging it won't hurt recruiting and will help keep current players in the fold.
If recruits remember anything said after this game, it will probably be the postgame television interview when Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien, applauding his players, seemed to use a variation of a word generally only heard on live television when Chase Utley is at a victory parade. (Let's assume the FCC isn't happy. But recruits won't mind it, and it probably didn't hurt O'Brien when he got in the Tom Brady's face on television when he was New England's offensive coordinator.)
In a calmer mood at his postgame news conference, O'Brien talked of the “huge difference” between 8-4 and 7-5 — it just “sounds better.” O'Brien talked of the “euphoric feeling” of winning the last one instead of the “horrible feeling” felt in a locker room after ending a season on a loss.
As for any calls Zwinak gets now from opposing coaches, he made it sound like it would be wasted cell usage.
“When I chose to stay — I'm here until the end,” the tailback said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services