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October 2012 Archives

VIDEO: Matt McGloin and Adrian Amos - Purdue Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with quarterback Matt McGloin and cornerback Adrian Amos during Purdue week. Check out a pair of Q&As to get ready for Saturday's game against the Boilers.

Matt McGloin

Adrian Amos

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week 9 Presser Roundup - Coach O'Brien Previews Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions travel to West Lafayette on Saturday to take on Purdue in their first of two-straight road games.

Head coach Bill O'Brien met with the media on Wednesday to preview the Leaders Division clash with the Boilers. Take a look through some of his key remarks.

8255472.jpegLooking Ahead
The Nittany Lions watched film of the Ohio State game on Monday, corrected their mistakes and moved into Purdue mode. The Lions are not looking back to last week or looking at the final month of the season. The focus is solely on executing a gameplan for the road contest at Purdue. The Boilermakers are next on the list of 12 one-game seasons for the Nittany Lions.

"Hopefully we have corrected the mistakes from that game in practice and will continue to do that over the next three days here, but we have a big challenge for us at Purdue, and we've turned the page. We're working on Purdue and we turned the page on Monday," O'Brien said.

"This team only has four games left and every game is a bowl game for us, every time we go out there," O'Brien said.

Purdue Defense
The Nittany Lions will take on a Purdue defense that is yielding an average of 408.4 yards per game. The Boilers have allowed 194.5 rushing yards per contest in 2012. Defensively, the tackle tandem of Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston leads the Boilers. Short leads the team in tackles for loss (9.0) and sacks (4.0). Coach O'Brien noted on Tuesday that the Nittany Lion offensive line will need to play consistently against the interior talent of the Purdue defense.

"[Purdue's] two inside tackles are very, very good players with (Kawann) Short and (Bruce) Gaston," O'Brien said. "These guys are active, they're big, strong, physical. They have a good-sized secondary, and linebackers that are active."

Learning On the Job
Coach O'Brien is now eight games into his head-coaching career. He was asked about how the season has progressed and some of the challenges he has faced being a first-year leader of a football team. Take a look through his response:

"The one thing that I've tried to do every single day is work extremely hard and be organized in my work," O'Brien said. "That's what I'll always try to do here and the other thing I've tried to do is be open, honest with our staff, with our players, and to make sure that everybody has an idea every single day of where they stand, what do they -- you can't stay the same, you have to figure out ways to get better. Hopefully I've done that every day.  Other than that there has been a lot of challenges, just being a first‑time head coach there is a ton of challenges.  We would have to be here all day for me to tell you exactly all that there are, but there are challenges on the field, off the field, everywhere."

Additionally, Coach O'Brien has repeatedly said is how much fun he has coaching this particular group of players. While the job carries its fair share of challenges, Coach O'Brien enjoys being around the team.

"I can't tell you how much I enjoy these players," O'Brien said. "I've had the most fun coaching that I've had compared to any year. I had a ton of fun last year, we went to a Super Bowl, that was great, and this has been just as much if not more fun and rewarding, coaching this team and being around these players."

Carter Day-to-Day
Redshirt freshman tight end Kyle Carter is day-to-day with a left ankle injury. The tight end ranks second on the team in receptions with 35. Carter will be monitored throughout the week, but he is working incredibly hard to be ready for Saturday's game at Purdue.

"We will have to monitor him at the end of the week and see how he can cut and do certain things, you know, obviously in the passing game to determine whether he can play or not," O'Brien said. "I know he wants to play so he's working hard to get back on the field."

Weather Impact
Superstorm Sandy impacted much of Pennsylvania during the first two days this week. The storm brought wind and rain to Happy Valley, but the Nittany Lions held meetings and practiced on a normal schedule this week. Penn State practiced indoors at Holuba Hall on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with soggy conditions outside.

"It was rainy and windy but it wasn't anything that really held us back, it was just more of practicing inside because we felt like we could get the most done inside," said O'Brien. "I don't like going inside but because of the wind and the rain and the field conditions, again, at this point in the season I would rather go inside and get productive work rather than risk having somebody get injured on a slippery field or something like that."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Blog - Katie Slay, Oct. 30, 2012

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Hey Penn State Fans,

I hope that everyone was safe with Hurricane Sandy ripping through the east coast. I know there was extensive damage in a lot of your areas. We were lucky here in State College, and we were just hit with rain and wind.

Now to talk about volleyball! We just finished up a long two-week road trip this past weekend. Last Tuesday we traveled to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. They host us in their very large basketball arena. It is cool experience to play in such a large gym, but it also puts an even bigger emphasis on bring energy to the floor. Since it's not a very loud gym packed with students it's up to us to provide our own energy for the match. Iowa plays hard, and Wednesday night was no exception. They didn't let up and took good swings. After the match we were able to go straight to the plane to fly home. We're very lucky to be able to do that. It is nice to get back to class as many of us had tests and quizzes on Thursday and Friday.

Friday night we went to the endowment dinner where we were able to thank everyone who shows support to the university by endowing scholarships. It was a nice event, and we are so grateful to everyone who contributes. This university would not be what it is today competing at a high level academically and athletically without their help. Then the next morning we had practice at Rec before heading off to Lincoln.

It was game day in Lincoln when we arrived on Saturday. It was neat to see their downtown area while everyone was out and about. We were able to rest for the remainder of the evening, and catch our football game on TV. Sunday morning we had a light practice before match time and got touches. Nebraska is always a tough place to play because they have a very loyal and loud fan base. The match was intense. While we didn't win we learned both good things about our team and things to work on. We're working to keep getting better.

We're excited to take the floor again this weekend in front of our home crowd. It will be nice to have some home matches. See you all there!

Women's Soccer, Church Anchors the Backline

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Offenses win games, but defenses win championships. The saying holds true for virtually every sport and after suffering a series of injuries on defense, No. 4 Penn State women's soccer sought leadership from sophomore defender Whitney Church.

8253083.jpeg"I think that Whit Church has been arguably the most important piece on our team this season," said head coach Erica Walsh.  "We call on her game after game.  She's been the anchor of our team."

Injuries have plagued the Nittany Lions defensively since the start of the 2012 season, when they lost starting senior defenders Jackie Molinda and Lexi Marton to season ending injuries followed by an injury to junior Bri Hovington, who has since returned.  More recently sophomore defender Kori Chapic fell victim to a head injury.

The player holding the defense together has been Church, who has shown a veteran ability to lead and communicate in the backline.

"I just tried to take on as much as I possibly [could] and help everyone out and just tried to keep our backline going," said Church.  "I think it's been going pretty good."

The Nittany Lions have an offense that hasn't been shutout once this season and can score profusely, with 60 goals thus far, but even the best offenses have bad days.  The untold story for the fourth-ranked team in the nation has been a young defense that has allowed just 19 goals through 19 games to go along with seven shutouts.

On a day when the offense can't seem to score, it's comforting for coaches and players alike to have a defense behind them they can trust.

"It's extremely important for our defense to keep us in the game," said Church.  "We put everything on the line, our backline works extremely hard.  I know that we're going to do anything we can to help this team."

With an offense as talented as Penn State's, coach Walsh likes to attack opponents relentlessly, sending as many as six or seven players into the offensive third.  The inherent risk such a strategy brings is that it leaves the defense open to a counter attack.  Nevertheless, the tactic has worked because coach Walsh knows Church and her defense can handle the pressure.

"Playing the formation that we do, we open ourselves up a little bit more to the counter attack situation," said Church.  "Our communication definitely has to be high.  We all have to be aware of what's going on around us."

"We wouldn't be playing this particular system if it wasn't for Whit Church," said coach Walsh.  "She allows us to put more numbers into the attack, but as a result, we end up putting her under a great deal of pressure."

As the leader on defense, Church has been playing under different circumstances than she's used to, yet she has handled the increased role like an experienced senior.  Her method has been to set high expectations for herself, which results in her never backing down from a challenge.

"She's just learning on the fly right now," said coach Walsh.  "The greatest thing about Whit Church is the standard she sets for herself is greater than any standard anyone else could ever set for her."

Church has played an instrumental role on defense, but humbly understands that the Nittany Lions wouldn't be where they are today without the team.  Each player has her own role to play that moves the team forward.

"It's not just me," said Church.  "We all have our part that we play to keep each other going and I think we've done a really good job with it so far."

On top of her defensive capabilities, Church has also developed a knack for finding the back of the net on set pieces, scoring twice off of corner kicks from freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez.

Church's overall impact on the team this season has been crucial and has allowed her to garner respect from her fellow players.

"I think [the impact Church has had] can be defined by her teammates' reaction to her and everything she does on and off the field," said coach Walsh.  "There's not a player on our team that is more respected by her teammates and her coaching staff than Whit Church."

With the possible return of Chapic in the near future, the Nittany Lion defense is virtually set.  Penn State enters the Big Ten tournament as the top seed and the players are eager to earn a number one seed in the NCAA tournament as well.  In order to reach that goal, they will have to prove themselves once again in conference play.  Coach Walsh knows that the keys will be a flexible attack and a staunch defense.

"In order to get the one seed in the NCAA tournament, we've got to put our best foot forward over the next three games," said Coach Walsh.  "We're going to have to rely on different pieces in order to carry us through.

Heading into the first game against Iowa, the players are focused and confident in themselves as well as the team as a whole.

"There's nothing else on our minds right now except for winning the Big Ten tournament," said Church.  "We're going to go in, we're going to play with all we have and we're going to play with all the hard work and determination that we possibly can."

VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Profile Feature

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Get to know head coach Bill O'Brien and his family a little better on a video feature produced for the weekly television show - Penn State Football 2012 - The Next Chapter.

Due to the weather, Coach O'Brien's weekly press conference for the Purdue game was moved to Wednesday afternoon.  We will continue the weekly coverage, including a press conference roundup, video interviews and more, for Purdue week tomorrow afternoon.  In the meantime, take a look at a Coach O'Brien video feature.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

FEATURE: From California to Hockey Valley for Women's Hockey

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By Alex Gilliland, Special to from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One would think a girl from ice-hockey deprived Orange County, California might have trouble fitting in as a member of the Penn State women's hockey team. But for freshman forward Micayla Catanzariti, three points through four games this season is all the proof she needs to prove she is fitting in just fine in Happy Valley.

8250590.jpegCatanzariti began playing hockey at an early age in a household dedicated to the sport. Her father played as a goalie and one of her younger sisters played hockey as well. In California, ice hockey was fairly low profile, but Catanzariti worked her way into the sport by way of roller hockey and eventually became the captain of the Anaheim Ducks club hockey team in 2010.

After a year with the Ducks, Catanzariti took her talents to Ohio's Gilmour Academy to prepare herself for collegiate hockey. As the season began, Penn State came calling with a unique recruiting pitch. Come play for us and you will play for the first Division 1 women's hockey team in Penn State history. Catanzariti fell in love with Happy Valley and committed to the program along with fellow Gilmour teammates Katie Zinn and Celine Whitlinger. Catanzariti said transitioning to Penn State alongside her teammates made the move an easy one.

Four games into the season, she is doing big things on the ice with two goals and one assist and her captain, junior forward Taylor Gross, is noticing that her hard work is paying off.

"She has had a big impact so far, especially in the first weekend," said Gross. "She has good vision of the ice and her intensity is always up so she has brought a lot to the team."

Head Coach Josh Brandwene echoed those same sentiments and said Catanzariti has great enthusiasm on both sides of the ice.

"She is relentless and she gives great effort every single shift, which is a very important thing," said Brandwene.

Catanzariti said her relentlessness stems from her love of the game and her passion for competition. The freshman added that she feeds off the excitement of being part of a program at Penn State that is receiving a lot of buzz and national attention.

"It's just an experience that a lot of people don't get to have," said Catanzariti. "We get to start traditions and set goals and start a whole program. It is an honor."

A lot of "firsts" come with the first Division I women's hockey season in Penn State history and one of those firsts is scoring a goal and the emotions that come with that moment. Catanzariti said scoring that first goal against Vermont in the first weekend of the season was an incredible feeling.

"Getting that first one was probably the coolest thing ever and so hopefully we can come back and get a few more this upcoming weekend," said Catanzariti.

The freshman forward has been a bright spot this season, and the Orange County native is looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store. Catanzariti made history with the second and third goal of the Penn State season and all things considered, the team is making history with every drop of the puck.    

FEATURE: Martin's Journey to Nittany Lion Men's Soccer

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By Ryan Mellon, Special to from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin is 3,849 miles away from home in Cormontreuil, France.

But he is right at home keeping opposing teams from scoring no matter where the goal is located.

8250562.jpegMartin, 23, came to America in August of 2011 to join Penn State's men's soccer team.

Before making the trip to America, Martin gained significant experience playing in France for Stade de Reims at the U-16 and U-18 levels. Stade de Reims is one of 128 clubs in the Championnat de France Amateur 2, or CFA 2. The club is known for being one of the most successful clubs in France, owning six titles in their league.

Martin said playing 60 games in the CFA 2 prepared him in a more technical and tactical sense of play.

"The French education for goalkeeper is a good one," Martin said. "I bring some good technical skill and it helps me on the field to play my game."

Martin said the style of play between France and the Big Ten is slightly different, citing more tactical play in France and more physical play in the conference.

Martin's role on the team at Penn State extends beyond just keeping the ball out of the net. Assistant coach Bo Oshoniyi, who works primarily with the goalkeepers on the team, said Martin brought leadership with him.

"Manny played at a high level over in France, so I think he was a natural leader when he came in to Penn State," Oshoniyi said.

"I definitely think he has helped some of the younger guys deal with the everyday life of college soccer and the grind that it can be with the academics."

Oshoniyi brings some leadership of his own to the Penn State coaching staff having won all-America goalkeeper honors twice at Southern Connecticut State University and playing with the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.

For Martin, who hopes to go to the MLS one day, Oshoniyi's experience can certainly be very helpful.

After gaining experience in the Premier Development League this summer with the Reading Union, that plan could become a reality.

"I think he could have an opportunity," Oshoniyi said. "If he did get that opportunity, he would run with it and make the most of it."

While Martin's American soccer experience is not over yet, he is certainly glad the opportunity was given.

"I can tell you right now I'm really thankful to be in the United States and to be at Penn State for the great education," Martin said.

"I like playing with these guys and the coaches and the environment is really good. I'm really thankful for that."

FEATURE: Senior Retires, Moves on to Coaching Role

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By Mike Esse, Special to from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - If you were to turn back the clocks five years, Kristin Hartmann would be an incoming freshman with high aspirations to become a key contributor to a team coming off its 10th-straight Big Ten women's soccer title. In 2012, Hartmann now assumes a role never before seen for the Penn State women's soccer program, which has since extended its conference title streak to 15.

8250489.jpegAfter being injury-plagued during the beginning of her redshirt senior season, the Katy, Texas, native has transitioned from logging minutes as a goalkeeper to being a player-coach under head coach Erica Walsh. The idea of creating this new position for Hartmann was in the works during the midway point of the 2012 campaign and was made official in a post-game ceremony against Indiana earlier this season.

"The original plan was to tell the team after the game and then coach said that they changed it to a ceremony," said Hartmann, a fourth generation Penn Stater.

In the mind of Walsh, it was easy to decide to give Hartmann a ceremony to officially retire her as a player on Oct. 7, simply because Hartmann has served as the glue of the No. 4 ranked team.

"She deserves as much recognition as any other player in this program," said Walsh. "Everyone has been part of a team that has glue. If you have been on a good team, there is a piece of it that you cannot replace and that is Kristin Hartmann for us."

Almost two weeks after the decision was made official, Hartmann's newfound role is continuing to evolve as the Nittany Lions begin the postseason. 

"My job is to help out everyone at anything," said Hartmann. "I am good at helping my teammates study to make them less stressful. It is just the small things and I do it very easily."

Hartmann has focused her time on the goalkeepers, a group she has grown very close with over the past few years. Graduate student goalkeeper Erin McNulty, who has split time as the starter this year, stressed the importance of Hartmann as the season nears the post-season.

"I strive to be like her off the field and on the field and having her there makes we want to work even harder," said McNulty, a national title winner during her time at Florida State. "As a group of goalkeepers she makes us work harder and if one of us has a bad day she lightens the mood and corrects our mistakes."

Walsh has realized over the past few weeks that the evolution of this new position is something that she never knew her team was missing. 

"You don't know what you need until you have it and I didn't know what I was missing out on," said Walsh. "There has been a couple things each week that she brings to our attention that we wouldn't have known otherwise."

Nittany Lion coaches and players have enjoyed the positive effects of Hartmann's ability to connect with her teammates. Nobody, however, has enjoyed it more than Hartmann herself.

"Everybody's goal when they come here is to play," Hartmann said.  "I have had a different experience and now that I have switched from that role it is more fun. I don't stress about injuries or anything, I can enjoy it, which is what you are supposed to do. I help everyone else, which is what I enjoy doing."

FEATURE: A Unique Journey to Nittany Lion Women's Soccer

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By Jon Blauvelt, Special to from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Raquel Rodriguez Cedeno is grateful to be where she is today.

Rodriguez endured a long and arduous journey on the way to becoming a Nittany Lion, one that Penn State Women's Soccer Head Coach Erica Walsh calls an incredible story.

8250453.jpegRodriguez came to Happy Valley from San Jose, Costa Rica where she is one of the country's elite young players.

Her experiences with Penn State began in 2008 when she met Walsh at an Olympic Development Program Inter-Regional tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. At that time, Rodriguez was playing for a U-17 Costa Rican National Team at the age of 14. Yet, in the eyes of Walsh, Rodriguez sure didn't look like she was 14.

"There was a player in the middle of the field that was just playing better than anyone else there," said Walsh in recalling the first time she watched Rodriguez play.

That was all Walsh needed to see. Moving forward, she made it her mission to land Rodriguez at Penn State.

"I invested roughly 15,000 hours in this one recruit," said Walsh.

In 2009, Rodriguez played in The Orange Classic tournament in Miami, Fla., and Walsh flew down to watch her play and to meet her dad. In 2010, they began discussing her potential commitment to Penn State.

According to Walsh, Rodriguez became more and more comfortable with her over time.

"She put her faith in me to help her," said Walsh.

That's exactly what Rodriguez did in January of 2011 when she committed to Penn State.

"I guess I took a big step of faith," said Rodriguez about her commitment. "It was a decision of trust and faith."

Rodriguez cited the university's excellent combination of academics and athletics as the main reason for her decision to choose Penn State.

Yet, because of financial restrictions, Rodriguez was unable to visit the university during this recruiting process. Walsh instead created videos of Penn State's campus and sent them to Rodriguez during her senior year. She referred Rodriguez to resources like and Penn State faculty members to answer her many questions regarding the soccer program and the academic opportunities. Rodriguez and her family also communicated with Walsh, her staff and the Penn State team via Skype to gain a more complete understanding of the program.

During Rodriguez's senior year in 2011-2012, she faced additional hurdles in getting to Penn State. Rodriguez experienced difficulty with the Amateurism Clearinghouse of the NCAA. Because her Costa Rican academic records stemmed from a different culture with a different language, the NCAA couldn't process her paperwork efficiently.

Months and months rolled by and the NCAA had still not cleared Rodriguez. Walsh began to think the worst.

"We could not believe that her one chance to go to college was almost gone," she said.

Luckily for Rodriguez, she didn't lose that chance.

Walsh recalled a day this past July when she went to Bald Eagle State Park with assistant coach Ann Cook. Away from work, they decided to take a boat out on the water and relax on their days off. Walsh said it was about 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when she got a cell phone call. It was the NCAA: Rodriguez had been cleared and would officially be enrolled as a Penn State student-athlete the following month.

Walsh said she and Cook immediately jumped from the boat into the water in pure elation.

"It was the most unbelievable day of 2012," she said. "It would have been the biggest tragedy of NCAA history if it wouldn't have happened."

Now a Kinesiology major at Penn State, Rodriguez is getting the education that she always wanted and with three goals and seven assists in 16 games, she is playing an integral role on a team that is ranked fourth in the country.

"I am so happy to be here," said Rodriguez. "I'm proud to be a part of the Penn State family."

FEATURE: Nittany Lion Men's Lacrosse Looking Ahead to 2013

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Special to from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Eight seasons removed from their last NCAA Tournament bid, the Penn State men's lacrosse team looks to build on veteran leadership and a redefinition of roles to push the team to the next level.

7655610.jpeg"Urging them to take another step within their roles on the offense or the defense is going to be key," said head coach Jeff Tambroni at a recent practice. "If these guys come back and see themselves in the same role as they were in last year--we will have not moved forward."

The veteran-rich roster, consisting of nine seniors, has a far different look than last year's youthful squad.

"Across the board they are all capable but we just haven't found one or two guys yet that just have separated themselves from the crew as captains," Tambroni said in reference to replacing the strong leadership of last year's four seniors. "We've got a ways to go at least in that regard."

Among the team's veterans is redshirt senior Jack Forster, who is actively striving to help guide a very talented freshman class.

"We are trying to show them by example how hard we work and hopefully they will follow," Forster said.

Tambroni has been impressed with the level of competition and effort the freshmen have brought to the team this fall, stating that some are even pushing upperclassmen for playing time and roles as starters.

Joining Forster as an established veteran is senior Nick Dolik, who is coming off an impressive 18-goal junior year campaign.

"I've been trying to grow a lot as a guy that can be reliable and someone the younger guys can look up to," Dolik said.

With four months remaining until the season-opening faceoff against Denver, the team continues its offseason training after finishing up a fall competition schedule.

The team traveled to Bethesda, Md. the first weekend in October for the Capital Lacrosse Invitational--a fall-ball tournament featuring Penn State, Cornell, Johns Hopkins University and The University of North Carolina benefitting the Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation.

Although official statistics weren't recorded, Tambroni and the squad expressed a number of benefits that came from competing in the tournament.

"On the field it gives us a chance to measure up against two of the most talented teams in the country," Tambroni said. "It gives this team a wonderful perspective going down to play for the Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation--a foundation near and dear to my heart."

The Boiardi Foundation supports cultivating and nurturing underprivileged youth through athletics and academics and it donates proceeds to numerous charities.

The Nittany Lions competed against Johns Hopkins and North Carolina at the tournament--two of the nation's perennial lacrosse powerhouses.

Tambroni was unable to cite any gameplay-oriented aspects of the game that could be improved upon because of the considerable amount of time before the season starts, but he did stress the importance of veteran leadership.

"Finally we've got upperclassmen at the attack," he said. "That's going to help us create a little bit more of a veteran movement."

Although fall competition is all wrapped up, the team will continue offseason practices and workouts leading up to its first exhibition game of the 2012-13 season against Army in late January.

Blog - Marika Racibarskas, Oct. 23, 2012

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Hello Nittany Lion faithful! What an extended road trip we have had. We have been traveling for what seems like all of October. In this week's matchup, we played at Ohio State on Wednesday and Michigan on Saturday. Going into these matches, we knew both teams would play us very tough, especially in front of their home crowd. Racibarskas_Marika (H-11-MS)315a.jpg


We arrived in Columbus on Tuesday after a short practice in South Gym. For many of the girls, this hotel was located right next to a favorite restaurant from home, Sonic. Although I personally didn't have a Sonic growing up, I know a bunch of the girls did and they were more than excited to get a quick taste of home. After our pregame practice the next morning in St. John arena, it was time to rest, watch film, and catch up on any schoolwork missed that day. When we arrived at the match, we knew Ohio State was more than ready to play us. This three set battle consisted of high paced volleyball. With the win, we loaded our things onto the bus and quickly flew back to State College.


Our flight to Ann Arbor was on Friday afternoon, just after two days of practice and classes in Happy Valley. Here we go, on the road again! It was a football weekend in Ann Arbor so there were crowds of people all over town. We practiced much earlier than normal on that morning to avoid the tailgaters and the traffic they create. Because of this, we had plenty of time to rest and prepare back at the hotel. We knew Michigan, similar to Ohio State, would play one of their best matches against us. They fought hard and we battled point after point all the way to the fifth set. The crowd was very loud creating deafening noise in the tiny Cliff Keen Arena.


We came out of this week with two big wins on the road in tough venues to play in. The road trip continues as we travel to Iowa on Tuesday and Nebraska on Saturday. Can't wait to be back in Rec Hall!


Guard Adds to Speed of Fast Paced Lady Lions Attack

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After having to sit out the 2011-12 season because of transfer rules, Dara Taylor finally gets to do what she does best: run. The 5-foot-8 redshirt junior will add incredible speed to an already fast Lady Lions team that is looking to defend their Big Ten regular season crown.

8250117.jpegTaylor transferred from Maryland after the 2010-11 season where she broke the freshman season assists record in her first season. The McDonald's high school All American has been waiting to take what she learned during a year off the court and put it into real game situations.

"It gave me a chance to get acclimated and learn what Coquese (Washington) wants from her point guards and her players and the system," said Taylor. "It has also gotten me more comfortable with my teammates. It takes a while to get to know people and know their games and having that year off I can make those mistakes in practice and they wont happen in the game."

Taylor's speed, combined with preseason Big Ten Player of the Year point guard Alex Bentley and the sharp-shooting Maggie Lucas will make the Lady Lion fast paced offense even faster. The Penn State coaching staff has experimented with different combinations of the three guards, including trying Bentley at the two guard, featuring Taylor at point guard.

"That's something that we're experimenting with and we experimented with it a little bit overseas," said assistant coach Kia Damon. "Exactly how much you'll see that I'm not sure. We recognized with the two of them on the floor that we're definitely very speedy."

Bentley brought up the ball primarily in 2011, and the addition of Taylor will allow Bentley and Lucas to develop their shooting abilities from the wing, as well as driving to the hoop.

Damon told reporters at the team's media day that Taylor's passing abilities will create more opportunities for the guards as well as the post players. Junior forward Talia East agreed.

"Its about to get crazy," said East. "(Taylor) is really fast and more of a pass first point guard so she will have the highlight reel plays. She's a great point guard so I think her and Alex are rubbing off a little bit on each other."

Having players with the talent like Bentley and Lucas makes Taylor's job easier, allowing her to solely focus on getting them the ball where they need it and then Lucas can excel from three-point range and Bentley on drives to the basket.

As for Taylor and Lucas, they grew up playing AAU basketball together during their middle school and high school days, so the 2012 season will be a reunion for the two talented guards. The addition of Taylor simply opens another dimension not only for Lucas, but for the rest of the team as well.

"Her and Alex are so quick and so controlling of the game, it just opens up another dimension in our game," said Lucas. "She pushes the ball so fast. I'm a little more used to it, I think, just her speed is second to none."

As for the relationship between Taylor and Lucas, nothing has changed since the AAU days and now that they will be able to play in the games together, instead of just practicing, they will continue to play like they did together in the past.

"We are excited to be back on the court together for real," said Taylor. "We practiced together last year and it was kind of like a little glimpse, but this year being back on the court in games will be just like the AAU days."

As the pre-season winds down, Taylor is seeing progression as far as learning the habits of her teammates and being able to understand the system, while her relationships with her teammates off the court continue to grow.

"There's always work to be done," said Taylor. "I'm still learning my teammates and plays, but I am definitely comfortable with this team - we are just like family, like sisters, so I feel very comfortable with the team and the style of play."

The Lady Lions will face California (Pa.) in an exhibition on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center before their regular season opener at home against Howard on Nov. 11.

Notebook: Nittany Lions Remain Confident with Four Games to Play

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Knowing they only have 12 games to play in 2012, the Nittany Lion seniors have had a clock in their head since the season-opener against Ohio.

Now, the group will only put on the Penn State uniform for four more weeks.

8248216.jpegThat's why, when asked about how the team will bounce back from the Ohio State game, senior Matt McGloin said he wasn't doing anything but look ahead.

"We can't focus on the loss now," McGloin said.  "We have four games left.  We play a very tough Purdue team on Saturday.  Especially for us seniors, we only have four games left here.  We can't be worrying about one loss."

The Nittany Lions return to the Lasch Football Building on Monday for the weekly squad meeting to review the film from Saturday's game against Ohio State and begin installing the gameplan for the road contest at Purdue.

"We are going to watch the tape and figure out what they did, what we didn't do and what we can do to help our players play better in the next game against Purdue," head coach Bill O'Brien said.

The Lions' five-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday night in a tremendous college football atmosphere, but the team's confidence has not wavered one ounce.

"This is just something that we have to get over," sophomore wide out Allen Robinson said.  "We won five in a row.  Things didn't go our way, but now we have to focus on what's ahead and get over it."

The great thing about this group of Nittany Lions is the leadership from a unique bunch of seniors.  The corps of seniors aren't fazed by anything, and they only look ahead.

"We have some many different guys who have characteristics of leadership," senior linebacker Gerald Hodges said.  "No matter if we win or lose, we will always be there as leaders.  We just continue to let the young guys know that no matter what we keep going."

