DALLAS (FWAA) The Penn State Nittany Lions
fought through a swirl of emotions in a pre-game ceremony honoring
thir seniors, then honed in to grind past Wisconsin in overtime
Saturday for a 24-21 win. By closing a challenging season with a
win over the Big Ten Leaders Division champions, the Nittany Lions
(8-4) earned the honor of Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National
Team of the Week for games of the weekend of Nov. 24.
The announcement came exclusively on SiriusXM Radio's "College
Sports Today," hosted by Mark Packer and Eddie George.
The game-winner came from Sam Ficken on the first possession
of overtime on a 37-yard kick, the longest of his three field goals
on the day. The Penn State defense held Wisconsin on its possession,
and the Badgers' field goal attempt was wide left to end the game.
Zach Zwinak bounded through the Wisconsin defense for a career-high
179 yards on 36 carries, which pushed him over 1,000 yards for the
season along with the distinction of gaining the most yards against
a Wisconsin defense that ranked 12th in the nation in rushing defense
(111 per game). The sophomore's total marked the eighth consecutive
season that Penn State has had a 1,000-yard rusher.
Defensive tackle Jordan Hill was a beast on defense with a career-best
12 tackles, three for loss along with two sacks. The senior had
eight tackles and a sack in the fourth quarter and overtime alone
to spark the win.
"I feel great for these kids, especially these seniors. They
put in a lot of work," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said. "You
go all the way back to when I first came here after the Super Bowl
and started the 5:30 a.m. workouts, then all of the things that
came up during the offseason off the field. You just can't say enough
about these kids. I've been around some special teams and this is
a very special football team because of the players and especially
the seniors. ... It would've been terrible to come in here and not
win that game after that pre-game ceremony."
Other Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week nominees
for the weekend of Nov. 24 included:
• San Jose State (10-2): The Spartans won their
sixth straight and secured a 10-win season for the first time
since 1987 in a 52-43 shootout with Louisiana Tech. Bene Benwikere
tied a school single-game record with three interceptions, and
De'Leon Eskridge pounded his way for 217 rushing yards and three
touchdowns as part of San Jose State's 610-yard night on offense.
• TCU (7-4): The Horned Frogs put a big stamp
on their first season in the Big 12 with a 20-13 win at Texas
on Thanksgiving. TCU's defense forced four turnovers, including
two passes in the shadow of their own goal post, and showed
dominance on the line as well rushing for 217 yards on 48 carries.
• Vanderbilt (8-4): The Commodores continued
their fine season with a 55-21 win at Wake Forest, extending
their longest win streak since 1955 to six, and is bowl-bound
with an eight-win season for the first time since 1982. Vanderbilt
gained a 1,000-yard rusher (Zac Stacy) and a 1,000-yard receiver
(Jordan Matthews) Saturday, and kicker Carey Spear's 13 points
in the game set a school record with 81 points on the season.
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national
team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the eighth season
that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Members of the FWAA All-America Committee have decided the weekly
honor. Each Monday during the 2012 college football regular season,
the FWAA has named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the
Week. The winner was announced on the SiriusXM College Sports Nation
channel. This is the final week the award will be presented this
Founded in 1971, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has
hosted seven games that have decided the college football national
championship, including four Bowl Championship Series title games.
This season, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 3,
2013, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and the
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will be played on Dec. 29, 2012, at Sun
Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works
to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at email@example.com or 972-713-6198.
For more information on the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of
the Week, go to
|2012 FWAA ALL-AMERICA
||Las Vegas Review-Journal
||Fort Worth Star-Telegram
||St. Louis Post-Dispatch
||Memphis Commercial Appeal
||Manchester Journal Inquirer
||Phil Steele Publications