Penn State football notebook: Moseby-Felder emerges for Lions
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — He has 259 receiving yards in Penn State's past three games, leads the Nittany Lions in yards per catch (14.5) and, surprise, surprise, his name is not Allen Robinson.
Brandon Moseby-Felder, something of an unknown to the coaching staff heading into the season, has emerged as more than just a viable complement to Robinson.
The redshirt junior established career highs in catches (six) and yards (129) Saturday at Purdue. He also scored his first career touchdown in Penn State's 34-9 win over the Boilermakers.
“I'm surprised, and at the same time I think I needed an opportunity,” said Moseby-Felder, who has caught 25 passes for 362 yards. “Throughout the season I think I've been progressing, progressing, progressing.”
The Maryland native has made so much progress that he has almost 100 more receiving yards (95) than Robinson in Penn State's past three games.
That is actually good news for Robinson, one of the Big Ten's top receivers and who could become less of a marked man due to Moseby-Felder's ascent.
Moseby-Felder entered the season with four career catches, and coach Bill O'Brien did not know what to expect from the 6-foot-2, 188-pounder since several nagging injuries limited him during spring practice.
Moseby-Felder, however, stood out during preseason practice, and he took advantage of an opening created when Shawney Kersey left the team after the second game of the season.
“He's done everything we've asked him to do this year,” O'Brien said of Moseby-Felder. “He's a good player.”
One, who it turns out, just needed a chance.
“That's what happens when you continue to work hard, watch film and take each and every single rep like it's his last (one),” Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin said of Moseby-Felder, “and that's what he does, and he's really at his best right now, and we're going to need him.”
Star in the making
Tight end Kyle Carter didn't make the trip to Purdue because of an ankle injury, but true freshman Jesse James helped Penn State weather the absence of its second leading receiver.
James caught three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. The South Allegheny graduate has separated himself from the rest of his classmates, and he has the look of a future star.
The 6-7, 243-pounder has three touchdown receptions — or one more than Carter, who is enjoying a breakout season. James' 135 receiving yards are 13 more than Penn State tight ends had all of last season.
“From the spring until now he's in the top five of most improved players on our roster,” O'Brien said.
No holding back
Genial quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher showed he has a fiery side Saturday.
Fisher had to be restrained by defensive line coach Larry Johnson early in the fourth quarter after he was run into on the sidelines by a Purdue player.
“I didn't see what happened,” O'Brien said with a grin. “I just hope we got that on film.”
Penn State has allowed just three points in the first quarter. It was the last FBS team to surrender points in the opening 15 minutes of a game. ... McGloin has 15 200-yard passing games. He trails only Zack Mills and Kerry Collins (16 apiece) on Penn State's all-time list. ... Robinson needs seven catches to set a Penn State single-season record for receptions. ... Defensive end Deion Barnes is tied for the Big Ten lead in forced fumbles (three).
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.