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Penn State White Out History in Beaver Stadium

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Always a fan favorite, Beaver Stadium will play host to a full stadium Penn State White Out on Saturday under the lights when the Nittany Lions collide with Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC).

A tradition stretching back to a student section white out in 2004, the Penn State White Outs have created an unrivaled atmosphere inside Beaver Stadium. Saturday will mark the seventh time the Nittany Lions will host a full stadium Penn State White Out. Take a look through a photo history of the student and full stadium white outs since the idea began in 2004.

Purdue - Oct. 9, 2004 (student section)
Ohio State - Oct. 8, 2005 (student section)
Michigan - Oct. 14, 2006 (student section)
Notre Dame - Sept. 8, 2007 (full stadium)
Illinois - Sept. 27, 2008 (full stadium)
Iowa - Sept. 26, 2009 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 30, 2010 (student section)
Alabama - Sept. 10, 2011 (full stadium)
Ohio State - Oct. 27, 2012 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 12, 2013 (full stadium)

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Goodwin and the Lions Look to Bounce Back at Pegula

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pressure is nothing new for David Goodwin.

Ending last season second in scoring for the Nittany Lions, the sophomore knows expectations for this season are high, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm looked upon to put the puck in the net and to help other people put the puck in the net," the forward said. "I think there's always, at whatever level or whatever age I am, there's going to be pressure, but I like it. I like being one of the guys that's looked upon. Hopefully I can have another good year."

To prepare for his second year donning the Blue and White, the sophomore put forth the extra effort during the offseason, working on the little things that will help to further elevate his level of play.

With four points in four game this season, Goodwin has not disappointed.

"My conditioning was probably my biggest thing," said Goodwin of what he needed to improve. "Obviously with playing consistently, you need to be at your best shape you can, so that was a big point of emphasis for me and on my shot.

"I want to be able to score from further out. I feel like I'm pretty good around the net, making quick plays and banging home rebounds, but I want to be able to score from father out and hopefully get a few more."

The forward will look to add to his scoring this weekend, as the team returns home to take on Holy Cross.

Playing at Pegula Ice Arena brings excitement to the entire program, student-athletes and coaches alike, and it seems to add an extra spark to Goodwin's game. Of his 18 points last season, 11 were earned at home in front of Penn State fans.

This year is no different, as the sophomore has already racked up two goals and two assists while playing in Happy Valley.

"All those points have come from playing here at Pegula, so I love playing here," Goodwin said. "There's no secret. Last year, a good chunk of my points came from playing here in front of our fans.

"I just think trying to be consistent, whether it be at home or on the road, just trying to play consistently and just being a good linemate and trying to make plays out there is the key."

Friday, Sunday Holy Cross Series

As Goodwin and the Nittany Lions (1-1-2) prepare to take on Holy Cross (1-2-1), they know they have to account for an unusual schedule.

Instead of the typical Friday and Saturday evening games, the two teams will face off on Friday night and Sunday afternoon due to Penn State's home football game.

"We actually offered a Thursday, Friday scenario, and Holy Cross, under the reason of academics, wanted it to be a Friday, Sunday," explained head coach Guy Gadowsky. "They actually made the move."

While the Lions are looking to bounce back from their draw and loss in Alaska, the Crusaders are looking to build off last weekend's success. Holy Cross is fresh off its series with AIC, games in which the team went 1-0-1.

PSU_HolyCross_Graphic.jpg The added day of rest in this series may be a blessing in disguise for the Lions, who have recently been battling a string of injuries, the most serious of which include the laceration David Thompson sustained in Alaska and a back injury that will leave Jonathan Milley out indefinitely.

To succeed this weekend, the Lions will not only need to battle through these losses, but they will also need to stay confident, composed and mentally tough.

"There are certain things that we do that are our objectives that when it comes down to the most crucial times, we have to know 100 percent that those things are going to happen," Gadowsky said. "Right now, and I'm not going to go into the people that aren't there yet, but quite honestly that's not happening at the most crucial times.

"We're doing them for a longer period of time, but when it matters most we have to know 100 percent that those objectives are gong to be met. Right now, they're not, so it's not just a matter of winning. I think it's really coming up with a plan that in those crucial times X, Y and Z are absolutely going to happen."

