Only Zach Zwinak Until Penn State Football

Eric Francis

FOUR FREAKING WEEKS YOU GUYS

Zach Zwinak entered the 2013 as Penn State's backup fullback. He finished it as just the 14th Nittany Lion to rush for 1000 yards--maybe the first to rush for exactly 1000 yards--an accomplishment made all the more impressive considering that in Penn State's first 3 games, the Maryland native had a total of 3 runs for 2 yards.

Yes, Zwinak was a revelation last year, a bulldozing, tackle-breaking, always-falling-forward, reincarnation-of-Mike-Alstott-and-instantly-your-favorite-player revelation, who almost singlehandedly turned running back from a position of weakness, following the business decision transfer of RB25, into yet another strength on an offense unexpectingly bursting with them. His final four games made for as good a month as any Penn State back has had in recent memory, as he ran for 589 yards in November--capping it off with a 179-yard performance in the finale in which Zwinak outdueled Montee Ball in what was then, and is now, an instant classic.

Given the reemergence of Bill Belton this offseason, after a 2012 season plagued by injury and setback, and the addition of Akeel Lynch, Zwinak might not have to shoulder as large a load in 2013 as he did last year. And that's a good thing. Come the fourth quarters of games, unleashing a well-rested Zwinak on a tired defense is almost like calling in a cheat code for Bill O'Brien.

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