Kick Times Announced
Penn State's week nine game at Purdue will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. with television coverage from ESPNU on Saturday in Ross-Ade Stadium.  It will be the Nittany Lions' first trip to West Lafayette since 2008.  Additionally, it was announced on Monday that the Nebraska game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT in Lincoln on Nov. 2.  Penn State has not played at Nebraska since 2003.

Robinson Breaks Sophomore Record
With five catches for 68 yards against Ohio State, sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson has now made 52 receptions this season, breaking the school record for a sophomore.  Bobby Engram (1993) and Deon Butler (2006) previously set the mark at 48 catches.  Robinson leads the Big Ten in receptions and touchdowns (8), and he is No. 2 in receiving yards (631, 78.9 ypg).  The Michigan native is ahead of the pace necessary to set the season record for receptions (63), which is currently owned by O.J. McDuffie (1992) and Bobby Engram (1995).

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Pick up First CHA Point

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By Pat White Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State women's ice hockey (2-5-1) team came within two minutes of its' first College Hockey America win, but the Nittany Lions were able to register one point with 2-2 a tie against RIT on Friday night. The Nittany Lions went 0-1-1 on the weekend series against the Tigers, including a 4-1 loss on Thursday.

Penn State rebounded strongly from the loss on Thursday night and came out with a lot of jump in their step in the first period on Friday. They opened up an early lead when Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) fed Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the slot and she beat RIT goaltender Laura Chamberlain through the legs for the goal. 

The duo would strike again 23 seconds later, when Yoxheimer found the loose puck and beat Chamberlain through the legs again. The early 2-0 lead gave Penn State the early momentum, something they wanted to establish early on.

"I think it was really big because it kind of put them on their toes," Yoxheimer said. "It made us a little more comfortable and kind of settled us down. I think [scoring early] was really big today."

Head coach, Josh Brandwene was impressed with the way his team was prepared to come right back at RIT after losing the night before.

"That was our best first period of the year," Brandwene said. "Despite getting so close in the end, this was such an important day for this hockey program because the preparation at the start of the game was as good as we've had all season."

RIT would take two concurrent minor penalties, giving Penn State a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes, but the Tigers killed off the penalties and swung momentum in their favor. RIT would score on the power play at the end of the first period on a goal by forward Celeste Brown.

The game remained 2-1 through the second period, but the excitement never wavered. Penn State junior goaltender Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) was brilliant in net, saving 58 of 60 shots aimed her way. Paniccia's lateral movement was on display, making some great post-to-post saves. Brandwene praised his goaltender after the game.

"Phenomenal," he said of Paniccia's play. "Not just the saves, but the steadiness, the poise. [There were] lots of deflections, lots of traffic in front and I can't say enough about her performance."

Paniccia said she stayed composed by taking the game one shot at a time, and kept a level-head by skating around her net and taking a sip of water between plays. She credited her teammates for her great performance.

"We did better with the penalty kill and a lot of my teammates were blocking shots," Paniccia said. "Hopefully later on in the season we play them again and can get the win next time."

A close call came at the end of the first period when RIT took a shot that just clipped the post, and almost knotted the game at 2-2. Paniccia rubbed her post as if to say "thank you," something she said she does often.

"I'm very superstitious," Paniccia said with a laugh, "you have to do it and I feel like if you don't [the puck] will go in next time."

Penn State would battle hard throughout the third period, especially in the defensive zone. Paniccia made some great saves to preserve the lead, and the offensive possessed the puck for long stretches in the RIT zone. RIT would score a late power play goal from Tenecia Hiller to tie the game at 2-2 and the score would remain the same throughout the rest of the third period and overtime. Despite almost recording their first CHA win, Brandwene said the tie was a major building block moving forward.

"Today will be, in the long term, a great day for us going forward," he said. "This was an awesome...league environment, right down to the wire. Great chances right down to the end. [It] was just a great college hockey game."

Brandwene was impressed with the way his young team has embraced the underdog role.

"We're underdogs all year," he said. "We're the youngest team in Division 1 hockey by a mile and a half. For these young kids to embrace the underdog role and defy all the odds every day just speaks volumes as to who they are as players, and more importantly as people."

Last week's CHA Offensive Player of the Week, Yoxheimer, picked up right where she left off. The freshman recorded two more goals and an assist to give her a team-high six goals and eight points on the season. She is also riding a current four game scoring streak, something she attributes to hard work.

"I think its just hard work and following what the teams doing," Yoxheimer said, "and with that comes success. So I just keep doing it."

Junior defender Lindsay Reihl (Cheshire, Conn.) liked the intensity of the game and found many positives to build on moving forward.

"This weekend we got out first tie, out first goal in the building and we competed amazingly," Reihl said. "Every game we play we learn a little bit more and continue to build going into next week"

The Nittany Lions play a home series with Sacred Heart this weekend starting Friday at 7 p.m. and then a matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. 

Seniors Score All Four Goals in Tie On Senior Day

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was only fitting for a match that had four Penn State goals, to have all of them come off the foot of a Nittany Lion senior in what was their last game together on Jeffery Field.

8246735.jpegPenn State (9-4-3, 3-1-2) tied Ohio State 4-4 in double overtime on a rainy Senior Day at Jeffery Field, but the play of Bob Warming's seniors against the Buckeyes made it a day that will be hard to forget.

"They'll always remember it without a doubt," said Warming after the match. "Today will be bittersweet for a lot of reasons for them. To be able to remember that they scored today will be special."

Daniel Burnham, Marvin Ledgister, Julian Cardona and Daniel Parr scored for Penn State, while seniors John Gallagher and Hasani Sinclair recorded two of the assists. Parr's goal in the 72nd minute was the first of his Nittany Lion career.

"That was awesome, I didn't even think about that," said Cardona. "We got Dan Parr on the board. Nobody has ever hugged me so hard on a celebration. It was suffocating."

Warming acknowledged the play of his seniors and how big of a day it was for them to have, but not without a little humor.

"This means that we are going to have to get some good recruits in that's for sure," Warming laughed. "I am just happy for the seniors and I just told them that we are not done, the second season starts pretty soon."

Nittany Lion players made it clear that the tie against Ohio State does not define their season, not only because of the fact that there is still one more regular season game on Wednesday against Penn as well as the Big Ten conference tournament, but also because of the improvements they have made from one year ago.

"We have to look at our overall performance this year, especially in Big Ten play," said senior defensemen Brian Forgue. "I think we can be pretty happy with our overall record, especially as an improvement from last year."

Warming made it clear, as he has all year that they will take the positives from the match, instead of dwelling on the negatives.

"This team has made a lot of improvement," said Warming. "Scoring four goals against Ohio State and it looked like a day we could have had nine, it was crazy."

A player that has emerged for Warming in the second half of the regular season, Hasani Sinclair, continued to improve his play as he recorded an assist against the Buckeyes and came close to having back-to-back games with a goal as a shot in the second half went wide off the left goal post.

"Hasani came in and that was the best he maybe played all year," said Cardona. "He got super unlucky and took one off the post, but he brought in a lot of energy and we were clicking for a while."

The combination of Sinclair and Cardona up top is something that Warming will continue to build upon as they head into conference tournament play.

"They were good today, weren't they?," Warming asked the media with a smile on his face. "They were good. I mean they were really good. They were very focused and very determined and I am excited about them in the second season coming up."

After the regular season finale against Penn, Penn State will head to Evanston, Ill. for the Big Ten conference tournament, which runs from Nov. 7 through Nov. 11. The Nittany Lions are guaranteed a top three seed and a tie from the Northwestern and Indiana match on Tuesday would clinch a share of the regular season title. 

Penn State vs. Nebraska: By the Numbers

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lions head on the road to face fourth-ranked Nebraska on Sunday at 3 p.m. The two teams are battling for recognition atop of the Big Ten Conference as well as a strong end to the regular season. Take a look at a few of the numbers heading into the match-up.

: Penn State has not lost a Big Ten match yet this season. The Lions hold onto an 11-0 record in the conference with nine matches left in the regular season.

: Nebraska has lost just two conference matches this season, which came at the hands of the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes of Ohio State. The Cornhuskers have tallied nine other victories inside the Big Ten.

: This will be the fourth consecutive match that the Lions play on the road over the past two weeks. The Lions have not been away from home for this long since the beginning of conference play.

: Before Ohio State defeated Nebraska this past Friday night, the Cornhuskers tallied a nine-match winning streak in conference play.

: Nebraska head coach John Cook has been at the helm of the program for 12 years and has a pair of NCAA titles under his belt.

: The two teams have faced each other 20 times in their program histories. The Cornhuskers have taken home 12 wins and the Nittany Lions have claimed the other eight matches.

: Micha Hancock broke even in Penn State's most recent victory over Iowa and has registered 40 services aces this season. Her team has notched 107 total aces this year.

: Penn State has played 77 sets of Division I volleyball so far this season. They've won 15 matches in just three sets, three matches in four sets and taken just four matches to five sets.

: Nittany Lion junior Katie Slay continues to use her 6-foot-6 body to stop opposing offenses from being successful. The middle blocker has been credited for 104 blocks this season.

: Senior outside hitter Gina Mancuso tops the Cornhuskers' offense with a whopping 242 kills this year. She has been a force at the net for the Nebraska offense.

: Sophomore Dominique Gonzalez has become the starting libero for the Nittany Lions and has dug up 265 balls in just 22 matches played. Gonzalez has become a wall in the back-row for the Penn State defense.

: Penn State head coach Russ Rose has won more than 1,000 matches in his time with the Lions. As the leader of the program, he has only lost 173 matches in 34 years of coaching. 

VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hear from several Nittany Lions in the media room following Saturday's 35-23 setback to Ohio State in sold out Beaver Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Postgame - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien addresses the media following Saturday's 35-23 setback to Ohio State.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week Eight In-Game Blog - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Football season.  Each week, will provide insight from the press box at all 12 games on the schedule.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

The Nittany Lions host undefeated and ninth-ranked Ohio State in primetime at Beaver Stadium tonight.

End of 1st Quarter - Penn State 0, Ohio State 0
Neither team budged in the opening quarter, but Stephen Obeng-Agyapong wished he had one play back as he nearly picked off Braxton Miller on the second drive of the night for Ohio State and took it in for six. The ball fell harmlessly to the turf, but the Nittany Lions were the first team to keep the Buckeyes off the scoreboard in the first quarter. Penn State has outscored the opposition 66-0 in the opening 15 minutes in 2012 and limited the OSU offense to just 75 yards. The Nittany Lions tallied only 38 yards in the first quarter, but OSU started drives on their own three- and 11-yard lines in the quarter.

2nd Quarter: 6:15 - Penn State 7, Ohio State 0
After stalling on their previous drive, Penn State's special teams got the crowd rocking when Mike Hall blocked the Ohio State punt and Michael Yancich recovered the bounding ball in the end zone for the first score of the game. It's the first blocked punt for a touchdown since 2010 when Andrew Dailey blocked a punt and recovered by Jamie VanFleet versus Indiana.

2nd Quarter: 0:34 - Penn State 7, Ohio State 7
A holding penalty on an Ohio State punt from their 27 yard line gave the Buckeyes offense a second chance and they took advantage as Braxton Miller gained 42 of the 75 yards for his team, but Carlos Hyde gained the final six yards and knotted the score just before the half. The 75 yard drive was more yards (70) than OSU had entering the drive.

End of 2nd Quarter - Penn State 7, Ohio State 7
Penn State holds the edge in total yard (149-145) and just a minor amount of plays have been a major factor in the game. A blocked punt for a touchdown gave Penn State the lead, but a holding penalty and a long run by Miller with under a minute left set up a short TD run by Hyde to send PSU into the locker room tied at the half for the first time this season. Penn State's offense has been on the field for just 10:26, while the Buckeyes have 19:34 in time of possession, however, the Blue and White defense has accumulated four sacks, forced six punts and held OSU to three-for-10 on third down.

3rd Quarter: 13:41 - Penn State 7, Ohio State 14
Two scores in under three minutes of game time pushed the Buckeyes into the lead as Ryan Shazier picked off Matt McGloin and returned it 17 yards for the go ahead score. It was the first turnover of the game for either team and gave Ohio State their first lead of the game. It was the first turnover for McGloin since throwing an interception at the 8:19 mark of the second quarter versus Temple on Sept. 22, 2012.

3rd Quarter: 9:50 - Ohio State 14, Penn State 10
Needing an answer following Ohio State's pick-six, Matt McGloin bounced back with a big throw to Brandon Moseby-Felder.  McGloin found Moseby-Felder in space before a superb block from Allen Robinson sprung Felder for a 42-yard catch and run to set up the Lions with a first down at the Ohio State 3.  A holding penalty thwarted the chances of a touchdown, but Sam Ficken knocked home a 27-yard field goal to set the score at 14-10, Buckeyes.

3rd Quarter: 3:30 - Ohio State 21, Penn State 10
After the Nittany Lion field goal, Adrian Amos stepped up with his first turnover of the season.  Despite great field position, the Nittany Lions could not capitalize on the interception.  The Lions were stopped on a fake punt attempt.  Ohio State took the momentum and marched down the field before Braxton Miller leaped into the end zone for a one-yard score.  The drive covered 57 yards on 10 plays.

3rd Quarter: 0:40 - Ohio State 28, Penn State 10
The Buckeye defense forced a three-and-out, and Miller picked up right where he left off on the ensuing drive.  The Buckeyes drove 85 yards before Miller plunged into the end zone for a second one-yard touchdown run.  Ohio State is now at 206 rushing yards on the night.  The Lion defense needs a hand from McGloin and the offense with a long scoring drive.

4th Quarter: 9:49 - Ohio State 28, Penn State 16
Trailing by 18, the Nittany Lion offense needed to mount a drive to stay alive in the ballgame.  McGloin answered the bell with a crucial 18-play, 80-yard drive, which resulted in a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Matt Lehman.  McGloin found Kyle Carter on fourth-and-eight play to keep the drive alive deep in Ohio State territory.  Penn State's defense got a much-needed rest, and the Lions trimmed the lead down to 12 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.

FINAL: Ohio State 35, Penn State 23
Ohio State snapped Penn State's five-game winning streak with timely big plays and a strong outing from its running game.  The Nittany Lions grabbed the momentum early with the blocked punt from Mike Hull and touchdown recovery from Michael Yancich.  With a 7-0 lead and the defense playing lights out, the Lions forced Ohio State into a three-and-out on the ensuing possession.  Nonetheless, a 10-yard holding penalty on the punt from the Nittany Lions handed Ohio State a first down, keeping the drive alive.  The game's momentum turned at that moment, and Braxton Miller helped march the Buckeyes 75 yards for a touchdown with 34 seconds to play in the half.  Penn State received the opening kickoff in the second half.  Three plays and 79 seconds into the half, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier raced into the end zone for a pick-six touchdown.  With a 14-7 lead, the Buckeyes never looked back.  McGloin finished with 327 passing yards and two scores, but the Nittany Lion offense rushed for just 32 yards (1.1 yards per carry).  Additionally, the Lions committed nine penalties for 85 yards.  The Nittany Lions made several uncharacteristic mistakes, but the credit should go to Ohio State for its ability to put pressure on the Nittany Lion passing game and Miller's ability to run the ball on offense.  The athletic signal-caller finished with 134 yards and two scores.  Penn State will watch the film, correct its mistakes and get back to work on Monday.  The Nittany Lions travel to Purdue on Saturday.

Pregame Reading:
- Penn State walked into the stadium to rousing cheers from an energized, white-clad group of Nittany Lion fans shortly before 3 p.m.  Coach O'Brien led the seniors off of the Blue Buses pumping his fist.  Senior linebacker Michael Mauti will be the captain for today's game, but the 21 other seniors will form a line on the hash marks when the coin toss takes place.

- Penn State's defense will face its biggest challenge of 2012 on Saturday evening.  Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has game-changing abilities that can lead to points on any play.  Miller has rushed for 959 yards (6.8 per rush) and 10 touchdowns.  Containing Miller is next to impossible because of his elusive ability when plays break down.  However, Penn State's defensive ends and linebackers must do a great job limiting Miller from getting into space.  Open-field tackling will be another key area to watch.

- Penn State has been dominant in the first quarter in 2012, out-scoring its opponents 66-0.  Quick starts on both sides of the ball provide a huge boost for a football team.  While the offensive numbers speak for themselves, the Lion defense has been lights out in the first quarter this season.  The Lions need that trend to continue against a talented Ohio State offense.  Setting the tone early against a Buckeye offense that is averaging 39.0 points per game (2nd in the Big Ten) will be an important factor in the Lions playing complementary football on Saturday.

Gameday Photo Blog: Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to the Gameday Photo Blog for Penn State's clash with Ohio State under the lights at Beaver Stadium.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lights, Camera, Hoops Madness

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Story By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion and Lady Lion basketball teams took center court in Rec Hall on Thursday night in front of a crowd of more than 3,500 students and community members who are getting ready for another season of Penn State basketball.

The second-annual Hoops Madness began with performances by the independent student dance organization RamSquad and the Pride of the Lions Pep Band, followed by an eight-person Knock-Out contest to decide the contestant who would later have an opportunity to shoot a half court shot and possibly win $10,000.

Soon after, the bleachers started to shake as Coquese Washington's defending Big Ten champion Lady Lions were introduced. Junior forward Talia Grant addressed the audience and told them to "be loud, be proud and be at the games because we need you."

The crowd stayed on its feet as the men's team came running onto the floor next. One by one, the Nittany Lions threw T-shirts into the stands and greeted Nittany Nation. Senior guard Tim Frazier got on the microphone at the preseason event and echoed that Lady Lions' message about getting fans to come to as many games as possible.

And then, he danced.

Led by members of the Penn State Lionettes, Frazier and the entire Nittany Lion basketball team performed a line dance to a mash-up of several of today's popular hits. Fans roared in mixtures of applause and laughter as the team faded into one line and gave their best shot at a kick-line too.

Gerald Hodges, Jordan Hill and Allen Robinson of the Penn State football team were introduced next, and took seats at the judges' table for the Dunk Contest that the men's team was about to put on. The Lions judged five of their fellow-athletes' as they twisted and turned and skied toward the basket. After some deliberation, the Nittany Lion football standouts chose Frazier as the winner.

Next, Penn State football head coach Bill O'Brien emerged from behind the bleachers and spoke to the crowd. He got the students cheering with a loud 'We Are' chant and told them to stay loud throughout the entire basketball season.

"We've got to create a home court advantage at the [Bryce Jordan Center]," said O'Brien. "We need to create the same kind of home field atmosphere that we do at our football games at these men's and women's basketball games."

And before the teams and coaches left center-court to Penn State student-athlete musical talent Mike Wallace and headline rapper Big Sean, men's basketball head coach Pat Chambers had a few last words to leave with the group.

"Penn State Basketball needs to feel that enthusiasm," Chambers said.  "We need that homecourt advantage. 

Early Road Games Help Build Chemistry

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By Pat White Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's ice hockey team will hit the road again this weekend with match ups against Army and Sacred Heart. It is the start of three games in five days for the Nittany Lions, who also face Fredonia State on Tuesday at Fredonia State.

The team is coming off of a weekend set in New York, going 1-1 with a tough loss to Buffalo State, and a gratifying win against RIT. Despite playing three games in a five day span, head coach Guy Gadowsky said his team will prepare the same as any other weekend. The only difference will be a lighter practice on Monday before Fredonia State.


We approach this week exactly the same and then Monday is going to be different than normal," Gadowsky said. "It's going to be a lot easier. Normally Monday is a tough day in the weight room. We'll have to curl that down a little bit."

Most of the players on the team are used to traveling from previously playing junior hockey either in the United States or Canada. Sophomore goaltender PJ Musico said that life on the road is becoming routine for the young Nittany Lions.

"In juniors we had some pretty long road trips," Musico said, "like 15 I mean the road doesn't really bother anyone anymore. It's certain protocol we go through every weekend so it's pretty routine."

Freshman forward Casey Bailey said that playing on the road is a good team-bonding experience, and helps build chemistry.

"(During) the road experience, you get to room with different guys," Bailey said. "There are 12 guys in the dorm, so it's really easy to bond with those guys. Then we get on the road and you get to room with some of the older guys, so that's nice too."

Early road trips can be very beneficial to a team with a lot of newcomers, including 10 freshmen, and playing on the road is another aspect of Division I hockey that the team has to adjust to.

"There are so many guys that haven't played at the Division I level, so everything is new including road trips," Gadowsky said. "Anytime you get a freshman class to come, it's good to get on the road and have them acclimate and know what's going on. I expect us to have a quick learning curve. It's fun on the road."

Musico said that they have no choice but to get closer as a team while on the road. The

team has fun traveling together. He also picked the comedian of the team.

"We're kinda stuck on a bus together," Musico joked. "We get to have some laughs and stuff like that, so it definitely helps with cohesion...the funniest guy on the team is probably Tommy (Olczyk). He gives a pretty good ribbing sometimes."

According to Bailey the team chemistry has developed more quickly than anticipated.

"We're a really close team already," Bailey said. "There's not a single guy that doesn't get along. Its one of the closest teams I've ever been on. I really like every guy. I think every guy would feel the same way."

While life on the road has been fun for the Nittany Lions, Bailey said that he is excited to play at home again after the road trip.

"We can't wait" Bailey said. "You gotta love that home atmosphere, those screaming fans, and the chants. It's unbelievable."

Looking ahead to the weekend, Penn State will focus on improvement on their special teams. The Nittany Lions are 2-20 on the power play so far this season and the penalty killing unit is only working at 74 percent. Gadowsky said that he isn't pleased with special teams, but he is being patient with his team, especially on the power play.

"It's too early to panic and to change things," Gadowsky said. "We believe in the people we have and it comes down to executing a little bit better. We talk about doing things a little simpler and a little more basic. We would like to see that be more of the norm."

The Nittany Lions gave up three power play goals on 11 opportunities to Buffalo State last Friday and the amount of penalties the team is taking is a concern. Gadowsky didn't think the team was as focused as they could have been on Friday and knows they have to be prepared to play Friday against an Army, a team that lost a tough game against No. 20 ranked Maine early in the season.

"Our game plan is to be ready to play," Gadowsky said. "For us to be successful against anybody we have to have good goaltending, follow the process, and make sure we improve and get better in the areas we can control."

Gadowsky also addressed his goaltender conundrum, saying that he would continue to rotate goaltenders. He named Musico the starter against Army on Friday, and said he deserves the nod.

"This week PJ will start and we'll play it by ear," Gadowsky said. "I think he deserves to play. We make those decisions based on results. We'll ride PJ [Musico] for Friday and see what happens."

Penn State (2-2-0) will take on Army (1-2-1) on Friday at Tate Rink in West Point, NY at 7:05. The game will mark the first Division I matchup against Army since 1947 when the Nittany Lions fell to the Black Knights 13-12.

The Nittany Lions will then travel to Milford, Conn. for a 7:05 matchup against Sacred Heart (0-3-1). The team will make a brief stop back in Happy Valley before venturing to Fredonia, NY to play Fredonia State (1-1-0) on Tuesday at 7:00.

Big Ten Title Race on the Line for Men's Soccer on Senior Day

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By Mike Esse, Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In what will be its last match on the turf of Jeffery Field, senior day is on the minds of the 10 seniors on the Penn State men's soccer team (9-4-2, 3-1-1). However, there is a little more at stake when they face Ohio State (6-9-1, 0-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. as a win for the Lions would put them in position to be at least in the hunt for the Big Ten regular season title.

8234223.jpeg"Obviously it is a big day since it is the last game on Jeffery Field for the seniors," said captain John Gallagher. "It is definitely a big day. We want to get a win and we need to get a win if we want to win the Big Ten."

Gallagher, along with senior captains Brian Forgue and Jacob Barron have been the vocal leaders for the Lions in 2012. The team has won three straight matches including a 1-0 double overtime victory on Oct. 21 against a ranked Northwestern team.

With the combination of senior day and a Big Ten championship on the line, it has been stressed that they must stay focused on Ohio State and then take in the experience with their families and friends after the match.

"We just have to focus first on beating Ohio State and working on the things that we have done in practice the last couple days," said Barron. "If we win, we can enjoy senior day with all of our parents and everyone else."

However, the thought of potentially beating Ohio State in their last career home match, being in a good position to win the conference title and celebrating it with not only their teammates, but also their families, hasn't escaped the minds of some of the Nittany Lions.

"That would be awesome, that would be ideal," said Forgue. "The last four years here have been some of the best I have ever had. Getting to compete for this university and play on these types of facilities day in and day out."

"I'm definitely going to miss it, but if we go out with a win and potentially line ourselves up to win the Big Ten that's exactly what we are working towards."

Third-year head coach Bob Warming loves senior day because it is a confirmation that his players have made it through their college experiences at Penn State and are prepared to go into the world and do something great.

What Warming hopes his seniors take out of the ceremony on Sunday and their experience at Penn State as a whole is a lifelong connection with the program and the value of their time at Penn State.

Warming wants his seniors to emulate what a past alumnus did during alumni weekend a few weeks ago, and that is come back to the program no matter how long ago they graduated.

"Penn State soccer alum Dick Packer, who graduated 57 years ago, came back 57 years later and is as passionate as can be about Penn State soccer," said Warming. "I told all of these seniors, I want somebody in this room, hopefully multiple guys, 57 years from now back in the locker room with the team and talking about how valuable their experience was at Penn State."

The relationship of the seniors, as well as the rest of the team has not gone unnoticed in 2012 and the leadership that has developed has led to the Nittany Lions being on the brink of their first conference championship since 2005.

"Everybody on the team is real close with each other, but for the seniors that leadership expectation brought us all together," said Gallagher. "Guys haven't had to do that from their freshman year to now, but since they have this year we all just came together and led the team."

Sunday will be another tough Big Ten test for the Nittany Lions as Ohio State comes in after nearly beating No. 1 ranked Akron on Wednesday, reminding Warming of his Penn State team from a year ago.

"Ohio State is an absolute handful, they are certainly the Penn State of last year," said Warming. "They are the team that nobody wants to face right now."

Kickoff on Sunday is set for 1 p.m. at Jeffery Field.

Ohio State Gameday Preview - Lions Host Buckeyes in Primetime

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Ohio State Week Gameday Central

VIDEO: Team Visits Nittanyville Students

Ohio State Week Q&A with Linebackers Coach Ron Vanderlinden

VIDEO: Ohio State Week Practice Interviews

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will clash with ninth-ranked and border rival Ohio State under the lights in sold out Beaver Stadium on Saturday (5:30 p.m. on ESPN).

The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes enter the week as the top two teams in the Big Ten Leaders Division.  Penn State and Ohio State are two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in conference play. 

The Lions enter the game riding a five-game winning streak after a dominant 38-14 victory at Iowa last week.  Matt McGloin tossed two touchdowns, Bill Belton rushed for three scores, and the Penn State defense limited the host Hawkeyes to just 209 yards in the road win.  The Buckeyes rallied late to knock off Purdue, 29-22 (OT), to remain one of 11 teams undefeated nationally.

Anticipation is high for the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes under the lights in a sold out White House at Beaver Stadium.  Welcome to the gameday preview for week eight.

8233505.jpegPregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
1.  The Nittany Lion players look forward to night games in Beaver Stadium more than anything.  The atmosphere on Saturday night will be unmatched in 2012, and the white-clad fans will play a big role in boosting the Nittany Lions.  But the Penn State offense needs to stay grounded an focus on execution.  Matt McGloin has played terrific football this season, largely because of his ability to manage football games.  Good decisions and a balanced attack are two keys for the Nittany Lion offense.  Penn State will continue to play fast on offense, but execution is paramount to the Lions' success when McGloin and the offense have the ball in their hands.

2.  Penn State's defense will face its biggest challenge of 2012 on Saturday evening.  Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has game-changing abilities that can lead to points on any play.  Miller has rushed for 959 yards (6.8 per rush) and 10 touchdowns.  Containing Miller is next to impossible because of his elusive ability when plays break down.  However, Penn State's defensive ends and linebackers must do a great job limiting Miller from getting into space.  Open-field tackling will be another key area to watch.  In addition to Miller, Ohio State has plenty of dangerous weapons on offense that will require a superb effort from the Lion defense.  Something has to give, though.  Penn State is ranked second in scoring defense (15.7) and Ohio State is ranked second in scoring offense (39.0) in the Big Ten.

3.  Penn State has been dominant in the first quarter in 2012, out-scoring its opponents 66-0.  Quick starts on both sides of the ball provide a huge boost for a football team.  While the offensive numbers speak for themselves, the Lion defense has been lights out in the first quarter this season.  The Lions need that trend to continue against a talented Ohio State offense.  Setting the tone early against a Buckeye offense that is averaging 39.0 points per game (2nd in the Big Ten) will be an important factor in the Lions playing complementary football on Saturday.

