James Terry might be bracing for the busiest game of his Penn State career.
With senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill trying to recover from a sprained left knee, Terry has spent this week practicing with the first-team defensive line.
Terry said Wednesday he’s preparing to play between 50 and 55 snaps. Terry, a fifth-year senior, has never played more than 45 snaps in a college game.
Hill is listed as “day-to-day” in the official injury report. The injury, which Hill suffered early in the second quarter of last week’s 34-9 victory at Purdue, has limited his preparations for Saturday’s game at 18th-ranked Nebraska.
Terry has spent the later stages of his career as a backup to Hill, who leads the Nittany Lions with 26 career starts. He also played behind Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still, a duo that started a combined 66 games.
“Playing behind those guys, it was always good to see them go out there and do good things,” Terry said. “I don’t think I got frustrated at all. I waited for my chance.”
His chances have arrived at sporadic moments. He worked himself into Penn State’s defensive line rotation this season and big personal moments include a sack before a large Beaver Stadium crowd last month against Ohio State.
When Hill went down at Purdue, defensive line coach Larry Johnson turned to Terry, along with sophomore Kyle Baublitz, another player who might factor heavily into Saturday’s plan if Hill doesn’t play. Terry said redshirt freshman defensive end Anthony Zettel also has received work at defensive tackle this week. Junior DaQuan Jones starts opposite Hill.
“I believe we do a really good job of rotating guys in there and keeping guys fresh,” coach Bill O’Brien said.
Terry made his lone start in 2010 against Indiana. He said learning from players such as Hill and Still has made the past five years worthwhile.
“I don’t look at it like getting a shot,” he said. “I have played before, but this is a more expanded role This is my time to step up and do my thing.”
Center Matt Stankiewitch said Terry is a capable replacement.
“I have been going against him my whole career,” Stankiewitch said. “He’s kind of like the backup to Jordan Hill. He’s a very strong individual. He also has a very strong bull rush and he also knows his role. Coach O’Brien is always expressing in team meetings that James Terry knows his role and he performs it to his best. He’s having a very successful year.”
Chasing records and meetings greats
Quarterback Matt McGloin said he isn’t paying attention to what school records he’s chasing.
“Nobody really cares what somebody has done after nine games,” McGloin said Wednesday. “After 12 games, we’ll talk and see what happens.”
Here’s where McGloin stands in some record hunts through nine games as a senior: He’s 24 completions from breaking Anthony Morelli’s single-season record (234), 568 yards from breaking Daryll Clark’s single-season passing yardage record (3,003) and four touchdown passes from surpassing Clark’s career passing touchdown total (43).
McGloin broke one school record last week, collecting his fifth 300-yard passing game at Purdue. Kerry Collins held the previous record of four.
Speaking of Collins, McGloin met the former Penn State and NFL star before last month’s Ohio State game.
“I didn’t want to take too much of his time,” McGloin said. “We spoke for about five minutes. It wasn’t even about football. It was about what he’s up to and how he’s enjoying his time now. H’s a great person to finally meet. I have definitely been a big fan of him and what he was able to do at this University.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Penn State receiver Derek Moye to their practice squad Wednesday. Moye, who attended District 7 Rochester High School, led the Nittany Lions with 40 receptions and 654 receiving yards last season. …Tight end Kyle Carter, who didn’t travel to Purdue because of a foot injury, participated in the 25 minutes of Wednesday’s practice open to reporters.
Follow Guy Cipriano on Twitter @cdtguy.