With the thrilling victory over the defending Big Ten champions, Coach Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions won for the eighth time in their last 10 games and finished with a 6-2 Big Ten mark and 8-4 overall. O'Brien became the first Penn State first-year coach to win eight games in the 126 years of the program.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Team of the Week announcement was made this morning on "College Sports Today" on SiriusXM Channel 91.
The Nittany Lions are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl's National Team of the Week for the third time. The previous times were after victories against Ohio State in 2005 and 2008. Penn State is the first Big Ten team to earn the weekly honor this season.
"I feel great for these kids, especially these seniors," O'Brien said Saturday night. "They put in a lot of work. You go all the way back to when I first came here after the Super Bowl and started the 5:30 a.m. workouts, then all of the things that came up during the off-season off the field. You just can't say enough about these kids...I've been around some special teams and this is a very special football team because of the players and especially the seniors."
In the victory over the Badgers, sophomore Zack Zwinak ran for a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown. Matt McGloin connected with freshman tight end Jesse James on a 41-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Sam Ficken connected on a 37-yard field goal in overtime for his first career game-winner, making his 10th consecutive field goal over the last five games, including a 3of-3 effort vs. Wisconsin.
After Wisconsin took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions forced eight consecutive punts and senior Jake Fagnano grabbed a fourth quarter interception at the Penn State six-yard-line. Junior linebacker Glenn Carson made a game-high 13 tackles (nine solo) and senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill made a career-best 12 hits (eight solo), with two sacks and 3.0 TFL for minus-14 yards.
Thirty-one Penn State seniors were introduced during an emotional pre-game ceremony in Beaver Stadium.
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the eighth season that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Members of the FWAA All-America Committee have decided the weekly honor. Each Monday during the 2012 college football regular season, the FWAA has named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week. The winner was announced on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel. This is the final week the award will be presented this season.
Founded in 1971, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has hosted seven games that have decided the college football national championship, including four Bowl Championship Series title games. This season, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 3, 2013, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will be played on Dec. 29, 2012, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Penn State has a 6-0 record in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
Source: PSU Athletics