Penn State remembers Indiana's dangerous chop block

In last year's Penn State-Indiana game, Michael Mauti was helped off the field after being injured by a Hoosier's illegal chop block that ended his senior season.
In last year's Penn State-Indiana game, Michael Mauti was helped off the field after being injured by a Hoosier's illegal chop block that ended his senior season. (Associated Press)
Posted: October 04, 2013

The final score between Penn State and Indiana last year suggests a rather dull football game, but there was nothing tame about a chop block delivered against Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti that ended Mauti's season and threatened his NFL dreams.

Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones and many of his teammates remember the game. Mauti was carted off the field with a torn ligament in his left knee early in the Lions' 45-22 win at Beaver Stadium. Jones said his team will enter Saturday's game at Indiana "with a chip on our shoulder."

Jones said the Hoosiers like to throw short passes into space and use cut blocks to try to spring their skill players for big yardage.

"We've got to make sure our hands are active and if we see it coming play it right," the 318-pound senior said Wednesday. "We've been working on it all week, and with the bye week we had an extra week to prepare for it, so we've got to go out there and be ready for it."

Jones admitted that he and his teammates talked about what happened with Mauti, who led the drive to keep the Penn State football team together last season after crippling NCAA sanctions were assessed.

Mauti, who was a seventh-round draft choice of Minnesota and is the Vikings' third-team middle linebacker, was cut down by an illegal chop block that was not penalized.

While Indiana guard Collin Rahrig engaged Mauti high, running back D'Angelo Roberts went in low and hit the linebacker in the left knee. It was the third torn anterior cruciate ligament of Mauti's five-year career with the Lions.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said there is an "appropriate area" to deliver a cut block.

"When you're head-up on a guy and it's one-on-one and you're not coming at an angle, especially from the outside in, you're head-up, I can cut-block him," O'Brien said Tuesday.

"But what I think needs to be called better is when an offensive lineman, for instance, stands the linebacker up and the adjacent guy comes in and cuts that guy, which is a penalty and gets called, but I think it needs to be called more. That's something we have to make sure we pay attention to."

O'Brien was referring to starting linebacker Mike Hull, who suffered a knee injury against Syracuse from a cut block, which the coach called "legally, a good block."

Sophomore cornerback Jordan Lucas chose not to bring up whether the Mauti injury had been discussed among the team.

"We tend not to think about that because that was last year," he said. "We play football. Injuries happen. We're motivated this Saturday just to go out there and get a 'W' with your brothers."

Scholarly Lion. Penn State guard John Urschel, who has a 4.0 grade point average and bachelor's and master's degrees, has been named a candidate for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. The award is for outstanding football performance and academic ability combined with strong leadership and citizenship. The NFF will select up to 16 winners from every level of college football, with each winning an $18,000 fellowship. The top athlete in the group will be awarded the William V. Campbell Trophy and an additional $7,000 in scholarship money.


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

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