Dukes, Zordich take over for injured RBs

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- With its two starting tailbacks sidelined with injuries, the Nittany Lions were expected to struggle running the ball.

Instead, the two bruising backup tailbacks -- Michael Zordich and Curtis Dukes -- combined for 22 carries and 98 yards. Maybe that number isn't all that impressive, but the duo averaged a full yard more on each carry than Penn State's rushing attack managed in the first two games.

Dukes and Zordich grinded for about 4.5 yards a carry Saturday. Entering the game, PSU averaged about 3.3 yards per rushing attempt.

Bill O'Brien said Zordich, who usually plays fullback, was in his ear constantly this week about his ability to run the ball. "I used to the run the ball in high school, coach," O'Brien said Zordich kept reminding him. "I used to run the ball in high school, coach."

"He's like Ferris Bueller's teacher," O'Brien said with a laugh.

Zordich ran 11 times for 50 yards, and Dukes had 11 attempts for 48 yards. The statuses of starter Bill Belton and backup Derek Day remain uncertain.