Penn State Football

Penn State football: Mangiro becomes chameleon on O-line

Penn State's Sam Ficken made three field goals on Saturday — including one of 50 yards — to help the Nittany Lions to a 30-13 win over Temple. Ficken has made 22 of 26 field goals on the season.
Penn State's Sam Ficken made three field goals on Saturday — including one of 50 yards — to help the Nittany Lions to a 30-13 win over Temple. Ficken has made 22 of 26 field goals on the season. CDT photo

The difficulty of what Angelo Mangiro has been asked to do for the better part of his career at Penn State wasn’t lost on teammate Miles Dieffenbach.

Mangiro, who’s played every offensive line position save for the left tackle spot this season, continued his weekly practice of turning into a 315-pound chameleon on Saturday in Penn State’s 30-13 win over Temple. He began the game at left guard, soon moved to center and eventually played right guard when Brian Gaia left the game shaken up. Mangiro played right tackle for most of the team’s previous two games, too.

He’s started seven games at center, two at right tackle and now one at left guard.

“That’s incredibly hard,” Dieffenbach said. “It’s hard for people to understand how technically different each of those positions [are]. You think it’s just offensive line, you just put guys in. It is a complete 180-degree difference and for him to be able to [play four] positions, it’s unbelievable.”

Mangiro doesn’t need to be reminded how tough that is, especially being asked to switch spots every other series with just a few moments notice as he did at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

“I’m actually dyslexic, so I’ve really got to tell myself … I immediately start running through plays through that position and get myself ready that way,” Mangiro said. “Getting comfortable with your steps in either direction, understanding now you’re playside on a play, not backside. You’ve just got to get your mind set and ready for that.”

In the last two weeks, Mangiro has done an admirable job. Penn State’s offensive line has now paved the way for back-to-back 100-yard rushers despite it’s rotating personnel.

Although starting left tackle Donovan Smith returned against Temple, his absence over the previous two games forced Mangiro to play tackle. He had been unfamiliar with that spot before. He said he’s more well-suited to play all three interior positions with the major differences being lining up in different stances, putting his left hand on the ground rather than his right and vice versa.

Despite having been diagnosed with dyslexia, Mangiro has made a career of moving around. He’s had to in order to get more playing time.

He played both guard spots last season and has never objected to being shifted to different positions despite going through three different offensive line coaches — Dick Anderson, Mack McWhorter and now Herb Hand — and having to learn three different play books.

“I credit the (Joe) Paterno staff and I credit the (Bill) O’Brien staff for playing me at all three positions,” Mangiro said. “I’ve always done that since I’ve been here and Coach Hand asked me to play tackle a little bit and that’s what I’ve been doing this year. I’m comfortable with all of them.”

Hackenberg closes in on INT record

Christian Hackenberg threw two interceptions Saturday, pushing his season total to 14.

He’s one away from tying the program record for most in a season (15) set by Vince O’Bara in 1950.

Hackenberg’s first interception came in the second quarter, when he threw a pass behind Mike Gesicki that was intercepted by Temple’s Tavon Young.

Penn State coach James Franklin said it was the product of miscommunication.

“The one interception early on the receiver ran the wrong route, so that really wasn’t on him,” Franklin said. “We have to do a better job protecting the ball. One thing we couldn’t do against this team was turn the ball over and we did that early.”

Temple’s Tyler Matakevich picked off Hackenberg in the third quarter to set up an Owls’ field goal that tied the game 6-6.

Hackenberg finished 12 of 26 for 112 yards Saturday. He has thrown for seven touchdowns and completed 55.5 percent of his passes this season.

Ficken continues strong season

Penn State kicker Sam Ficken made three field goals, including one from 50 yards, to help Penn State to its win.

Ficken hit the 50-yard field goal with no time on the clock to give the Nittany Lions a 6-3 lead going into halftime. It was the longest field goal of his career. He also drilled field goals from 29 and 21 yards, but he had a 42-yard attempt blocked.

The senior is now 22 of 26 on the season. His four misses have all been blocked.

With his three field goals, he has 52 career field goals and passed Craig Fayak (50; 1990-93) to move into second all-time. Kevin Kelly is the career leader with 78 field goals from 2005-2008.

Ficken also moved into a tie with Travis Forney (1996-99) for fourth all-time in career scoring with 258 points.

Freshman feat

Grant Haley’s name is now alongside former linebacker Paul Posluszny in the Penn State record books.

Haley became the first true freshman to score a defensive touchdown since Posluszny returned an interception in 2003 against Indiana.

Haley took the interception back 30 yards, pushing Penn State’s lead over Temple to 27-13 with 13:57 left in the fourth quarter.