Welcome to the latest installment of FightOnState.com's Monday Morning Fullback, where former Penn State football player Matt Hahn breaks down the Nittany Lions' most recent game. You've heard of Monday morning quarterback. Well, in covering PSU football, we think hearing from a fullback is more appropriate. And who better to chime in than Hahn, one of the more versatile, intelligent and selfless power backs in school history.
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Penn State started off sluggish but picked it up late in the second quarter and ran away from Indiana. The Nittany Lions did what all good teams do when coming off a tough loss — they bounced back nicely and should be on the right track heading into the Michigan State game
GAME MVP: Deon Butler gets game MVP for becoming Penn State's all-time leading receiver. He entered the action tied with Bobby Engram atop PSU's all-time list with 167 catches and set the new mark with a reception on the Lions' fifth offensive play. He finished the game with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. What a great career he has had.
KEY PLAY: Nate Stupar's blocked punted late in the second quarter. It set up a Kevin Kelly field goal and gave the Nittany Lions a 10-7 lead just before the half. Anytime there is a big play on special teams it is a major momentum swing and usually a key to victory.
WHAT I LIKED: The special teams play of Penn State — Stupar's block and a couple of nice punts downed inside the Hoosiers' 5-yard line. The Penn State special teams units have been solid all fall and have made more clutch plays this year than any season I can remember.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Another slow start in the first half. Michigan State has the talent, especially with running back Javon Ringer in the backfield, to put Penn State into a hole if it comes out the same way next weekend.
DID YOU NOTICE: The blocking of fullback Dan Lawlor? I'm obviously a bit biased toward this position, but Lawlor has been quietly outstanding all year long.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Not much to say here. The Nittany Lions know what's on the line in the home finale against Michigan State this week — a win brings a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl bid. There is no better situation for a team to be in than to be able to control its own destiny.
Matt Hahn was a four-year letterman at Penn State, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per catch in his career (2004-07). He was one of the key blocking backs for 1,000-yard rushers Tony Hunt and Rodney Kinlaw. He is one of the few players in school history to register touchdowns on the ground, through the air and after recovering a blocked punt.