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Penn State hires Moorhead as offensive coordinator

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Penn State has hired Joe Moorhead as the Nittany Lions’ new offensive coordinator.

The former Fordham head coach replaces John Donovan who was fired following Penn State’s loss in the regular season finale against No. 3 Michigan State.

”He has distinguished himself as a head coach who made a dramatic impact at Fordham University,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in an athletic department release Saturday. ”His approach and vision offensively is very similar to ours: hard-nosed, blue collar and explosive.”

While Penn State’s offense was high-scoring at times this season, the Nittany Lions were far from consistent. The offense ranked 106th and 114th nationally each of the last two seasons under Donovan while giving up 83 sacks and managing just 117 rushing yards per game.

Meanwhile, Moorhead led Fordham out of FCS obscurity to three consecutive playoff berths after inheriting a team that finished 1-10 in 2011. He led the Rams to a 12-2 finish in 2013 and a Patriot League championship in 2014. Moorhead went 38-13 at Fordham where he played quarterback in the `90s.

Under Moorhead, Fordham was consistently ranked among the top offenses in the FCS. His offenses set 16 school records in 2013 and 2014 and boasted the ninth-best scoring offense with 36.8 points per game.

”My family and I are thrilled to be coming home,” Moorhead, a Pittsburgh native, said in a release. ”It is an unbelievable opportunity to help contribute to a program with a rich tradition and promising future. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”

Moorhead is not expected to game plan or coach when Penn State plays Georgia in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2. Quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne will handle offensive coordinator duties while Moorhead will serve as more of a consultant, Franklin said.

Before Fordham, Moorhead coached at Connecticut, Akron and Georgetown coaching offenses and calling plays for each team. Franklin insisted he wanted to find a coordinator with a demonstrated history of success calling plays.

”His name kept rising to the top,” Franklin said in the release. ”He brings invaluable perspective to our staff as a former head coach. Most importantly his offensive production as a coordinator and head coach speaks for itself.”

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