Quarless, Perry instrumental for Super Bowl XLV winners

University Park, Pa. — A pair of former Penn State standouts, Andrew Quarless and Darren Perry, played instrumental roles in helping the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV.

Quarless, a rookie tight end, made a five-yard catch in the contest to help the Packers win their fourth Super Bowl title. He is the 33rd former Nittany Lion to earn a total of 49 Super Bowl rings. Prior to Quarless, Sean McHugh and Scott Paxson with Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XLIII team two years ago had been Penn State's most recent Super Bowl winners.

Perry is in his second season as Green Bay's safeties coach and was an assistant coach with the Steelers in helping then win Super Bowl XL. Perry coaches Packers safety Nick Collins, who grabbed an interception and returned it 37 yards for a first quarter touchdown and 14-0 lead. The Packers forced three Pittsburgh turnovers, turning them into 21 points.

Former Penn State All-America punter Jeremy Kapinos had a strong game for the Steelers, punting three times for a 51.0 average. His longest punt was good for 56 yards.

Sunday's game marked the 40th time in the Super Bowl's 45-game history that at least one Penn State alumnus was a member of one of the participating teams, and, once again, at least one former Nittany Lion was guaranteed of being on the NFL Championship team.

In addition to the three former players, two Pittsburgh staff members have Penn State ties. Former Nittany Lion Jim Bradley is the Steelers' orthopedic physician and Penn State graduate John Norwig is Pittsburgh's head trainer.

There are 32 former Nittany Lions on NFL rosters, placing Penn State in the top 12 nationally among schools in producing current NFL players.

Quarless becomes the third former Nittany Lion to help Green Bay win the Super Bowl, joining All-Pros Dave Robinson (Super Bowl I & II) and Marco Rivera (SB XXXI). Robinson also was a member of the Packers' 1965 NFL Championship team before the advent of the Super Bowl.

"This is what I've dreamed of since I was a little kid," Quarless told Newsday after the game. "I was out there in Uniondale playing on the fields and just running around; this is what I always thought of. I'm at a loss for words, I can't even speak . . . The stadium, to see that crowd, the whole game, just to experience that is just, just amazing."

The Packers selected Quarless in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was the first rookie from Penn State to play on a Super Bowl team since defensive tackle Jay Alford helped the New York Giants to the Super Bowl XLII title.

From Uniondale, N.Y., Quarless started four games this season. During the regular season he made 21 receptions for 238 yards (11.3), including his first NFL touchdown catch in a 28-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings. His long reception was 23 yards. Quarless made five catches for 46 yards in helping the Packers win three straight playoff road games and the Super Bowl.

Quarless capped his superb senior season in the 2010 Capital One Bowl win over LSU by making a career-best and Penn State bowl record eight receptions for 88 yards. The eight grabs gave him 41 for the season, breaking the school record for catches in a season by a tight end (38 by Tony Stewart in 2000). The former Uniondale High School standout was third on the team with 41 receptions for 536 yards (13.1) and three touchdowns, including a career-long 60-yard score in the win at Michigan. Quarless started every game during the 2009 season and made 31 career starts. He made 87 career catches for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns.

Kapinos was the Steelers' punter the final seven games of the season in helping Pittsburgh earn an NFL record-tying eighth Super Bowl berth. The Springfield, Va. native was signed by the Steelers on Dec. 7 and averaged 41.4 yards on his 14 punts over the last four regular season games, with five punts inside the 20. He delivered a season-long 59-yard punt at Cleveland in Week 17, averaging 56.0 yards on his two punts against the Browns.

The former All-Met selection at West Springfield High School was the Packers' punter for the 16 regular season games in 2009 and four contests in 2008. Kapinos punted in one game with the New York Jets in 2007 and one game with the Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston) during the 2010 season.

Kapinos earned Associated Press third-team All-America honors and was finalist for the Ray Guy Award as a senior in 2006. The Nittany Lions' career leader with 251 punts and 10,476 punting yards, he was Penn State's punter from 2003-06. His 41.9 average in 2003 remains a school record by a PSU freshman. Kapinos owns four of Penn State's top nine game punting averages all-time, topped by his 52.0 average vs. Purdue in 2004. His 41.7 career average is No. 5 in the school record books. Kapinos was selected Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week four times in his career and earned second-team all-conference accolades in 2006.

Perry is in his second season as Green Bay's safeties coach and ninth year as an NFL assistant coach. A 1991 first-team All-American as a Nittany Lion safety, Perry previously coached with the Oakland Raiders (2007-08) and coached the Steelers' defensive backs from 2003-06, helping Pittsburgh win Super Bowl XL.

From Chesapeake, Va., Perry made six interceptions as a senior in 1991, helping the Nittany Lions finish No. 3 in the polls with an 11-2 record. His 15 career interceptions remain tied for No. 2 on the Penn State career list and his three career interception returns for touchdowns are tied with Dennis Onkotz for the school record. Perry was selected by the Steelers in the 1992 NFL Draft and he became an immediate starter, grabbing 32 interceptions in his seven seasons in Pittsburgh. He finished his NFL career with New Orleans in 2000, making three more interceptions to up his NFL career total to 35.

More than 360 Nittany Lions have signed NFL contracts under Paterno's tutelage. The Hall of Fame coach has seen 245 of his players drafted by NFL squads, including 33 first round draft choices. Miami selected All-America defensive tackle Jared Odrick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Four Nittany Lions have been first round draft choices in the past five NFL drafts.

In the 2010 NFL Draft, six Penn State football student-athletes were selected, tied with Iowa for highest among Big Ten schools. Penn State was tied for fifth nationally for the highest number of 2010 draft picks.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011