Even with some of the team's mental blocks, Goodwin knows he and his teammates can overcome the issues with time. The Lions are hopeful they can begin taking the necessary steps this weekend.

"I think the confidence is there," said Goodwin. "It's just mental toughness, and those few little mistakes can creep up whenever. I just think it's something we're going to work on, and I'm sure we'll get better."

The Lions and the Crusaders will open their series 7 p.m. Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Ohio State Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Brent Pry

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10462247.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday against Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC). Take a look at a Q&A with Pry.

Q: What kind of challenges does the Ohio State offense present?
"I think first of all, they have more team speed on offense than anyone we have seen up to this point. I would compare their team speed to what you would see at Vanderbilt out of some of the better teams in that league (SEC). At wide receiver, there is not just one or two, there are multiple guys that can run and that are dangerous after the catch. At running back, they are really quality backs that can run. They have great balance. They have great vision, particularly No. 15. And of course the quarterback is a heck of an athlete in his own right. He can throw the ball around, particularly in their system. And then he's had numerous plays, particularly in the last four weeks, where he has made scramble opportunities and turned them into big gainers. And then where he has run the ball within the running scheme, he is dangerous that way. And then they have two tight ends that are very good blockers and have a lot of range. They can cover ground and stretch the field. There is not a weak component to the guys they can get the ball to."

Q: How much more difficult is it to prepare when you are playing offense with so many components to it, like you talked about?
"Sometimes you can isolate. When there are just one or two guys, you can bracket and hone in on one particular thing. These guys make you be very well rounded. You can't change your concentration. You have to be sound up front. You can't commit to the box too much or they will expose you on the perimeter. You can't be light in the box or they will run the football. Then the element of the quarterback running makes you guarded there. They do so much. They spread you out all over the field. They deliver the ball and get it around to all of their threats. Sometimes you can hone in on a guy or two, but these guys don't let you do that."

Q: Coach Franklin has talked about Nyeem Wartman. What is he doing well in your eyes right now?
"Probably, there are two qualities of his that impress me the most right now. No. 1, he's got a lot of maturity. For being a redshirt sophomore, he is a mature kid. He's got a great mentality. He's got a great understanding of the position; a very good understanding of the defensive scheme. And then the second quality I'm impressed with is that he's got great knee bend and agility. For a big guy who is weighing around 240, his lateral movement is right up there in the neighborhood of Mike Hull's. He's just a really good athlete. He's physical. To be honest, there have been numerous opportunities for us to end up in the wrong thing or make the wrong call, and Nyeem sees something and makes it right. He's really a good complement to Mike Hull in the box to get us lined up the way we want to get lined up."

Q: Following up on that, how much do you think Nyeem has benefitted from playing next to Mike Hull?
"There is no doubt. I think it is all of the guys, not just the linebackers but across the entire defense. He's one of those guys that practices the way you want a guy to practice. Nyeem certainly does that, as well. I think being a student of the game and mastering your position, I think he has learned that from Mike. I hope all of the guys are learning that you have to take to heart the techniques that are necessary for your spot, and then master those techniques. Nyeem is very vocal. He is a great communicator. He's got a lot of confidence. I thought up at Michigan, watching him play basically one-handed with that cast on, I was really impressed. He played physical. He made plays. He stuck his face in there."

Q: Can you talk about Brandon Bell and the progress he has made this year?
"I think Brandon, he is a guy - honestly, I was excited about Nyeem and Mike coming out of camp - Brandon, I still had some question marks. We ask a lot out of that field backer. There is a certain skillset we like to see, and Brandon is a little different. He's almost geared towards the position Nyeem plays a little bit more. Brandon has done a tremendous job growing into that position. He has given us everything to his abilities that we need out there. We have the good fortune and subbing and getting into a sub group when we feel like there needs to be a little more speed or athleticism out at that spot. We can put a safety in the game. Brandon has just done a very, very good job of being a solid player at the field backer position. I'd like to see more production from Brandon. I'd like to Brandon be a little more explosive in our blitz package. There are some things where we are working towards for the second half of the season where we can get a little more production out of Brandon."

