Penn State head coach James Franklin has made good on his commitment to hire a new offensive coordinator before the Nittany Lions’ TaxSlayer Bowl matchup with Georgia Jan. 2.
Saturday afternoon, FOS sources said Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead would be announced as Penn State’s new OC. It happened several hours later.
“We are very excited to have Joe join our Penn State football family,” Franklin said in a prepared statment. “He has distinguished himself as a head coach who made a dramatic impact at Fordham University. His approach and vision offensively is very similar to ours: hard-nosed, blue collar and explosive."
Here are tens things to know about the native western Pennsylvanian as he steps into the steward role of Penn State's offense.
1. Air Out
Moorhead's offenses have ranked among the nation's best. In 2015 Fordham leads the Patriot League and is ninth in the NCAA FCS in scoring, averaging 36.8 points per game. The Rams also lead the league and are second in the NCAA FCS in passing efficiency (168.30) and also second in the league and 20th in the NCAA FCS in passing yards/game (272.3).
2. Turnaround Job
In 2012, Moorhead inherited a 1–10 team (0-6 in Patriot League play) that averaged just 13.2 points per game. The Rams had the second bigget turnaround in FCS in 2012 with a 6–5 record. In his first season at Fordham, Moorhead oversaw a 135 percent increase in offensive scoring with an average of 31.1 points per game.
3. Title Promotion
Moorhead, a graduate of Fordham, just completed his fourth season with the Rams, leading them a 38-13 mark over that span, including a 9-3 record this year. Fordham won the 2014 Patriot League title and has appeared in the NCAA FCS playoffs in each of the past three years, a first for the school.
4. It's An Honor
For his head coaching accomplishments, Moorhead was named the 2013 Patriot League Coach of the Year, the 2013 AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the Year and a finalist for both the Eddie Robinson Award (as the NCAA FCS national Coach of the Year) and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
5. Wanted Man
In his second year as Fordham's head coach, the team improved to 12-2, the most wins Fordham experience in a season in the modern era of the program. With this success, Fordham handed Moorhead an extension through 2021.
6. Prior Experience
Prior to Fordham, Moorhead served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for UConn in 2009 and 2010, leading an offensive unit that was second in the Big East in scoring offense and rushing offense in 2010, helping the Huskies win the conference title and an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. During his two years as OC the Huskies averaged 28.7 points per game, going 8-5 both seasons. Incidentally, the Huskies have not had a winning season since Moorhead departed the program.
7. MAC Attack
From 2006-08, Moorhead served as Akron's offensive coordinator. In 2006 the Zips were one of 17 schools nationally to be ranked among the top 50 in rushing offense (45th at 165.7 yards per game), passing offense (46th at 231.50), total offense (40th at 396.97) and scoring offense (36th at 30.0 points per game). Akron was the most improved school in the nation in 2008 in terms of total offense and was the sixth-most improved in scoring offense.
8. Keystone Connection
Moorhead is a Pittsburg Central Catholic High graduate. Fordham's current roster has nine Pennsylvania players and 16 New Jesey players, including seven starters this season. Moorhead has recruited central Pennsylvania, where the Rams' starting running back, Chase Edmunds, hails from Central Dauphin East. He also had players from California, Washngton, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.
9. Running Wild
Moorhead's offense this past season featured Edmunds who, as a sophomore, rushed for 1,648 yards and 20 scores and caught 31 balls for 383 yards an another five touchdowns. Over the past two seasons at Fordham, Edmunds rushed for a combined 3,486 yards.
10. Common Competition
Both Penn State and Fordham faced Army in 2015. Fordham won on the road in this clash, putting up 37 points and 445 yards against the Black Knights compared to the 20 points and 264 total yards the Nittany Lions posted against Army.
While preparing to face Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York last year, Penn State worked out at … you guessed it … Fordham.