rCOLLEGE PARK, Md. — The play had ended, but Connor McGovern was still on the ground.
Penn State’s starting center was sitting up on the turf at Maryland Stadium as athletic trainers came out to take a look at McGovern’s left knee.
Fortunately for the Nittany Lions and McGovern, there wasn’t too much cause for concern.
The Lake-Lehman grad sat out most of the second quarter of Penn State’s 66-3 steamrolling of Maryland Nov. 25, but surprisingly came back out to play after halftime.
The Big Ten Network broadcast had reported that McGovern would not return after he left early in the second. But return he did — just with a little extra wrapping underneath his usual knee brace.
It didn’t initially look to be a serious issue as McGovern was able to walk off under his own power. Walk-on Zach Simpson replaced him for the rest of the first half.
Penn State found the end zone shortly after McGovern left to make it a 28-0 lead over the Terrapins. So there wasn’t a ton of urgency to get him back on the field, especially with Penn State’s next game more than a month away.
The sophomore showed no visible problem walking off the field after the game. McGovern checked out for good in the third quarter when the Lions pulled nearly all of their starters, and passed along advice to his understudy.
“He just said what they were doing up front, and it helped out,” Simpson said. “It’s a good relationship. He’s a good guy, he’s a good football player. He’s a starter for a reason. We need him to be as good as he can be.
“It was good to see him back healthy. Hopefully, this month off before the bowl game will help.”
Penn State finished the regular season at 10-2.