Penn State’s Mauti runs 97 yards on an interception return … and gets tackled at the 1 (VIDEO)

Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti can tell you all about not being rewarded for hard work.

Mauti ran 97 yards for nothing near the end of the first half against Illinois.

Mauti picked off a pass with Illinois deep in Nittany Lions territory and took off for the end zone. He had a path for a touchdown, but started to run out of gas. He was run down by Illinois quarterback Miles Osei (who deserves a ton of credit for not giving up on the play and running down Mauti, Don Beebe style) at the 1-yard line, so painfully short of crossing the goal line that officials had to go to the replay to see if he crossed the line before he went down.

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It appeared Mauti's fruitless run would be the last play of the first half, but during the review it was determined that there was one second on the clock when Mauti went down. So, of course, Penn State's 18-yard field goal was blocked for an absolutely crazy ending to the first half.

However, Mauti probably won't mind that his mad dash that was all for naught (really it wasn't totally for nothing, because it secured a first-half shutout of Illinois) if Penn State can hold on to the victory.

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