UNIVERSITY PARK - A huge topic of Internet discussion following Saturday's game was whether Penn State coach Bill O'Brien let an expletive slip during his postgame TV interview.
The coach's voice cracked a little during one key word, and while he was trying to say "fighters," the word he said sounded more like a certain expletive.
"They're a bunch of [bleepers]," the coach said on TV when praising his team. "They fight hard."
It wasn't 100 percent audible one way or the other, but many people believed they heard an expletive. O'Brien's comments blew up on social media, and within a short time there were several clips of them on YouTube.
"Based on a conversation with him in the locker room, we don't think that's what he intended to say," a Penn State spokesman said.
Focus turns to players staying
Penn State's underclassmen now become free agents and, under the NCAA sanctions, can transfer to another school until August and be able to play immediately.
" I am pretty sure most of us are staying," freshman tight end Jesse James said. "I have not heard anyone say anything otherwise."
Some players' feelings might change if they start getting offers from lucrative programs, and many young standouts on the team are certain to be getting those. Receiver Allen Robinson, offensive tackle Donovan Smith, defensive end Deion Barnes, cornerback Adrian Amos and running back Zach Zwinak, among others, are expected to be contacted by many schools.
Senior fullback Michael Zordich said the team's morale is high because of how the season finished and that "we have got great coaches that have awesome relationships with the younger guys."
That's what makes keeping Bill O'Brien around is so important because, if he were to leave for another job, the younger players would all have to reconsider their plans.
"I can't see a reason to ever leave this place," junior linebacker Glenn Carson said. "This is an unbelievable place and has so much to offer. It's hard to believe anyone will want to leave."
PSU names season captains
Linebacker Michael Mauti, defensive tackle Jordan Hill, quarterback Matt McGloin, fullback Michael Zordich and linebacker/special teams member Michael Yancich were named season captains prior to the game. Bill O'Brien named several game captains throughout the season, then selected the five seniors as season captains.
Badgers' Ball sets NCAA TD record
Wisconsin's Montee Ball broke free through the right side for a historic 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The score was the 79th of Ball's career, setting a new NCAA record. The previous mark of 78 was held by Travis Prentice of Miami, Ohio. Ball tied Barry Sanders' single-season NCAA record of 39 touchdowns last season.
"It is a tremendous accomplishment by him and everyone around him, but it is obviously not as fulfilling as a win would be today," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said.
Wisconsin finished third in the Leaders Division behind Ohio State and Penn State, but since neither of those is eligible, the Badgers will move on to the Big Ten title game to face Nebraska.
News and notes
A group of fans campaigning to get Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti's No. 22 jersey retired by PSU has a meeting with athletic director Dave Joyner on Wednesday to pitch their idea. ... Penn State allowed a TD in the first quarter for the first time all season on Melvin Gordon's 57-yard TD reception. ... Ty Howle started at G instead of Miles Dieffenbach. ... CB Adrian Amos was shaken up with an undisclosed injury and was not on the field late in the game. ... QB Matt McGloin tied Daryll Clark's season record with 24 TD passes.
(Compiled by Cory Giger)