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Sept. 15, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson (Southfield, Mich.) recorded career highs with 136 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and the Penn State defense forced four turnovers, as the Nittany Lion football team defeated Navy, 34-7, at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Penn State, which improved to 1-2, recorded its first win of the Bill O'Brien era in front of 98,792 fans on Military Appreciation Day.
Robinson, who became the first Nittany Lion with three touchdown receptions since Graham Zug against Michigan in 2009, also corralled a pair of 45-yard receptions to set a third career high for longest career reception. Freshman tight end Jesse James (Glassport) caught the Nittany Lions' first touchdown of the day on the opening drive for his first career score.
Senior quarterback Matt McGloin (Scranton) completed 13-of-21 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. The Scranton, Pa., native's 45-yard strikes to Robinson also matched a career high for longest pass play.
Senior Michael Zordich (Youngstown, Ohio), who saw action at tailback for the first time since he played at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, led the Nittany Lion ground attack and rumbled to career highs in both carries (11) and yards (50).
The Penn State defense forced three fumbles and an interception, which included sophomore linebacker Mike Hull's (Canonsburg) 74-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. The score marked the Nittany Lions' first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Navorro Bowman's scoop-and-score against Eastern Illinois in 2009.
The Nittany Lions, who held Navy scoreless for nearly 50 minutes, also recorded four sacks and nine tackles for loss. Senior Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) recorded 12 tackles to lead all players for his fifth career game with at least 10 stops.
Safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (Bronx, N.Y.) recorded his first career forced fumble, which was recovered by defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton), in the second quarter. Linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) collected an interception, and freshman Deion Barnes (Philadelphia) forced a fumble for the second straight week and recorded his third sack in the past two games.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Penn State marched down the field on its first drive to take a 7-0 lead. McGloin connected with tight end Garry Gilliam (Carlisle) for a 12-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage and, four plays later, the quarterback completed a 45-yard pass to Robinson that brought the ball to the two-yard line. Facing second and goal, McGloin found James in the back of the end zone for the freshman tight end's first career touchdown with 11:25 remaining.
The Nittany Lions extended their lead to 14-0 following Robinson's 45-yard touchdown reception with 6:40 left in the opening frame. McGloin took the snap, effectively looked off coverage to the right and found a streaking Robinson down the left side of the field for the score. The touchdown reception capped a four-play, 57-yard drive.
With 8:59 left in the half, Penn State took a 20-0 lead with Robinson's two-yard touchdown catch. Tailbacks Curtis Dukes (Evan Mills, N.Y.) and Zordich rushed for a combined 45 yards on the drive, while converted tight end Paul Jones (McKees Rocks) and wide receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder (Fort Washington, Md.) caught passes for seven and 12 yards, respectively. McGloin then executed the play-action strike to Robinson to conclude the 14-play, 90-yard drive, which was Penn State's longest drive in yards and time (6:52) this season.
In the third quarter, the Penn State defense helped set the stage for Robinson's third touchdown reception of the game. With Navy's offense facing fourth and 16 from the Penn State 35-yard line, Mauti forced an intentional grounding penalty that gave the Nittany Lion offense the ball at Navy's 44-yard line. Four plays later, McGloin launched a ball down the middle of the field that deflected off Trevor Williams' (Nottingham, Md.) hands and was grabbed by Robinson in the end zone.
With 14:13 left in the game, the Penn State defense extended the Nittany Lion lead. On a botched handoff, Hull picked up the loose ball and ran 74 yards untouched for the score. Sophomore Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.) connected on his fourth extra point of the game to give Penn State a 34-0 lead.
With 10:03 left in the game, Navy's Gee Gee Greene capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to make it a 34-7 game.
Penn State will return to action next Saturday (Sept. 22) when it welcomes Temple to Beaver Stadium. Opening kickoff, which will air on either ABC or ESPN2, is set at 3:30 p.m.