Q: When you look at this weekend, what type of an impact does a Penn State White Out have in terms of recruiting?
"This is obviously a big recruiting weekend. Everybody as a prospect wants to come see Penn State-Ohio State, white out in a sold out stadium. That's obviously one of the great things about Penn State. When you walk into a high school and get into conversations with coaches and players that's one of the first things you talk about - Beaver Stadium and the white outs. A bunch of those guys that signed with us last February were at the Michigan game last year where it was a white out and Penn State victory in dramatic fashion. Those guys all talked about that during the recruiting process up to when we signed them. (Saying) that it was just a fantastic experience and that it was unrivaled - that there was no other gameday atmosphere that they had attended and made them as excited as Beaver Stadium did."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Kohne's Impact on the Team Goes Beyond the Game Statistics

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10461762.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - So far this season, Kindrah Kohne has been affecting the Penn State women's soccer team in a way that goes beyond statistics. 

While the New York native and senior has 234 minutes of playing time and four shots so far this season, Kohne's biggest asset to the team can't be found on the stat sheet. What makes Kohne an essential piece to the team is her ability to be the glue that keeps everyone together.

"One thing I want to leave behind for this team after graduation is the change in environment of turning the team into a family," said Kohne.

Part of what makes the 2014 team so successful is the chemistry between the players. Kohne is someone on the team that has been the driving force for this transformation from team to family.

"What makes Kindrah special is her team first attitude. She has played four years with us now and has done so with more class dignity than any college athlete I've ever seen before," said head coach Erica Walsh. "Without her we would of never been able to create the environment this team has."

As her final season winds down, Kohne has been reflecting on her time in Happy Valley and the kind of legacy she wants to leave behind.

"I want to leave this season with no stones unturned," said Kohne. "I make sure to give it my all for every game since I never know how many minutes I'll get during a game so I want to maximize my opportunities for this whole season since it is my last."

With such a young team in 2014, Kohne made sure back in August that the team's 11 freshmen had no problem transitioning into collegiate soccer.

"I wanted to make sure the freshmen felt welcomed and made a point to get to know each of them right from the get-go," she said. "I wanted them to know I'm always here to help if they need or want to talk about anything since the demands of the season and school can get crazy at times."

Her compassion and eagerness to help goes beyond making new players feel welcomed.

Fellow midfielder Kori Chapic, who is also one of Kohne's roommates, cited her as one of the most influential players on the team.

"A lot of people on the team know she's someone that can always help them with their problems and is always that shoulder to lean on if needed," said Chapic. "She just likes to make people smile."

Having four years of experience under her belt, Kohne has improved greatly as a player and brings her team first attitude on the field with her.

"On the field she always make sure to get the details right. In soccer, details are so important positioning wise and she always knows how to put herself in the best place," said Chapic. "She makes everyone else's job that much easier whenever she is in the game."

Although she may not be a fixture in the starting lineup, Kohne is the type of player the team can rely on in tight games.

"When the team is in a tight situation and you look down the bench and see Kindrah we know as coaches she'll get the job the team needs done. She's earned our trust as a player," said Walsh.

Earning the team's trust as a reliable player and a true friend, Kohne's impact on the team is something that goes beyond game statistics.

The family feel that the 2014 Penn State's women soccer team wouldn't be possible without a genuine player such as Kohne.

"She's had such a positive impact on the players, coaching staff, and this program. She's one that we'll remember for years to come," said Walsh.

Lions Looking to Build on Road Victories

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10394883 (1).jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team faced adversity two weeks ago as they fell to No. 15 Illinois in a 3-1 match, but the Lions roared back on the road last weekend to earn two-straight wins.

Now, Penn State is looking to carry that momentum into a pair of home matches.

Penn State headed to No. 14 Purdue last Friday evening and came out victorious in a tough five-set (26-24, 23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-9) battle. The Nittany Lions won the first set, but came up short in the next two sets. The team was able to regroup and collect themselves to regain momentum and win the following two sets and the match.