What to Watch For - Ohio State
1.  Miller is the face of the Ohio State offense.  Not only is he dangerous with his feet, the sophomore can throw the ball well down field.  The Buckeyes average 438.6 yards per game for a reason.  Miller, along with powerful tailback Carlos Hyde (545 yards) will lead the rushing attack, while Corey Brown (44 receptions) and Devin Smith (six touchdowns) are the top two threats on the outside.  Head coach Urban Meyer said this week that the Buckeyes want to play at a quick tempo to keep the Nittany Lions off balance.  Keep an eye on Miller's elusiveness and his ability to extend plays (as much as 11 seconds in previous games).

2.  Ohio State's defense has weathered several injuries, but there is still no shortage of talent, especially in the front seven.  John Simon (Defensive End) and Johnathan Hankins (Defensive Tackle) are two of the best down linemen in the Big Ten.  Simon and Hankins are big play athletes on every snap.  Keep an eye on the battle in the trenches when Penn State has the ball.  Additionally, outside linebacker Ryan Shazier leads the defense in tackles with 76 hits.  Ohio State will need a consistent effort from its defense on third down against a Penn State unit that is averaging 37.3 points per game in Big Ten play.

3.  Big games are often decided by great plays in special teams.  Ohio State's returners on kicks (Devin Smith) and punts (Corey Brown) have game-changing speed with the ball in their hands.  Additionally, Urban Meyer-coached teams are 18-0 since 2005 when they have blocked a punt.  Ohio State has blocked two punts in 2012.  A big play from the Ohio State special teams unit or a turnover could be crucial for the Buckeyes in their efforts to slow the momentum of the Lions playing before a sold out crowd.

Gameday Rundown
Kickoff: 5:31 p.m.
TV: BTN - Sean McDonough (PBP), Chris Spielman (Analyst), Quint Kessenich (Sideline)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network - Steve Jones (PBP), Jack Ham (Analyst), Loren Crispell (Sidelines)
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (106,572) - Natural Grass
Coaches: Bill O'Brien - 5-2, 1st season
Urban Meyer - 112-23 (8-0 at Ohio State, 11th season overall (1st at Ohio State)
The Series: 28th meeting

The Final Word:
Saturday's game is a prime example of why college football is great.  Two superb football programs with great tradition and history will do battle under the lights in front of a sold out crowd in Beaver Stadium.  It's hard to ask for much more if you are a player or coach slated to run out of the tunnel shortly before 5:30 on Saturday night.  Adding to the anticipation level, Penn State brings a five-game winning streak into the matchup, and Ohio State is one of just 11 teams nationally that is still undefeated.  The stage is set for a terrific matchup pitting the top two contenders for a Leaders Division crown.  Turnovers and big plays for both teams are likely going to be big factors in deciding the outcome.  The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in turnover margin (+1.14).  Coach O'Brien wants the fans in their seats ready to go by 5 p.m. Arrive early. Be loud. Wear white.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Women's Hockey season. will provide insight from press row throughout the 2012-13 season.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

The Nittany Lions host Rochester Institute of Technology in the first of two games this weekend at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. Penn State (2-4-0, 0-2-0 CHA) host College Hockey America foe RIT (3-3-0, 0-2-0) as both programs are in search of their first CHA win of the year.

1st Period: 16:40 - Penn State 0, RIT 1
The Tigers came out playing very physical and Paniccia was able to clear away the first three shots she faced, but traffic in front of the net didn't allow her to see the slap shot from Katie Hubert on the right wing. The puck spent most of the first three minutes in the Nittany Lion zone after Kendra Rasmussen won the opening faceoff for the Blue and White.

1st Period: 8:06 - Penn State 0, RIT 1
Paniccia has been busy in net for the Nittany Lions, making nine saves to this point in the game. The junior made three saves in a row against RIT's Jess Paton when Paton threw a shot off of the pads of Paniccia, got her own rebound and wrapped around behind the net, just to see Paniccia make another pad stop on the post. Patton gathered in the rebound again, but the Lion keeper met her at the other post with her third pad save.

1st Period: 1:06 - Penn State 1, RIT 1
The captain - Taylor Gross - might have missed on her first shot of the game, but RIT goalie Ali Binnington couldn't corral the attempt. PSU's Paige Jahnke took control of the rebound and found Shannon Yoxheimer, who put the puck in the back of the net to draw the home team even with the Tigers at one goal apiece. It was the team-leading fifth goal of the season for Yoxheimer, with Jahnke grabbing her first career assist on the tally.

End of the 1st Period - Penn State 1, RIT 1
RIT came out with all of the offensive momentum, but the Nittany Lions did the most with the opportunities they were given and entered the first intermission deadlocked at one. The Tigers held an 11-5 advantage in shots, but Paniccia was up to the test after allowing an early goal to slip by. Penn State took advantage of the power play, scoring their goal on the player advantage, and enjoyed the advantage on four occasions in the opening period.

2nd Period: 13:20 - Penn State 1, RIT 1
Penn State has flipped the script on RIT to start the second stanza with the Nittany Lions putting the pressure on in the offensive end. Penn State had two marque scoring chances early in the period as Jess Desorcie took a pass from Jill Holdcroft in transition and ripped a shot from the slot that was saved by the RIT keeper. On the first power play of the second half, Birdie Shaw couldn't get the puck on her tape as it hopped just over her stick on the doorstep.

2nd Period: 7:06 - Penn State 1, RIT 2
A pair of Penn State penalties led to the second goal of the evening for the Tigers, as RIT scored on the 5-on-3 power play. The Nittany Lions did a great job killing off the first penalty, but with just thirty-seconds remaining on the initial penalty, a cross-check was called and a two-player advantage resulted in a goal. The Tigers worked the puck behind the net and Hubert notched her second goal of the game to push the visitors back in front.

2nd Period: 2:00 - Penn State 1, RIT 3
The second goal of the period was tallied on with Penn State on the power play, but it was RIT that collected a shorthanded goal. After holding the Tigers to limited offensive chances in the first eight minutes of the period, the Nittany Lions couldn't clear the puck from their own zone and a turnover on their own blue line led to a turnover and Erin Zach made a nice move to beat Paniccia.

End of 2nd Period - Penn State 1, RIT 3
After ending the first period and starting the second period with nice offensive production, the Nittany Lions found themselves heading to the locker room with a two-goal deficit. RIT held a 9-3 shot advantage in the second frame and force RIT goalie Binnington to make just three saves in the period. Shannon Yoxheimer lead the PSU attack with three shots, while five others have one shot apiece for the Blue and White.

3rd Period: 12:00 - Penn State 1, RIT 3
Good open ice play by both teams, along with solid defense from each squad made of an entertaining first eight minutes of action in the final period. Both team's enjoyed one power play, but PSU's Paniccia and RIT's Binnington did not allow anything during their respective power plays.

3rd Period: 5:00 - Penn State 1, RIT 3
Paniccia killed off a 5-on-3 advantage midway through third period and has held the Tigers off of the board through the first three-quarters of the final period. The junior has fended off a trio of shots that came through traffic in from of the net and made two stops on slap shots from the point.

3rd Period: 3:31 - Penn State 1, RIT 4
The second power play of goal of the game pushed the RIT advantage to 4-1 when Tenecia Hiller took a nice pass that went left-to-right through the crease from Carly Payerl and found the open net to Paniccia's near post.

FINAL - Penn State 1, RIT 4
When you look at the score you won't see how well Nicole Paniccia played, the junior goalie faced 38 shots - including a host that came at point blank range or found their way through traffic in front - and made 34 saves on the night. The native of Oakville, Ontario helped the Nittany Lions kill off six of eight power plays - including one 5-on-3 advantage for the Tigers - as Penn State fell in the series opener versus RIT. Yoxheimer netted her fifth goal of the year to continue her impressive rookie campaign, while Gross added her fifth assist of the year. In another first time moment for the squad, Jahnke recorded her first career point with an assist on the lone tally of the night for the Blue and White.

NOTE: The Nittany Lions (2-5-0, 0-3-0 CHA) will take to the ice on Friday, Oct. 26 versus RIT (4-3-0, 1-2-0 CHA) starting at 7:30 inside Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Pregame Reading:
- Penn State will be playing their seventh game in program history and enters the matchup with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a 2-4 record. The Blue and White are 0-2 at home, losing twice to Syracuse on Oct. 13 and 14 by scores of 0-4 and 6-0, respectively. The Nittany Lions opened the season with a victory at Vermont, 5-3, but lost four straight contests before claiming a 6-1 win at Sacred Heart, 6-1, last Saturday.

- For her efforts against Sacred Heart, Shannon Yoxheimer was named CHA Offensive Player of the Week for a three-point weekend and a game-winning goal over the Pioneers. Yoxheimer leads the team with four goals and is tied with Taylor Gross for points with five. Yoxheimer is the first Nittany Lion to receive CHA Offensive Player of the Weeks honors and joins fellow classmate Micayla Catanzariti (Rookie of the Week, Oct. 8) on the honor roll.

- In the 6-1 victory at Sacred Heart, the Nittany Lions had six different players find the back of the net. Jeanette Bateman, Jess Desorcie, Taylor Gross, Hannah Hoenshell, Jordan Pardoski and Shannon Yoxheimer all tallied goals, with Gross, Yoxheimer and Bateman lighting the lamp on the power play. 

Women's Soccer: 15 Years of Big Ten Dominance

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer has won the Big Ten conference title 15 years in a row.  It's an incredible feat that defines the winning tradition fostered by the University and is highlighted by the team's motto: Play for those who came before you.

8231022.jpegWhen the streak started in 1998, the women's soccer program had been around for just four years.  Senior midfielder Christine Nairn was eight years old and sophomore defender Whitney Chruch was five.  The players described keeping the tradition alive as a privilege, a concept that goes beyond the soccer field.

"The University itself is big on tradition and putting the team before one's own self," said junior forward Maya Hayes.  "To keep doing that year after year, it shows that we're apart of something bigger than ourselves, we're apart of holding a legacy and a tradition."

"It's bigger than me as a player," said junior forward Taylor Schram.  "To be apart of a tradition like this is just an honor and I'm so thankful that I can call myself a Penn State Nittany Lion and be apart of that tradition of 15."

The dynasty built by the program during this 15-year period is unmistakable.  To put it in perspective, Penn State has a combined record of 277-64-20 since 1998 when the streak began.  The Nittany Lions dominated their conference foes during the eleven-year-period, accumulating a 132-12-6 record in the Big Ten, and flourished on Jeffrey Field with a 146-17-5 record at home.

It's been business as usual this season for fourth-ranked Penn State after the team clinched the Big Ten title for the 15th straight year on Sunday with a tie against 24th-ranked Michigan and a 9-0-1-conference record.  The players have enjoyed the opportunity to extend the streak another year.

"It's an honor to keep the tradition going for the players that played before us," said Schram.  "That's what we're told when we're freshmen is we don't lose the Big Ten."

"Penn State prides itself on its tradition of success and excellence and I feel that every day we try to do that," Schram added.

Winning the Big Ten each year for 15 years is not easy.  Penn State gathered an elite coaching staff that has been able to recruit talent from all over the country and around the world.  The Nittany Lions have also been given a phenomenal senior class each year to guide them through the challenges.

"We have the best coaches in the country," said Schram.  "They prepare us for every year.  We have great leaders.  They've done it before.  They set the tone for us.  We have great followers too that do what they need to do and we just keep the tradition alive."

Coaching and recruiting form the base of what it takes to win on a consistent basis, but the real key is for the players to believe in the tradition, the program and each other.

"The belief in Penn State women's soccer has been the key determining factor of success and failure," said head coach Erica Walsh.  "We're apart of something bigger than ourselves.  We have a responsibility to figure out a way to win."

As the streak grows, the pressure builds.  Penn State enters each and every season with a target on its back and the players are forced to deal with wondering if this is the year the streak will be broken.  Nevertheless, the players simply use the pressure as a way to fuel the fire.

"It's pressure, especially when it's been that long, but it's good pressure, it's a welcomed pressure," said Hayes.  "It means the world just to know that I'm competing for the same thing that players were competing for when I was five years old."

They handle the pressure by uniting as a team and then overcoming the obstacles they face together.

"That's why this is the best program in the country, the best team in the country, because we get each other through the good and bad times," said Schram.  "We don't concentrate on the pressure, we concentrate on getting better every day and playing for each other and having fun ultimately."

One premier aspect that has driven the 2012 Nittany Lions, as it did teams throughout the 15-year winning streak, has been their motto: We play for those who came before us.  The players are motivated to put all the effort they have into their training and games because that's exactly what the alumni before them had to do to earn their accomplishments.

"It's just putting on that jersey every day and giving everything you've got because that's what you're supposed to do when you put on that jersey," said Schram on what the motto means to her.  "That's the attitude and the mindset that the players that played before us have set for us and we need to continue to do that for them."

For coach Walsh, it's about the responsibility she has as a coach to help her team grow and develop as soccer players.  Ultimately it's up to her to continue Penn State's tradition of winning.  The conference will only get stronger in the years to come and coach Walsh takes her mission very seriously.

"For me, as a coach, its an enormous responsibility," said coach Walsh.  "I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but I don't take it lightly."

The Nittany Lions have emphasized that winning the Big Ten is just a stepping-stone heading into the NCAA tournament.  Winning a 15th consecutive conference title is a reason to be proud, but it is only the first step.

"We need to celebrate it," said coach Walsh.  "We need to take from it what we can and we need to use it to fuel the fire to have this be, not only our standard, but our stating point."

Penn State travels to Purdue for its final game of the regular season.  The start time is slated for 7 p.m. Friday night.

Nittany Lions Gear Up for Big Ten Championships

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - They've been looking forward to this moment all season, and on Sunday both the Penn State women's and men's cross country teams get the chance to prove themselves against their conference at the Big Ten Championships.

The meet, which takes place at Michigan State,

8230935.jpeg will feature all 12 teams that make up the Big Ten.

When asked about the meet, head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan couldn't contain her excitement about facing their competition.

"It's a great opportunity to go head to head with everybody," said Sullivan. "It's a rare sport that gets to do that and our kids and I are excited for it."

Sullivan was also quick to mention how her teams training in preparation for the meet has kept them in excellent shape.

"We've had a great cycle of workouts starting from the end of last week," said Sullivan. "Now we're trying to make sure their legs are good and fresh going into this weekend."

Along with making sure her team is in top physical shape, Sullivan wants to ensure that they are mentally prepared to handle the pressure of a big race as well.

"I just tell them to embrace the fun and get excited about what's at hand," said Sullivan. "It's all about keeping it relaxed, loose, and being confident.

Junior Nick Scarpello agreed with his coach and stated that the key to staying calm for a race of this magnitude is to keep your mindset the same as always.

"For a meet like this, we like to approach it like any other race," said Scarpello. "For us it's like business as usual."

One thing that Sullivan did stress is how the team's strategy changes with only nine runners competing from each school.

"The tactics change because the runners have a clear vision of the race," said Sullivan. "They can see their teammates better and run in a pack better so the strategy changes so they can team perform."

This is a factor that Sullivan believes could play into the Nittany Lions favor, as they have raced in both large and small meets this season.

"I think we're really ready," said Sullivan. "We've run the gamut on all the things that the sport produces and we've seen a lot of the Big Ten.

Junior Rebekka Simko agreed that the Nittany Lion's are prepared for the challenge, since they have already faced some of the best competition the country has to offer this season.

"We've been against the best in the country," said Simko. "We know we can run with these schools.

Both squads enter the race with high aspirations for themselves. Sullivan believes the men's squad can place in the top five.

"We finished sixth last year, so we're looking to crack that top five," said Sullivan. "That's the standard and hopefully we can get into the upper echelon.

Scarpello shared Sullivan's opinion on the goal for his team.

"We're standing by our goal at the beginning on the season which was to finish fifth," said Scarpello. "We're going to have to run well but it just means performing up to our capabilities."

Some of the schools that the men's squad will be sure to keep an eye on are the defending national champion Wisconsin Badgers, as well as Michigan.

"Wisconsin looks to be highly the favorites," said Sullivan. "Michigan has also been running extremely well lately."

On the women's side, the 13th-ranked Nittany Lion's will be in tough competition with seventh-ranked Michigan and 15th-ranked Michigan State for the title.

"Michigan State is the two time defending champs and they've got the home field advantage," said Sullivan. "Michigan is having a phenomenal season and they're the one team we haven't seen yet."

In Sullivan's opinion, the school that ends up winning will be the one that manages to get some unexpected breakout performances.

"The team that wins this weekend is going to be the one that pulls off some surprise performances," said Sullivan. "If someone comes through with a bigger race then they have all year and gives their team an extra punch then that could determine it."

The one factor that Sullivan believes will be huge for her runners is their ability to run together.

"Our girls have been running so tight amongst each other," said Sullivan. "If that pack can stay tight on the front end then we're going to be really dangerous."

Sullivan also expressed how much it would mean to see this group of girls win the title.

"This would be huge," said Sullivan. "We've been in contention every year and to pull off the win would really set the standard for the program."

Simko echoed her coach's sentiments on what winning would mean to the program.

"It would be unbelievable," said Simko. "It would be a great way for the seniors to end their careers."

Though the competition will be tough, the Nittany Lion's believe that can pull off their goal.

"We're looking at it as it's ours to steal, not ours to lose," said Sullivan. "If we keep that attitude we'll have a great shot."

Ohio State Week Q&A with Asst. Coach Ron Vanderlinden

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will host No. 9 Ohio State in sold out Beaver Stadium on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

As the Nittany Lions put the final touches on the gameplan, take a look through some remarks from linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden on the defense's preparation for Ohio State.


Q: What is the linebacker group doing better since the beginning of the season?
: "I think we have played our way into good shape.  We are playing hard from the first play to the last play.  I think we are understanding the system better where we are playing within the scheme better.  I would say those two things."

Q: How has the relationship between the coaching staff grown and developed?
: "From day one, Larry (Johnson) and I were both fortunate and appreciative for being given the opportunity to be a part of the new staff at Penn State.  We both accepted our role very well, plugging in to Coach Roof's defensive structure and system.  We both had to learn all of the nuances of the defense...I think we have all adjusted well."

Q: Is there an area of Braxton Miller's game that you are most concerned about on Saturday night?
: "Well, he is a tremendous athlete, who can create with any broken play and make it into a big play.  I am concerned about when he gets outside the pocket and he scrambles to throw and find receivers down the field and or just scrambling.  He is so quick and elusive.  He can make a huge play running the ball.  He is a dual-threat, so you have to defend him every single play.  You have to be so alert.  Any time the quarterback becomes the ball carrier they have an extra hat.  So, you are really a man down when he is the ball carrier."

Q: On the progression of Gerald Hodges during his career at Penn State...
: "We moved him to linebacker (from safety), and we played him as a freshman.  We knew that he was very talented and that he probably wouldn't be here for five years.  We started the learning process during his freshman year.  And each year, he grew and got better and better to the point now that he has become a very good linebacker.  I think, still though, he has a lot of growth yet to come.  He will continue to only get better as he plays more and more football at that position."

Q: There seems to be a healthy competition between Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti; how have those two made each other better?
: "I don't see competition between the two at all.  They are roommates on the road.  I see two guys that enjoy the game, enjoy each other and compliment each other.  I think both Gerald and Mike feed off each other's enthusiasm.  I think they are trying to be the very best player and support each other in every conceivable way.  When one makes a big play, the other one is really fired up for him."

- Saturday's clash with the Buckeyes has been officially announced as sellout.  Make sure to be in the stadium early and all fans are asked to wear white.  As wide receiver Allen Robinson said after practice on Wednesday, these types of games and the atmosphere in Beaver Stadium are the reason why players choose to play at Penn State.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Coach Chambers Big Ten Media Day Roundup

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion basketball coach Patrick Chambers, senior point guard Tim Frazier and junior guard D.J. Newbill represented the program at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago.

Coach Chambers addressed the media on Thursday morning to provide the reporters with a look into the 2012-13 season ahead.

First Team All-Big Team
Fresh off a first-team All-Big Ten selection for his standout junior season, Frazier was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by a panel of conference media on Thursday morning in Chicago.  Frazier was tremendous last season, averaging 18.8 points per game and 6.2 assists.  The senior spent the summer refining his game, including trips to the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Deron Williams Skills Academy.  The entire Preseason All-Big Ten team consisted of Frazier, Preseason Player of the Year Cody Zeller (Indiana), Trey Burke (Michigan), Aaron Craft (Ohio State) and DeShaun Thomas (Ohio State).  Indiana was picked to win the conference.

Frazier Needs to Be a Leader
Coach Chambers addressed a question on what he is expecting from Frazier after a stellar junior campaign. Simply put, he wants the Houston, Texas, native to lead the Nittany Lions.

"I think the most important thing for Tim is to be a great leader," Coach Chambers said.  "I think we all know he needs to work on his jump shot, and he has done that.  In practice so far, he is shooting his threes at a very high clip, which is great for us - it almost makes him unguardable.  But it's off the floor.  It's in that locker room.  It's being the hardest worker on this team.  It's not getting caught up in the headlines, the blogs or the tweets.  It's to remain humble and hungry and grounded."

Challenging Big Ten
Following his first season in the Big Ten, Coach Chambers is looking forward to the challenge of his second year in what is expected to be one of the top conferences in college basketball.  Chambers loves coaching against some of the best mentors in college basketball.

"This league is just awesome," Chambers said.  "It is an incredible league, great coaches, adjustments on every timeout, at halftime...One thing that really stuck out is the great homecourt advantage most of the teams get in the Big Ten.  Everywhere we went was sold out."

Coach Chambers said winning on the road is important in year two of his tenure in the Big Ten.

"Winning on the road is huge," Chambers said.  "We didn't do it last year.  We are going to have to do it this year.  We are going to have to find a way, but it's that difficult.  Coming from the BIG EAST, there were some empty gyms, so you can find a way.  Here, it is very difficult."

One Week From Exhibition Opener
The Nittany Lions are nine days away from opening their exhibition season against Philadelphia University on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.  Penn State returns nine lettermen and welcomes the debut of three freshmen and Southern Miss transfer D.J. Newbill.  The Lions had a very productive summer in the weight room and on the floor.  Frazier and the Nittany Lions return 70 percent of their scoring and 60 percent of the rebounding from last season.  The backcourt trio of Frazier, Newbill and junior Jermaine Marshall will be a fun group to watch.  Marshall is shooting at a superb clip from all over the floor during preseason practice.  The official season-opener is Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the BJC against St. Francis (PA).

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Team Visits Students at Nittanyville

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien and more than 20 members of the football squad visited the 1,200 campers outside Beaver Stadium on Wednesday night to say thank you for their support.  Take a look.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Ohio State Week Practice Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talked with sophomore wide receiver Allen Robinson and senior defensive end Pete Massaro following Wednesday practice of Ohio State week.  The Nittany Lions will meet the Buckeyes on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Women's Swimming and Diving, Shishkoff Makes an Impact

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Waking up at 5 a.m. for practice and coming back to the pool in the afternoon after lifting at some point during the day is something junior Gabi Shishkoff has been well accustomed to.

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Since this will be her 16th year as a competitive swimmer, Shishkoff knows what it takes to be a committed athlete at the varsity level while still maintaining the grades needed to stay in Schreyer Honors College.

"I started swimming on a summer league team where I would just do 12-and-a-halfs," Shishkoff said. "I wanted to get faster and one of the coaches from the summer league team was also a coach for a year-round team. He said we should try it out so the next season I practiced with a year-round team and really never looked back."

Jumping into the pool at just 4 years old, Shishkoff did not know where her swimming career would take her. When it came time to go through the recruiting process during her junior year of high school, it was an easy decision to go to Penn State.

"I couldn't imagine myself going any where else because of both the school and team atmospheres," Shishkoff said. "There's nowhere I could go that could compare to the school spirit that Penn State has."

In addition to the school spirit, Shishkoff noted strong team dynamics while she was visiting that helped to separate Penn State from the other schools she was interested in.

"I chose Penn State because we spent a lot of time with the team on my recruiting trip and I could tell the team had a family atmosphere," Shishkoff said. "I also liked how well the guys and girls teams got along and how well they trained together."

Entering college can be an intimidating feeling, but knowing there are 50-60 other teammates that are going through the same challenges and are there to help along the way makes the whole experience different.

"My favorite part about this team is having a built in support system and just a group of friends that is always around," Shishkoff said. "Whenever I have a good swim, my teammates are happy for me and if I have a bad swim there's always someone there to tell me not to give up and to keep going."

Along with the other juniors and seniors on the team, Shishkoff says a change to her role on the team this year is that she is expected to help guide the underclassmen.

"It's been different being expected to be a leader versus being an underclassman," Shishkoff said. "You're the one telling people what's going on and being positive for them."

Helping to lead the underclassman has not been the only difference this year. Shishkoff has also enjoyed the variety of the dryland the coaches have incorporated.

"We did different types of dryland at the beginning of the year like running up hills and Tussey Mountain," Shishkoff said. "I liked it better because it made practices more exciting and we all felt like we accomplished more when we were done with it."

With the Blue-White Intrasquad and a dual meet against WVU already behind the swimmers and divers, Shishkoff won all three of her events at both meets. The rankings on show Shishkoff is ranked with the sixth fastest time in the nation so far.

"I have already gone a best time and in-season bests in everything else I've swum so far," Shishkoff said. "I feel like I'm off to a good start and it's a really good sign for the rest of the year."

Swimming requires both physical and mental training to have success. Shishkoff's best racing comes when she has a relaxed frame of mind.

"When I'm at my best, my mindset is to have fun and just to see what I can do," Shishkoff said. "I want to see what happens and not worry about the results before the race."

Shishkoff has had plenty of experience with traveling to meets as well as staying at home for dual meets. She explains that they both have their own unique advantages to them.

"Whether I prefer home or away meets really depends on the meet itself," Shishkoff said.  "For dual meets, they are more fun at home because of the atmosphere. Traveling makes the meets bigger and I definitely prefer them for our end of season meets or bigger meets that we rest for."

As a part of the middle-distance training group, Shishkoff trains for distance freestyle events, individual medley events, and the 200-yard butterfly. Of the events she swims most, the 400-yard individual medley is her favorite to race.

"My favorite is the 400 IM," Shishkoff said. "I think it's more fun to race and it's an interesting event because it mixes things up and you get to change up the strokes."

With a few more meets and an invitational between now and the end of December, Shishkoff is already looking forward to the annual training trip that the swimmers go on right after Christmas in Naples, Fla.

"I'm really excited about our training trip because it's fun to be in Florida and just focus on swimming," Shishkoff said. "Being in a different location makes the training better and you are surrounded by all of your friends for over a week." 

In order to stay focused and motivated through months of training and competitions, Shishkoff reminds herself of the goals she wants to reach at the end of the season and the feeling of accomplishment when she reaches them.

"I stay motivated during practice and meets by thinking about how amazing of a feeling it is when I finish a race in a meet and meet my goal time, or do really well," Shishkoff said. "I think any swimmer could tell you that seeing your work pay off at a meet is the best feeling in the world."

As the swimmers and divers get further and further into the season, having goals and communicating what needs to be accomplished at checkpoints throughout the year is crucial. Shishkoff has already set goals that will help the team succeed against the other Big Ten opponents.

"My goals this season are to score at dual meets because it's such a great opportunity to contribute to the team, to score top eight at Big Tens, and to make NCAA's for the first time," Shishkoff said.

Two Late Scores Lift the Lions in a Defensive Battle

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Outstanding goalkeeping and a swarming Bucknell defense kept the Penn State field hockey team scoreless in the first half of play for the first time in nearly two seasons on Tuesday night.


It had been 23 games since the Nittany Lions were held without a goal in the first half, but a well-executed offensive attack in the final 35 minutes earned two late scores for Penn State, propelling them to a 2-0 win over Bucknell.

"We weren't on the same page in the first half," said head coach Charlene Morett regarding her team's offensive communication.

"But in the second half they honestly just put a clinic on and did a lot of great things."

The Nittany Lions were able to tally 16 shots in the first half alone, but nine Bucknell saves and a defense that swarmed around Penn State's most prolific scorer kept the hosts off the board for an alarmingly long time.

Kelsey Amy, the team's leading scorer (51 points this season), was held without a goal for just the third time this fall.

"They shut [Kelsey] down and that doesn't happen often," said Morett.

Amy's presence on the field didn't go unnoticed on Tuesday night, as the senior registered an assist and brought intense physicality for the entire 70 minutes.

"We did a great job keeping our poise given the circumstances," Amy said in reference to the gritty, physical play and to being held off the scoreboard for nearly 60 minutes.

"We are going to experience physicality no matter who we play so I think just having the poise to play through that is a good thing to have."

The Penn State sideline breathed a huge sigh of relief midway through the second half after a steal in the offensive zone led to a beautiful set up and a goal for sophomore Taylor Herold.

Herold's goal completely shifted the game's momentum in favor of the Nittany Lions and allowed them to play with less of a frantic demeanor as time dwindled down.

Just five minutes after the first goal, Penn State took the ball into the offensive zone again and forced a penalty stroke, which junior Brittany Grzywacz and her 100 percent penalty stroke success rate capitalized on and gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.

