Lake-Lehman Grad McGovern Earns Historic Big Ten Honor For PSU

November 7, 2016 GMT

It is said that, when offensive linemen do their job well, they do it in anonymity.

Well, excelling silently might be the only thing Connor McGovern isn’t doing well these days.

The Lake-Lehman graduate made history Monday, becoming the first offensive lineman in Penn State history — and first interior lineman ever — to earn a Big Ten weekly award after his effort in the No. 12 Nittany Lions’ 41-14 victory over Iowa on Saturday.

McGovern won the Freshman of the Week honor for helping Penn State’s offensive line hold the hard-charging Hawkeyes defense to just one sack and pave the way for 599 yards of total offense, the Nittany Lions’ best single-game yardage showing in 21 years. No lineman has won the Freshman of the Week award, and only two have won any of the three honors given every week during the football season. Both of those were tackles: Ohio State’s Korey Stringer on Nov. 21, 1994, and Michigan State’s Sean Poole on Nov. 13, 2004.

“Only the beginning for this hard-working warrior!!” offensive line coach Matt Limegrover tweeted after the awards were announced.

Penn State didn’t have a three-and-out against the Hawkeyes, and McGovern threw a key block to help running back Saquon Barkley break free for a 57-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

It’s been a whirlwind season for McGovern, who graduated from Lake-Lehman early to enroll at Penn State for the spring semester in January. A high school center — the position where many around the program say he will slot best in the future — McGovern played tackle in the Blue-White Game in April before shifting to guard, where he opened the season as a backup to starter Derek Dowrey.

Despite struggling in extended action in the 49-10 loss to Michigan on Sept. 24, McGovern cracked the starting lineup in October and has drawn rave reviews for his performance since taking over. The results don’t lie, either. With McGovern’s help, the offensive line has been lauded for its improved performance during the Nittany Lions’ five game winning streak since he became a starter.

In that time frame, the Nittany Lions have averaged 5.7 yards per rush, and quarterbacks have been sacked just six times.

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