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Graham Zug was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2008 campaign and was one of the Nittany Lions' best stories during their Big Ten Championship run, making two touchdown catches and a huge reception in the victory at Ohio State. But, 2009 was a breakout campaign for Zug, who has emerged as a reliable and highly-effective receiver and blocker. An athlete with very good skills, speed and instincts, the sure-handed fifth-year senior is a probable All-Big Ten candidate. The quiet, humble and highly-productive Zug has demonstrated the ability to get open in all kinds of situations and make big catches. A starter in nine games last year, Zug led the Nittany Lions with seven touchdown receptions, topped by a career-high three in a memorable 35-10 win at Michigan. He was second on the squad with 46 receptions for 600 yards (13.0), making a catch in 12 of 13 games. His 46 catches were tied with O.J. McDuffie (1991) for No. 14 on the Penn State season receptions list. Zug rewrote his career-high for receiving yardage in a game on four occasions and broke his career-high for receptions in a game three times in 2009. He uses his speed, size and determination to separate himself from defenders and make tough catches. The former Manheim Central HS all-stater joins Brett Brackett as the only seniors among Penn State's vastly talented and productive wideout corps. Zug's sister, Daneen, will be a senior midfielder on the Nittany Lions' field hockey team this fall. An older brother, David, was a member of the Blue Band and also is a Penn State graduate. Winner of the team's 2009 Red Worrell Award, Zug is on schedule to earn his degree in December.
2009 Senior Season
Playing in every game, with nine starts, Zug led the Lions with seven touchdown catches, topped by a career-high three in a memorable 35-10 win at Michigan. Zug finished second on the squad with 46 receptions for 600 yards (13.0), making a catch in 12 of 13 games. His 46 catches were tied with O.J. McDuffie (1991) for No. 14 on the Penn State season receptions list. Zug rewrote his career-high for receiving yardage in a game on four occasions. He broke his career-high for receptions in a game three times during the season, starting with the opener against Akron, when he made five receptions for 62 yards. He had a 19-yard touchdown reception against the Zips for a 31-0 lead. The next week against Syracuse, he rewrote his career-highs for receptions (6) and tallied 79 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown catch. Zug made one catch against Temple, leaving the game early with a slight injury. He returned the following week in the Iowa game, but was held without a catch for the only time all season. Zug made five receptions for 52 yards in the 20-0 win over Minnesota, including a 20-yard grab near the sideline to set up a second-half touchdown. He had a career day in the win at Michigan, catching five passes for 59 yards and a career-high three touchdowns from Daryll Clark (10, 11, 17 yards). Zug was the first Penn State player to catch three touchdowns in a game since Deon Butler did so against Michigan State in 2008. Zug made a career-best seven receptions for a career-high 96 receiving yards against Ohio State. His 31-yard catch in the first quarter against the Buckeyes was a season-long. Zug was highly productive in the Lions' 42-14 regular-season finale win at Michigan State. He hauled in four receptions for a game and career-high 99 yards, including touchdown catches of 32 and 27 yards from Clark during Penn State's 28-point third-quarter outburst. In the Capital One Bowl win over LSU, Zug made four receptions for 51 yards, including a huge 17-yard catch to the LSU 20 during the Lions' game-winning drive. He made two catches during the critical drive and had a 21-yard grab earlier in the big win over the Tigers. Zug was on the field for 589 snaps in 2009, led by 58 and 57, respectively, in the wins over Minnesota and Michigan.
2008 Junior Season
One of the best stories of the Big Ten Championship season was Zug's emergence as a productive and valuable member of the senior-laden wide receiver unit. Zug played in every game, making starts against Ohio State, Indiana and Southern California in the 2009 Rose Bowl. He was tied for seventh on the team in receptions, hauling in 11 passes for 174 yards and a strong 15.8 average. Zug also had two touchdown catches, fourth-best on the squad. Against Temple, he made his first career touchdown catch on a 17-yard strike from Daryll Clark. He made two catches for 39 yards at Purdue, including a 23-yard reception. In his first start, Zug made a career-long 49-yard catch at Ohio State. The second-quarter reception set up a Kevin Kelly field goal in the Lions' critical 13-6 win in Columbus. Zug demonstrated his athleticism and instincts in the win over Michigan State, keeping his feet just inside the end zone and catching a five-yard bullet from Clark to give the Lions a 7-0 lead in the first period. He later added a 28-yard catch and run to the Spartan one-yard line to set up a Clark touchdown run in the second quarter. Zug caught a game-high four passes for 62 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown from Matt McGloin, in the 2009 Blue-White game.
2007 Sophomore Season
Zug made his collegiate debut in the season-opener against Florida International and grabbed his first reception, gaining eight yards in the win. He played in eight games and on 42 snaps, seeing his most significant playing time against Florida International. In the 2008 Blue-White game, Zug made four catches for 47 yards, including a 22-yard scoring strike from Pat Devlin for the victorious Blue squad.
2006 Freshman Season
Zug was a standout at Manheim Central HS for Coach Mike Williams. He was named Associated Press first-team Class AAA all-state and edged out future Nittany Lion teammate Jared Odrick as Lancaster-Lebanon League Player-of-the-Year. During an outstanding senior season, Zug caught 78 passes for 1,282 yards and 20 touchdowns and contributed 38 tackles and nine interceptions. His game-high was an eight-catch, 138-yard performance against rival Lebanon. Zug caught 51 passes for 799 yards and 13 scores and tallied 78 tackles and six interceptions as a junior. He also compiled a 3.6 grade-point average.
Full name is Graham Alan Zug. He is the son of David and Claudia Zug. His father and grandfather are Penn State graduates and his sister, Daneen, is a standout on the Nittany Lion field hockey team, entering her senior season. She was selected second-team All-Big Ten in 2008. An older brother, David, was a member of the Blue Band and also is a Penn State graduate. Graham is majoring in kinesiology. Born April 12, 1987.
Zug's 2008 Game-by-Game
Receiving (Catches-Yards-TD) Coastal Carolina 1-5-0; Oregon State 0-0; Syracuse 1-11-0; Temple 1-17-1; Illinois 1-8-0; Purdue 2-39-0; Wisconsin 1-3-0; Michigan 0-0-0; Ohio State 1-49-0; Iowa 0-0-0; Indiana 1-9-0; Michigan State 2-33-1; USC 0-0-0.
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