"We knew that it wasn't the end of the world that we hadn't scored yet so we just kept our composure and played our game," said Grzywacz in reference to the two late scores.

As for what kept the Nittany Lions scoreless for so long, players and coaches alike referenced a tough Bucknell defense and a lack of offensive communication.

"We need to work on our positioning around the goal," said Herold. "We need to work on being in our spots and being ready."

The defensive battle served as the final regular season home game for the Nittany Lions this season, but the team could potentially host an NCAA Tournament game if they are a top four seed.

Penn State, now with a 14-3 overall record and a 4-1 Big Ten record, has just one game remaining before entering tournament play.

The Nittany Lions will travel to East Lansing to square off against Michigan State on Saturday and, with a Northwestern loss to Iowa, would secure the Big Ten regular season championship with a victory over the Spartans.

Penn State lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Northwestern in September in Evanston.

"We've been really dialed in on winning a Big Ten championship," said Morett. "It is going to be really exciting that we have the opportunity for it to be in our hands."

Game time is slated for noon on Saturday in East Lansing while Iowa and Northwestern will square off at noon on Sunday.

By: Sean Flanery, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This past weekend the Nittany Lions (2-4-0) traveled to Sacred Heart (3-3-0) where they split a two-game series with the Pioneers.

Penn State's offense came alive on the road as the Lions tallied seven goals during the road trip, which included a 6-1 victory on Saturday. Six different Nittany Lions scored goals over the weekend with freshman forward Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.) netting two. Yoxheimer credits the system the team plays within for her production so far this season.

Yoxheimer-Shannon.jpeg"With a lot of system things too," said Yoxheimer. "Following the system is what creates the opportunities that I'm getting and just being able to finish. It's a good feeling knowing once I follow the systems that I can get on the scoreboard." 

Yoxheimer leads the Nittany Lions in shots, with 43, and goals, with four, so far this season. With her three-point performance - two goals and an assist - this past weekend, Yoxheimer earned College Hockey America Offensive Player of the Week honors, becoming the first Nittany Lion to do so.

"It means a lot, the player of the week award," said Yoxheimer. "I think it's good for the program because we are new and getting our name out there. Micayla [Catanzariti] was rookie of the week [two weeks ago], so it's nice we are out there and making changes in the CHA."

The Nittany Lions entered last weekend having not converted on a power play opportunity yet this year. However, over the weekend the Lions changed that, converting three times in nine opportunities with the player advantage.

"At first, we weren't really getting much out of it, but we made some changes and we scored three power play goals this weekend," said Yoxheimer. "So, the modifications that the coach gave us helped a lot."

While the Nittany Lions' offense sparked over the weekend, the play of junior goaltender Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) was equally as impressive. Paniccia entered the Sacred Heart series with a goal against average of 3.50, but allowed only three goals in the two-game series with the Pioneers to lower that number to 2.51.

"Those two games were actually pretty challenging," said Paniccia. "There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and it was pretty hard to see the puck. I got lucky a couple of times and it ended up working out."

While the Nittany Lions split the series with Sacred Heart, the convincing win on Saturday should provide the Lions with a lot of confidence moving forward. Penn State will begin a string of six-straight home games this Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST as they play host to Rochester Institute of Technology (3-3-0) in the first of a two-game series.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Paniccia. "RIT a good team and it's going to be a tough game, but we know we're ready. We have been practicing really hard and we are ready for anything at this point. We're ready to go." 

VIDEO: Jordan Hill, Gerald Hodges & Michael Zordich Q&A

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with a trio of seniors during Ohio State week.  See what Jordan Hill, Gerald Hodges and Michael Zordich had to say on Tuesday.

Jordan Hill

Gerald Hodges

Michael Zordich

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Still in Hunt for Big Ten Title

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With its last-minute, 1-0 victory over Northwestern in double overtime Oct. 21, Penn State men's soccer clawed its way back in the running for the 2012 Big Ten regular-season title. The Nittany Lions (9-4-2, 3-1-1 B1G) top the conference standings with 10 points, edging rivals Indiana (3-1-0 B1G) and Northwestern (3-1-0 B1G) by a single point.


While the Nittany Lions have just one conference clash remaining against Ohio State, the Hoosiers and Wildcats will play two more matches, including a Nov. 1 matchup between the teams in Bloomington, Ind., to close the regular season. With multiple variables still yet to be set, the Lions' hunt for their first Big Ten title since 2005 is still alive.

For each of the following scenarios, Penn State must defeat the Buckeyes at Jeffrey Field Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Northwestern visits Madison, Wis., for a showdown with Wisconsin at 1 p.m. Sunday, while Indiana faces Michigan State at the same time in East Lansing, Mich. If both the Wildcats and Hoosiers lose, the Nittany Lions would be declared Big Ten champions, while a tie by both teams would result in at least a share of the conference crown for the Blue and White.

A second scenario involves either one of the teams losing this weekend, but winning the Nov. 1 matchup. For example, if Indiana loses to Michigan State Sunday, but defeats Northwestern in the final regular-season match, Penn State would be the conference champion. The same situation exists if Northwestern loses to Wisconsin before downing Indiana.

In the event of a tie with Ohio State, Penn State would need Indiana and Northwestern to lose their games this weekend and tie each other Nov. 1 to collect the Big Ten championship. With a loss to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions would need the same sequence of events to share the title with Indiana and Northwestern. 

With the win over Northwestern, Penn State finished the 2012 season undefeated on the road in Big Ten action with a 2-0-1 record, the first time it has done so since finishing 6-0-0 in the conference in 2005. The Lions opened conference play with a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin on the road Sept. 21 before battling to a 1-1 draw with Michigan Oct. 6. After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in double overtime against Indiana at home Sept. 29, Penn State rebounded with a 2-1 win over Michigan at Jeffrey Field Oct. 14.

Week 8 Presser Roundup - Coach O'Brien Previews Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will bring a five-game winning streak into their primetime showdown with border rival Ohio State on Saturday night in Beaver Stadium.

Head coach Bill O'Brien met with the media on Tuesday to preview the clash with the Buckeyes.  Take a look through some of his key remarks.


Big Game Mindset
All 12 games on the schedule are equal when it comes to wins or losses.  As Coach O'Brien says time and time again, Penn State approaches the season as 12 one-game seasons.  But this week's matchup against No. 9 and unbeaten Ohio State is a notch above most weeks.  Anticipation is always high for night games in Beaver Stadium, and with this season's lone home night game against an undefeated border rival, it certainly adds to the atmosphere leading up to kickoff.

"Well, I think you're right, like you said, it's 12 one-game seasons," said O'Brien.  "And this is a big game.  For me to sit up here and say it's not a big game, that's crazy.  This is Ohio State, a great tradition, great players, great head coach, great coaching staff."

"But as far as playing football goes, this is a great college football game in what will be a great college football atmosphere against a team that has the same type of tradition and history as Penn State.  So to me that's what college football is all about, the game itself."

Students Out in Full Force Already
The Nittany Lions are still four days away from taking the field for Saturday's primetime kick, but you wouldn't know it when you drive past Gate A of Beaver Stadium.  A record number of 140 tents and 1,200 student season ticket holders began camping on Monday at 11 p.m.

"People were right when I first came here, they told me you haven't seen anything until you run out for a game or you witness the support of the student body," said O'Brien.  "And they're exactly right.  This is a special place.  And one of the reasons why it's a special place is because of the support of the student body."

Coach O'Brien's advice to the Penn State students this week?

"On Saturday we just want them here early," O'Brien said.  "We want them to wear white.  And we want them to be respectful but very, very loud throughout the whole game."

Slowing Down Miller
Penn State has played its fair share of athletic, dual-threat quarterbacks in 2012, but Saturday will be the Lions' biggest challenge on defense.  Ohio State signal-caller Braxton Miller is a quarterback with a running back's mentality.  The sophomore has rushed for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns (119.9 ypg).  Miller has also thrown for 1,384 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Miller's athleticism will be a big challenge for the Nittany Lion defensive ends and linebackers on Saturday night.

"In many ways your defensive ends -- defensive tackles, they have to be very disciplined in how they rush the passer, whether it's four-man rush or five-man rush or twist or whatever it is, they have to be very, very disciplined in how they rush the passer," O'Brien said.  "And if they can do that, they have a chance.  But, again, at the end of the day this guy's going to make plays.  And we're not going to shut this guy down totally.  This is an excellent football player, and we just have to make sure that we show up and do the best we can on Saturday night."

Playing Hard Every Snap
Penn State's defense is playing elite level football right now.  The Lions limited Iowa 209 total yards on its home field last week.  The Nittany Lions rank 13th nationally in scoring defense (15.71 ppg) and 22nd in total defense (322.71 ypg) heading into this week's game against Ohio State.  Coach O'Brien said on Tuesday that what he loves most about the Nittany Lion defense is the effort put forth on every play.

"You can see that when each guy, just like all those guys on defense, what I love about our defense is that they play extremely hard," said O'Brien.  "It's not always pretty.  But they compete.  They play extremely hard, which is the number one thing in defensive football."

Pocket Awareness
Senior quarterback Matt McGloin's season statistics speak volumes about the type of growth he has made since Coach O'Brien arrived on campus in January.  McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing (255.4 ypg) and is second in touchdown passes (14).  The West Scranton product made huge strides in decision-making and command of the offense during the offseason, but Coach O'Brien talked on Tuesday about McGloin's growth in one specific mechanical area.

"What we've tried to do with Matt is teach him about pocket awareness.  And Matt's done a good job of that," O'Brien said.  "He's climbed the pocket when he's supposed to.  He's moved ever so slightly when he's supposed to.  And the number one thing for a quarterback is to be able to do that and keep your eyes downfield and complete the ball and not see the rush.  You've got to feel the rush, not see it, move with your feet, redirect your eyes with your feet is the phrase we use and get the ball down the field.  And I think Matt's done a decent job of that, and hopefully he can continue to do that."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lion Tight Ends Making a Big Impact

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Playing tight in head coach Bill O'Brien's offense requires a high football IQ.


First, you need to understand the differences between the 'Y' and 'F' tight end positions.  The Y is a bigger player, a good in-line blocker, and a player who runs short to intermediate routes.  With a Y, his number one job is to block, and his second job is to run short, intermediate routes.

The F tight end is more of a pass receiver than a traditional tight end.  The F needs to be a good blocker, but it is more important that he has good hands and runs good routes.

When he arrived on campus, Coach O'Brien said that in his offensive scheme the tight end position is the second-most difficult to learn, next to quarterback.  Penn State tight ends have a number of different responsibilities depending on which personnel group is on the field and the formation the Lions are lined up in.  It is a complex game, but the Nittany Lion tight ends are passing the test with flying colors in 2012.

Through seven games, Penn State leads the nation in receptions by tight ends with 51 catches.  Stanford is second with 46.  The closest Big Ten competitor is Michigan State with 28 receptions by its tight ends.

Redshirt freshman Kyle Carter (F Tight End) is off to a standout season at the tight end position.  Carter has 29 catches for 364 yards (12.6 yards per reception) and a touchdown.  Recently named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Carter tallied six catches for 85 yards at Iowa, all of which coming during a dominant first half for the Nittany Lions.

Redshirt junior Matt Lehman (Y or F Tight End) is second in the group with 13 catches and two touchdowns.  True freshman Jesse James (Y Tight End) also has two touchdowns to go along with five receptions.  Senior Garry Gilliam has four receptions.  Gilliam is essential for the Nittany Lion offensive line, almost acting like a third tackle when he is on the field.

Collectively, the tight end group had 11 receptions for 151 yards in the 38-14 thumping at Iowa.

Penn State has a talented stable of tight ends, but the biggest reason for their success?  The Nittany Lion offense allows the tight ends to make plays.

"We like to put the tight ends in a good position to make plays," O'Brien said.

The Lion tight ends line up in a variety of spots on the field - from the backfield to split wide - making it challenging for a defense to scheme against.  It's not uncommon to see Mackey Award candidate Kyle Carter lined up in three or four different spots during the course of a game.

In doing so, Carter often runs pass routes while being defended by outside linebackers, safeties or cornerbacks.  The point being, Carter is able to use his size and strong hands to find opportunities to get open against a smaller defensive back or use his speed and quickness to get open against a bigger linebacker.

"For each defender, I need to use a little different skill set to get open," Carter said.  "It's a challenge, but is nice to work on a variety of skills depending on where I line up and who I am being defended by...I watch a lot of film during the week to prepare for it."

Carter is a rare tight end talent with great hands and a superb blend of size and speed, but the Nittany Lion offensive attack gives the Delaware native opportunities to make plays every time he is on the field.

"Coach O'Brien has put me in great situations working me around wherever he needs me to be and Matt has done a great job finding me when I'm open," Carter said.

Without a doubt, Penn State's tight ends will again play a big role on Saturday night when the Lions host No. 9 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Battle to Clinch 15th Straight Big Ten Title

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Winning the Big Ten year after year never comes easy.  For the fourth-ranked Penn State women's soccer team, clinching a 15th consecutive conference title required a second half rout of Michigan State followed by a defensive struggle against No. 17 Michigan that ended in a tie.


"We have huge tradition here at Penn State," said sophomore defender Whitney Church.  "We like to play for those who played before us and we've got a 15-winstreak going on here and it means a lot to us and that's what we play for and work for all year."

The Nittany Lions (15-2-1, 9-0-1 Big Ten) began the weekend on a foggy Friday evening under the lights of Jeffrey Field.  Michigan State (8-8-2, 2-7-1 Big Ten) fought defensively for 36 minutes before surrendering a goal to senior midfielder Christine Nairn, who launched a beautiful shot from outside the box to put Penn State on top 1-0 heading into half time.

The second half told a different story as the Nittany Lion offense ignited, scoring four times, including two by freshman Mallory Peterson, who netted the first and second goals of her collegiate career.  Peterson's performance makes her the 13th player to tally one or more of the 58 goals scored by Penn State this season.  She described her accomplishment after the game.

"It's really the best feeling in the world when you've worked for something and it finally comes to fruition, so definitely proud of myself, but also proud of my teammates," said Peterson.  "I think it was all a team effort."

Peterson's first goal came when she headed a cross from freshman midfielder Jenna Kalwa into the back of the net.  She notched her second four minutes later from 15 yards out, sealing a 5-1 victory for the Nittany Lions.  Head coach Erica Walsh praised the freshman's performance.

"How about Mallory Peterson," said coach Walsh.  "These guys, they train and train and train and they wait for their opportunity and then they get it and she [Peterson] puts two in the back of the net against a good conference team and I think that's fantastic."

Four different players were responsible for Penn State's five goals, adding to the variety of the offense.

"That's why we're so good this year is because we can score multiple goals from multiple people," said Nairn.

Michigan would prove to be a different opponent.  The Wolverines had recorded 12 shutouts entering Sunday's game and boasted the best defense the Nittany Lions have faced all year.  It was Senior Day in Happy Valley and the veterans were eager to clinch another Big Ten title with either a win or a tie.

Both defenses held strong for 59 minutes, but Michigan struck first midway through the second half when junior forward Nkem Ezurike capitalized off of a free kick, one of just two scoring opportunities by the Wolverines in the second period.

Penn State attacked relentlessly throughout the entire game, but was unable to break the Michigan defense until the 86th minute when the goalie deflected a ball to junior forward Maya Hayes, who was then tackled in the box.  The subsequent penalty kick was taken by non-other than Nairn, who has had a love-hate relationship with penalty kicks throughout the year.

The senior stepped in and without a moment's hesitation rifled a shot into the upper left corner of the net to tie the game at one apiece.  Nairn's teammates never doubted that she would come through in the end.

"I was extremely confident in Christine [Nairn]," said Church.  "Christine's a phenomenal player and it's great to have someone like her on the field with you."

"I knew she was going to make it," adds senior midfielder Maddy Evans.  "I have 100 percent confidence in her, especially in a high-pressure situation like that and I was excited to see that she was stepping up for that."

The game went into overtime and the Nittany Lions continued their offensive dominance, outshooting the Wolverines 7-1 during the period, but to no avail.  Michigan's defense held strong as it had the entire game and the result was a 1-1 tie.

In total, Penn State outshot their opponent 31-9 with a 12-3 advantage in corner kicks.  It was exactly the test the players had needed to prepare themselves for postseason play.

"This could have been the turning point in our season in terms of our wakeup call that we need to continue to push and get better," said coach Walsh.  "This team knows they have every reason to play with confidence because they're good, but at this moment we have to increase our game another level."

In the end, the team celebrated a 15th consecutive Big Ten title at home on Senior Day in front of 2,706 fans.

"It's really an honor," said Evans on winning another conference title.  "It feels like some hard work has paid off, but we still have a lot to go.  We're definitely cherishing this moment right now and we're very proud of our hard work and how far we've come."

It was a special moment for the seniors on a day when they were the honored for all their hard work and dedication.

"[The seniors] keep our team together," said Church.  "They're definitely the glue that helps us, just their wisdom from being here for four years, some of them five.  They're amazing and we're really going to miss them and their personalities."

Coach Walsh, who has watched her team grow throughout the season, couldn't be more proud of the result.

"I'm so proud of this group," said coach Walsh.  "I'm so proud of where they are today.  I'm proud of where they came from and I'm excited about tomorrow."

O'Brien, Nittany Lions Continue Building Momentum with Tempo

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From start to finish inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night, the Nittany Lions played at one speed.


Coach O'Brien calls it NASCAR on offense, but the quick tempo isn't just when the Lions are in no-huddle mode.  It is visible on every snap.  It's how the unit breaks the huddle.  It's how Matt McGloin orchestrates the pre-snap signals at the line of scrimmage.

And it isn't just the offense.  The defense doesn't have a specific call sign for its fast tempo.  That group just lives by the "hair on fire" mantra on every snap and swarms to the ball.

When both units fire on all cylinders, like they did at Iowa, the Nittany Lions make life miserable for opposing teams.  Penn State set the tempo on its second offensive drive and never looked back in a 38-14 rout of the Hawkeyes.

McGloin, who leads the Big Ten in passing (255.4 ypg) and completions (162), conducted an entertaining and efficient display of NASCAR no-huddle offense that fueled the Lions to a 38-0 lead on the road, under the lights, in a hostile environment.  Penn State accumulated 509 offensive yards, held the ball for 38:08 and silenced the raucous crowd in the first quarter.

The defense was equally as impressive, limiting the host Hawkeyes to 209 total yards, 14 first downs and just 20 rushing yards.  The Lions never gave the Hawkeyes an opportunity to get into the game.

Penn State's brand of football is merciless when both units are executing with fast tempo. 

Part of it has to do with the urgency of knowing that there are only a set number of games on the schedule, but the Lions don't know any different because Bill O'Brien coaches at one speed, Craig Fitzgerald directs workouts at one speed, the team practices at one speed, and through seven games, the team only plays at one speed.

"There's only five games left," O'Brien said.  "So what are you going to do?  OK, we're going to be flat today, and then the last four, we'll get up?  I believe that these guys will come ready to play and be energized.  Whether we win or not, who knows, but they'll be energized."

The NASCAR no-huddle package is designed to keep an opposing defense from getting comfortable, and the Nittany Lions executed the gameplan superbly on Saturday night.

"I didn't think we could come in here and huddle, and break the huddle, and run a normal pace," Coach O'Brien said.

Penn State ran 90 plays on Saturday, marking the second-straight game of 90 or more plays.  Iowa ran 59 plays.  Three games into Big Ten play, the Nittany Lion offense is averaging 37.3 points per game in conference play.  In all three victories, NASCAR mode played a direct role in Penn State's offensive success.

Fast tempo aside, simply put, this group of Nittany Lions is having more fun playing football right now than ever before.  Ignoring the final scores of the past five games, Penn State is building momentum week after week because of the way it approaches every game with passion, enthusiasm and intensity.

"We have a resilient bunch of kids," said O'Brien. "They love to play for each other. And I think they enjoy playing for this coaching staff."

Riding a five-game winning streak and a 3-0 mark in Big Ten play, the Nittany Lions are a confident group heading into Ohio State week.  Penn State will collide with No. 9 Ohio State in primetime on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) inside Beaver Stadium.

"We definitely needed a big win here (Iowa), and now we have some momentum going into Ohio State," McGloin said.  "It's going to be the White House.  It's definitely going to be an exciting atmosphere."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Locker Room & interviews at Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Watch the Nittany Lions run off the field and see the postgame locker room scene following Saturday's dominant 38-14 victory at Iowa.  Also, hear from several players after the game, including Matt McGloin, Jordan Hill, Michael Mauti, Mike Farrell and Bill Belton.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Postgame Remarks at Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa. - Hear from head coach Bill O'Brien following Saturday night's 38-14 victory at Iowa.  O'Brien talks about the no-huddle NASCAR offense, scoring a big road win, the play of the Penn State defense and more.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week Seven In-Game Blog - Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Football season.  Each week, will provide insight from the press box at all 12 games on the schedule.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

The Nittany Lions are in Kinnick Stadium for a primetime showdown with Iowa.

Halftime - Penn State 24, Iowa 0
The Nittany Lions played their best half of the season in a hostile environment on Saturday night.  After the teams exchanged three-and-outs to open the game, Bill O'Brien changed the tempo on offense with the NASCAR package.  The Lions marched 84 yards in nine plays before Matt McGloin scrambled free to find freshman tight end Jesse James for a 31-yard touchdown.  Penn State never looked back from there.  Stating in the up-tempo package, the McGloin engineered a 69-yard drive, which was capped with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson.  After Sam Ficken added a 34-yard field goal, the DaQuan Jones and the Nittany Lion defense jumped on a fumble to set up the Lions at the Iowa 14.  Bill Belton took care of the rest, galloping 11 yards into the end zone to make it a 24-0 game with 5:53 to play in the opening half.  Simply put, Penn State was dominant on both sides of the ball.  The Lions out-gained Iowa 304-99 in the first half.  Senior defensive end Jordan Hill was instrumental in shutting down Iowa's offense.  Hill tallied six tackles, but did much more than that.  The senior was dominant on the line of scrimmage, disrupting Iowa's offense.  Iowa missed two field goals in the first half, but the Nittany Lions never gave the home team an opportunity to get momentum.

End of 3rd Quarter - Penn State 31, Iowa 0
It took the Nittany Lions just 27 seconds to add seven points to their 24-0 halftime lead.  Jesse Della Valle sparked the touchdown drive with a 46-yard kickoff return.  On the first play, McGloin delivered a strike to Brandon Moseby-Felder for 42 yards, setting up the Nittany Lions with first and goal at the Iowa 3.  Belton powered into the end zone on the next play to make it 31-0, Penn State.  Iowa threatened mid-way through the third quarter, but the Nittany Lion defense stood tall inside their own 5-yard line.  Belton is having a career game with 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns, as is Moseby-Felder, who has made four catches for 60 yards.  Defensively, the Nittany Lions have held Iowa to just 22 rushing yards through three quarters.

FINAL - Penn State 38, Iowa 14
Behind 504 offensive yards and a stifling defensive performance, the Nittany Lions marched to their fifth-straight win in a hostile environment.  Penn State turned up its tempo on the second drive of the game and never looked back.  McGloin tossed two touchdowns in the first quarter helping lead the Lions to a 24-0 halftime lead.  Just 27 seconds into the third quarter, Belton visited the end zone to make it a 31-0 game.  Belton added another score early in the fourth quarter, giving the sophomore three for the game.  Penn State's defense was dominant, as well.  The Lions held Iowa to 209 offense yards, including just 20 on the ground.  As a point of reference, McGloin rushed for 26 on Saturday night and Iowa rushed for 20.  Penn State had its foot on the accelerator throughout the night and never gave Iowa an opportunity to find any type of rhythm.  The Lions fumbled going into the end zone and yielded a 92-yard kickoff return, but playing the way Penn State did on the road Saturday night speaks volumes about the team's confidence.


Pregame Reading:
- The Nittany Lions enter tonight's game riding a four-game winning streak after rallying to beat Northwestern before the bye week.  Penn State's offense will face a stiff test against a stingy Iowa defensive unit that has limited its opponents to 17 points or fewer in five of the six games this season.  How will the Lions counter the Iowa attack?  Tempo.  Look for the Nittany Lions to utilize their NASCAR package against the Hawkeye defense to speed up the pace of the game.

- Iowa's offense is a run-first unit, which plays into the strength of Penn State's defense.  The Nittany Lions will need to defend the play-action passing game, but stopping the run will be the top priority for Jordan Hill up front and Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges and Glenn Carson in the linebacker corps.

- Keep an eye out for the pink gear Penn State will wear on Saturday night.  In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Nittany Lions decided to wear pink gloves, wristbands and chin protectors at tonight's clash with the Hawkeyes.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Gameday Photo Blog: Iowa

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IOWA CITY, Iowa. - Welcome to the Gameday Photo Blog for Penn State's trip to Iowa. 


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Iowa Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Meet Hawkeyes

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Iowa Week Gameday Central

Iowa Week Q&A with Linebackers Coach Ron Vanderlinden

VIDEO: Iowa Week Practice Interviews

Nittany Lions to Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Riding a four-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0) return to action following their bye week with a primetime clash against Iowa (4-2, 2-0) inside Kinnick Stadium (8 p.m., BTN).

The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes will collide for the 25th time on Saturday night.  Penn State and Iowa are two of the four Big Ten teams who have not lost a conference game this season.  After Saturday night, the two teams will not meet again until 2015.

The Lions posted a thrilling 22-point fourth quarter in a 39-28 victory over Northwestern two weeks ago.  Down 11 heading into the fourth, senior quarterback Matt McGloin engineered two 80-plus yard touchdown drives to fuel the Lions to their fourth-straight win.  Iowa enters the week off of a dramatic double-overtime victory at Michigan State.  Welcome to the gameday preview for Penn State's first night game of 2012.


Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
1.  Since the day he arrived on campus, head coach Bill O'Brien has said that he wants to play fast.  The Nittany Lions practice with tempo every day of the week, and the NASCAR no-huddle package has been a big part of Penn State's success in 2012.  Senior quarterback Matt McGloin is commanding the Lion offense with superb confidence when the team is in NASCAR mode.  Look for O'Brien to continue the trend of playing fast on offense against a physical Iowa defensive unit.  McGloin often looks for "chunk" plays in the passing game when the Lions are in NASCAR, but the key area to watch is the third down conversion rate.  Stringing together completions and positive gains on running plays are very important to Penn State's offensive success when it plays with tempo.

2.  Despite running back Mark Weisman's uncertain status for Saturday night's clash, Iowa's offense is a run-first unit that likes to set up play-action passing with an effective ground game.  The Nittany Lion defense is expecting a physical approach to Iowa's offensive gameplan, but that plays right into the strength of Penn State's defense.  The Nittany Lion front seven is a big reason why Penn State has won four-straight games heading into this week's clash.  Led by Jordan Hill up front and Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges and Glenn Carson in the linebacker corps, the defense will be looking to limit Iowa's running game on first and second down to force quarterback James Vandenberg into third-and-long passing situations. 

3.  Penn State has made a significant turnaround in turnovers since the opener against Ohio.  The Lions lost three turnovers and forced zero in week one.  Since then, Penn State has forced 12 turnovers (eight fumbles and four interceptions).  Similarly, Iowa has been very good at forcing turnovers, as well.  Both teams top the Big Ten in turnover margin.  Especially in a night game with a boisterous crowd, the Lions can ill afford a turnover on offense that could give the Hawkeyes a cheap score or a short field.  Keep an eye on the turnover battle.

What to Watch For - Iowa
1.  Iowa running back Mark Weisman has been Iowa's big-play weapon on offense during the past four games.  Weisman has rushed for eight touchdowns during the past four outings.  He leads the team in rushing with 631 yards and a 6.3 yards per carry average.  Nonetheless, Weisman's status is up in the air for Saturday's game after suffering a sprained ankle in last week's win at Michigan State.  If Weisman is unable to play, senior quarterback James Vandenberg will need a strong outing for the Hawkeyes.  Iowa is a run-first, physical team, but Vandenberg's ability to make plays on third down and the play-action game are two key areas for the Hawkeyes against the Nittany Lion defense.  Freshman Greg Garmon, who has 36 yards this season, is listed atop the depth chart at running back.

2.  Iowa's defense has evolved into a very consistent group during the 2012 season.  Through six games, the Hawkeyes have surrendered 17 points or fewer in five games, and they have allowed fewer than 350 yards in five of six games.  Led by senior Joe Gaglione, Iowa's defensive line has been a strength for the defense.  Gaglione has made eight tackles for loss, four sacks and forced two fumbles.  Additionally, Iowa has allowed just five rushing touchdowns in six games.  The Hawkeyes want to dictate the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing of the Nittany Lion offense.  Keep an eye on linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who leads the nation in tackles per game (13).

3.  Kinnick Stadium will be amped up for the primetime game on Saturday night.  Additionally, the Hawkeyes received a big boost with the win at Michigan State last week.  With that being said, Iowa will be looking to capitalize on that momentum early with a quick start.  One key stat to keep in mind for Iowa - the Hawkeyes have collected at least one takeaway in five of the six games in 2012 and 70 of the last 81 games overall.

