Penn State head coach James Franklin wasted little time in hiring a new offensive coordinator and announced Saturday that former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead has accepted the job.
Moorhead, 42, built a dynamic and productive offense during his four seasons at Fordham, leading the Rams to a 38-13 record. His team finished 9-3 this season and made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Moorhead replaces John Donovan, who was fired on Nov. 29, less than 24 hours after the Nittany Lions closed out their regular season with a 55-16 loss at Michigan State.
"He has distinguished himself as a head coach who made a dramatic impact at Fordham University," Franklin said about Moorhead in a statement. "His approach and vision offensively is very similar to ours: hard-nosed, blue-collar, and explosive."
Franklin described the search for an offensive coordinator as "exhaustive" but said Moorhead's name "kept rising to the top."
Penn State (7-5) has struggled all season to move the football. The Nittany Lions ranked 101st in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring (23.7 points per game), 105th in rushing (136.3 yards per game), 82d in passing (208.9 yards per game), and 106th in total offense (344.3 yards per game). In addition, the team was 125th _ out of 127 FBS teams _ in third-down conversions (28.1 percent).
Moorhead will join the staff immediately, but he will not serve as offensive coordinator at the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2. Quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne will handle those duties.
Moorhead, a native of Pittsburgh, took over at Fordham, his alma mater, in 2012 after the Rams compiled a 1-10 record the season before. He revamped the offense and made the Rams a perennial power.
This season, Fordham averaged 36.8 points per game, ninth in FCS, and 453.3 total yards per game, 19th in the nation. Junior quarterback Kevin Anderson completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,183 yards (seventh in the country) and 32 touchdowns (third).
In addition, Fordham running back Chase Edmonds finished third in FCS in rushing with 1,648 yards and fourth in touchdowns with 20.
The previous year, the Rams averaged 40.6 points and 494 total yards per game.
Moorhead called the job "an unbelievable opportunity to help contribute to a program with a rich tradition and a promising future. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work."
Moorhead also was an offensive coordinator at Connecticut (2009-11) and Akron (2007-08).