Penn State will end its season Saturday against Wisconsin without one of its best players and emotional leaders.
Coach Bill O’Brien said in a statement released Monday that senior linebacker Michael Mauti will miss the season finale because of a left knee injury. Mauti suffered the injury in the first quarter of last weekend’s 45-22 victory over Indiana at Beaver Stadium.
The school has not revealed the extent of the injury. Mauti has suffered three knee injuries, including two ACL tears, in his five-year career.
Mauti recovered from a torn left ACL suffered last season against Eastern Michigan to become an All-American candidate at outside linebacker. He also tore his right ACL in 2009.
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When Mauti went down after a low block by Indiana running D’Angelo Roberts last weekend, the Beaver Stadium crowd turned silent. The entire Penn State bench gathered on the field as Mauti left in the back of a cart.
Using crutches to maneuver, Mauti returned for the postgame rendition of the Alma Mater. Mauti wore his No. 42 jersey as he gathered with teammates, who held the pass-happy Hoosiers scoreless in the final 23 minutes.
“Just seeing a leader go down like that is tough,” senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said after the game. “He’s one of our close friends, especially the seniors. It was a shock and blow to us as a team. But we knew we had to finish it off. We knew that he wouldn’t have given up so we didn’t. I think it’s safe to say that we can handle just about anything as a team.”
Mauti ended his senior season with 95 tackles and a team-high three interceptions. He was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award presented to the nation’s top linebacker. Sophomore Mike Hull will likely start in Mauti’s place against Wisconsin.
“He’s one of the most special players I’ve been around,” O’Brien said of Mauti. “He embodies, in my opinion, what Penn State’s all about. He’s tough, grind-it-out, smart. He’s just a fantastic kid.”
Big Ten honors McGloin
Quarterback Matt McGloin has been named Big Ten co-Offensive Player of the Week , the league announced Monday.
McGloin completed 22 of 32 passes for a career-high 395 yards in a 45-22 victory over Indiana. He shares the award with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.
McGloin also tossed four touchdown passes, including three to sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson. McGloin set multiple school records in the game, including most career touchdowns passes (45) and single-season completions (251) and passing yardage (3,071).
The fifth-year senior from Scranton also received the Big Ten weekly award for his performance against Eastern Michigan last season.
Stupar joins Eagles’ practice squad
The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Penn State and State College High School standout Nate Stupar to their practice squad on Monday.
The Oakland Raiders selected Stupar in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Raiders released Stupar from their practice squad on Sept. 12. The linebacker has spent the past two months working out in State College.