Moye a Lion for another season


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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye isn't going anywhere.

The redshirt junior from Rochester High School plans to return for his final year in 2011 rather than leave early for the NFL draft.

"I've had a decent season, but in my opinion, I haven't had a season where I can even think about going out," Moye said. "This year's receiving class is pretty deep.

"Even if I was in a position to leave, I think I'd want to stay for my senior year, anyway."

Moye, 6 feet 5, 202 pounds, has started 24 games for the Nittany Lions the past two seasons, including 12 this year. He leads the team in catches (48), yards (806), yards per catch (16.8 avg.) and touchdowns (7).

Moye had just one touchdown catch in the first six games, but has snagged six touchdown passes in the past six games since redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin replaced freshman Rob Bolden at quarterback.

"He's a playmaker," McGloin said of Moye. "It's good to know that you have a guy like that. He's something special."

Moye caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown Saturday in a 28-22 loss to Michigan State in the regular-season finale at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) trailed, 21-3, after three quarters before scoring 19 fourth-quarter points to narrow the gap.

McGloin threw for 173 yards in the final 15 minutes and tossed touchdown passes to Moye and fullback Joe Suhey.

"I think [McGloin and I] have had chemistry from the time he's gotten here," Moye said. "We kind of read each other a little bit. Sometimes he knows where I'm going to be, and sometimes I know where he wants me to be, and that's a great thing to have."

Moye turned in his own highlight reel of plays in the final two minutes.

On first down at midfield, he made a superb catch over Michigan State cornerback Johnny Adams for a 29-yard gain to the Spartans' 21. Three plays later, from the 17, Moye made a leaping catch near the left sideline. After a long delay for a review, officials ruled the pass incomplete.

"I saw it on the [scoreboard]," Moye said. "I thought one of my feet came down inbounds and one out of bounds. But I'm not sure which one came down first."

On the next play, a fourth-and-6 call, Moye had a clutch 13-yard catch for a first down.

Two plays after that, on second-and-goal from the 4, McGloin was picked off in the end zone by Spartans' safety Trenton Robinson. He tried to bring the ball out of the end zone, but Moye stripped the ball and recovered it.

One play later, with 56 seconds left, Moye caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from McGloin.

"[Moye] had a really good day," quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said.

Earlier this year, Moye had another critical strip, taking the ball away from Alabama's Robert Lester following a 75-yard fumble return.

"The stripping part I did a lot in high school," Moye said. "I can remember doing it as a little kid. I don't even know where I learned it from, probably my brother."

Penn State's postseason plans likely will include one of two New Year's Day games -- the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., or the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The opponent will come from the SEC.

Moye has 99 career catches, ranking him 11th on the school's all-time receptions list, and he has 1,662 career receiving yards, good for 12th place.

In addition, he has 14 career touchdown catches.

"A lot of times, Derek is the right matchup," McGloin said. "You know he's going to go up there and make a play like he showed [Saturday]."

NOTES -- Penn State received a verbal commitment from Virginia wide receiver Matt Zanellato this past weekend. He is the sixth prospect to join the Class of 2011. Zanellato, 6-3, 190, also had offers from Miami (Ohio) and Division I-AA Delaware. ... Middle linebacker Chris Colasanti became the 21st player to have more than 100 tackles, finishing with 102. ... Tailback Evan Royster has 916 yards rushing and needs 84 more in the bowl game to become the first three-time 1,000-yard rusher in school history.


Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com .


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