Penn State coach James Franklin is usually vague when discussing player injuries. But Monday, his program came clean on the fact that two seniors will miss the rest of the 2014 season due to medical issues.
Safety Ryan Keiser, a former walk-on who worked his way into becoming a two-year starter, was hurt in practice last Thursday in what Franklin called a freaky injury, but the coach did not elaborate further. Program sources say it is a problem with his ribs.
Zach Zwinak, who had been part of PSU's three-headed running back rotation, was injured while trying to block on the opening kickoff of Saturday's loss to Ohio State at Beaver Stadium. Doctors appeared to be focusing on his left foot or ankle, and Zwinak was taken from the field on a cart.
Keiser was third on the team in tackles with 25 prior to the OSU game. He finishes he career with four interceptions, three of which clinched games. Franklin frequently called him the quarterback of the secondary because he communicated coverages to the rest of the defensive backs.
Zwinak was a prominent weapon for the Lions in two years under Bill O'Brien, rushing for more than 2,000 yards and coming through with 11 100-yard games. But his role was reduced this season under Franklin, as he played behind starter Bill Belton and split backup snaps with Akeel Lynch.
Zwinak finishes his career 15th on PSU's career rushing list with 2,108 yards.
Both players are fifth-year seniors who have already graduated.
In Keiser's absence Saturday, true freshman Marcus Allen made his first career start and came through with 11 tackles and two pass breakups.
Lynch saw more action as the second-teamer after Zwinak went down Saturday. He finished with a team-high 38 yards on 13 carries.
In a release announcing the end of the players' careers, there was no comment from Franklin.
With the two veterans out, Penn State is down to 46 healthy recruited scholarship players for this week's home game with Maryland.