Running back Zwinak named to Doak Walker Award watch list

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State junior Zach Zwinak (Frederick, Md.) has been selected to the 2013 Doak Walker Award Watch List, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced today (July 18). The Nittany Lions have candidates for nine individual college football awards.

Created in 1989, the award recognizes the nation's premier running back for accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. Penn State first-team All-American Larry Johnson was the 2002 recipient of the Doak Walker Award.

Zwinak, who ran for 1,000 yards and gained at least 100 yards in six Big Ten games last season, also is a candidate for the Maxwell Award.

With Zwinak’s selection as a Doak Walker Award nominee, Coach Bill O’Brien’s Penn State squad has pre-season candidates for nine individual awards thus far in 2013: Bednarik (DE Deion Barnes), Biletnikoff (WR Allen Robinson), Butkus (LB Glenn Carson), Mackey (TE Kyle Carter), Maxwell (RB Zack Zwinak), Nagurski (DE Deion Barnes) Outland (DT DaQuan Jones and G John Urschel), Rotary Lombardi (G John Urschel) and Doak Walker (RB Zach Zwinak).

Zwinak delivered the 22nd 1,000-yard rushing season in Penn State history, despite starting only the final four games of last season. He gave the Nittany Lions a 1,000-yard running back for the eighth consecutive year. A 2012 honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection, Zwinak became the 14th different Nittany Lion all-time to crack 1,000 yards in a season. After gaining a total of 96 yards in four nonconference games, he delivered 904 yards in eight Big Ten games for an average of 113.0 yards per game, the fifth-highest total in conference play.

During the 2012 season, Zwinak gained 1,000 yards on 203 carries (4.9) and scored six touchdowns on the ground. He delivered the team’s longest rush of the season, a 50-yard touchdown burst on the first series of the game at No. 18 Nebraska. Zwinak also caught 20 passes for 177 yards and a score, ranking fifth on the team in receptions, and his 1,177 all-purpose yards led the squad. The former Linganore High School standout broke his career-high in rushing yards six times in the final nine games of the season. 

The award, in its 25th year, is named for SMU's three-time All-America running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker. The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select the semifinalists on Nov. 14 and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will then cast votes to determine the finalists, who will be announced on Nov. 25. The Committee will cast a second vote beginning Dec. 2 to determine the recipient. The National Selection Committee consists of former NFL All-Pro and college All-America running backs, media members and selected special representatives.

The recipient of the 2013 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on December 12 on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas in February.

O'Brien's squad returns 16 starters and 38 letterwinners for this year. Season tickets are available for the 2013 campaign. The Nittany Lions will host five bowl teams from 2012, including three teams that finished in the BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming, 5 p.m.), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue (Nov. 16), Illinois (Nov. 2), UCF (Sept. 14, 6 p.m.) and Eastern Michigan (Sept. 7, 12 p.m.) also will visit Beaver Stadium this fall.

Penn State opens its 127th season vs. Syracuse on Aug. 31 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets and for the Syracuse game, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com or call 800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Penn State Athletics is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions) and Twitter (http://www.gopsusports.com/ot/socialmedia.html).

 
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Last Updated July 18, 2013