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NOTEBOOK: Nittany Lions Begin Final Week of Practice

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the past 16 Mondays, the Nittany Lion football team has walked onto the fields next to the Lasch Football Building to begin a week of practice.

Today, the Lions will kick off the final practice week of the 2012 season.  It will have a different feel, much like training camp, than the previous 13 weeks during the regular season because the campus is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Without classes this week, the team will hold all of its regularly scheduled meetings and practice earlier in the day.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be normal preparation days before an earlier practice on Thursday prior to the team getting together for a Thanksgiving meal.

Without question, it will be a special week for the Nittany Lions to enjoy the final five practices with a very unique senior class.  Penn State will remain focused on the task at hand, but the team will honor a group that played a big role in keeping the program together during an unprecedented offseason.  The Lion seniors will be on the practice field five more times before Saturday's Senior Day clash against Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. on ESPN2).

8333409.jpegMcGloin Re-Writes Record Books
Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week etched his place in the Penn State record book on Saturday with a stellar performance against Indiana.  With 395 yards, five shy of the all-time game record, and four touchdowns, McGloin stands alone in three major passing categories in program history.  The West Scranton native, who began his career as a run-on, will leave Penn State as the career passing touchdown leader (45), single-season completions leader (251) and the single-season yardage leader (3,071).  This season, McGloin has thrown 23 touchdown passes.  Heading into the year, he had thrown just 22 career touchdown passes.  McGloin leads the Big Ten in passing (279.2 yards per game) by more than 30 yards per contest over his nearest competition.

Robinson Stands Alone
Needing just one reception to pass O.J. McDuffie and Bobby Engram at the top of the single-season reception list, Allen Robinson put an exclamation point on a breakout sophomore season against Indiana.  The Michigan native hauled in 10 receptions for 197 yards and three touchdowns against the Hoosiers to become Penn State's single-season reception leader, and the program's first 70-plus reception player.  Robinson is now within 17 yards (983) of a 1,000-yard season.  He leads the Big Ten in touchdown receptions (11), yardage (983) and yards per game (89.4).  Robinson is a tireless worker who has not yet reached his full potential.  With continued progress during the offseason, No. 8 is poised for even bigger things during his time at Penn State.

Badger Defense vs. Nittany Lion Offense
Saturday's finale will feature one of the Big Ten's top scoring offenses against one of the conference's top scoring defenses.  Penn State enters the 12th game second the Big Ten with 33.9 points per game in conference matchups.  Wisconsin heads to Beaver Stadium as the Big Ten's No. 2-rated scoring defense by virtue of allowing just 17.4 points per contest in conference games.  Additionally, the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense during conference games (447.6), while the Badges rank second in total defense at 289.7 yards per game.

Badger Running Game vs. Nittany Lion Run Defense
On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in rushing offense during conference games with 260.3 yards per contest.  Penn State's rushing defense ranks No. 2 in Big Ten games at 118.3 yards per game.  Wisconsin standout running back Montee Ball (128.8 ypg) leads the Big Ten in rushing.

Star-Studded Finale
Saturday's game will feature the Big Ten's top passer - Matt McGloin, top rusher - Montee Ball and top receiver - Allen Robinson.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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What an ending to a special season. The young men of the Nittany Lion Football Program held their heads high in the midst of adversity and controversey. NO ONE on the team should feel bad. You all represented your team, your school and your families with PRIDE. Better times are ahead for the Blue and White. Continue to persevere and you all wil come out on top. God Bless The Players, Coaches and Staff of the Penn State Nittany Lion Football Team. Love ya Blue And White!!!!


I am so proud of you all and the way you have hung together. You all have learned some very important lessons and values together to carry through life. You all have stood tall while facing adversity. This season has made good men of all of you.

We are, and remain loyal Penn State fans. We are behind our team, and behind Coach too!

Senios, thank you so much for everything!

What a great season..



I want to wish this most special group of student athletes the best of luck against Wisconsin and in the future. Your dedication and determination is amazing. It's been a joy to watch you young men every week of this season. You have confirmed my feeling prior to the season that you would go down in history as one of the greatest Penn State football teams. You ARE Penn State!!!

In this most tumultuous of years, all the Penn State players and coaches displayed what character is all about. Players given their chance rose beyond any expectations. Coach O'Brien characterized leadership of the highest order. In later years upon reflection it will become apparent just how significant this year and these men,each and every one, will be in Penn State history. Penn State was in EVERY game and played with intensity. Way beyond that they carried themselves with class and dignity.
In this most real and disheartening of life situations no one could have done better. I for one never missed those who left. Friends yes, looking to their futures objectively yes, but this group who stayed transcended all challenges beautifully.
There are tens of thousands who admire and are grateful to you all.

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