Gameday Rundown
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. CT
TV: BTN - Eric Collins (PBP), Derek Rackley (Analyst), Jon Jansen (Sideline)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network - Steve Jones (PBP), Jack Ham (Analyst), Loren Crispell (Sidelines)
Stadium: Kinnick Stadium (70,585) - FieldTurf
Coaches: Bill O'Brien - 4-2, 1st season
Kirk Ferentz - 100-68 (112-89 overall), 14th season at Iowa (17th overall)
The Series: 25th meeting

The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions kickoff a stretch of three road games in the next four weeks with a stiff challenge under the lights in Iowa.  Kinnick Stadium is a very difficult place to play, but the Nittany Lions are well prepared for the hostile environment.  Music was blasted at practice every day this week for the Nittany Lions to get acclimated with silent signals at the line of scrimmage.  Penn State has been tremendous during the first quarter in 2012 (out-scoring opponents 52-0), and the Lions want to continue that trend on Saturday night.  Both teams are expecting a physical night of football, putting a big emphasis on stopping the running game.  Additionally, turnovers will play a critical role in determining the outcome of Saturday's game.  Both defenses have been very good at forcing miscues this season, and they are both tied for the Big Ten lead in turnover margin (+1.17).  As we mentioned earlier, keep an eye on Penn State's offensive tempo against a physical Iowa defense.  The Lions have six one-game seasons remaining in 2012.  The second half of the season begins in primetime on Saturday night.  Tune in to BTN at 8 p.m.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Nittany Lion Basketball Practice - Oct. 18

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team is nearing the end of its first week of preseason practice leading up to the 2012-13 campaign.

Take a look through some highlights as the Nittany Lions worked through drills during Thursday's practice in the main gym of the Bryce Jordan Center.  Penn State opens its exhibition slate against Philadelphia University on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. in the BJC.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions to Honor Breast Cancer Awareness

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Nittany Lion football team has decided to wear pink gloves, wristbands and chin protectors at Saturday's game against Iowa.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities each October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.  The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by the disease.

Annually, the Penn State women's basketball team hosts a Pink Zone game to benefit individuals affected by breast cancer.  Last year, the Lady Lions donated a record $203,000 to breast cancer causes.  The 2013 Pink Zone game will take place on Feb. 24 when the Lady Lions take on Michigan.


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Women's Golf Shines During Fall Season

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's golf team continues to climb up the rankings after winning its last two tournaments. After starting the season ranked 89th and have now moved up to the 25th after a stellar fall season thus far.


With an average score as a team of 73.75 for the season and 2.56 subpar strokes per round, Golfweek has most recently named the women Team of the Week. The Lions are also ranked No. 1 on

The golf team started off the season traveling to Charleston, S.C. for the Cougar Classic where they finished 13th out of 24 teams. Every time the golfers have stepped on the golf course they have improved their placing with each tournament. The Yale Intercollegiate tournament in New Haven, Conn. marked their second tournament where the Nittany Lions finished second out of 16 teams on Sept. 21-23.

The following weekend, Penn State hosted the Nittany Lion Invitational where they dominated the tournament and set a new school record of having the lowest combined team score, shooting 26 shots below their previous record. Penn State also won the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate tournament in Knoxville, Tenn. and edged out second place Tennessee by four strokes.

"We won our home tournament and then won the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate tournament so winning back to back was huge for us and exciting because there were a ton of teams ranked above us," Senior Jamie Lavin said. "My freshman year we were ranked in the 100s and now we are ranked in the top 25 so we've had a good showing this season."

In her 21st season as head coach, Denise St. Pierre credits their success both on and off the golf course to their preparation so far this season.

"We've taken a balanced approach to everything we do so that we can play the best that we can," St. Pierre said. "We work on fundamentals in practice and stick with a game plan at tournaments. They take care of their nutrition and have been paying attention to their diet. They have really been committed to paying attention to these things on the road too."

In addition to nutrition, the emotional component of competing has been a focus for the team.

"We've been working on staying in the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves," St. Pierre said. "Especially with golf, they're out there for five hours, so it's important not to get thinking about the end result and stay focused on what's happening now."

To help prepare for the mental side of golf before the day of competition, the team has added a new technique to their regime.

"We do a lot of team workouts and since the spring we've done Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is like a meditation," Lavin said. "This relaxes us and helps calm us down."

Two Nittany Lions have been named Big Ten Women's Golfer of the Week this season. Junior Christina Vosters received the first honor on Sept. 12 following her performance at the Cougar Classic where she shot a career-best of 71 in all three rounds of the tournament. Junior Ellen Ceresko was honored on Oct. 5 after she claimed the individual title at the Nittany Lion Invitational, also scoring a career-best of 69 in rounds one and two and 70 in round three.

Even with strong individual leaders, Coach St. Pierre stresses that one person cannot lead the team alone.

"Statistically Ellen Ceresko has been leading," St. Pierre said. "But it's more about the strength of the team, six girls in their own right are leaders in any given time. They know that not one person has to carry the weight of the team."

With the end of the fall season quickly approaching, Coach St. Pierre is leading the women into the last tournament with momentum on their side.

"We want to finish strong in the last tournament of the fall," St. Pierre said. "We want to climb up the rankings even more and end the fall season on a good note."

From an athlete perspective, Lavin says as a team they want to keep the strong camaraderie they have developed and continue what they have been doing all season.

"There has been so much passion for golf in general this year," Lavin said. "The 'One Team' initiative throughout the whole university has brought our team together. We are playing for each other and to represent Penn State the best that we can. We'll continue to take one tournament at a time, we'll keep practicing the way we have been, and nationals is even a goal for us this year."

Up next, the Nittany Lions will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete at the UNLV tournament Oct. 21-23.

By Pat White Student Staff Writer

After an exciting opening weekend to kick off their first season as a Division I program, the Penn State men's hockey team looks to continue their winning ways against Buffalo State and Rochester Institute of Technology in New York this weekend. The Nittany Lions lost a tough overtime game at home, and followed it up with a thrilling overtime win in their series against American International.

Head coach, Guy Gadowsky, said that getting the first win was a big step in building the foundation for Penn State hockey. He wants his team to continue to build off of that energy for the upcoming weekend. He thought his team played well in Friday's loss, but winning the game on Saturday was very satisfying.

"It was jubilation Saturday," Gadowsky said. "Nobody really knew how long it would take us to get a win. It was great for us to get that win Saturday night, and the way we got it, in overtime on a tremendous goal. It was a lot of fun."

When asked if the win from last weekend had worn off, Gadowsky was all smiles.

"Not yet," he said. "It was such a great weekend. I had optimistic feelings about how the student body and alumni were going to take to us. What we saw this weekend was fantastic. It's a big reason why I'm here, why our staff came here, why our recruits came here and to see it was so much fun. To get a huge win... It was awesome."

Gadowsky hinted that there would be some changes in the lines for this weekend's games. Although he doesn't have his lines labeled, Gadowsky said that he is keeping the big forward line of Max Gardiner, Jonathan Milley, and Casey Bailey intact because he sees chemistry beginning to develop.

"We aren't going to label any lines right now," he said. "Two of the lines that you'll see play Friday night you haven't seen."

Gadowsky said another forward line that will continue to play together this weekend is Curtis Loik, Kenny Brooks, and David Glen. Glen scored two goals last Saturday, including the game-winning goal in overtime. All three forwards play a tough, hard-nosed brand of hockey, which is why they have been successful so far, according to Brooks

"All three of us are hardworking forwards and we do the little things out there," Brooks said. "That's why we've been getting things done. I like playing with both of them because they work in the corners."

A new tradition Gadowsky has brought to the team is giving out of a construction helmet to the player that works the hardest out on the ice.

"The significance in the hard hat is what's going on across the street," Gadowsky said. "They're building the foundation (of the building) for us so that we can have success in the future. It mirrors what we're doing as a team. We're building a foundation so that we can have success in the future, and future years in the Big Ten."

Brooks was the first recipient of the hard-hat for the way he back-checked and played solid, two-way hockey last Saturday. Brooks will now pass it on to the player he thinks deserves the helmet after the next game. He said it was a great feeling being recognized for his work on the ice.

"It was special to get the first one," Brooks said. "There were multiple players who could have gotten it, but it's an honor to get it."

Gardiner said that the helmet was a surprise for all the players, but it is a ritual that he has seen before. He said, "it's not about who scores the goal or makes the big play at the end of the game, but who does the little things."

The Nittany Lions have a tall task in front of them with RIT, who defeated the previously third ranked Michigan Wolverines last week in Ann Arbour. Gadowsky said it will be a challenge for his young team.

"RIT has a great program," Gadowsky said. "They have a really great student body as well and a great atmosphere in their rink. The game itself is going to be very tough. It's going to be a great measuring stick for us. I think it will be a great atmosphere and we'll learn a lot about being on the road."

Penn State will play RIT at Blue Cross Arena, a 13,000 seat facility that is home to the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans. Gadowsky said that despite having a young team, he is especially excited for the upperclassmen playing in the game.

"Some of the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed guys are our upperclassmen who came to Penn State to play club hockey and now find themselves playing in front of 13,000 people against RIT," he said. "So you talk about the young guys and the young energy, I think a lot of the upperclassmen are holding that role as well."

Big arenas and hostile crowds are new to most of the young team. One of the players who has played in big arenas is Max Gardiner, who played at Wisconsin and North Dakota while playing for Minnesota his freshman year.

"It's an experience [they] are going to remember for the rest of [their lives]," Gardiner said. "Those are the fun games to play in. [They're] like every other game but you get really pumped and it makes it even more fun."

Despite the excitement about playing in front of 13,000 fans, the team knows that have to take care of business against Division III opponent, Buffalo State first. Brooks said that the team can't get too excited about playing RIT on Saturday.

"Any game is going to be a big game at this point," Brooks said. "I don't think anyone in our locker room is looking past that at all."

Gardiner said that although it felt great to get the first win at Penn State, the team has to carry that momentum to this weekend and start a winning streak.

"It was pretty awesome to get that first one, but we expect many more to come," Gardiner said. "We're just trying to build off it every week we're trying to get better and build a foundation. We're going to build off Saturday night's win, and go on."

Penn State will play Buffalo State Friday at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions will then travel to Rochester to take on RIT on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. in Rochester.

VIDEO: Coach Chambers Practice Update - Oct. 18

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VIDEO: Practice Footage from Oct. 18

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion basketball coach Patrick Chambers addressed the media prior to Thursday's practice to provide an update on how the first six days of the preseason have gone.

Take a look.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Iowa Week Q&A with Asst. Coach Ron Vanderlinden

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions travel to Iowa on Saturday for a primetime matchup against the Hawkeyes (8 p.m. on BTN). sat down with linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden to talk about his unit and the Hawkeyes.  Take a look.

8203794.jpeg Let's start with Michael Mauti. How would you evaluate his superb season thus far?
: "Mike Mauti brings tremendous energy to the defense.  He plays with a lot of fire and spirit.  He's equally good at playing the run and defending the pass.  He's got great awareness, as well." Moving to the middle, talk about the way Glenn Carson has played this season and the type of player he is for the defense.
: "Glenn Carson loves to play the game.  He is extremely competitive.  He's as tough as it gets.  He is known for his square, hit-you-in-the-face, knock-you-back tackles.  And he too, makes all the checks for our defense.  He gets us lined up properly.  And really, from tackle to tackle, there can't be a better linebacker in the Big Ten." Gerald Hodges is an athletic playmaker on the outside.  What do you like about the way Gerald plays?
: "Gerald combines size and strength with tremendous athleticism.  He has the ability to play out in space to defend run and the pass game equally well." Mike Hull is a guy who is a standout on special teams, and he plays a huge role on the defense.  What makes him a unique player?
: "Mike has great speed.  He is very athletic.  He is the first player in the game at all three linebacker positions.  It really speaks well to his ability to learn and comprehend multiple positions.  On third down, you see Mike in the game a lot because he is quick and athletic, and he has a good feel in the passing game." How challenging is it to learn all three linebacker positions?
: "It's very challenging.  There are very few people who could learn all of the assignments, adjustments, alignments and coverage responsibilities at all three positions." When you talk to any one of the linebackers, the first thing they talk about is the play of the defensive line.  How important is an effective group up front for the linebackers to be successful?
: "One of the real benefits to playing linebacker at Penn State is year-after-year, our linebackers have had the benefit of playing behind really good front four defensive lines.  Our D-Line does a great job of pushing the line of scrimmage, allowing the linebackers to work downhill towards the ball.  Our D-Line also does a terrific job of commanding two blocks, and often times, freeing up linebackers to run and get to the football." When you look at Iowa's offense on film, what stands out to you?
: "Typical to all Iowa teams that we have played during my years at Penn State, they are physical.  They are a run-first team that can also throw the ball effectively off of play-action.  Then, on third down, they will spread you out and they'll run a spread set or they'll go to an empty backfield and throw the ball well.  So, you have to defend both the run and the pass, but it certainly starts with defending the run and stopping the run game."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Ridder and Bower Look Forward to Last Big Ten Championships

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four years ago, they were starry-eyed freshmen, honored to be apart of a team that won the Big Ten Championships.


Now as seniors, Brooklyne Ridder and Natalie Bower want nothing more than to lead the Penn State women's cross country team to that same goal in their final season.

"Winning the Big Ten Championships would be the perfect ending to our four years on the cross country team," said Ridder. "I couldn't imagine a better ending."

Bower couldn't have agreed more with her teammate's sentiments.

"It would be a dream come true," said Bower. "We would love to have that goal achieved."

With the Nittany Lions ranked 13th nationally and only trailing Michigan (seventh) in terms of Big Ten schools, the two senior captains know that their goal is attainable, and are extremely proud of their team's performance up to this point in the season.

"It's been really exciting to perform well and to run strong," said Ridder. "It's definitely giving us a lot of confidence."

After having both qualified for the NCAA Championships their first three years at Penn State, Ridder and Bower have continued to give strong individual performances this season, having both finished in the Nittany Lion's top five in every race they have run this year.

They maintained that they have welcomed the pressure of having the team count on them, since they have extremely high expectations of themselves, as well.

"Natalie and I have had good performances since freshmen year, so we knew expectations were going to be high," said Ridder. "We expect a lot out of ourselves too though."

Not only have they embraced the pressure of being among the team's top performers, but also the pressure of leading the team as captains.

"Being a captain you automatically put some pressure on yourself," said Bower. "But it's all part of being a senior on the team."

Ridder added that being a captain is easier knowing that she has both Bower and fellow senior captain Lindsey Graybill to count on.

"The three of us work together really well," said Ridder. "I know that the two of them always have my back."

Both Ridder and Bower also stated that the underclassmen on the team have made their job easier with their strong performances.

"The younger girls stepping it up have been a great help," said Ridder. "Being able to have a team that runs together as a pack has been amazing."

Bower was quick to add that the entire team's work ethic during the course of the season has also been a source of pride.

"We've been working really hard in both our workouts and our daily runs," said Bower. "Not just our mileage but also our strength and our core."

Along with their teammates, Ridder and Bower both made sure to credit head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan with their continued success.

"Every year she sets the expectations a little bit higher," said Ridder. "She's been great to work with and I love having her as a coach."

Bower also praised Alford-Sullivan on her ability to get the best out of her and her teammates.

"She realizes we need to work hard to achieve what we want to do," said Bower. "I really appreciate her working with me."

With their final season winding down, both girls have been trying to put their cross country careers in perspective.

"It feels like a few days ago that we were freshmen," said Bower. "It shows you got to make it count while it lasts."

Ridder shared her teammate's opinion on the subject.

"I look back and I feel like I was just starting," said Ridder. "It's definitely hitting me now that I have three races left in my senior year."

Whether or not this season ends in a Big Ten title, Ridder and Bower both cannot believe their time with the Penn State women's cross country team is coming to an end.

"It's sad that I only have three races left," said Ridder. "It would be great to end this season on a good note."

Bower agreed, and stated she will miss the camaraderie between her teammates.

"It's something special to have this many girls work together so well," said Bower. "It'll be sad to move on."

The Nittany Lions will compete at the Big Ten Championships on Oct 28 at Michigan State University.

Gallagher's Constant Practice Develops Versatility

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On a team loaded with seniors and loaded with talent, every piece of the puzzle must be put together in order to have success in the Big Ten Conference. A piece of this puzzle that has drastically improved as the season has progressed has been senior defender John Gallagher's ability to create chances off set pieces and become a versatile player for the 8-4-2 Nittany Lions.


Gallagher has produced two goals in the past two matches for Penn State, both of which have been games the Lions have won. Gallagher continued his success on set pieces by forcing an own goal off of a corner kick against Michigan State Oct. 14. Three days later, the lefty scored a goal in the 22nd minute, with his right foot.

His success, however, hasn't simply just appeared on the scene in the 2012 season, it has been produced by the work put forth off the field by Penn State's senior captain.

"We have these free kick dummy's and I come out either before or after practice and set them up in positions on the field that I know I am going to be aiming toward during the games and I take maybe 20 or 30 to focus on driving them and getting them in the right spots," said Gallagher. "It helps because my deliveries have been a lot better this year than they were last year and one of my goals was to have every set piece I take be a scoring opportunity for us."

Set pieces have been where Gallagher has thrived in the second half of the season and his practice and ability to know where teams will line up on set pieces have resulted in his teammates being in a good position to get a shot on net. Gallagher has been working toward this improvement since the summer has the team has shown improvement in the set piece plus and minus category that he closely monitors.

First knowing where his team will be and then picking up where his opponent is lined up, Gallagher focuses on a specific plan of attack before he puts the ball in play. This pre-kick focus allows him to pick a spot on the field and force the defense to make a decision on the ball.

"On corners a lot of teams line up the same way so there is a pretty specific spot I like to put it, but yeah it is just whipping it in there hard," said Gallagher. "Just like against Michigan State, if you drive in a good ball nice and hard anything can happen and I think that was proven by the own goal."

Head coach Bob Warming stressed the importance of being able to make sure that Gallagher gets Penn State players on the right end of it and now Gallagher is doing exactly that after missing a few games in early October.

"In his time off he probably hit a thousand crosses out here and I think his quality of crosses has improved since then," said Warming. "It's just practice, practice, practice. His legs were ready to fall off because he kicked so many balls."

As well as improving on set pieces, Gallagher has spent time in the racquetball courts to work on his footwork with both foots as he feels opponents view him as a one footed player. In his last season in Happy Valley, he has made it a point to prove opponents wrong and show that he can play anywhere and score with either foot.

"Johnny has played every where," said Warming. "He has played as a forward, wide midfield and has played in the back. He is getting to become a better and better soccer player and there's not many left footed guys that can run like that and pass that well."

Gallagher and the Nittany Lions will travel to Evanston this weekend to take on Northwestern before coming home one last time to play Ohio State on Oct. 28 for senior day.

By: Sean Flanery, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Women's hockey team is looking to regain its focus and key in on a couple of important issues heading into this weekend's series at Sacred Heart.

Now that the Nittany Lions (1-3-0) have a few games under their belts and the inaugural season jitters are slowly wearing off, a few key issues have come to the forefront that the Lions will look to address before traveling to Sacred Heart (2-2-0) this weekend.
Brandwene-Josh.jpeg "I think the big thing we are trying to eliminate are the stick penalties," said Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene. "It's a matter of keeping your feet moving and it's a matter of just grinding away without reaching. Again, it's one of those lessons that we need to take away from [last] weekend because it certainly caught up to us at the end."

So far this season, 10 of Penn State's 15 penalties have come by the way of stick penalties, such as hooking, slashing or tripping. Freshman forward Micayla Catanzariti (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) was responsible for a few herself last weekend, but she says the lesson will stay with her moving forward.

"I am definitely an aggressive player," said Catanzariti, "but at the same time most of (my) penalties were stick penalties and those just don't fly. You can always control those. It was an eye-opener."

While the penalties have been costly thus far this season, the Nittany Lions should catch a break this weekend as their opponent, Sacred Heart, is currently 0-13 on the power play. The Nittany Lions and their opponent have both posted comparable statistics when it comes to special teams play this season. The Lions, like the Pioneers of Sacred Heart, have yet to convert on the power play. While the Lions will look to improve on their power play production, they will also look to limit opponents with their penalty kill.

The Nittany Lions have allowed five goals in their opponent's 15 power play opportunities this season. Many of the opponent's power play goals came this past weekend versus Syracuse, but coach Brandwene believes his young team will learn and move forward.

"We went over some adjustments on our penalty kill and the execution just wasn't there," said Brandwene. "That's something that a young team just has to learn from."

The Nittany Lions had this week to practice and prepare for the upcoming series and with 17 freshmen on the team, the young Lions are still adjusting to the speed of play and the new experiences they face week in and week out. Catanzariti explained that at the Division I level the game is always changing around them and the team is forced to make quick adjustments.

"Every weekend is different," said Catanzariti. "Last weekend we were playing one system and this weekend we are playing a completely different system and pretty much every period we are doing something new and buying into those changes this season is going to be key and that's something that we're working on."


The Nittany Lions will travel to Fairfield, Conn. to play Sacred Heart in a two-game series beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m. EST. Coach Brandwene believes that like every other weekend this upcoming weekend will be another first for the program, but the goal for the team will always remain constant.

"Every weekend is a new experience for these kids," said Brandwene. "So now to have the home opener under their belt and to have some conference play under their belts, it's a really good opportunity for us to assess the things we need to do to be as successful as possible and our goal hasn't changed. Our goal is to get better every week with the goal of playing our best hockey at the end of the season in the league playoffs. If you can do that anything can happen."

What it Means to Be a Senior

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fourth-ranked Penn State women's soccer has a diverse senior class that embodies what it truly means to be a senior.  Their leadership and dedication have held the team in tact through every challenge they have faced thus far.


"It's impossible to group eight people because the impact has been so significant in so many different ways," said head coach Erica Walsh.  "It's the combination that makes these guys so unique.  It makes them, to be honest, a really special group."

Each senior brings a unique, irreplaceable element to the team as a whole.  Together, they pass on the tradition that is Penn State women's soccer and foster a culture that balances hard work and devotion with a little bit of entertainment.

"We have a good time, but we also know when we need to get down to work, so it's a great balance between work and fun," said senior midfielder Maddy Evans.  "We always have a goal in mind and a vision of where we want to go, so every single person on this team is inspiring to be around."

Evans has been one of the premier leaders for the Nittany Lions this season, to go along with her talented midfield play.  She had a hard time putting into words what it meant to be part of the Penn State Family.

"I've been trying to answer that question for four years," said Evans.  "To me, it definitely defies description.  I can't amount it to words and, quite frankly, I'm okay with that.  If I were to say anything, I would just say I am honored to wear Blue and White."

Senior midfielder Christine Nairn has shown that she can be one of the top players in the country.  She is currently tied for the team-lead in goals with 11 and leads the team in total points.  In her mind, her main role was to help improve the team as much as herself.

"One of my goals over the past few years, and I've got it from Ann [Cook] and coach, is to try to make everyone around me better," said Nairn.  "I wouldn't trade this team for anyone in the world and they make me a better player every day."

Senior goalkeeper Erin McNulty has been apart of the Penn State tradition for six years and has anchored the back line of the defense in goal.  She feels proud to wear the jersey and appreciates what her teammates and the coaches have done for her.

"It's so exciting, every time I put on the jersey," said McNulty.  "I'm so excited to represent such a great university and to have such great teammates and coaches that bring the best out of me every day and just push me to be better on and off the field."

The defense suffered a trio of harsh injuries early in the season after losing senior defenders Bri Garcia, Jackie Molinda and Lexi Marton.  Marton and Molinda have been deemed out for the season and Garcia has yet to return.  The injuries were devastating to what was once a veteran backline.  Nevertheless, all three defenders were there off the field to guide and support their teammates.

Garcia has an incredible knowledge of soccer, which has been a crucial source for younger players still learning the game.  Her favorite memory was the double overtime victory against Michigan to win the Big Ten title in 2010.

"My all-time favorite memory is when we won the Big Ten title against Michigan two years ago," said Garcia.  "Second overtime, 17 seconds left, it's our big thing now: '17 seconds.'  It showed me that this team can overcome anything."

Molinda was a senior starter on defense with a positive attitude that kept the team's spirits high.  The one thing she will miss the most is all the memories she shared with her fellow teammates.

"I'll remember all the bus trips and all the times spent with all my teammates, just hanging out, and all the great memories I made with them," said Molinda.

Marton had been the heart and soul of the defense when she was on the field.  As a captain, her ability to communicate and lead the backline was critical during games.  Now, despite her injury, Marton continues to motivate and lead her teammates on the sideline.

One of the hardest working players on the team in her years as a Nittany Lion has been Amanda Dotten.  What she will miss the most are the bus rides from the locker room to the stadium where the team excites and energizes each other for the challenge ahead.

"The most special thing that I am going to remember about Penn State are the blue bus rides over from our locker rooms to the games," said Dotten.  "They just get you so pumped up and ready to go and focused on what you're about to do."

One of the unsung heroes of the 2012 Penn State women's soccer team was Kristin Hartmann.  Her mere presence on the sideline was enough to motivate the players on and off the field regardless of the situation.  She was as dedicated, if not more dedicated, to the team after her injury as she was before.  She expressed how special it was for her to be apart of the team.

"It's the greatest experience ever," said Hartmann.  "You have 26 best friends and you literally can talk to anyone at anytime and you always have somebody to hang out with and it's just a great feeling knowing you have so many people around you."

Together, the seniors have created an impressive resume.  They have won three Big Ten titles and this year have led their team to a 14-2 start, along with an undefeated 8-0 record in conference play and a spot as the fourth-ranked team in the nation.  Their legacy will remain within the Penn State culture and their contributions will be passed down through the team's motto: 'play for those who came before you.'

"Our legacy here is just incredible," said Marton.  "We have a quote that we play for those who came before us and for us to continue that tradition and have such an outstanding winning record on Jeffrey Field is just amazing for us and we're so proud to be carrying on that special tradition here at Penn State."

The Nittany Lions will face Michigan State at home Friday night at 7 p.m. They will then take on No. 17 Michigan on Senior Day, Sunday afternoon.

VIDEO: Iowa Week Practice Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with senior offensive tackle Mike Farrell and senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill following Wednesday's practice during Iowa week.  The Nittany Lions travel to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday for an 8 p.m. kick (BTN).

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Kyle Carter & Jacob Fagnano Q&A - Iowa Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with redshirt freshman tight end Kyle Carter and senior safety Jacob Fagnano during Iowa week.

Kyle Carter

Jacob Fagnano

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week 7 Presser Roundup - Coach O'Brien Previews Iowa

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Riding a four-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday with a primetime matchup at Iowa (8 p.m. on BTN).

Head coach Bill O'Brien met with the media on Tuesday to preview the road clash with the Hawkeyes.  Take a look through some of his key remarks.


Back on the Field
After four days off from football commitments, Coach O'Brien stressed the importance of the team staying focused during the week after a bye.  According to O'Brien, the team returned to the practice field on Monday energized. Iowa enters this week's game on a high after a hard-fought double-overtime victory at Michigan State over the weekend, but Monday was a good start to the practice week for the Nittany Lions.

"Right now there's no question that Iowa has momentum because they had a fantastic win over a very tough Michigan State team in double overtime," Coach O'Brien said.  "Our team needs to understand that, that it's one thing to have a bye week, but it's a whole other thing to be playing a team like Iowa, and we've got to try to go out here and practice and be precise and practice hard with great effort every day and try to equal out that momentum.  I thought yesterday was a decent start."

Physical Iowa
The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes will meet for the 25th time on Saturday in Kinnick Stadium.  Historically, the series between Penn State and Iowa has been filled with close games.  Like the Nittany Lions, Iowa plays a physical brand of football, and the Nittany Lions are expecting a battle on Saturday.

"I think it's two very, very evenly matched teams.  Like the old saying goes, you are what your record is and says you are, and we're both 4 and 2, so to me it's two evenly matched teams that are going to really fight it out physically to see who can win the game.  I think you've also got an Iowa team there that's very, very well‑coached.  They know what they want to do.  They do it well.  The techniques are good.  They're a smart team.  They don't make a lot of mistakes, if any, and hopefully our team can show that the same way on Saturday night, and it should be a heck of a college football game."

Prepping for Night Game
Although he is no stranger to night games, Saturday's primetime clash will be the first of O'Brien's head coaching career.  Penn State will spend all day at the hotel in Iowa on gameday leading up to the kickoff.  How does Coach O'Brien plan to keep the team busy and focused during the hours before the game?

"Number one is we'll let them sleep in a little bit, get some rest, and then we'll wake them up, we'll have a nice breakfast, and then we'll meet, we'll walk through, we'll let them go chill out a little bit more, then we'll meet again, we'll walk through again, and we'll just continue to kind of keep them moving throughout the day and let them watch some football that's going on during the day and then continue to go over their notes for the game and all those things and just be as prepared as we can be once we start the game."