"We stayed confident in each other [when we were down a set] and trusted our ability in things we've done in practice and fighting hard for every point," said senior Dominique Gonzalez. "I think the belief that we have in each other and the confidence that we had that we could pull it out really helped us."

Penn State's momentum continued into the next night as the Nittany Lions swept Indiana (25-11, 25-19, 25-15) at University Gym.

"It was a huge team effort," said junior Aiyana Whitney. "The hunger proved ourselves that we can do great things and we can win matches, like those tight matches in hostile environments and that's something we really wanted, so we rallied as a team to better the team effort."

This weekend, the Nittany Lions hope to continue their drive from their two wins as they return to Rec Hall to take on Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday evening and Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

"I think [winning] builds a little team morale," said Gonzalez. "We kind of needed those wins. It was a battle at Purdue, so that helped out a lot, but going into this weekend, they're two different teams that fight very hard and they're coming to Rec Hall, but that doesn't mean anything if we don't play the way we should play. They're two really tough teams. Michigan beat Nebraska, which is a great win, so they're strong teams with great setters and great offense and defense and it's going to be a tough matchup, but we're preparing the best way we can."

In preparation for this weekend's matchups, focus has been high on the practice court this week.

"We have been working a lot on our blocking," said Whitney. "We've been putting a lot of time and effort into trying to make that more of a strength rather than a weakness, so I think that's something we want to emphasize on this weekend knowing that these are great attacking teams and that's something we definitely need to step up if we want to be successful this weekend."

With a good week of practice and more confidence, the team is ready for this weekend.

"We're feeling a little better about where we are. I think we're pretty focused in practice, so I would love for [our confidence and momentum] to carry into the matches this weekend," said Whitney.

Though there is still a long season ahead, the players want to focus on taking each match one at a time.

"We're trying to be focused on every match as best we can and focused on playing every team as hard as we can, said Gonzalez. "We have to take one match at a time. We can't look past any match or look onto the tournament until we get through conference."

Whitney echoes her teammate and believes that the team has a lot to build on for the future.

"I think this team has great potential. I know that everyone thinks we're super young and that's true, but I think we can do great things. We're working hard right now, so down the road, we're playing to our fullest potential," said Whitney.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Ohio State Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday (8 p.m. on ABC) against Ohio State.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Newbill Ready to Lead Nittany Lions

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9857407.jpegBy Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- While the position may be familiar, the circumstances have certainly changed for D.J. Newbill.

For the second time in three years, the senior finds himself as the starting point guard of the Nittany Lion basketball team, having played there for nearly the entire 2012-'13 season. This time around however, he's a bit more prepared for the challenge.

In 2012, Newbill was thrown into the fire when star point guard Tim Frazier went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon four games into the season, and was forced to play a position he was unfamiliar with.

Two years later, with a year of experience playing the point and an All-Big Ten nod as a shooting guard last year under his belt, the Philadelphia native is ready to resume ball-handling duties once more.

"I think I'm very comfortable," Newbill said. "Coming into the season, I didn't know if I was [playing point] so I prepared myself just in case.

"But I'm sure coach is going to play me some at the point. All offseason I worked on ball handling and things like that so I'm feeling pretty comfortable."

Although head coach Patrick Chambers currently has Newbill penciled in as the team's point guard, it is likely that the senior will play both on and off the ball throughout the season.

One of the best offensive players in the Big Ten, Newbill finished second in the conference in scoring average last season with 17.8 points per game and has led the Lions in scoring the past two seasons.

The key for the Newbill this year will be increasing his assist total now that Frazier, the program's all-time assist leader, has graduated. While he averaged just 1.7 dimes last season playing mainly as the shooting guard, he averaged a more robust 4.0 when playing the point as a sophomore.

"Whatever's going to make our team the most successful, whether it's him on the ball or him off the ball," Chambers said. "Because he's very efficient, and you can see his numbers from last year, and he does a great job of reading ball screens."

Not only will Penn State need Newbill to help replace Frazier's passing skills, it will also need him to fill the leadership void left by the departed guard.

A five-year player, Frazier not only was one of the greatest players in Penn State history, but also the voice of the team and the face of the program.

