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Penn State leaves Virginia 0-2 and hurting physically


February 16. 2013 11:37PM
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Ice packs, slings and limps. It was tough to tell what was hurting the Nittany Lions more after Saturday‚??s loss -- their bodies or their pride.


Going forward from an 0-2 start, Penn State will have to rebound from both a physical and emotional standpoint. Neither will be easy.


QB Matt McGloin (elbow), TB Bill Belton (ankle), LT Donovan Smith (foot), TB Derek Day (shoulder) and DE Pete Massaro (knee) are among the wounded for the Lions.


Players said Saturday Belton wasn‚??t able to do anything in practice this past week. He did not travel with the team to Virginia so he could get treatment over the weekend, coach Bill O‚??Brien said.


Day started in his place but exited in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. The severity has not been determined, leaving junior Curtis Dukes as the top healthy option in the backfield.


With the new, more complex offense, McGloin‚??s health will be the biggest concern this week after twice banging his throwing arm on the helmet of a pass-rusher in the second quarter of the 17-16 loss.


McGloin missed just one full drive and the start of the second half before returning to throw for nearly 200 yards on top of two touchdowns.


The senior scored points with his teammates for playing hurt and putting the Lions in a position to win, leading the team into field goal range in the final 90 seconds.


‚??The guy‚??s a warrior,‚?Ě guard John Urschel said. ‚??He loves to play football and loves to battle. He got banged up, but he came back out there, he worked hard and he‚??s definitely a big leader of this team.‚?Ě


That type of support will be critical going forward if Penn State is going to maintain a unified locker room. Linebacker Michael Mauti was frustrated after the game as the defense forced four turnovers inside the Virginia 30-yard line but the offense came away with just three points.


On top of it all, the Lions have to deal with the possibility that their roster from two months ago -- before the NCAA sanctions and the transfers -- would be 2-0.


There was no Silas Redd to grind out yards with the lead against Ohio in the second half. And, more obviously, there was no Anthony Fera against Virginia as the Lions missed four field goals and had an extra point blocked.


Fera‚??s defection to Texas may turn out to be the costliest for the Lions, as they have struggled early on to replace him as both a kicker and a punter.


Sam Ficken is 1-for-5 on field goals. Alex Butterworth is averaging 38 yards per punt, with that number getting a boost from a career-best 52-yarder in the fourth quarter on Saturday.


Last season Fera was 14-for-17 on field goals and didn‚??t miss on any kicks under 40 yards. He also averaged 42 yards per punt.


Redd, meanwhile topped 100 yards for USC on Saturday.


Not that Penn State can afford to dwell on the players who have left the program.


‚??That doesn‚??t even your mind,‚?Ě McGloin said.


Asked if he thought the transfers have cost his team on the field, coach Bill O‚??Brien replied simply, ‚??No.‚?Ě


O‚??Brien did not want to dwell on what could have been.


‚??We just have to find a way to get a win,‚?Ě O‚??Brien said. ‚??I think there are some things to build on. I think there are a lot of positives. These kids play extremely hard and I‚??m very proud to be associated with them and I really appreciate their effort.


‚??They really emptied the tank (with their play).‚?Ě



UP NEXT


Penn State at Navy


3:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC





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