Additionally, the team will practice a little later during the evening before study hall hours this week to get acclimated with playing under the lights.  With the days getting shorter in Happy Valley, Monday's practice finished under the lights at 6:30 p.m.  That trend will continue throughout the week to give the players a picture of what to expect during a primetime kick.

Fourth Down Formula?
As we noted on Monday, Penn State is among the top teams in the nation on fourth down.  The Nittany Lions are 13-for-20 on fourth down in 2012.  Part of Coach O'Brien's weekly play-call sheet includes an area on fourth down calls.  O'Brien addressed some of the thought process of how he approaches fourth down plays in the middle of a game.

"There's definitely a lot of thought that goes into it," O'Brien said.  "I wouldn't say it's exactly a formula.  It's more about game planning and knowing what you might get on 4th down, where is the ball, how's the game going, how's your defense playing.  Because any time you go for it on fourth down or most times you go for it on fourth down you're going to give up some field position, and if your defense is playing really well, then you have confidence that they can stop them if you don't get it on a shorter field, then that has a lot to do with it, too.  But it is a feel for the game within the game, but it's also something that we game plan for."

Iowa Injury Note
Iowa's leading rusher Mark Weisman suffered an ankle injury late in Saturday's win at Michigan State.  Weisman, who has rushed for 631 yards (6.3 avg.) this season, is not listed on the depth chart for this week's game.  Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday that they will monitor Weisman through the week and see how the sprained ankle is on Thursday before making a decision as to whether or not he will play.

"But I think realistically, you're talking about a guy trying to be a running back, not a guy doing something otherwise, and you know, I think he would have a lot of progress to make to be able to play, so we'll just have to take the mental approach, he's not going to be here, if he does join us, it will be great," Ferentz said.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Blog - Erica Denney, Oct. 16, 2012

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This past weekend, after two grueling weeks on the road, we were finally back at home in Rec Hall! We had Purdue here on Friday night and Indiana on Saturday night. All last week in practice we did the usual preparations for the competitions ahead, focusing on the game plan and fixes for our little internal problems. Leading into the Friday match we had some serious external motivation after reading articles from the Purdue newspaper saying how their players believed that they could handle us at home.  Naturally we, as the competitive people that we are, did not stand for this whatsoever. We were focused prior, as well as during the match. Our focus was on Ariel Turner, their outside and one of their best players. We kDenney_Erica (H-12-MS) 8983_.jpgnew if we could stop her it would really help us out. By the end of the match we had done just that. She only hit around a .125 showing that she had minimal impact on us. In the end we had success.


Saturday was the day we played Indiana. Practice early that morning was a little flat, which is never a great way to start off a game day. But we got through it. We then each spent the afternoon doing what we felt we needed to do in order to be ready to perform. Me personally? I spent the first half of my afternoon studying for an exam I had coming up and half the time resting/relaxing. Come 4 p.m. we had pregame meal. This was different than the usual pregame meal at home. This time we were fortunate enough to eat at the Nittany Lion Inn. They had everything from salad to fruit to potatoes to pork and more! It was absolutely delicious. After the meal we carried on with our usual pregame routine and into the match we went. Indiana played very well and we were our own worst enemy at points within the match. None of us were very pleased by the way we performed. However, a win is a win and now all we can do is work to be better before we play Ohio State on Wednesday.

Inside Media Day: Lady Lions Basketball Sound Bites

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions got an early jump on their training with a ten-day trip across France and Italy and the squad got some preseason media attention on Monday, Oct. 15 during their annual media day at the Bruce Jordan Center.

Big Ten Coach of the Year Coquese Washington missed the festivities with a family emergency, but assistant coach Kia Damon filled in and fielded questions from the stout media contingent that filled the press work room just off of the main arena of the Bryce Jordan Center. After grilling Damon, the members of the media were welcome to roam free on the main arena floor and speak with any of the Lady Lions prior to their afternoon workouts.


European Family Vacation
Luckily for the Lady Lions when they left for their 10-day excursion in Europe, no one called Clark Griswold for advice. Traveling through some of the most historic cities in the world is not something that everyone gets to experience, especially with some of their closest colleagues. The Blue and White contingent wasn't just there for sightseeing, however, posting a 3-0 record on the court, as well. The Lady Lions defeated Le Havre, the Italian All-Stars and Latina Basket during their training trip. Some of the veterans gave a little insight to their thoughts on the team building aspect and some of their favorite memories.

"I think it helped us get to know each other more," said Mia Nickson. "We were around each other a lot more and got to see what everyone is like outside of just basketball. We got to see what people were really like off the court and what they are interested in. Not school wise or just being around campus...

One of the neatest things was the opportunity to experience another culture. We travel throughout the United States and it is different, but going overseas it is so different. The food was great and we just had a great time."

"It was ten days of being together every day," said Maggie Lucas. "We became closer than we've ever been and it gave us an opportunity to experience things as a team that we might never get to do again. It also gave us a chance to get started early on basketball and that was a big thing for us, on top of getting the trip of a lifetime.  Just getting to see all of those places that you have seen on TV and read about is a really cool experience. The Coliseum, the Eiffel Tower, it was just an unbelievable experience."

Every Team's Different
It is extremely rare that any athletic program returns an entire roster, which makes each season a challenge for the coaching staff and returning players. The 2012-13 edition of the Lady Lions basketball team know that they have nearly 90-percent of their offense coming back. They return all but 94 rebounds from a season ago when that squad reached the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd time in program history and made a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Experience isn't everything, but it does help and this season's roster will look to build on their prior success.

"Arriving into this year we obviously know that we have an experienced team coming back, but each team is different. Our expectations really haven't changed. We expect to get better each day. We want to make sure this team reaches its full potential and that's really our focus; each day to progress and improve in the areas that we feel that were more than capable of succeeding in."

From Winning Gold to Wearing Blue
While the returning Penn State players were taking their talents to Europe, freshman center Candice Agee was taking part in the FIBA American Championships in Puerto Rico. The 6-foot-6 Agee averaged 5.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks en route to helping Team USA's to the gold medal. Agee shot a team-best .619 from the field (13-for-21) and enjoyed her best game of the tournament with 11 points and four rebounds in an impressive 99-26 victory over Puerto Rico. The Victorville, Calif., native will be the third McDonalds All-American to suit up for the Blue and White since Coquese Washington took the reins in Happy Valley.

"It was a really good experience," said Candice Agee. "I was exposed to a different type of basketball playing on an international level (with the USA U18 National Team). The game is a lot different overseas. They are a lot more physical and I wasn't really used to that. It was a little bit of a wakeup call. I met a lot of people, made some good friends and it was a really good experience. Playing with so many good players takes a lot of pressure off, actually. You're not the go to person every single time down the floor and you don't have to make a move or score every time."

Tough In the Non-Conference
No one plays the entire top-25 during their non-conference schedule, but head coach Coquese Washington has put together a schedule that might feel like it. Connecticut, Georgetown, Miami (Fla.), South Dakota State and Texas A&M are the non-conference opponents on the slate - along with five Big Ten opponents - that made the NCAA Tournament last season. The Lady Lions will host Georgetown (Dec. 9) and South Dakota State (Dec. 16), while traveling to face the Aggies (Nov. 14), Hurricanes (Nov. 29) and Huskies (Dec. 6).

"That is our hope. We wanted to challenge the team and really put them in some NCAA-type atmosphere games early on. Obviously going into Storrs, Conn. will provide a challenge in that regard, as well as going to College Station for a game with Texas A&M. They get a phenomenal crowd. It will be a great opportunity to get Nikki (Greene) playing in front of her family and friends, but also really to challenge our team in an NCAA tournament atmosphere."

Follow's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg

By: Sean Flanery, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Women's hockey team (1-3-0) came into its first home series versus Syracuse (2-2-0) coming off of a historical weekend.

Despite earning the program's first victory last weekend in Vermont, the Nittany Lions were unable to tally a win at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion this past weekend. The Lions lost in their inaugural home opener on Saturday and a matinee game on Sunday by scores of 4-0 and 6-0, respectively. While this past weekend marked the first ever home game for the women's program, it also marked the team's first look at conference play in the CHA (College Hockey America).


"We are all new to this," said assistant team captain Jenna Welch. "New to league play and we are going to keep building off of it. It's a rough start, but I think we can go up from here."

The Orange outshot the Nittany Lions by a total of 101-41 over the weekend. Freshman forward Micayla Catanzariti is one of three Nittany Lions with a team-high three points on the season and she believes there are things the team can take away from this past weekend.

"It was rough, we will be honest," said Catanzariti. "But, we are moving forward from it. There are so many things that we can learn. It's just little things too and that's what I think is really good. We have the heart and we will work on it this week. We will be right back at it next week"

While the Nittany Lions continue to struggle on offense, their power play unit still has yet to capitalize on the man advantage. Over the weekend, the Lions managed only eight shots on nine power play opportunities. Team assistant captain Jenna Welch believes if the team continues to buy into the coach's philosophy of defense first, goals will come.

"Coach always talks about our defense," said Welch. "Everything starts from our defense, so our focus from here on out is to work on that and the offense will come. This is a learning experience and we will go from there."

This season marks a true learning experience for this young Nittany Lion program. Much like Penn State, the Syracuse women's team faced a similar situation just four year's ago in its inaugural season. Syracuse Orange head coach Paul Flanagan offered up some advice as this new Nittany Lion team works through this season.

"I remember our first game was four years ago and we played at Colgate, we lost 4-3," said Flanagan. "We were pretty excited about ourselves and we went to Wisconsin the next weekend and we hung in there the first night, I think it was 3-0.  Then the next day it was just a disaster, I think it was eight or nine to nothing, so you just can't get too low and you have got to relish the high points and you have to build on that and a lot of it is just about enthusiasm, really learning the fundamentals and just kind of staying the course."

Part of staying the course throughout the season for the Nittany Lions will be not allowing themselves to get caught up in the losses and moving forward towards their next opponent. Penn State head coach Josh Brandwene said the team needs to take things away from the weekend and move forward.

"We are all competitors and it's frustrating for everyone to come out on the losing end," said Brandwene. "Our job is to make sure that we balance that frustration, acknowledge that frustration, and still make sure that while it burns at you a little bit that we don't get stuck in the trees in the forest and that we see what we need to see from today, both that we can take away positive and what we need to work on. Today's over, tomorrow's a new day."

Penn State will look to rebound next weekend against a non-conference opponent as they travel to Sacred Heart (2-2-0) for a two-game series that will begin Friday night at 7 p.m.

Iowa Week News and Notes - Lions Back on the Field

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return to the practice field on Monday afternoon after four days off from football duties.  Penn State kicks off six-straight weeks of Big Ten play at Iowa on Saturday at 8 p.m. (BTN).

As the Lions kickoff game-week preparations for the road trip to Kinnick Stadium, let's take a look through some of the noteworthy news leading up to the seventh game on the 2012 schedule.


In the Statistical Rankings
Penn State is well represented in the Big Ten statistical rankings heading into the seventh game of the season:

- Senior quarterback Matt McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing yards at 249.8 yards per game.  McGloin is also tied for first with 12 passing touchdowns, and he is second in completions with 139.  The West Scranton native has just two interceptions this season.

- McGloin's top target in the passing game, Allen Robinson, leads the conference in receptions (41, 6.8 receptions per game) and is second in receiving yards (524, 87.3 yards per game.  Additionally, Robinson leads the Big Ten with seven touchdown receptions.

- Defensively, the Nittany Lions rank No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 15 nationally in scoring defense at 16.0 points per game. 

- Standout senior linebacker Michael Mauti is No. 4 in the Big Ten in tackles with 9.5 hits per game, tied for No. 3 in interceptions (2) and tied for No. 2 in forced fumbles (2).  Mauti leads the Nittany Lions with 57 tackles in six games.

- The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in turnover margin at +1.17.

Red Zone Defense
Penn State's play in the red zone on offense is often talked about, but the Lions' red zone defense has been largely overlooked during the first half of the season.  The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in red zone defense, allowing their opponents to score 69 percent of the time.  The Lions are tied for 17th nationally in red zone defense, as well.  Penn State's opponents have visited the red area 16 times in 2012.  They have scored 11 times, which includes nine touchdowns and two field goals.  Moving forward, execution in the red zone on both sides of the ball will likely play a critical role in the outcome of the next few games.

Fourth Down
The Nittany Lions have been terrific on fourth down during the 2012 season.  Penn State's offense leads the nation in the number of fourth down plays (20).  Additionally, the Lions are ranked No. 2 in the nation in fourth down conversions with 13.  Louisiana-Monroe leads the nation with 14 fourth down conversions.

Through six games, the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and rank No. 9 nationally in fewest penalties per game.  The Lions have committed just 4.17 penalties per game in 2012.  Additionally, the Nittany Lions rank No. 3 in the conference in fewest penalty yards per game (40.3 yards per game).

A Look at Iowa
Following a dramatic overtime victory at Michigan State (19-16), Iowa will return home with a great deal of confidence leading up to Saturday's primetime clash with the Nittany Lions.  After starting the year 2-2, the Hawkeyes are now 2-0 in the Big Ten after the win over the Spartans, and they are playing the best football of their season.  Offensively, senior James Vandenberg is the veteran signal-caller in charge of the Hawkeye offense.  Vandenberg has thrown for 1,134 yards this season, but just two touchdowns (3 INT).  Sophomore Mark Weisman has emerged as Iowa's top ball carrier.  Weisman tallied 116 rushing yards and a touchdown in the win at Michigan State.  Senior wide receiver Keenan Davis leads the Hawkeyes in receptions (32) and yards (373), but is still looking for his first touchdown this season.

Iowa's defense ranks among the best in the Big Ten in total defense.  The Hawkeyes have allowed just 317.17 yards per game during their first six outings (No. 19 nationally and No. 3 in the Big Ten).  Iowa is also among the Big Ten's best in scoring defense, allowing its opponents 17.17 points per game (No. 3 in Big Ten).  Junior linebacker Anthony Hitchens leads the nation in tackling with 13.0 hits per game.  Hitchens has made 78 tackles in six games this season.  Iowa is a physical football team on both sides of the ball.

New Kick Time for Ohio State
Mark your calendars for the Oct. 27 matchup against No. 7 Ohio State.  The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will now kickoff at 5:30 p.m. (originally scheduled for 6 p.m.) with television coverage on ESPN.  The Ohio State game will mark Penn State's fourth appearance on ESPN this season.  All fans are encouraged to wear white for the Ohio State clash, as it is a full stadium White Out.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Relentless Defense Lifts Lions in Intense Contest

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seniors of the Penn State field hockey team took the field on Sunday afternoon with bouquets of flowers in hand and jubilant tears streaming down their faces.


Nearing the end of their collegiate playing days, the four seniors were recognized in a pregame ceremony prior to the team's highly anticipated matchup and 5-1 victory over Iowa.

"The seniors really led this win today," said head coach Charlene Morett. "They came out and were very aggressive at the start--I'm so proud of them."

Surprising her fans and teammates was redshirt senior goalkeeper Ayla Halus, who sang the national anthem before Sunday's contest.

The joyful and reminiscent emotions didn't last long, however, as the team shifted focus to what they knew would be a physical matchup against the Hawkeyes.

"That's just the way it is. It is a physical game. It's a Big Ten game," said Morett.

The Nittany Lions took the field fully expecting a gritty battle with their conference foes, but by no means did that cause them to back down.

Before the game, Penn State football head coach Bill O'Brien spoke to the team about how to feed off of the game's intensity.

"He told us 'They're not going to come on our field and push us around,'" said senior Kelsey Amy. "I think we went out there and played aggressively, kept our composure and played a great game."

The intensity remained strong throughout the entire showdown, as a total of five penalty cards were issued to the teams (three to Iowa and two to Penn State).

Amy had a terrific day in front of the 600-person crowd, registering three goals and one assist.

Two of her goals came by way of one of the strongest aspects of this year's squad--penalty corner execution.

"They were right on," said Morett in reference to her team's penalty corner success. "The thing that I am really proud of is that we didn't even give up a corner and they have some dangerous corners."

The Nittany Lions have registered a combined 80 more penalty corners than their opponents this season.

Penn State continued that dominance on Sunday, registering 12 penalty corner attempts compared to the Hawkeye's zero.

Penalty corners weren't the only means by which the Nittany Lions found the back of the cage--extreme physicality and relentless defensive pressure in the midfield transitioned into fast breaks for Penn State.In the midst of the offensive pushes was junior Ashtin Klingler, who registered two goals on the day.

The 11th-ranked Hawkeyes came into University Park with the best goals-against-average in the Big Ten, giving up just 1.57 goals per game.

This impressive statistic didn't hold up long in Happy Valley as Penn State put three goals up on the board in the first 15 minutes of the matchup on their way to a four-goal victory.

"Bill O'Brien told our team to play complementary field hockey today and that's what he does with his football team," said Morett.

"When the defense comes up with a great play or an interception then the offense has to turn it into points--that's what the girls did today."

The tough midfield defense was complemented by precision passing and a well-executed offensive attack in the decisive victory.

"I think we did a great job of finding each other today and that's why we were so successful," said Amy.

With just two conference games remaining this season for the Nittany Lions, the victory over Iowa puts them in prime position to secure a Big Ten regular season title.

As long as the squad can earn wins against both Ohio State and Michigan State, they will own the regular season crown, holding the tiebreaker over Iowa.

Penn State is set to take the field again on Friday afternoon as they travel to Columbus to square off against Ohio State. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.

No. 1 Lions Net Two More Conference Victories

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From one night to the next, a team of Division I athletes will do whatever it takes to win a contest. And sometimes, when more than one match is played in the same weekend, a squad can perform two completely different ways and still come out with the win.


That was the case for the top-ranked Nittany Lions this past weekend.

Penn State swept No. 17 Purdue on Friday night in Rec Hall behind a strong offensive performance and an equally strong defensive performance. The Lions hit a team average of .393 against the Boilermakers and put up 9.5 blocks at the net.

After the match, Penn State head coach Russ Rose gave a nod to his team's all-around hitting performance, good passing and effective communication.

All in all, the Lions played a clean match and made a statement against a good team.

On Saturday night, the Nittany Lions didn't play nearly as cleanly but they still came away with a victory.

Penn State dropped the first set of the night against the Hoosiers after Indiana took an early lead. The Lions went on to win the next three and take the match, but hit just .197 as a team against their Big Ten competitors.

Rose noticed the change in demeanor of his team from one night to the next too, but said he was ultimately pleased with the outcome.

"If you don't play your best and you win, you feel fortunate about that," said Rose. "You try and pick up the cues that are going to make you a better team in the future, a better teammate, and you go on from there."

And the statistics show that what held the team together was the all-around effort of the entire squad on the weekend. Collectively, the Lions put up 25 blocks, dealt eight service aces and put down 94 kills in the two conference matches. Six of the 13 Nittany Lions registered double-digit kills in the weekend as well.

"I think it's a team game and all the kids are good kids," said Rose. "They want to do well for the team, I don't any of them think it's about themselves, I think they know it's a team game."

With back-to-back wins on their home court, Penn State holds onto its top-ranked spot and improves to 8-0 in the Big Ten.

The Lions are a little more than halfway through the regular season and have 12 more matches left to play. At the end of the weekend, Rose said that he is confident that his team can handle the pressure of a Division I schedule.

"Every time we play we get some opportunities to see things we need to get better at," said Rose.

"It's a long season and when you have a team that's mentally tough with broad shoulders, they can handle all the expectations and they get better and they can keep going along."

Swimming and Diving Blue-White Intrasquad

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion swimmers and divers had their first opportunity to debut all of the hard work they have put in so far this season at the Blue and White intrasquad meet Friday night. 

Throughout the week, the two teams had challenges during practice that created team bonds and added more competition to prepare for the intrasquad. The challenges included performances on main sets, kick sets, and even a dance off, which the White team won.

Going into the intrasquad, the White team was in the lead with 20 points while the Blue team had 10 points. The White team continued their lead at the intrasquad where they came out victorious with a score of 319 to 265 points.

The 16-event format included the one-meter and three-meter diving events, the 100 and 200 yards of each stroke, 200-yard Individual Medley, 50-yard Freestyle, 500-yard Freestyle, the 1000-yard freestyle and two relays.

The diving events took place prior to the swimming events. Junior Megan Springsteen and Sophomore T.J. Shenkel both won their events for the Blue team.

The Blue-White meet not only created an opportunity for the swimmers and divers to perform, but it also gave the coaches and athletes a chance to see where they're bodies and minds are so far this season.

A stand out winner on the women's side was Junior Gabi Shishkoff, who won the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard Individual Medley, and 1,000-yard Freestyle by large margins for the White team. On the men's side Junior Matt Salig won the 200-yard Butterfly and the 200-yard Individual medley, adding to the Blue team score. 

"It's a good start for me," Salig said. "There is still a lot of room for improvement and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season to continue improving on these areas. The atmosphere has been good and the captains have done a good job being positive and carrying that into our training. It's a fun group of guys to be with."

For several people on the team, this was their first chance to experience this type of atmosphere that Salig has been accustomed to for the past two years. Freshman Casey Fazio got her first taste of what to expect from collegiate competitions.

"It was really exciting seeing fast swims," Fazio said. "It was nice to see everyone compete and cheer like they did. I've never really been in that type of atmosphere before. This intrasquad shows where we are at and helps us see what we need to do for our meet next weekend."

Transfer student, Ryan Magee, was also excited to experience this atmosphere for the first time.

"I had a lot of fun and I've enjoyed how close the team is," Magee said. "This meet gives us the opportunity to see where we are in reference to our training and what we have been doing. It was also nice to get to see family here."  

The coaching staff looks at the Blue-White meet as an opportunity to get back into racing and figure out the lineup for their upcoming meet against West Virginia in a week.

"It opened our eyes to a few kids," head coach John Hargis said. "We were mainly watching the youngsters. It gave the swimmers an opportunity to knock rust off, some did and some need to improve to be able to beat West Virginia next week. As a staff, this helps us come up with the best line up to beat them and look at the people still in question to make sure we are making the right choices."

Follow the Penn State swimmers and divers next week as they take on West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va.

Positives Overshadow Defeat to American International

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By Pat White, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Greenberg Ice Pavilion had a playoff feel to it as the Penn State Nittany Lions played their inaugural NCAA Division I game against the American International Yellow Jackets Friday night. However, the Yellow Jackets would crash the party, defeating Penn State 3-2 in overtime.

Penn State University President, Rodney Erickson, dropped the ceremonial first puck to start the inaugural season of Division I hockey in Happy Valley. The Penn State faithful flooded in a wave of blue and white, providing the team with fantastic fan support. American International goaltender, Ben Meisner, applauded the support of the fans.

"In the locker room everyone is so appreciative that we got to play against Penn State," Meisner said. "It was probably one of the best atmospheres I have ever played in. (The arena) is smaller than what I'm used to. You have the fans right on top of you screaming."

The Nittany Lions had a lot of fire to start the game, but an early penalty by freshman defender Mark Yanis gave the Yellow Jackets an opportunity on the power play.

American International would capitalize on the man advantage when forward Adam Pleskach banked the puck off the end boards where forward Nathan Sliwinski found the rebound and beat freshman goaltender Matt Skoff to give the Yellow Jackets the early lead.

Penn State would not be discouraged. The Nittany Lions controlled the tempo in the offensive zone for the remainder of the first period. They fired 20 first period shots at Meisner, but could not beat to senior goaltender.

The offensive zone dominance would continue in second period for Penn State. The line of sophomore Max Gardiner, freshman Casey Bailey, and freshman Jonathan Milley kept the pressure on the Yellow Jackets with good work on the cycle. Bailey had a great opportunity on an open-net, but could not find the pass from Gardiner.

Penn State would finally find an answer to the superb play of Meisner. Just over four minutes in the second period, Bailey would corral a rebound on the side of the net and beat Meisner to score the first NCAA Division I goal for the Nittany Lions. The students section erupted after the goal and added extra energy to the game. Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky spoke about the crowd energy after the game.

 "I love the student section and to see the crowd, it was fantastic," Gadowsky said. "This is why recruits and other people come (to Penn State). This is why I came here."

American International would regain the lead mid-way through the period. A few Penn State miscues in the defensive zone led to chances by the Yellow Jackets in the slot area. In the end, senior defenseman Chris Markiewicz found the rebound, and banked it off of Skoff for the goal. 

The Nittany Lions kept the pressure on in the third period. The sustained offensive pressure caused the Yellow Jackets to take some penalties. The physical play was turned up a notch, especially from freshman forward Kenny Brooks. After the game, Gadowsky said the line of Brooks and fellow freshmen Curtis Loik and David Glen was the best line on the ice. The three freshmen showed a great mix of skill and physicality.

The Nittany Lions would continue to put the pressure on and would finally capitalize. Freshman defender Mark Yanis sprung forward Taylor Holstrom on a breakaway. Holstrom, who missed on a breakaway minutes before, ripped a shot over the glove of Meisner to even the game at two.

The game would go into overtime and featured some good back-and-forth work by both teams. The Yellow Jackets would ultimately score when junior John Puskar deflected a shot from the point and beat Skoff to end the game. Gadowsky said that despite the loss, there is a reason to be proud of the game.

 "It is just not about wins and losses," Gadowsky said. "This is our first Division I game. We have a lot to be proud of, especially our offense. We see a lot of optimism for our future."

VIDEO: First Day of Men's Hoops Practice

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team returned to the floor at 5 p.m. on Friday evening to officially open practice for the 2012-13 season.

Hear from head coach Patrick Chambers, several Nittany Lions and take an inside look at some of the action from a high-energy first practice of the season.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Live Blog: Nittany Lions Host American International

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Men's Hockey season.  Each week, will provide insight from press row.  Check back often for running updates as the action unfolds.

The Nittany Lions host American International in the first NCAA Division I game in program history inside the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

1st Period: 17:17 - Penn State 0, American International 1
On a night that Penn State men's hockey made history it was Dr. Rodney A. Erickson that opened things with the ceremonial puck drop, but American International netted the first goal when Nathan Sliwinski took a pass from Adam Pleskach and gave the visitors a 1-0 edge. Penn State posted the first three shots of the game, but it was the Yellow Jackets that struck first.

1st Period: 9:14 - Penn State 0, American International 1
The early goal has not taken any air out of the rowdy student section and the Hockey Valley crowd is sent the Nittany Lions off to a loud cheer at the first media timeout. The first PSU power play produced nine shots, including a flurry of three shots at point blank range while AIC keeper Ben Meisner was on his back. Alas no goal, but Penn State has had ample opportunity against the Yellow Jackets.

1st Period: 4:36 - Penn State 0, American International 1
The "We Are... Penn State" chants are out in full effect at the media timeout and the Nittany Lions have had plenty of chances against Meisner in the AIC net. Bryce Johnson had one of the best scoring chances, but the puck bounced off the tape of his stick as he came in front of the crease. We have also had the first errant shot make its way into catwalk along the bench side of Greenberg Ice Arena.

End of 1st Period - Penn State 0, American International 1

An early power play goal for the Yellow Jackets accounts for the lone tally in the opening period, but the home squad owns nearly twice the amount of shots (20-11) in the first game in Division I history. Bryce Johnson had one of the best scoring chances in the first period and leads the Blue and White with three shots, while Max Gardiner's wrister nearly found the net, but Meisner was able to get a glove on the attempt. What a turnout by the Hockey Valley faithful and the PSU students!

2nd Period: 15:23 - Penn State 1, American International 1
AND THERE IT IS...Cue up the Zomdie Nation! Freshman Casey Bailey was set up by Joseph Lordo and assistant captain Nate Jensen for the first goal in Penn State men's hockey history. The goal came after Max Gardiner just missed connecting with Bailey as he came off the bench and went hard towards the net.

2nd Period: 9:47 - Penn State 1, American International 2
It wasn't a power play goal, but it came during a 4-on-4 opportunity as Chris Markiewicz gave AIC the lead back with his first goal of the year. Markiewicz put home the attempt from close range, but the Nittany Lions have really controlled the play for most of the second half with 15 shots to three by the Yellow Jackets.

2nd Period: 5:05 - Penn State 1, American International 2
With the weather getting a tad chilly, AIC's Jon Puskar donates the first kindling of the season with the broken stick, but the Nittany Lions couldn't convert as the shot from Gardiner sailed wide. American International has had a handful of chances since recapturing the lead, but Matthew Skoff has turned away four opportunities and Gardiner blocked another shot from the blue line.

End 2nd Period - Penn State 1, American International 2
With a power play for the final 1:50, Penn State took six shots and watched as Jonathan Milley narrowly missed connecting with the pass from Nate Jensen at the left post. Penn State outshot the Yellow Jackets for the second straight period (22-8), but it was the 4-on-4 goal for ACI that sends them to the locker room ahead, 2-1. On the night, the Blue and White have 42 shots and goalie Matthew Skoff has made 18 saves.

