October 16, 2012 at 1:49 AM
Quarterbacks - A-
What a first half of the season it's been for Matt McGloin. The senior quarterback not only has 1,499 passing yards and 12 touchdowns through the air, but he leads the team in rushing touchdowns with five. Though he's made a few regrettable passes, McGloin has thrown just two interceptions (one on a tipped ball). McGloin doesn't have the running capabilities of Braxton Miller, Denard Robinson or Taylor Martinez, but he has worked his way into the conversation of the Big Ten's best quarterback.
Running backs - B
Nothing has really gone according to plan for Penn State's backfield this season. Two months ago, Zach Zwinak was basically unheard of. Six games into the season, he's Penn State's leading rusher with 317 yards. The team is averaging 3.5 yards per carry, but it's never been clear who Penn State's top back is ever since Bill Belton went down with an ankle injury in week one. The good news for Penn State now is the team's backfield is healthy. But there's still not a definite starter, which might not be a bad thing as opposing defense won't exactly know what to plan for against the Lions.
Wide receivers/Tight ends - B+
While McGloin has played a solid first six games, the player on the receiving end of about a third of his completions has been Allen Robinson. The sophomore wideout has had a breakout season with 524 yards and seven touchdowns. As expected, tight ends have made an impact in Bill O'Brien's offense with Kyle Carter leading the way in that department (46.5 ypg, 1 TD). Robinson and Carter have accumulated more than half of the team's receiving yards, but multiple players are catching passes, and Penn State is averaging 10.9 yards per reception.
Offensive line - B
Penn State's offensive line has dealt with some injuries, but for the most part has blocked well in both the pass and the run. The line had the task of blocking for five different tailbacks in the first handful of games and was able to create holes for each one. The line has also allowed McGloin to have a decent amount of time to throw in the pocket and the Lions have allowed just eight sacks this season.