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Monday Notebook: Bye Week Arrives

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The bye week has arrived as Penn State takes time to turn the focus toward itself before embarking on a challenging middle third of the Nittany Lions' nine-game Big Ten conference schedule. 

Pleased with where the team is at and the progress it's made to date, Franklin noted that the bye week focus would involve academics as well as an opportunity to get healthy.

"There'll be a little of young player development as part of our bye week," Franklin said. "They'll have their own practice. And then obviously we'll spend some time cleaning up some things that have given us issues on offense, defense and special teams. What are the themes? What are the things that we see that everybody's doing against us, our offense? What are the things everybody's trying to do against our defense that's giving us some problems? Let's clean those things up, and then obviously get a head start on that next opponent." 

The Nittany Lions have plenty to be pleased with headed into the open week, fresh off a 31-7 win on the road at Northwestern to improve to 6-0 on the year. 

Sustaining an Elite Level
Penn State's defense was dominant in the win against the Wildcats, with Franklin noting that as a whole, its executing well in all areas. One of those areas of course, is Penn State's veteran secondary.

In mid-September when cornerbacks coach Terry Smith noted that his unit was playing at an elite level. Since week two, Penn State's cornerbacks have only continued to impress, with a combined 17 pass breakups between the trio of Christian Campbell, Grant Haley and Amani Oruwariye. Campbell is leading the way with nine pass breakups on the year, with at least one in each of the last seven consecutive games. Haley is close behind with five on the year, having broken up a career-high three passes against Northwestern.

Campbell, Haley and Oruwariye have also grabbed at least on interception with Oruwariye leading the way with his third pick against Northwestern. 

Record-Setting McSorley
Quarterback Trace McSorley went 25-for-34 with 245 passing yards and one touchdown against the Wildcats, extending his school-record streak to 21 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. McSorley also made history completing 15 consecutive pass attempts from the first quarter through the third quarter to surpass a Penn State program record for consecutive completions originally set by Kerry Collins in 1994. 

"It's pretty cool," McSorley said with a smile when asked about hearing that he first broke the record. "I had no idea about that."

Among record-setting streak, McSorley tossed his lone touchdown pass of the afternoon to quarterback Tommy Stevens, who lined up as a running back before grabbing the 10-yard touchdown pass in the end zone in the second quarter.

When asked about the stretch though, McSorley gave credit to the offensive line and his receivers for finding ways to get open. His success hardly came as a surprise to teammates though. 

"Trace is extremely accurate, great decision maker," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "He's the leader of our offense, he's the guy who makes our offense go so it's not a surprise at all that he did play a phenomenal game just like he has for the past year and a half that he has been our starting quarterback." 

With a .670 completion percentage, McSorley's ranked third in the Big Ten and 19th in the FBS standings, while also atop the conference with 1,597 passing yards.

Save the Date
As announced today, Penn State and Michigan is set for primetime with kickoff arriving at 7:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions will host the Wolverines in Penn State White Out conditions Oct. 21. 

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