3rd Period: 17:13 - Penn State 1, American International 2
Some crisp passing has led to a pair of scoring chances for the Nittany Lions in the early going of the third period. Captain Tommy Olczyk had an early chance and Mark Yanis was turned away by Meisner. The start of the final stanza has been more physical than the previous two periods, but Penn State has not let up on peppering the AIC net minder with shot after shot.

3rd Period: 11:20 - Penn State 1, American International 2
The odd man rush almost turned into the equalizer when Bailey went hard to the net after a scoring chance for the Yellow Jackets. The rookie went between two AIC defenders and let a shot go wide to the glove side. Just a minute later David Glen redirected a shot from the point by Luke Juha, but it sailed high to the glove side of Meisner. On the end of the Glen redirect play a penalty was called on Chris Markiewicz for tripping and Penn State went on their fourth power play of the evening.

3rd Period: 7:00 - Penn State 1, American International 2
A barrage of shots continued to bombard American International goalie Ben Meisner as Taylor Holstrom had a shorthanded breakaway chance that was gloved by Meisner and just a minute later George Saad's attempt went just over the crossbar. Not a minute later the Nittany Lions had another opportunity to net the game tying goal when three PSU players had a shot in front of the AIC net, but couldn't connect versus the stiff defense.

3rd Period: 6:03 - Penn State 2, American International 2
When Taylor Holstrom spun just inside the blue line, the two American International defense that flanked him gave a little bit of space and that was all that the junior needed. As Holstrom came around he sent a shot from his backhand and beat the AIC keeper to the right post to even the score. It was the 55th shot of the game for Penn State.

End of 3rd Period - Penn State 2, American International 2
Kenny Brooks, Luke Juha and Nate Jenson all had golden opportunities to send the Nittany Lions off as winners in regulation, but none of them could slip one past American International keeper. Brooks' shot was gloved by Meisner, Juha's blast off of a neutral ice turnover went high and Jenson nearly deflected an attempt in by was brushed away by the AIC keeper.

Overtime: 3:44 - Penn State 2, American International 2
American International had the opening chance of the sudden death overtime when Nick Campanale let a shot fly from the blue line, but Matthew Skoff smothered the attempt. Off of the ensuing faceoff, George Saad had his second scoring opportunity of the night but was unable to control the puck enough to get a solid shot on goal.

Final - Penn State 2, American International 3
Despite holding a 63-29 advantage in shots, the Nittany Lions came out on the short end of the scoreboard in their first ever Division I tilt. American International got the game winner with just 21 seconds left in overtime on a Jon Puskar redirect. Penn State held a 53-45 advantage in face offs and Matthew Skoff made 26 saves in his first start in net. Casey Bailey tied for the match-high with seven shots to go along with his first career goal. Holstrom also added his first career tally and chipped in four shots on goal.

Pregame Reading:
- Penn State men's hockey will begin its first NCAA Division I season, but the Nittany Lions have fielded a varsity team before. For five seasons in the 1940s (1940-44, 46-47), the Blue and White skated as a varsity program, but the 2012-13 edition will mark the first step onto the Division I stage. Tonight's game will be the first ever home game in the history of Penn State varsity hockey, as all games during the 1940s were played away from Happy Valley.

- With the addition of Penn State to the NCAA Division I ranks, there are now 59 schools that sponsor NCAA Division I men's hockey. The last school to establish NCAA Division I hockey was Robert Morris in 2004-05.

- Five players on Penn State's 27-man roster have previous NCAA Division I experience. Max Gardiner (Minnesota), Taylor Holstrom (Mercyhurst), Nate Jensen (Mercyhurst), Bryce Johnson (St. Cloud State) and Justin Kirchhevel (Alaska Anchorage) all played for their respective teams during the 2010-11 season. Holstrom was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year that season, collecting 37 points with 12 goals and 25 assists.

- The Nittany Lions will play games against teams from all five NCAA Division I conferences -- Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East, WCHA -- and fellow independent Alabama Huntsville. At least three teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA tournament appear on Penn State's schedule. The Nittany Lions will host Air Force (Nov. 9-10) and will visit Michigan State (Jan. 25-26) and Frozen Four participant Union (Nov. 24-25).

Former Letterwinners Return to Campus

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By Matthew Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - While the weather was dark and cloudy Saturday morning prior to Penn State's homecoming football game vs. Northwestern, the mood could not have been brighter inside Medlar Field, where numerous former Penn State athletes congregated together at a tailgate put together by the Varsity 'S' Club.

The event, which lasted from 9 a.m. to noon, was attended by more than 350 former letter winners, including past and current Olympians.

One Olympian who returned for the tailgate was rower Natalie Dell (class of 2007), who recently won a bronze medal at the London Olympics in the quadruple sculls. Dell commented on how special it was to return to Penn State as an Olympian.

"The only way thing that can make going to the Olympics better besides representing the United States is to represent Penn State," said Dell. "It's great to be back."

The rest of the returning alumni shared Dell's sentiment on returning to their alma mater.

"When you come back to Penn State it's like being home," said Corrine Leparik (women's basketball-1978). "It's great to see some old friends at the tailgate."

For some in attendance, such as Marc Dinacci (men's soccer- 1994), returning to campus is a common practice.

"I come back most weekends and it's always fun to be back," said Dinacci. "I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces."

Others such as Richard Shank (bowling- 1980) were making their first trip to State College in many years.

"This is the first time I've been back in 18 years," said Shank. "I felt it was time to come back and show some support."

Many of the letter winners commented on how the support being shown for the university and the football team made the event even more special to be a part of.

"We've done this in past years but this year we have over double the amount of people we've ever had before," said Kelly Grimes (women's golf- 1979). "I think it has to do with how Penn State's really proud and we're all behind the One Team that (head coach) Bill O'Brien started."

Another aspect of the tailgate that many enjoyed was the chance to meet and converse with former athletes from other sports and generations.

"It's really fun to look around and talk to people and see when they were in school and the difference in time," said Lynne Hairston (gymnastics- 1986).

Though all enjoyed the tailgate, the most anticipated part of the day for many was the opportunity to walk on the field prior to the game and participate in the letter winners tunnel for the football team to run through.

"I am so excited," said Grimes. "I've been excited for three months since I found out we were going to be on the field.

Even some former football players couldn't contain their excitement about stepping on the field once more.

"It will be fun to be part of the tunnel," said Pete Cimino (football- 1960). "It's a great honor to be introduced in front of 107,000 of your closest friends."

Along with their excitement about the day's festivities, the letter winners continuously expressed their gratitude to the Varsity 'S' Club for putting the event together.

"It's an honor to be back here today at Penn State," said Jim Restauri (football- 1979). "I appreciate the invitation and it's good to know that your still a Penn Stater."

Nittany Lions at the Midway Point of 2012 Season

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following four-straight victories, Penn State enters its only open date of the 2012 season with a great deal of momentum before returning to action at Iowa on Oct. 20.

With it being the midway point of head coach Bill O'Brien's first season at the helm of the Nittany Lions, will take a closer look at how the first six weeks transpired and what is ahead for the Nittany Lions during the remaining six games this season.


Reviewing the First Half
The difference between the Penn State team that took the field on Sept. 1 for the season-opener against Ohio and the one that stormed to 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter against Northwestern is like night and day.  Looking back at the first two weeks, the Lions had opportunities to make plays in both the Ohio and Virginia games, but fell short on the scoreboard.  The week two setback at Virginia is a game the Lions would like to have back after leaving a number of points off the scoreboard during the one-point setback.

Nonetheless, Penn State marched forward with confidence.  Looking at a 0-2 record, Coach O'Brien has noted on several occasions that one of the team's best practices of the season to date came on the Monday after the 17-16 setback at Virginia.  Penn State came back to work and buckled down before the Navy game, and the team has not looked back since.

The Lions played back-to-back strong games against Navy (34-7) and Temple (24-13) before opening Big Ten play at Illinois.  Penn State took control early at Memorial Stadium in Champaign and never let up in a dominant 35-7 victory to open Big Ten play.

As we wrote earlier this week, the fourth quarter of the Northwestern game was the 2012 team's finest hour to date.  The Lions trailed 28-17 heading into the fourth quarter before back-to-back 80-plus yard drives from the offense and two stands from the defense triggered a 22-point effort in the fourth quarter.

Coach O'Brien does not like to focus on statistics too much because the only stat that matters in his eyes is a tally in the win column.  However, there are several individuals with noteworthy efforts during the first six games of the season. 

Beginning with the leader of the offense, senior quarterback Matt McGloin has been tremendous in 2012.  Leading the Big Ten in passing yards (1,499), McGloin has thrown for 12 touchdowns and rushed for five more, giving him 17 on the season.  He has thrown just two interceptions in six games, and the Scranton native has done a superb job managing the offense.  Completing 61.5 percent of his passes, McGloin is averaging 248.8 yards per game, more than 10 yards more than his closest competitor in the conference.

In the receiving corps, it has been a breakout campaign for sophomore Allen Robinson.  The Michigan native may be a quiet competitor on the field, but his game speaks loud and clear on the stat sheet.  Robinson is on pace to finish with more than 80 receptions this season.  The Michigan native has made 41 catches in six games and scored seven touchdowns.  He leads the Big ten in receiving yards per game at 103.2, which is more than 15 yards more than his closest competitor.

The tight end duo of Kyle Carter and Matt Lehman rank second and third on the team in receptions.  Carter has made 23 catches and a touchdown this season, while Lehman has 12 receptions and two scores.  Wide receiver Alex Kenney has 12 catches and Brandon Moseby-Felder has 11.

Sophomore Zach Zwinak heads into the bye week red-hot following back-to-back 100-yard performances.  The downhill, hard-nosed runner finished off a career day against Northwestern with 121 yards.  Averaging 4.7 yards per carry, Zwinak leads the running back stable with three touchdowns on the ground.  Michael Zordich, Bill Belton, Curtis Dukes and Derek Day are all averaging more than 3.0 yards per carry through the first six games.

The success in the running game is a direct by-product of superb play from the Penn State offensive line.  Led by center Matt Stankiewitch, the unit has made significant progress since spring practice.  As a team the Nittany Lions are averaging 3.5 yards per carry during the first six games of the season.  Stankiewitch, John Urschel, Miles Dieffenbach, Donovan Smith, Mike Farrell, Adam Gress, Angelo Mangiro and the men in the trenches are big reason why the Nittany Lion offense has been able to play at a high level.

Defensively, Coach O'Brien knew that the front seven was going to be a special unit in 2012, and the unit played stellar football in the first half of the season.  Led by dominant play from defensive tackle Jordan Hill in the middle of the defensive line, Penn State's defense has been terrific during the past month of the season.  Hill, DaQuan Jones, Deion Barnes, Sean Stanley and Anthony Zettel have played a huge role in Penn State's 15 sacks during the first six games.  Barnes leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.0 sacks this season.

Simply put, the linebacking unit of Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Glenn Carson and Mike Hull has been outstanding in the first six games.  Mauti is a man on a mission every time he steps onto the field.  A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Walter Camp National Player of the Week, Mauti leads the team in tackling with 57 stops.  Hodges is second on the team in stops with 50.  Both Mauti and Hodges are mid-season All-American candidates.  Carson has made 38 stops, and Hull has been a crucial piece of the defense on third down and passing situations, not to mention special teams.

The Penn State secondary is arguably the unit that has made the most progress on the field since week one.  With each passing practice, cornerbacks Stephon Morris, Adrian Amos and Da'Quan Davis, and safeties Malcolm Willis, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Jake Fagnano are doing a better job making plays on the ball, an area of emphasis since the start of training camp.  The secondary has made good strides, and it will be searching for its first interception as the Lions head into the second half of the season.

The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in red zone defense, allowing opposing teams to score just 68.8 percent of their trips inside the 20.  Additionally, the Lions have forced 12 turnovers in 2012, which has been a huge part of the defense's success.

Before we begin to look ahead at the remaining schedule, give a great deal of credit to the special teams aces on the Nittany Lion roster.  Ben Kline, Michael Yancich, Derek Day, Mike Hull, Michael Mauti, Michael Zordich, and a host of others are often unheralded, but are huge factors on the Nittany Lion special teams coverage and return units.

Looking Ahead to the Second Half
While the Nittany Lions are a confident team heading into the bye, there is a lot of football yet to be played.  Penn State worked on a number of different areas during the bye week practices, and the offense, defense and special teams units all need to continue making progress each week. 

The Lions have a difficult schedule ahead in the second half of the season beginning on Oct. 20 with a night game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa.  While the Hawkeyes have two losses, they are playing their best football of the season.  Additionally, Kinnick Stadium is always a challenging place to play.

One week later, the Lions welcome Ohio State to Beaver Stadium for the lone night game in Happy Valley this season.  With a 6-0 mark, the Buckeyes are the only undefeated team in the Big Ten.  Much like Iowa, Ohio State is playing better football with each passing week.

The rest of the schedule includes trips to Purdue (3-2) and Nebraska (4-2) before the Lions finish off the season with back-to-back home games against Indiana (2-3) and Wisconsin (4-2).

Penn State played well during the past four games, but there is a great deal of potential growth still on the field for the Nittany Lions.  There is undoubtedly a challenging road ahead, but with continued progress on both sides of the ball the Nittany Lions have the potential to play some of their best football in the second half of the season.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Perfecting Their Game, No. 1 Lions Host Purdue & Indiana

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lions are getting set for their fourth consecutive week of conference play. Penn State is undefeated in Big Ten contests so far, but will face two more tests in Rec Hall this weekend.

After two weekends on the road in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, the Lions have boosted their conference record to a 6-0 mark. In the midst of a tough group of competition, the team has notched key Big Ten wins over then ranked No. 3 Nebraska, No. 10 Minnesota and No. 21 Illinois.

This weekend, the Nittany Lions will face two more Big Ten representatives. Penn State hosts No. 17 Purdue on Friday at 8 p.m. and Indiana on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Both teams are ones that many of the Lions have seen before. But junior Deja McClendon said that when she and her teammates are familiar with a particular team, it usually means that that team is just as familiar with them.

"A lot of it is about our game plan and how well we can do what the coaches ask of us," said McClendon. "For us, people know what we're going to do now and we have to come out and we have to adjust. It's how well your team can adjust to certain things that really shows how good of a team you are."

McClendon said that the Lions frequently take time to watch film of their opponents before a weekend of matches, but recently her team has been focusing on its own production more than anything. Specifically, the outside hitter said that her squad is trying to perfect the smaller aspects of their game.

"It's a lot about error-control because right not we have the tools to be good we just have to cut out he mistakes that we make," said McClendon. "We have to serve tough and pass well. That's always the key."

The veteran hitter said that her team has really been trying to eliminate missed serves and be smarter about the choices they make at the net. And 17 matches into a packed 31-match season, McClendon said there is a particular group of Nittany Lions that she and her teammates need to keep an eye on.

"Halfway through, you've got to check your freshmen and see how they're doing because they're not used to playing this long," said McClendon. "That's one of the main concerns about our team."

Freshman outside hitter Megan Courtney has seen the most action on the court in her debut season, appearing in all 17 matches the Lions have played so far. But the rookie seems to be handling the pressure well as she has contributed more than 100 kills on a 1.91 attack percentage and has been solid in the back row with more than 100 digs too.

McClendon echoed the successes of her younger teammates and said that she loves to see her team happy. And the 6-foot-1 veteran said that there's one thing that always seems to put a smile on the Nittany Lions' faces.

"So happy to be home, there's nothing like playing in Rec Hall," said McClendon. "We have such a big advantage playing here. We've just got to keep pushing through and give the people a show."

Nittany Lions Learn From Akron, Look Forward to Michigan State

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By Mike Esse, Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After playing close with No. 10 Indiana and earning a draw at conference foe Michigan, the Penn State men's soccer team (6-4-2, 1-1-1) welcomed No. 3 Akron (8-1-2, 3-0-0) to Jeffery Field on Wednesday. The Zips, who only have one loss on the year, scored two first half goals to hand Penn State their second home setback of the season.


Even with the shutout loss, the Nittany Lions looked at the positives post-game after only allowing what head coach Bob Warming called the slickest passing team Akron has ever had to only three shots in the second half.

"I don't think we will play anyone this year that will pass the ball like that," said Warming. "Our speed of thought improved as we went along in the game we got more tackles and started winning some balls and I think that will transfer over into Sunday."

However, after playing a team that moves as fast as Akron did Wednesday night, the pace of future opponents will look slower for Warming's team and that is an adjustment they will have to make against Michigan State.

Warming has been able to get a few players on the field that didn't get a lot of minutes earlier in the season to make some of those adjustments, including Eli Dennis and Hasani Sinclair who both saw big minutes Wednesday. Dennis came on in the 15th minute replacing senior defender Brian Forgue, who sat for the first time all season.

"Eli came in and did a great job so he really came in and gave us a boost when Forgue had to come out," said senior midfielder John Gallagher. "If we need Eli again he will step in and do his role."

Sinclair, who has seen his minutes rise in the past five matches, had a big opportunity with seven minutes remaining in the first half but could not connect on a cross from Julian Cardona. However, Sinclair's role has grown to getting more shots on net and adding to the variety of players on the offensive end for Penn State. Sinclair's personal goal while on the field is simple.

"Basically I just want to help the team try and score and work as hard as I can to help the team," said Sinclair.

Moving forward to Michigan State (5-6-1, 1-1), a team that outshot Penn State 11-4 in a 1-0 Spartan home victory, the Nittany Lions will look right back to the Akron match to see what they need to do to notch their first victory in five matches.

Gallagher said he doesn't think they will face a team like the caliber of Akron and it will allow them to have confidence when they play the Spartans at Jeffery Field on Sunday at 3 pm.

"Akron is number 3 in the nation right now, everyone on that team can play and has a great touch so for us to be able to come out and compete as well as we did is going to be great for us against Michigan State," said Gallagher.

The Spartans and Nittany Lions have played each other tight going 2-2-1 in their past five meetings. Each team has split their past two matchups including a 2-1 win at Jeffery Field in 2010, the last time both teams met on the Penn State campus.

Warming said that there are a few areas that his players will focus on before Sunday, but his team is familiar with Michigan State and remembers the 1-0 loss from a year ago.

"For some guys focus is getting rest, for others a little technical training," said Warming. "I drove down on Sunday and watched them play against Ohio State, they present a really good challenge for us. We lost up at their place on a free kick and I think our guys will be excited to play against them."

VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Bye Week Media Interview

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will be idle on Saturday before shifting into game week preparations for the seventh game on the 2012 schedule at Iowa (Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. on BTN).

The squad held normal team and position meetings, weight lifting sessions and practice on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the bye week.  Beginning on Thursday, the Nittany Lion players are off from football duties for the rest of the weekend.  Coach O'Brien wanted to give the team an opportunity to work on schoolwork and the chance to go home.

The team has been in Happy Valley since it reported for training camp in early August.  Coach O'Brien and the assistant coaches will be on the road recruiting during the next couple days before returning to Happy Valley for Iowa week.  The Hawkeyes play Michigan State on Saturday.

Standing at 4-2 heading into the midpoint of the season, Coach O'Brien told the media on Wednesday that the squad got a lot self-scouting accomplished during the bye week.  Take a look at some of his media remarks on video.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Gearing Up for First Home Weekend

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By Sean Flanery, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After capturing its first victory of the inaugural season at Vermont (1-2-0) last weekend, the women's hockey team will look to use the momentum going forward.


The Nittany Lions (1-1-0) took the first of two games in a weekend matchup by a score of 5-3 on Saturday. A key to the program's first victory was the production of the team's large freshman class. The Nittany Lion roster currently has 17 freshmen on it and they are led by a few upperclassmen with Division I experience. Three of the team's freshmen, Birdie Shaw (Troy, Mich.), Shannon Yoxheimer (Jackson, Mich.), and Micayla Catanzariti (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) combined to score all six of the Nittany Lions' goals this past weekend.

Catanzariti was selected the No. 1 star of the game on Saturday with a three-point effort in the Lions' inaugural game netting two goals and adding an assist. With her solid play throughout the weekend Catanzariti earned CHA Rookie of the Week honors. Catanzariti said receiving the award was nice, but the win felt a lot better.

"It's awesome," said Catanzariti. "I think more than that coming out with a win. I obviously contributed, but it wasn't just me, it was my line, all four lines, and the whole team. I don't think I could be there without any of them."

Fellow freshman Yoxheimer was chosen as the game's No. 2 star on Saturday, as well as the No. 3 star in Sunday's game. Yoxheimer was responsible for scoring the first goal in Penn State Women's hockey Division I history. Her goal came toward the end of the first period and leveled the game at one goal apiece.

"I wasn't really expecting to do that," said Yoxheimer. "It was unlike any other goal I've ever scored. I can't put it into words, it was an unreal feeling."

Despite the team consisting mostly of freshmen, they have shown very few signs of their youth and inexperience thus far. Team captain Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) said she was happy with the team's effort this past weekend.

"I think it's awesome how the freshmen responded," said Gross. "Everyone on the team played well this past weekend. Our expectations are to get better every day. We have 17 freshmen and they all are going to be counted on going forward not just on the scoreboard, but also on defense and in other aspects."

As the Nittany Lions look forward, they will host Syracuse this upcoming weekend in a two-game series, beginning on Saturday (7 p.m.), which will mark the first home game in program history.

"We have a week of practice to prepare," said Yoxheimer. "Hopefully we get a lot of students out there and we can have similar results that we did [last weekend]. We are really excited to be back at our home rink."

Penn State will play eight of its next 10 games here in Happy Valley in front of a home crowd. The team will continue to look for production out of its freshman class and strive to get better every day they take the ice. Gross said the team is excited because this weekend is another first in program history.

"Well it's going to be parents weekend," said Gross. "I'm really excited to be at home in front of the home fans and player's parents. My grandpa is coming up from Colorado for our very first home series. It's going to be another first in history, so I'm really excited to play this weekend. It's just a great feeling."

Evolution in the Back-Row: Dominique Gonzalez

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By Kelsey Detweiler, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When you see her freshman head-shot being blast up on the video boards of Rec Hall, it may take you a minute to recognize exactly who she is.


Sporting a few highlights and a lighter tone of brown on top of her head this season, Dominique Gonzalez's hairstyle is just one of many new changes she has made to her sophomore lifestyle.

In her debut season with the Nittany Lions, Gonzalez was a fresh pair of arms in the back-row as a defensive specialist and saw time in 29 matches.

This season, she has not only seen action in all 59 sets that Penn State has played, but also started in every single one of them.

So, what's the difference this year?

"During the spring I made a decision that I wanted to be the best player that I can be and contribute to the team in the best way I can," said Gonzalez. "If that meant playing libero than that meant playing libero and kind of controlling a little bit more of the defense and passing aspect and make this team what it is."

Gonzalez has become a staple in the back-row for the Lions and sports the opposite-colored jersey each match as the starting libero. She leads the team with 194 digs and averages 3.29 digs per set, some of which have proven crucial to the outcome of close matches.

The second-year veteran said she has also seen herself quickly become a leader solely based on the amount of times that she's spoke up this season.

"I think the team needed Lacey [Fuller] and I to both step up and be vocal out on the court and kind of guide our freshmen and whoever is younger than us playing," said Gonzalez. "We both contribute well in the back court, which I think is a big thing."

But even though Gonzalez has learned to love hanging out behind hitters that are almost a foot taller than her, transitioning into the position as libero didn't necessarily come naturally.

"When we watch film there are tons of liberos that are really good at defense and defense wasn't necessarily my strong-point coming into the season," said Gonzalez. "So I studied a lot of what other liberos can do and how they widen their range on defense and I tried to learn a little bit from them and tried to make myself better as well."

The San Antonio, Texas native said that she's used to studying and learning in order to get better though. Her two older sisters, Jaci and Nicki, also played volleyball in college and constantly coached her into a better player. Gonzalez said that part of her competitive nature on her the court comes from the competitions her and her sisters had growing up.

"They support me now of course but we compete with everything," said Gonzalez. "My middle sister [Jaci] was the All-Conference Digger in her conference when she was in college and I think that's great and that's definitely a goal I have. But more importantly, I just want to help my team the best way that I can. I want to be the best."

So far she's helped her team come pretty close to being the best, at least as far as the rankings are concerned.

The Nittany Lions hold the top-spot in the nation in Division I women's volleyball with an unbeaten 6-0 mark in conference play and an overall record of 16-1.

However, the 5-foot-6 Texan said that the dominant record midway into the season doesn't come as a surprise to her or her teammates. She said that the volleyball program at Penn State is built on a legacy of success, and her entire squad knows it.

"The tradition and the community behind it, it's like no other I believe," said Gonzalez. "That's why I chose to come here. They support us and it's a great atmosphere to be around and I love our team."

Still, there is one thing that the southern specialist hasn't fully adjusted to in her time as a Nittany Lion.

"I'm still not used to the cold," said Gonzalez. "I still overdress for days where its 60 degrees and I'm freezing outside. It's probably like 75 degrees back home, which to me is beautiful weather."

But at the end of the day, 'Dom' said she has learned to deal with the chilly temperatures and accepts the Pennsylvania climate in exchange for a new kind of family right here in State College.

"I love it here. It's like a second home."

Weber and Persson Make an Impact

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the loss of two world-class forwards to the U-20 Women's World Cup and a defense decimated by injury, fourth-ranked Penn State Women's Soccer (12-2-0, 6-0-0 Big Ten) turned to its talented freshman class in search of players to fill the void and found freshmen forwards Mallory Weber and Corey Persson.


Weber and Persson earned the opportunity to start for the Nittany Lions early in the season, alongside freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez, following the departure of junior forwards Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes, who were traveling with the U-20 U.S. National Team, and a number of crucial injuries on defense.  Their performance has helped lift Penn State to a 12-2 start, an undefeated 6-0 record in conference play and a place among the nation's top five teams.

"Corey Persson and Mal Weber have made our staff look incredible this year," said head coach Erica Walsh.  "They're not only great athletes, but they're great soccer players."

With Hayes and Schram absent, Weber took her role as the Nittany Lions' new forward to another level.  The freshman phenom scored four goals in her first four games and is currently third on the team with eight goals thus far.  Her speed and finishing ability are comparable to that of Hayes after she notched a clutch two-goal afternoon late in the game against Indiana.

She has been named the Big Ten rookie of the week on three separate occasions and has solidified her spot in the starting lineup.

"You look at players like Mal Weber, who, had Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram been there, who knows where she would be," said coach Walsh.  "Now, sitting here on October 9th, she's the three-time Big Ten rookie of the week."

Alongside Weber, Corey Persson has made a difference in every facet of the game, both on and off the field.  When the Nittany Lions lost senior defenders Lexi Martin and Jackie Molinda to season-ending injuries, followed by an injury to junior defender Bri Hovington, Persson was put in a difficult situation.  Despite being recruited as a talented offensive player, she was asked to start in the backline at instate rival Pittsburgh.

"I just tried to step in for them, play to the best of my ability," said Persson on replacing Hovington in the backline.  "Coach Walsh really taught me a lot about defense through video and Whit Church and Bri Hovington and Kori Chapic also really helped me learn what to do back there and how to step in."

The Nittany Lions proceeded to blank the Panthers 3-0 and Persson would go on to start in eight games, alternating between defender and midfielder.  The freshman upstart has appeared in all 14 games, tallying two assists and reinforcing a defense that has allowed just 16 goals compared to an offense that has scored 46 times.

Though Persson was new to the defense, coach Walsh knew she was an all-around athlete and was right for the job.

"Players such as Corey Persson have been a huge key to our success," said coach Walsh.  "For the first time ever she got a chance to play in the back line and I'll tell you what, very very impressive."

For Persson, her decision to join the Penn State squad came after her first visit to the University.

"When I first visited, the atmosphere really got me," said Persson.  "There's no other place like Penn State in this country.  Everybody's for the school and wants to be here to be part of something bigger than just themselves, so I really wanted to be apart of that."

"I wanted to play for a great soccer team, under great coaches and a bunch of great players around me, so it was a great opportunity," Persson added.

Penn State has had a number of freshmen step up this season, including freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez, who has earned her role as a set-piece facilitator.  Coming off her experience with the Costa Rica National Team, Rodriguez is tied for the team-lead in assists (7) to go along with her three goals.

Each player brings a different element to the Nittany Lion culture.  Weber brought with her an unparalleled work ethic that has served to prepare her for the fast-paced style of collegiate soccer and Persson has shown that she is absolutely dedicated to the team and her fellow players.

"Every one of these guys, Mal Weber, Corey Persson, has such a unique personality that it's the combination that's working so well," said coach Walsh.  "Mal Weber is the hardest working player on this team, Corey Persson is the most humble, team-oriented player that I've been around this year."