Now that he has gone, the Lions will look to Newbill to help fill those roles and also assist fellow captains senior forward Ross Travis, junior forward Brandon Taylor and senior guard Kevin Montminy grow as leaders themselves.

"For all of us, it's coming to practice everyday and raising the level of competition and trying to maximize guy's ability everyday in practice," Newbill said. "Ultimately, we're all leaders of the team so I think it's good when the guys see us stepping up and taking that role, especially for the younger guys."

For Newbill, leading by example is especially important, as the Nittany Lions have a host of new guards for him to mentor.

Currently, Penn State has true freshmen Shep Garner and Isaiah Washington and junior and Vincennes University transfer Devin Foster battling for playing time.

"I think Devin might be one of the best passers I've seen in a long time," Newbill said. "His decision making coming out of the pick and roll is one of the best I've seen coming through this program.

"Isaiah, I think he's going to be a great defender for us, he's long and athletic. And Shep is just going to be a tough nosed guard, coming in playing hard every possession and defending and rebounding."

The development of those players will be key to the success of the Nittany Lions, as it will give Chambers the flexibility to play Newbill at both guards spots.

Even if Newbill does stay at the point full-time, he will need someone to spell him for a breather once in a while. As much as Chambers relies on the skills of the 6-foot-4 guard, he knows it isn't in the best interest of the team to overuse him.

"When you rely on Tim [Frazier] like we did and now we're trying to fight that with D.J.," Chambers said. "He's such a constant and he's so reliable and very efficient that you want him out there for 40 minutes. I take him out of practice now because we have to learn to play without him on the floor.

"We're starting to earn the trust [with the backups] where I believe they'll come in and lift us up."

What Chambers likes the most about his team's guard situation is that he has plenty of options to choose from. Making that possible is Newbill, who has stated he doesn't mind what spot he plays as long as the team is winning.

"D.J. Newbill wants to do what's best for this team," Chambers said. "Whether that is the one or the two." 

2014 Opponent Previews - Ohio State

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10458955.jpegOhio State | Beaver Stadium | 8 p.m. | ABC

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions take on No. 12/13 Ohio State on Saturday in a primetime matchup.  Get to know the Buckeyes in this week's scouting report.

Urban Meyer, who is in his third year leading the Buckeyes, owns a 29-3 record at the school and a career mark of 133-26.  The scarlet and gray are coming off a 2013 campaign in which they went 12-2, including 8-0 in the Big Ten and played in the Orange Bowl.  The Buckeyes returned 38 letterman and 10 starters.

Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten last weekend with a 56-17 victory against Rutgers.  The Buckeyes compiled 585 yards, including 324 on the ground.  Quarterback J.T. Barrett continued a strong year, completing 19-of-31 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.  The redshirt freshman added 107 yards and two scores rushing.  Six different Buckeyes got at least four carries, with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 69 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Curtis Samuel added 59 yards on four carries and Rod Smith scored on a 3-yard run.  Receiver Michael Thomas caught four passes for 55 yards, while fellow wideout Evan Spencer caught a touchdown pass.  Tight end Nick Vannett caught two touchdown passes, totaling 38 yards.

The Buckeye defense allowed 345 yards and forced three turnovers.  They also totaled nine tackles for loss and four sacks.  Cornerback Doran Grant and linebacker Joshua Perry tied for a team-leading seven tackles.  Grant added an interception.  Defensive end Joey Bosa made five stops, including two sacks.  Rashad Frazier and Damon Webb each forced a fumble, with Eli Apple returning a fumble four yards for a touchdown. 

Ohio State's offense ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 46.5 points per game and has scored at least 50 points in each of their last four games.  The Buckeyes lead the conference in total offense, averaging 533.8 yards per game.  They average 259.8 yards on the ground and 274 yards through the air, ranking fifth and third in the conference, respectively.

Replacing the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Braxton Miller, is not an easy task. But after Miller suffered a right shoulder injury during preseason practice, Barrett stepped up into the starting role and has not looked back.  Barrett leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency, passing touchdowns and total yards per game and ranks second in passing yards per game. The redshirt freshman has completed over 65 percent of his passes for 1,615 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.  He has also added 383 yards and four touchdowns rushing.  In his last four games, Barrett has thrown 17 touchdown passes and only one interception, with at least four touchdowns in each game.

