With just over 43% of the fan vote, Ethan Kilmer beat out some heavy competition to be named as the Orange Bowl Player of the Game by the fans of the Nittany Nation, beating the likes of Michael Robinson (20% of the vote) and Austin Scott (30% of the vote).
Kilmer pulled in six passes for a total of 79 yards in the Orange Bowl. Those receptions included a clutch touchdown reception to close out the first half to put Penn State ahead 14-13 going into the break.
On the year Kilmer grabbed 15 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, but it was his outstanding special teams play and kick coverage skills that had PSU fans singing his praises throughout the season.
Kilmer talked to Fight On State after the game. He described the experience as, “It's amazing! I'm happy for my teammates, for the coaching staff and the fans. We have come such a long way, on such a hard road. It's unbelievable.”
It is unbelievable when you consider that Kilmer started out at nearby Shippensburg University, but decided to transfer to Penn State, walk-on, earn a spot on the depth chart and win the Special Teams and Orange Bowl Player of the Game awards.
When asked about his decision to walk-on to Penn State's team earlier this season, he replied, “There was no epiphany,” he said. “But I had confidence in my abilities and my work ethic, and it was something I wanted to try. … There was no one moment, just a bunch of little things along the way that pushed me into what I'm doing now.”