Penn State looks to extend its conference hot streak at Nebraska (6-7-1, 3-3-0 Big Ten) on Friday and then travels to Ann Arbor to face No. 21 Michigan (12-2-1, 6-0-1 Big Ten) on Sunday.

Nittany Lions Preparing for First Division I Foe, American International

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By Pat White, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--Now that the first official practice and media day are in the rear-view mirror, the focus turns toward the first Division I matchup for the Penn State men's hockey team.


The Nittany Lions are set to open their season at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against the American International Yellow Jackets. The teams will then travel to Wilkes-Barre on Saturday to play a 7:00 p.m. game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Head coach, Guy Gadowsky, spoke at media day, and said that everyone surrounding the team is excited to finally start the chapter of Division I hockey at Penn State.

"I know the student-athletes are pumped," Gadowsky said. "We're pumped. All the people that have put so much time and effort into organizing everything to move forward to the transition to D-I, they're all pumped. So it's just an exciting time."

The tempo and skill level from the club level to D-I is going to be an adjustment for the Nittany Lions. Gadowsky said that it is going to take some time and hard work at practice to adjust to the speed of the game.

"We know it will be a huge step up," he said. "We understand that in terms of the speed and strength of the athletes and even more the speed of the game... it is something we will have to work on every day at practice. It will be a huge challenge for us the entire year."

Gadowsky knows that there are more challenges facing the team in its' inaugural season at the Division I level. The team has been having "captain's practices" to work on conditioning in preparation for the season, but they only have a week of practices with the coaching staff before playing their first game.

"It's a huge challenge with so many new players to address systems and objectives with only one week to go," said Gadowsky. "Fortunately, we're all sort of in the same boat. Obviously the teams that have an established system are at an advantage over us right now. We're just going to do the best we can and improve every day."

Sophomore captain, Tommy Olczyk (Long Grove, Ill.), said that he is excited to finally play some Division I hockey.

"I think what I'm looking forward to the most is Friday," Olczyk said.  "It is my first NCAA game. I've waited a long time to play hockey."

Olczyk said the team knows they have an uphill climb to transition from the club level. He said the most important thing is to work hard at practice and continue to build as a team.

"It's just a matter of getting in there, getting reps, making the most out of every shift, working hard and then getting into a rhythm and realizing that it is a lot different than past here," he said. "The hockey is going to be more physical. It's going to be faster so it's just a matter of getting better every week in practice and obviously getting better in the games every week."

Junior forward, Bryce Johnson (Grimes, Iowa), said that he's excited to see how the team meshes and is excited about the new challenge.

"We're excited to get everyone together and get into the game situations and see some live action," Johnson said. "As the season progresses, we need to get our identity and what our roles are going to be. We want to show the NCAA what we have, and that we have a lot of fight in us.

Junior forward, Taylor Holstrom (Yorba Linda, Calif.), is one of a few players on the team who has NCAA experience. Holstrom played for Mercyhurst College his freshman year scoring nine goals and tallying 36 points. He said that he's excited to play at the D-I level again and to see the support of the Penn State fans.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to that level with such a high pace again," Holstrom said. "Whenever the fans get out here to support us, it's always a fun time."

Gadowsky brought in a lot of new faces to build the foundation of Penn State hockey. Despite not having a lot of NCAA experience, they each bring experience from playing at the junior hockey level in the United States and Canada. Freshman, Casey Bailey (Anchorage, Alaska), freshman, Jonathan Milley (Gatineau, Que.) and sophomore, Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.), all bring size and skill to the forward position. Gadowsky thinks that the added presence up front will bring an exciting style of play to the team.

"We do have a vision in terms of creativity, and we want to play great hockey that the fans here are going to love to watch," Gadowsky said. "In that sense I'm very excited about it. We've got guys who you're really going to enjoy watching."

Junior defenseman, Nate Jensen (Shorewood, Minn.), said that the team can't wait to lace up the skates and play an actual game. He said that the team is little nervous, but that they will be ready to play come Friday.

"We've been practicing for a month so we're pretty excited to put the jersey on," Jensen said.  "There's a little bit of nerves, but we're pretty excited to get out there and play a couple games, get a couple hits in and get the crowd involved. It's going to be a fun night for us. "

A Look at American International
American International finished 10th (8-26-3) in the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC) last season. Returning is senior forward, and leading goal scorer, Adam Pleskach (Beausejour, Man.), who posted 16 goals and 30 points last season for the Yellow Jackets.

American International scored most of its' goals on the power play, scoring 23 goals. If Penn State is to control the tempo and the scoreboard, they will have to stay out of the penalty box.

One of the weaknesses of American International last season came on the penalty kill, working at 80 percent, good for tenth in the AHC. The Nittany Lions have to make the most of their power play opportunities if they want to get past the Yellow Jackets.

VIDEO: Bye Week Practice interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions wrapped up three days of bye week practice on Wednesday afternoon before the team gears up for its trip to Iowa on Oct. 20.

Head coach Bill O'Brien gave the team a couple days off at the end of this week to give the squad an opportunity to focus on school work or go home.  We caught up with a few of the players after practice on Wednesday for their evaluation of the season thus far and their plans for the bye week.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Preseason Interview with Jon Graham

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team is two days away from the start of practice for the 2012-13 season.

To get ready for the first day of practice, continues its series of preseason interviews with redshirt sophomore Jon Graham.  Graham enters his second season on the hardwood feeling like a new man.  The Baltimore native increased his vertical by four inches and lost 20 pounds and feels much lighter on his feet.  Catch up with Graham heading into the season here.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Preseason Interview with Jermaine Marshall

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team is three days away from officially returning to action with the start of practice for the 2012-13 season.

To get ready for the first day of practice, continues its series of preseason interviews with junior Jermaine Marshall.  The Etters, Pa., native emerged as a potent scorer during his sophomore campaign.  Marshall tallied four 20-point games and 20 double-digit scoring outings last season.  See what he has to say heading into the 2012-13 campaign.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Fans, Players Excited to Get Season Started After Midnight Practice

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By Pat White, Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Greenberg Ice Pavilion was rocking to the sound of "Zombie Nation" and "We Are Penn State" chants on Friday night for the first official Division I men's ice hockey practice.


The festivities kicked off at 11 p.m. with on-ice games and player interactions. Fans tested their accuracy shooting pucks at wooden targets, while the players assisted the games for the Penn State faithful.

Head coach, Guy Gadowsky, and the Nittany Lions took the ice at midnight to give fans a taste of what the team has in store for the season. The team was introduced, and saluted the crowd for coming to the first practice.

Gadowsky wore a microphone and answered fan questions throughout the practice. He said that the biggest advantage the team has transitioning to the Big Ten is having Penn State fans there to support the team.

"What a great atmosphere," Gadowsky said. "We didn't know what to expect. To have this many students come out and support us, and be a part of this, it's just wonderful. It looked like the guys were having a great time out there too. That's a big part of why we came to Penn State; to have the best student body supporting us."

Gadowsky said that it was a lighthearted practice to get the team acquainted with the fans and build excitement for the season.

"The goal was just to get on the ice," Gadowsky said. "It's wonderful to be out here and to see this many fans, and the goal was to get the first one under our belt."

Freshman defenseman, Joe Lordo (St. Louis, Mo.) said that the fans played a major part in how the practice flowed and is excited to get the season underway.

"It was great having the fans out there," Lordo said. "I never had a practice with this many people out here. I love seeing the fan support."

Senior defenseman, Rich O'Brien (Furlong, Pa.) said the team had a good first practice, and it was a great way to kick off the first season of Division I hockey.

"I thought we had a pretty good tempo," O'Brien said. "When we were waiting in the tunnel it felt like we were coming out for our first game. Having the fans out here beforehand playing games, and wearing t-shirts was pretty amazing."

The hour-long practice featured drills that showed the fans a sense of the offensive skill that the team possesses. They practiced odd-man rushes, four-on-four drills, a brief scrimmage, and a breakaway competition. The players appeared to have a lot of fun practicing for the first time as a team.

Sophomore forward, Max Gardiner (Deephaven, Minn.) put on a show during the breakaway drill, scoring a few dazzling goals.

"I just had it tonight with a few lucky moves, I guess," Gardiner said with a laugh. "PJ (Musico) usually has my number, so it was good to get him back."

Gardiner is entering his first season at Penn State, and said that the fan support made the practice even more special.

"It seems like people around here are pretty excited to get started here with D1 hockey," he said. "It's exciting to see the support out here."

Following practice, fans had the opportunity to skate with the players on the ice and get to know the team better. They were even treated to a free concert as a few players sang "Call Me Maybe" over the loud speakers.

Gadowsky and the players said that it was a fun experience, but now it is time to get down to business in preparation for their first game.

"We have to get to work now," Gadowsky said. "This was fun, but we're playing Division I teams now. Pretty much everyone is a rookie. It's a huge challenge and we have a lot of work to do. But if tonight's any indication, it's going to be a lot of fun."

Lordo said that the practice was fun, but that he is ready to get the season kicked off and to start competing.

"The team is clicking pretty fast out there," he said. "I think it's going to be a good year.  I just want to get into a game setting, and maybe run over somebody."

The Nittany Lions play their first game at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against American International.

Swimming & Diving Big Cat Day

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Entering his fifth year as head coach of the men's and women's swimming and diving teams, John Hargis has established a tradition to cap off the intense preseason dryland that starts each year.

big cat day 1.jpg

The highly anticipated day, known to all swimmers as "Big Cat Day", happens after five weeks of Saturday circuits and is built up to be one of the hardest challenges they will face throughout the year.

The captains are in charge of partnering the swimmers and each pair goes through 44 different dryland stations that are set up around the three pool decks. The exercises vary anywhere from doing cleans with sandbags to flipping tires to side crunches and dips. The coaches make sure that every muscle is worked to fatigue in this circuit.

"The day originated on it's own," Hargis said. "The inspiration came from when I was an athlete at Auburn and we would go through circuits similar to this but ours were based around the weight room. I wanted to do something like that when I became head coach so I sat down with the coaches that were here my first year and we came up with it."

Hargis has designed the dryland circuits to build up to the final "Big Cat Day", making it the most significant day of the five-week program. The first Saturday of the circuit the swimmers are introduced to each exercise and only go through the stations once. The second, third, and fourth weeks, the swimmers go through the circuit twice and in the fifth week, they are challenged to go through all 44 stations three times.

"The time for how long they stay at each station differs each week," Hargis said. "Week three and four, we give them more rest because we want to make it more about quality versus rushing through it. If they are not doing things right, we'll back up stations and redo it because we know they can do better."

Even before the fifth week arrives, all the swimmers are talking about "Big Cat Day" and know they are going to be challenged in ways they did not know were possible. However, not everyone knows the meaning behind the name and where it originated.

"We make the very last one extremely meaningful and call it 'Big Cat Day'," Hargis said. "At the time when we came up with the circuits, the club team was named 'Big Cat' so we took that name. We wanted to know who's the toughest, who's the biggest, and who's going to be the bigger animal. It has become a tradition where you can create your own attitude. Every year the kids talk about it and the kids know what to expect."

In addition to being physically tested, "Big Cat Day" creates a sense of confidence that the athletes can use later in the season.

"They take their bodies beyond what they ever thought they could do," Hargis said. "They know it's a huge feat they got through and they have that in their mind that they can always look back on and reflect."

After "Big Cat Day" is over, the coaching staff comes together to choose a male and female pair to be named the "Big Cat" of the preseason.

"We go through the past five weeks and look for who has improved the most, who gave the best efforts and decide which group deserves the acclaimed title," Hargis said. "Within that is hard work, accountability, and who works hard all the way through. We haven't had the chance to sit down as a staff and decide the winners yet for this year."         

Men's Hockey Media Day Sights and Sounds

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By Greg Campbell
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - You could feel the excitement in the room when Nittany Lions head coach Guy Gadowsky addressed the media at the programs inaugural media day. With just four days remaining before the Blue and White open their first NCAA Division I men's hockey season, Gadowsky and members of the 2012-13 roster addressed the media inside the Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Coach Gadowsky, along with captain Tommy Olczyk and assistant captain Nate Jensen, each addressed the media before the remainder of the roster was made available to the media for one-on-one interviews prior to practice. The mood was one of delight and anticipation for the season opener and everyone involved was ready for what "Hockey Valley" fans have been clamoring about for years.

The Nittany Lions will begin their first NCAA Division I slate against American International on Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Greenberg Ice Pavilion.

Formidable But Prepared
There was talk about the season opener, but head coach Guy Gadowsky also addressed the schedule and the fact that the Blue and White will move into the newly formed Big Ten Conference after their first full season on the ice. The 2012-13 calendar will feature four games versus Big Ten foes - two to be played on the Big Ten Network - include games against the U.S. National 18U Team and a litany of strong opponents line the 35 game slate.

"With the high-end Division I teams, we are playing Union, which made it to the Frozen Four last year.  We are going to Michigan State. We are going to Wisconsin.  Those are the top of the food chain.  For us to do that in our very first year is very daunting.  We understand fully how good those programs are and how difficult they are to play, but it is a great opportunity for us to find out where we are at right now.  I think it is a great schedule and I am very happy with what was put together.  I think it is perfect for where we are right now."

Making the Jump
No one said that it would be easy and after 40 years of hosting a club program this group of Nittany Lions will get their first taste of NCAA Division I action on Friday. There are a handful of student-athletes that have transferred from other Division I hockey programs and players that have played on various levels in careers, but when the puck drops on Friday they will be competing as a unit for the first time on the biggest college stage in hockey.

"It's just a matter of getting in there," said sophomore Tommy Olczyk, "getting reps, making the most out of every shift, working hard and then getting into a rhythm and realizing that (the NCAA Division I level) is a lot different than past years. The hockey is going to be more physical. It's going to be faster so it's just a matter of getting better every week in practice and obviously getting better in the games every week.

Support From Hockey Valley
On Oct. 5, the Nittany Lions hosted the Midnight Ice Breaker, the first official practice of the 2012-13 season, which was open to fans and students to watch as they began preparation for the year. A healthy contingent of fans poured into the Greenberg Ice Pavilion to watch the team practice and then stuck around for a free public skate that took place after the clock had struck midnight. The community and the student body have both shown their support and the players have taken notice.

"It was a lot of fun to see how many people came out and supported us (at the Midnight Ice Breaker)," said junior Nate Jensen. "I feel like this college could become a hockey-school college, where you get a lot of people to come check out games especially once we get the new rink. It was also really nice to interact with our fans, see how they are excited for our new season and our new D-I program, so we're looking forward to this Friday and getting out there and showing all we got for our fans."

VIDEO: Preseason Interview with Ross Travis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team is now just four days away from officially returning to action with the start of practice for the 2012-13 season.

To get ready for the first day of practice, continues its series of preseason interviews with sophomore Ross Travis.  The Chaska, Minn., native enters year two of his Nittany Lion career with a great deal of confidence.  Travis quickly established himself as a player who provides maximum hustle and effort every time he stepped onto the floor during his freshman campaign.  See what he has to say entering his sophomore season.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

All-Around Execution Earns Lions Victory

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Every effort counts. Whether it is a single game in the quest for a Big Ten Championship or a small donation to assist in finding a cure for breast cancer, each step factors into achieving the ultimate goal at hand.


For Coach Charlene Morett and the Penn State field hockey team, Sunday's victory over California served as a step in the right direction in the quest of tackling two goals very important to the program--beating breast cancer and winning a Big Ten regular season championship.

The Nittany Lions wore pink and white uniforms in their 6-2 thrashing of the Golden Bears for their annual "Pink Zone" game.

"Obviously, it affects every one of us in some way," said Morett in reference to disease.

"With the Pink Zone, what Coquese [Washington] has done is just outstanding. We just want to keep building from every athletic standpoint to make sure we're doing our best to try and find a cure."

Washington, along with the entire Penn State women's basketball team, was in attendance on Sunday, supporting the field hockey team and the fight against cancer.

During the matchup, fans helped the Nittany Lions in their quest to tackle their goals by way of purchasing raffle tickets proceeding breast cancer research and cheering the Lions one game closer to a pivotal matchup against Iowa next week with Big Ten title implications on the line.

"We have to stay focused at the task at hand," said junior Ashtin Klingler, who registered her ninth goal of the season on Sunday.

Defeating Cal doesn't directly benefit the Lions regarding a Big Ten regular season title, but the game served as an important confidence boost and way to work out some kinks before hosting Iowa next Sunday.

"I said to the team, 'It's a way to come back'," said Morett. "To have that win and to make a statement today...what's really important right now is to focus back on Big Ten competition with Iowa on Sunday."

A great defensive effort, constant communication and offensive execution carried Penn State to the victory over the Golden Bears.

"I think that our defense really stepped up in this game," said Klingler. "They really came through and came up with interceptions that kept it out of our circle."

Klingler and junior Whitney Reddig exhibited tremendous communication and chemistry with one another during the contest, forcing California turnovers and pushing the ball together into the scoring territory.

"From the start, we always say 'Let's try to work well together this game'," said Reddig in reference to her communication strategy with Klingler.

The two juniors pieced together a flawless drive down the field in the first half following a Reddig forced turnover, leading to a Klingler score.

"Our communication as a team has gotten so much better since the Northwestern game," said sophomore Taylor Herold.

Penn State lost a heartbreaker to Northwestern last weekend, falling in overtime to the Wildcats. Several Nittany Lions cited some communication issues in the loss, but there was no sign of that during Sunday's victory.

As for placement in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions (2-1 in the conference) sit one game behind the Hawkeyes (3-0 in the conference). Each team has three Big Ten games remaining, including the matchup against each other on Sunday.

"I think for us, we know if we're going to try and vie for that Big Ten Championship, it's going to go through Iowa," said Morett.

The teams will square off at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex on Sunday, Oct. 14 at noon.

Women's Soccer, Offense Cruises in Win Over Indiana

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By Scott Traweek, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fourth-ranked Penn State Women's Soccer (12-2-0, 6-0 Big Ten) put on an offensive show Sunday afternoon at home against Indiana (6-7-1, 1-5 Big Ten), scoring five goals from four different players and dominating the Hoosier defense.


The story of the afternoon for the Nittany Lions was the offense, which outshot Indiana 27-9 with 17 shots on goal.  Indiana goalkeeper Sarah Stone put up a valiant effort with 12 saves and never made it easy, but there was no stopping Penn State's relentless attack.

"We're all just playing really well together right now and just moving the ball around really quickly and throwing the defense and creating gaps," said freshman Mallory Weber.  "It's been great because everyone's been getting the shots because we're so dynamic up top."

The Nittany Lions led at halftime 2-1 following goals by senior midfielder Christine Nairn (11), who also added two assists to her point total, and junior forward Taylor Schram, who tallied her first goal of the season and caused problems for the Hoosier defense the entire game.

"Yeah, Schram's a workhorse, blue-collar mentality, will give you absolutely everything that she has and more," said Nairn.  "We are more than happy to have her back and she's going full toe right now and we can't be more proud of her."

"I feel like I'm just running off pure adrenaline right now," said Schram.  "I'm just excited to be back out on the field with my teammates, so just running as hard as I can, giving everything I have."

Despite the pressure by Penn State, Indiana battled midway into the second half and tied the game at two apiece in the 60th minute.  With the momentum shifting slightly towards the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions responded in the form of Weber.

Weber had an outstanding game all around, but made her statement late in the second half when she moved from the midfield to the forward position with the game tied at two and proceeded to score twice, including the eventual game-winner to put the Nittany Lions ahead, 4-2.

The go-ahead goal came after the ball was deflected inside the box to Weber, who poised and fired a beautiful shot inside the left goal post.  She then proceeded to display her speed two minutes later by running past two Indiana defenders, sliding and chipping a thru ball from Nairn into the back of the net.

"[Weber] was a stud today and she made the difference," said Schram.  "She's dangerous when she plays up top and when she plays wide.  We needed her today and she stepped up big for us, so it's great that we have the options.  Somebody steps up every game."

Senior Maddy Evans added a fifth goal off of a corner kick from freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez to seal the 5-2 victory as Penn State continued its tradition of scoring from a variety of angles, which has made the offense all but impossible to stop.  Players throughout the roster are stepping up and performing when the team needs them most.

"Christine [Nairn], best player in the country; Emily [Hurd] was unbelievable today; then Maya [Hayes], you don't have to say anything about her; Mal [Weber] was awesome; everybody," said Schram.  "The list keeps going on and on.  Together, when we have that performance as an attack, we can beat anyone in the country."

Twelve different players have scored the Nittany Lions' 46 goals so far this season. Young players like Weber, Rodriguez, freshman forward Tani Costa, and freshman midfielder Jenna Kalwa all have tallied goals to go along with some of the veterans who score on a regular basis.

"That's Penn State 2012," said Schram.  "We have so many different weapons."

"I am very proud of the fact that we are having so much variety in our attack right now," said coach Walsh.

Penn State looks to continue its hot streak in the Big Ten at Nebraska (6-7-1, 3-3 Big Ten) on Friday followed by a showdown at No. 23 Michigan (11-2-1, 5-0-1 Big Ten) on Sunday.

Nittany Lions Face Adversity With Confidence

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Play the next play.

Those words have become the motto to live by for Penn State Football.

No matter what happens on the field, be ready to play the next play.


If you a throw an interception, miss a tackle, drop a pass, fumble, miss a blocking assignment, do not execute on special teams, line up in the wrong spot or make any other mistake, the advice after the play is always the same from the Penn State coaching staff.

Play the next play.

That theory is tested on the practice field every day, and individually, it has been tested at times during games this season.  But not until Saturday did the entire team find its back to the wall on the field in a game situation against a ranked team.

There is a lot of football yet to be played in 2012, but Saturday's fourth quarter was the team's finest hour to date.  The Lions erased an 11-point deficit and won going away with a dominant 22-point fourth quarter.

Penn State faced a halftime deficit for the first time this season after Trevor Siemian found Tony Jones for an 11-yard score with 30 seconds left in the second quarter.  Penn State answered on its first offensive drive of the third quarter with an eight-yard scoring connection between Matt McGloin and Allen Robinson to set the score at 17-14, Nittany Lions.

Then, Northwestern athlete Kain Colter sprinted into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.  Running back Venric Mark followed suit by galloping 75 yards into the end zone on a punt return to put Northwestern on top, 28-17, heading into the fourth quarter.

Some of the air had been let out of the boisterous Beaver Stadium crowd as Mark raced into the end zone in front of the student section, but the score didn't really matter to the players on the field.

The next play, or in this case, the next drive was played as if the game was 0-0 by McGloin and the Nittany Lion offense.  The senior believes he will maneuver a touchdown drive every time he is on the field, and he played like it with the game on the line.

The Scranton native has been terrific in 2012, now with 12 passing touchdowns (five rushing) and just two interceptions to go along with 1,499 yards. 

In the fourth quarter, McGloin's offense played like it was not going to be stopped, and it wasn't.

First, the senior marched Penn State 82 yards on 18 plays before delivering a strike to sophomore wide out Allen Robinson on fourth down at the Northwestern 6.  Down 11 points with under 10 minutes to play, a field goal could have trimmed the Northwestern lead to one possession.

But head coach Bill O'Brien never hesitated because he believes in McGloin.  When a confident head coach believes in a confident senior quarterback, the results tend to speak for themselves.  McGloin stepped into the pocket and found Robinson to make it 28-23 before Michael Zordich plunged in for a two-point play to make it a three-point game.

"I felt good about the play call we had there," O'Brien said.  "I have a lot of confidence even though we haven't shown it.  I have a lot of confidence.  Our team does and our staff does in the red-area package.  We feel like Matt [McGloin] really understands what we're trying to do. I just felt good about what it was there. I didn't think twice about it and made the play call."

McGloin then turned the keys over to a defense that thrives in the face of adversity.  The seniors knew it was time to buckle down and get a stop.  And when Jordan Hill, Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti, Stephon Morris speak to the defensive huddle, the rest of the players listen.

"Everybody went out there with the mindset that no matter what happens, we're not going to get down on ourselves. We're going to keep pushing forward," Hodges said.

Three plays later, the defense ran off the field, and the ball was punted back into the hands of McGloin's offense, a living, breathing display of the type of complementary football Coach O'Brien has been preaching about since day one.

The offense trotted back onto the field with 8:15 to play in the game needing a touchdown to take the lead.  This time, McGloin moved the Lions 85 yards in 5:38.  The senior again completed a crucial fourth down play on the drive.  This time the pass went to Brandon Moseby-Felder, which set up a first down at the Northwestern 6-yard line.

McGloin finished the drive off with a scramble into the right corner of the South End Zone from five yards out on third down to give Penn State a 32-28 lead.

Again, the Nittany Lion defense answered the bell and stopped the Wildcats on fourth down before Zordich put icing on the cake with a touchdown run, and what better player to have the ball in his hands to put the game away than the Youngstown native.

It was a fourth quarter that these players will be talking about for years to come, and in their minds, there was truly never a doubt.

"There's great chemistry in that locker room," O'Brien said.  "We're 4-2, who knows where it's going to end up. These guys are playing hard and it's really fun to see the smiles on their faces."

Albeit in front of 95,769 fans, millions more watching at home and the game on the line against a ranked team in the Big Ten on Saturday, they were just doing what their head coach has taught them to do.

Playing the next play.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head into the Penn State locker room following Saturday's 39-28 victory over Northwestern for interviews with several Nittany Lions.  Hear from Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Matt McGloin, Jordan Hill and more.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Locker Room Video - Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head into a happy Penn State locker room following Saturday's 39-28 come-from-behind victory over Northwestern and hear from head coach Bill O'Brien in an exclusive one-on-one interview after the game.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week Six In-Game Blog - Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to in-game coverage for the 2012 Penn State Football season.  Each week, will provide insight from the press box at all 12 games on the schedule.

Take a look back at Penn State's 39-28 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.

1st Quarter: 3:41 - Penn State 3, Northwestern 0
After Alex Butterworth pinned the Wildcats offense on the goal line and the defense forced the three-and-out, Matt McGloin and Zach Zwinak did most of the heavy lifting before Sam Ficken converted the 20-yard field goal to open the scoring. That makes six straight games the Nittany Lions have opened the scoring and their two fourth down conversions make them 10-of-13 on the year in that category.

End of 1st Quarter - Penn State 3, Northwestern 0
It has been a theme so far this season for the Penn State offense and defense; get an early lead and pitch a shutout. With the field goal by Ficken, the Nittany Lions have outscored the opposition 52-0 in the opening quarter. It was the first time the Wildcats had not scored in the first quarter and a pair of three-and-outs accounted for just 12 yards against the PSU defense.


2nd Quarter: 9:34 - Penn State 10, Northwestern 0
Hand it to the big fella and let him run. Zwinak was not going to be denied any yardage that he could get on the second Penn State drive that started in Northwestern territory. The Nittany Lions went 40 yards in eight plays with McGloin getting it done early - benefiting from a near interception that was dropped by Chi Chi Ariguzo - before Zwinak polished off the final 15 yards with some hard-nosed running. Zwinak got a tough two yards, followed by 11 yards after contact, before he plunged into the end zone for his third score of the year.


2nd Quarter: 6:23 - Penn State 10, Northwestern 7
Penn State had been winning the field position battle all day, but Jesse Della Valle's muffed punt swung the momentum and gave Northwestern the ball at the PSU 17 yard line. The Wildcats used just three plays - all runs - to cover the ground and swing the momentum back to the visitors sideline. It was just the second turnover in the last five games and led the first, first half touchdown allowed this season by the Penn State defense.


2nd Quarter: 0:30 - Northwestern 14, Penn State 10
The Northwestern offense found their footing after the muffed punt and took full advantage of a pass interference penalty on their nine play scoring drive. Trevor Siemian threaded the needle when he hooked up with Tony Jones in the back of the end zone to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game late in the first half. It was just the second, third down conversion allowed by the PSU defense on the afternoon and send the Nittany Lions to the locker room trailing for the first time in 2012.


Halftime - Northwestern 14, Penn State 10
For the first time in 2012, the Nittany Lions entered the locker room trailing at the half and it couldn't have come in a more shocking way. After holding the Wildcat offense at bay for most the first half it was a muffed punt and a defensive penalty that led to the final two scores of the half - both from Northwestern. Penn State held the ball for nearly 19 minutes in the opening stanza, but it took Northwestern just over two minutes combined to put up 14 points and head to the locker room with a lead for the fourth time in 2012.

3rd Quarter: 7:17 - Penn State 17, Northwestern 14
The Nittany Lions needed a strong start to the second half, and they got one from the defense.  A combined sack from defensive end Deion Barnes and defensive tackle Jordan Hill before a nice open-field tackle from Malcolm Willis on third down forced a punt from Northwestern.  The Lions then marched 80 yards, largely thanks to a downhill running from Zach Zwinak.  Zwinak carried the ball six times for 37 yards on the drive.  He also caught a pass for six yards.  Matt McGloin and Allen Robinson capped off the 12-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown to make it a 17-14 ballgame.  McGloin now has 11 passing touchdowns this season, and Robinson has been on the receiving end of six.