Elliott leads a host of options at running back with 531 yards and four touchdowns on 91 carries, good for an average of 5.8 yards per carry.  Elliott is also very involved in the passing game, with 14 catches for 137 yards.  Samuel, a 5-foot-11 freshman, averages seven yards per carry with a total of 251 yards and two scores. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound senior Smith has added four touchdowns and101 yards on 24 carries and also has a receiving touchdown.

In the passing game, nine different players are averaging at least one catch per game.  Thomas, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, leads the group with 21 catches for 377 yards and five touchdowns.  He averages 18 yards per reception. Six-foot-one senior Devin Smith averages nearly 30 yards per catch, with a total of 355 yards and five scores on 12 catches.  Senior Evan Spencer has added 73 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. H-Back Dontre Wilson, a speedy player at 5-foot-10, has caught 14 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, while fellow H-Back Jalin Marshall, 5-foot-11, has nine catches for 97 yards and two scores.  Vannett leads the tight ends with 10 receptions for 120 yards and three touchdowns.

The Buckeye offensive line includes a senior, two juniors, a redshirt sophomore and a redshirt freshman.

Defensively, Ohio State allows 20.2 points per game, ranking fourth in the Big Ten. They also rank fifth in the conference in total defense, giving up 319.5 yards per contest.  The Buckeyes allow only 181.7 yards passing, ranking 2nd in the conference, and 137.8 yards rushing, ranking sixth.  Ohio State has forced 14 turnovers, including 10 interceptions, and rank third in the conference with a plus-five turnover margin. Eight different Buckeyes have at least one interception.

The Buckeyes boast one of the top defensive lines in the nation, led by sophomore Joey Bosa.  The 6-foot-5, 278-pound Bosa has a rare blend of power and quickness, as shown by his nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2014.  He leads the Big Ten, averaging 1.5 TFL per game, and has forced three fumbles.  Joining Bosa is 6-foot-2, 288-pound senior tackle Michael Bennett, who has three tackles for loss, a sack and has batted down two passes. Fellow tackle Adolphus Washington has recorded 14 stops, four for loss and a sack.

At the linebacker position, Perry leads the defense with 45 tackles, including 27 solo, and three for loss. He also has 0.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.  Senior Curtis Grant has 32 stops this year, with 13 solo, three for loss and a sack.  Freshman Darron Lee has recorded 27 tackles, including six for loss, two sacks and an interception.  Lee also returned a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown against Navy.

Senior Doran Grant leads the secondary. The cornerback has made 24 tackles this year (19 solo).  He also has two interceptions and four pass breakups.  On the other side of the field is freshman cornerback Eli Apple, who has two interceptions and three pass breakups.  Safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell have recorded 35 and 33 tackles, respectively, and each has an interception.

Kicker Sean Nuernberger has connected on six of his nine attempts, including a long of 46 yards.  Kyle Clinton handles the kickoff duties, averaging 62 yards per kick with 16 touchbacks.  Punter Cameron Johnston averages 44.2 yards per punt and has placed eight inside the 20-yard-line.  Dontre Wilson is responsible for kick and punt returns.  He averages 22.2 yards per kick return.

What Urban Meyer is saying about Penn State:

"Number one rush defense in the country. They are very well coached up front. They have good personnel up front."

"Obviously we have a lot of respect for that big quarterback, Hackenberg. Tremendous player. Statistically came out of the chute high with a high completion percentage."

"We did go on the road once (this year), but obviously 110,000 is different than 50,000 some. We were there (in 2012). I remember Shelley and I were both like, that's one of the top five atmospheres we ever played in. We can expect that same type of reception."

Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by Student Writer Paul Marboe.

Nittany Lions Take on Back-to-Back Travel Meets

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9423877.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are making a quick turnaround from the Virginia Tech Challenge this past weekend as they look ahead to another road competition.

