Few 7-yard catches have ever put so many smiles on so many faces.
Paul Jones (left) caught his first pass from former competitor Matt McGloin in the win over Navy.
It was a simple throw to the left sideline, and the receiver pulled it in, fought off a couple of tackle attempts and picked up the first down.
But a different kind of cheer swelled up in Beaver Stadium when the fans realized that No. 13 had caught the pass early in Penn State's 34-7 win over Navy. And when Paul Jones made his way to the sideline, his teammates mobbed him.
It wasn't just the first career catch for the redshirt sophomore, who was in his second week as a tight end after more than two full seasons as a quarterback. It was also one of the first snaps Jones had ever played in a Penn State game.
So forgive his teammates -- led by freshman quarterback Steven Bench -- if they got a little excited for the big fella.
"To be honest, I feel like if it was anybody's first catch it would have been that way," Jones said after the game. "That's how close we are. I feel like this is the closest team I've ever been on. The slogan is "One Team." We're all in it together. We're here to cheer everybody and we're here to pick everybody up when stuff doesn't go our way."
Little had gone Jones' way prior to Saturday. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2010, watching fellow classman Rob Bolden, who had arrived on campus five months after Jones, win the starting job. He had to sit out the 2011 season after being ruled academically ineligible.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated the past two years," Jones said. "It was my own doing, but at the same time, everything didn't go exactly how I thought. I feel like this new position is a second chance for me, kind of a rebirth into football."
Jones had some initial reservations about the idea of moving to tight end. The "F" tight end lines up all over the field and is used in a number of different ways in Bill O'Brien's offense.
"I feel like, behind quarterback, it's one of the most complicated positions, just because of everywhere I could be, all the plays and everything," Jones said. "I'm up for the challenge. I like where I'm at right now, and just seeing how it goes every week."
The 260-pound Jones had already made enough plays during practices earlier in the week to have teammates excited about what he can bring to a position not lacking for playmakers; Kyle Carter is second on the team with 11 catches and true freshman Jesse James, who plays both Y and F, made his first career catch Saturday, a terrific grab that went for a 2-yard touchdown.
"Paul had a great week of practice," quarterback Matt McGloin said. "He's got great hands, a lot of ability. Hopefully he can catch more balls in games. We'll see what we can do."
O'Brien has said he created a "package" of plays for Jones, including a few that had him lined up as the third tight end. He said he plans to get Jones "more involved" as the season goes on.
"I was glad to see him catch that ball," O'Brien said. "It was a good start for him. He also had a couple blocks in there, too, which was good to see. We've got to keep building that package with him."