Penn State notebook: Belton proves worthy of being featured back
College Football Videos
If there was any doubt he was worthy of his promotion to featured back for Penn State, Bill Belton having the Lions' first 200-yard rushing game since 2002 erased it.
If any reservation remained that the 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior could handle workhorse duties, coach Bill O'Brien giving him 36 carries answered that.
“He has really turned the corner in a lot of areas, on and off the field,” O'Brien said.
A converted receiver, Belton has 85 carries for 384 yards in the past three games. Perhaps most impressive, he did not have a carry for negative yardage Saturday against Illinois.
“Having so many touches like that allows you to get into a rhythm, so I'm thankful for the opportunity I've had,” Belton said. “I'm feeling comfortable out there, and I'm seeing certain things I wouldn't have last year.”
Zwinak in gloves
Zach Zwinak made it through a game without fumbling for the first time since Oct. 5. But he wasn't given many chances to lose the ball. Zwinak had just six carries — all in the second quarter — for 25 yards.
After consulting with O'Brien, Zwinak wore gloves in a game for the first time.
“That's more about the individual guy,” O'Brien said. “He wanted to try that, and I thought he went in there and ran tough.
“If Zach had gone in there and broken a bunch of runs, maybe we would have stuck with Zach, but (Belton) was the hot guy.”
Defense lineup changes
Linebacker Ben Kline made his first career start in place of Nyeem Wartman at outside linebacker. Kline, who had offseason shoulder surgery, had a career-high eight tackles.
Shaler's Jesse Della Valle made his second straight start at safety, allowing Adrian Amos to stay at cornerback.
Defensive tackle Austin Johnson came out with the initial first team instead of Kyle Baublitz, but both played. Same at end, where Anthony Zettel earned the start but Deion Barnes played extensively. Zettel had Penn State's lone sack on the final play of regulation.
“Just trying to make a play for the defense to give us a chance to win the game,” Zettel said.
After sharing the right tackle spot with Garry Gilliam over the first seven games of the season, West Mifflin's Adam Gress moved over to the left side. His start Saturday was his first at left tackle, but Donovan Smith was back at the position in the first quarter. All three tackles played extensively.
“It keeps guys fresh. It keeps them pounding on the defensive linemen,” guard Miles Dieffenbach said. “They all three are really good tackles.”
Penn State entered the game as the least-penalized team in the Big Ten but was flagged 11 times for 95 yards — more yardage than in the past three games combined. “I still need to see the film,” O'Brien said, “but the referees saw a lot of penalties.” ... The announced crowd was 95,131 but appeared much smaller and was late arriving. ... In O'Brien's two seasons, the Nittany Lions are 3-0 in overtime. Penn State has played in multiple overtime games during the same season for the first time since 2002.
— Chris Adamski
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: The series that will define these Pirates
- ‘First-class’ hotel planned in Oakland
- North Versailles prepares to welcome K-9 unit
- Pirates hold on to beat Red Sox, complete 3-game sweep at PNC
- Fire ravages 2 buildings in downtown New Kensington
- Scouts prepare goodie bags as show of support for A-K Valley police
- Pa. transportation system ranks 41st in nation, study shows
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Woman charged with assault spree in Jeannette
- Mon Valley warrant sweep yields 10 arrests