The women returned home victorious, toppling Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Liberty and James Madison. The men fell to the Hokies, but defeated Old Dominion. This was the first away meet of the season, and it followed the season opening win for both the men and women against Georgia Tech.

Following the trip to Virginia Tech, the Nittany Lions are travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers in a Thursday evening match-up this week.

"We've got recruits coming this weekend, and it's our last weekend for recruiting for the season," explained head coach Tim Murphy. "We had to move the West Virginia meet up so we could get back, get some training in and be ready to host."

The Nittany Lions have a strong record against the Mountaineers. The women have been undefeated against West Virginia for the past decade, while the men have been victorious in their past three meetings with the Mountaineers.

The biggest challenge for Penn State will be adjusting from back to back travel meets in a short span of time.

"It's definitely going to be hard on our bodies," senior Carolyn Fittin said. "But we know how to race and I think we will be ready to go once we get there."

Fittin had a strong performance at the Virginia Tech Challenge, posting a win in 50-yard freestyle and contributing to first place finishes in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

"I think we had some really great swims this past weekend," said Fittin. "But, we definitely have some things to work on as a team in order to keep getting better."

This is an important part of the season for the Nittany Lions in terms of training. Between building endurance in the pool and lifting, they are focusing on the bigger picture-- their mid season meet in December and championship meet in February. Each dual meet represents an opportunity to race and improve under tough training.

Looking towards Thursday in Morgantown, Fittin shared some goals for the women's team.

"Some of us are going to be swimming off events," Fittin said. "We really have to focus on ignoring how tired we may be from a long week of traveling and get into racing, regardless of whether or not we're swimming one of our main events."

Following their meet against West Virginia, Penn State will have a week before Villanova visits Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions will host the Wildcats on the 31 at 3 p.m. for a Halloween match-up in McCoy Natatorium.

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Athletics and the Red Cross will team up once again to demonstrate their 'One Team' bond in a blood drive that will honor Penn State track and field jumps and multi-events coach Fritz Spence.

Spence has been a part of the Penn State family for eight years and carries a long record of success including having coached 15 All-American athletes, various NCAA qualifying athletes, and many, many winners.

However, Spence doesn't just coach victors - he is a part of them.

In February of 2008, Spence was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer that begins in the bone marrow and is known to spread very quickly.

After what seemed like endless treatments, long nights in the hospital, and a tough bone marrow transplant, Spence prevailed and now stands as a strong and proud cancer survivor.

The blood drive, which is sponsored by Penn State Track and Field, is run by volunteers and student-athletes who dedicate their time to make sure the event runs smoothly and successfully.

Senior Michael McClelland (Washington, Pa.) runs the event on the student-athlete side making sure there are volunteers available to work the event. He is also in charge of letting all Penn State Athletics teams know about the blood drive and he is a primary spokesperson for the drive informing all volunteers and donors of the importance of the event.

"Michael has done a really good job of organizing the event and getting the student-athletes to volunteer and come out, he is one of my key committee members. He's really very supportive," said Spence.

"I'd say people all across campus are motivated to make this event a success. I'm invested [in the event] and I think [everyone] can tell," said McClelland. "Coach Spence is not a super emotional guy but I can tell he's appreciative. I can tell this means a lot to him and he's really thankful for the work I'm doing and the entire team is doing to make sure this is successful."

McClelland says the goal for the blood drive is to get 50 volunteers to donate 35-36 units, which has proven to not be a problem. Last year, they had such a big turn out that they had to reject donors.

Spence is overwhelmed by the success of the event, which he hopes becomes a long-lasting tradition for the University.

The blood drive is also a very important part of Spence's life. He points out that this is his way of giving back to the community that was so supportive of him when he was in need and he hopes that every donor and volunteer understands the significance of events like these.

"It's important to give and to give back because you never know when it will be your turn or your family's turn to get blood," he said. "The statistics are one in seven [people] that will need blood in their lifetime. [You] will know someone, sometime in your lifetime that will need blood."

The blood drive will take place in Rooms E and F of the Bryce Jordan Center on Mon., Oct. 27th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
There will be a double red donation opportunity.

To schedule an appointment visit and click on the blood drive tab or go to and use the sponsor code: psu.