Zach Zwinak
Penn State Nittany LionsNo. 28
Runningback Junior
Date of birth: (1992-07-29) July 29, 1992 (age 27)
Place of birth: Alexandria, Virginia
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 232 lb (105 kg; 16 st 8 lb)
Career history
High school: Linganore High School
Career highlights and awards
*Honorable Mention All Big Ten (2012)[1]
Stats at

Zachary Thomas "Zach" Zwinak is an American football running back who currently plays for the Penn State Nittany Lions. After playing sparingly in his first two seasons, he had a breakout year in 2012.

Early yearsEdit

The son of B.J. Zwinak and Diane Thomas, Zwinak attended Linganore High School in Frederick, Maryland. He was named all-state after rushing for 1,447 yards as a junior. As a senior, he rushed for 2,109 yards on 164 carries and scored 25 touchdowns.[2]


Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Zach Zwinak
Frederick, Maryland Linganore High School 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) 230 lb (100 kg) 4.5 Sep 14,
Scout:75px   Rivals:75px
Overall recruiting rankings:
‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Zwinak was sought after by numerous FBS schools and was the number two ranked fullback by Rivals and number one ranked fullback by It was Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson who was the primary recruiter for Zwinak.[3] Zwinak's other offers included Boston College, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.[3]

College careerEdit

Freshman and Sophomore seasonsEdit

Zwinak tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2010, his freshman season. He did not appear in any games. He saw the field in two games during his sophomore season. He rushed for a total of seven yards on a three carries.[2]

Junior seasonEdit

Coming in to his junior year, Zwinak was expected to compete to backup fullback Michael Zordich. After Bill Belton and Derek Day, the two running backs above Zwinak on the depth chart, were hurt early in the year, Zwinak had an opportunity to start at tailback against Temple on September 22.[4] He rushed 18 times for 94 yards.[5] Since then, Zwinak has held on to the starting tailback spot due to both his success, and the ineffectiveness of Belton.[6][7][8] On September 29, Zwinak had his first 100+ yard rushing performance as well as his first two career touchdowns against Illinois.[9] The following week against Northwestern, Zwinak again ran for over 100 yards putting up 121 with another touchdown.[10] In Penn State's final game of the season on November 24, 2012, Zwinak had one of the best games of his season by totaling 36 rushes, 179 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion.[11] On November 27, 2012, it was announced that despite not playing for the first few games of the season, Zwinak earned honorable mention all-conference accolades from the media.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Big Ten Award Winners". Big Ten Football. Big Ten Conference. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Zach Zwinak Profile". Penn State Official Athletic Site. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Zach Zwinak". Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo! Inc.. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  4. Tansits, Colin. "Penn State Football: Has "Benching" Bill Belton Cost the Nittany Lions Wins?". Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report, Inc.. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  5. Juliano, Joe. "Breakout game for Penn State fill-in Zach Zwinak". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  6. "Zach Zwinak is the man of the moment for Penn State at tailback". Philadelphia Media Network.
  7. "Zach Zwinak racks up yardage as Bill Belton sits". Footblog - The Daily Collegian. Collegian, Inc.. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  8. Flounders, Bob. "Penn State coach Bill O'Brien sends message to Bill Belton: You 'gotta earn it on the practice field'". PennLive, Inc.. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  9. Bodani, Frank. "Zach Zwinak tears up Illinois defense". Penn State notebook - York Daily Record. Media One Inc.. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  10. Flounders, Bob. "The Hot Hand: Penn State's Zach Zwinak looks to be the Lion's new leading man at runningback". PennLive, LLC.. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  11. Brown, Scott (November 24, 2012). "PSU beats Wisconsin in OT, 24-21". TribLIVE. Trib Total Media, Inc.. Retrieved 25 November 2012.

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