UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Preparations are already underway for Penn State in its final game week of the 2017 regular season.
About 11 weeks ago, the first Monday Notebook of the season took a deeper dive into a few Nittany Lions poised to climb through the record books during the regular season. With a week left in the regular season, take a look back at where they are and the records they've eclipsed along the way.
- It's hard to know where to even start with all the records Barkley has shattered not only this year, but in his entire Penn State career. So let's keep it at recent records.
Barkley made headlines all day today, kicking off the morning honored as the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week, marking his sixth Big Ten weekly award of the season. By late-afternoon Barkley was named a finalist for both the Maxwell and the Doak Walker awards. Both prestigious honors, Barkley is the first Nittany Lion to be a finalist for both of the wards since Larry Johnson in 2002. Johnson also won both awards that year.
Coming off a three-touchdown, 158-rushing yard performance against Nebraska, Barkley broke the Penn State career rushing touchdowns record set by Lydell Mitchell (1969-71). He also surged past the 100-point mark this year, making him the second Nittany Lion in program history with multiple 100-point seasons. Upping his career rushing yard total, Barkley become just the second Nittany Lion in history with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, as well as the second to eclipse the 3,500 rushing yard milestone.
With 66 receiving yards on six receptions, he also topped the Penn state season record for receptions by a running back with 46 receptions on the year, which ties for first on the team alongside Gesicki.
- Gesicki has been re-writing the record book all year long, on the way to the most recent prestigious honor, named one of three finalists for the Mackey Award. Against Pittsburgh, he set the record for career receptions for a tight end. Most recently, he caught four passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns against Nebraska to climb to the top of the all-time chart for the most receiving yards by a tight end with 1,384 yards. Already owning the single season record for touchdown catches for a tight end in 2017 (7), Gesicki also cracked into the top 10 on the career receptions chart with 118 catches.
- Already announced as a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, McSorley has also climbed the Nittany Lion record book at a staggering pace. In the win against Rutgers, McSorley moved in to sole possession of first place on the Penn State career charts for touchdowns responsible for. Much like Barkley, it's perhaps easier to point to more of McSorley's most recent accomplishments along the way. With 325 yards against Nebraska, McSorley posted his ninth career 300-yard passing game, which ties the Penn State program record. His 24 completions against the Huskers also moved him into a tie for fourth place with 474 career completions. Finishing with 371 yards of total offense against Nebraska, he oved into second place on the single season total offense all-time list with 3,386 yards, which is behind his own record-setting 3,979 yards from last year.
- Allen entered the 2017 regular season with 249 career tackles, needing just 24 tackles to break into the top 10 on the Nittany Lion all-time list. As Penn State's second-leading tackler to date, Allen has 61 stops on the year, which pushes him to 310 in his career, good for sixth all-time. He needs just five more tackles to crack into the Penn State top five, matching Brian Gelzheiser (1991-94).
- Hamilton already made history against Indiana, grabbing his 181st career catch to become Penn State's all-time leader in receptions. With 43 receptions on the year, he enters the final week of the regular season with 204 career catches. He's still scaling the all-time career receiving yardage list, currently in third place with 2,673 receiving yards as the ninth Nittany Lion in program history with 2,000-plus receiving yards.
- Gillikin has been a key piece of the Nittany Lion special teams units this year, pinning a total of 24 punts inside the 20-yard line. On the year, his season punting average stands at 43.0, which would place him tied for fourth in program history if the season ended today. With two weeks remaining, Gillikin could potentially match the sophomore season punting average record originally set by Ralph Giacomarro in 1980 (43.3), having already set the freshman record in 2016 (42.8).
Penn State is still atop the top 11 in FBS in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Allowing opponents fewer than 17 points a game this year, the mark is ranked second in the conference and eighth in FBS. Following its highest scoring outing in a Big Ten game since scoring 63 points at Illinois in 2005, Penn State is averaging 39.4 points per game, which is also second in the Big Ten and 11th in FBS. The Nittany Lions are also plus-12 in the turnover margin, which remains atop the league standings and tied for sixth in FBS.
Glancing at the Terps
Penn State travels to Maryland for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on the road Saturday, marking the first time the two teams have met in College Park since 1993. The outing also marks senior day for the Terrapins, who have lost their last three consecutive games, including a 17-7 loss on the road at Michigan State last Saturday.