James Terry helped shut down the run. Brandon Moseby-Felder flew by his man for a deep touchdown. Jesse James shrugged off another defender to score one himself.
Since camp opened in August, Penn State has had no choice but to find contributors from anywhere on the roster. Defections following the NCAA sanctions created the first holes, and the usual injuries and attrition from the season have opened up more.
None of those four players were expected to be much more than depth or role players at the start of the summer. But all four starred last week against Purdue and the Nittany Lions will count on them again in these final three games, starting on Saturday against Nebraska.
Coach Bill O'Brien rattled off a list of players at most every spot on the depth chart that have helped a depleted roster take a 6-3 record into the season's closing stretch.
These guys have stepped up, if you look at every position, O'Brien said.
Perhaps the newest name on the list is the one that's been around the longest.
Terry, a fifth-year senior at defensive tackle, could be in line for his first career start on Saturday in Lincoln. Fellow senior Jordan Hill is listed as day-to-day with a sprained left knee, but he did not practice on Wednesday according to reporters in State College who saw the opening session.
Regardless of the situation, Terry said he expects to get as many as 50-55 snaps against the Cornhuskers, which would be a career-high for him.
People will really get to see what type of player I am, Terry said. With limited plays, sometimes you don't get that chance. But with an extended role, you get a chance to show people.
Terry said he and sophomore Kyle Baublitz will both help fill in for Hill as needed. Redshirt freshman defensive end Anthony Zettel has also been working at tackle this week in practice.
They accept their role and they do try to excel in their role, and they've made plays for us this year, O'Brien said. James Terry had a couple of big plays in the Purdue game. Kyle, when he has gone in there, he's played hard, too.
Moseby-Felder finally got to answer his defensive back roommates last week. The junior, who became a starter in September when Shawney Kersey left the team, had hauled in 40-yard receptions in each of the past two weeks but was still looking for his first touchdown. That was a point that his roommates – Stephon Morris, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Malcolm Willis – weren't letting him forget.
That came against Purdue when he caught another 40-yarder, this time easily walking in for the score.
I always knew that he had it in him, Morris said. He works his butt off. He had a couple injuries early in his career and I think it's the first year when he finally feels confident and back to his old form.
Moseby-Felder agreed with that assessment and is anxious to prove to the coaches he can be a full-time starter heading into next season.
They put a lot of trust in me, Moseby-Felder said. I felt like I was doing my job and I want to continue my job heading into Nebraska.
James' biggest opportunity came last week when starting F-tight end Kyle Carter sat out to rest an injured ankle. The true freshman may see his snaps cut back down this week, as Carter – also listed as day-to-day – reportedly practiced in full on Wednesday.
But opportunities will always be there in O'Brien's scheme, which will use four or even five different tight ends in a game. And O'Brien had some very high praise for James this week.
He has unlimited potential, O'Brien said. He is a 6-7, 265-pound young kid who came out of high school early. Took a while to learn what we were trying to do, but he kept working at it.
We're expecting big things from over the next few years, no question, and the next few games.