The 6-1, 240-pound running back has eight rushing touchdowns this season, which ties him for the most in the country with Ohio State's Jordan Hall. Zwinak - who scored on the ground six times last season - was part of a 287-yard rushing afternoon for Penn State, and all three of his touchdowns were from 1 or 2 yards out.
"It's nice this year because Matt's not in there to change the play on us," Zwinak said with a laugh. "They trust me to be a short-yardage back and get the 1 or 2 yards that we need. I feel honored they trust me in that position."
Zwinak is the starter in the backfield, but partners with Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch for a three-back system that combined for 813 yards during Penn State's four-game nonconference slate.
"I believe in using a lot of backs. I really do," coach Bill O'Brien said after the win, which pushed Penn State to 3-1. "I know that some teams want to use one back and sometimes we do go with the hot back. We think all three of these guys are good football players."
For the second time this season, the trio of tailbacks eclipsed the 250-yard mark. The running game also shouldered the offense while true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed just 13 of his 35 passes in sloppy conditions at Beaver Stadium.
Zwinak may have found pay dirt three times, but had the fewest yards (65) of the three rushers. Belton ran for 90 yards on 13 carries, and also caught a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Originally a wide receiver collegiately, Belton made the transition to the backfield in 2012, and said he feels at home at the position this season. His 253 rushing yards in four games are just 10 less than he had last season when he played in eight games, but dealt with an ankle injury. The Sicklerville, N.J., native said he feels he has improved in all facets of his game, and added that it's not hard to get in a rhythm in the rotation.
"Whoever is carrying the load, you have to prep as you're going to be the starter," Belton said. "We do a good job of playing off each other, whether it's Zach, me or Akeel."
Lynch, a redshirt freshman, is normally is the third option, but he has capitalized on the playing time he's received. On 32 totes, Lynch has accumulated 263 yards - an average of 8.2 yards per carry. He had a team-best 123 yards against Kent State, the majority coming in the second half.
All of the backs have said they learn from each other, and Lynch said he has kept a keen eye on Belton's shiftiness.
"What I learn from Bill is that he's very elusive," Lynch said. "I try to pick that up from him. How he makes defenders miss and how he makes his routes. That's what I've definitely learned from him. He's kind of like a big brother to me, and I appreciate that."
Averaging 197 yards per game, Penn State's running game isn't solely just the players with the ball. O'Brien said he thinks the offensive line is improving, and after the big men in the trenches opened up running lanes, Lynch said he wants to show his admiration in the form of a trip to the dining commons.
"[I'll] use some of my meal points and give it to them," Lynch said. "They're great guys and I appreciate them blocking for me."