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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn
State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal
fans on Thanksgiving.
As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the
Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State
Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unrivaled support you give
every team on campus. Penn State's teams
would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.
As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus
would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give
them throughout the athletic season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session inside Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions host Michigan State in Saturday's Senior Day game (3:30 on ABC).
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Head coach Patrick Chambers normally enters the locker room at halftime with a
handful of things he wants to see out of the Nittany Lions in the second half.
Down 45-32 at the break against hot-shooting Akron in the BJC on Tuesday night,
he only needed to say one thing to the team at the break. It was a crystal
clear message to the Nittany Lions. And it was a message the group took to
"We always like to give them five things that they need to adjust or work
on and we didn't need five," Chambers said. "They (Akron) shot 60-percent from
two and 42-percent from three, we were throwing the ball all over the place, we
were walking around and there was no energy or juice, so sometimes it just
comes down to wearing the jersey. Taking pride in wearing the jersey, taking
pride in everything we've been through here the last three and a half years. At
some point that has to come out, there has got to be a fire in those bellies in
that locker room that's tired of it and I think that's what you saw in the
Penn State roared out of the halftime break with a game-altering 16-0 run in
the opening 6:55. Ross Travis ignited the surge with a dunk on the opening
possession of the half, and the Nittany Lions never looked back in a thrilling
78-72 win over the Zips. Penn State shot 64 percent from the field in the final
20 minutes and held Akron to just 21 percent shooting. The Nittany Lions played
with a purpose and were not going to be denied.
"We're tough to play for 40 minutes," said senior D.J. Newbill. "The first half
was over. Coach always says, forget what happened in the first half, we have
another half to play basketball. Coach made some adjustments in the lineup. He
made some defensive adjustments and we went zone in the second half. That
helped, because their cuts were getting shots. We came out hitting and getting
stops. The stops led to easy offense, which we weren't getting in the first
Newbill a Model of Efficiency
Newbill's efforts in Penn State's first six games of 2014-'15 have been
nothing short of stellar. The senior guard is averaging 24.5 points per game,
which leads the Big Ten. But what's more impressive than Newbill's scoring is
how efficient he has been. The Philadelphia native is shooting 49 percent from
the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc, 84 percent from the foul line, and
he is averaging 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Newbill has been as
clutch as he has been efficient, as well. He scored 15 of his game-high 29
tallies against Akron in the final 11:35 of the ballgame. What stands out most
to Coach Chambers is Newbill's unselfishness and ability to make those around
Taylor Steps Up
Tuesday night's game may not have been junior Brandon Taylor's
best shooting night, but it's hard to remember a bigger sequence of shots in
the forward's Nittany Lion career than his back-to-back threes in the second
half on Tuesday. Taylor's consecutive triples handed the Lions their first lead
in the second half and played a huge role in the dynamic of the game. He
finished with 14 points and seven boards.
"Yes, he got hot at the right time. He got hot and they (his teammates) were
feeding him too. D.J. (Newbill) passed up a three to give it to him which just
shows you what he's all about," Chambers said. "He sees a hot hand and he gives
it up. He is a special kid. But he (Brandon Taylor) hit some big ones and I
knew he would. I just felt the last two days he shot the ball really well here
and he was disappointed with his performance in Charleston, so I felt like he
was going to come out and make shots. Now 4-11 is not a great clip (from
three), but he made shots when we needed him to make shots."
Bucknell Up Next
After enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with one another on Wednesday, focus has
shifted towards a trip to Bucknell on Friday (4 p.m.). The Nittany Lions will
wear throwback uniforms to honor Penn State's first color combination - pink
and black - against the Bison. The Lions will also wear the throwback uniforms
against Virginia Tech next Wednesday (7:15 p.m.) in the BJC during the Big
Ten/ACC Challenge. Friday's game at Bucknell will mark Penn State's first trip
to Lewisburg since 1976.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive coordinator and safeties
coach Bob Shoop spoke with the media on Thursday. The Nittany Lions host Michigan State in the
final regular season game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ABC). Take a look at a
Q&A with Shoop.
When you got here in January and looked at all of the personnel, did you think
this unit could play as well as it has this year?
Shoop: "At that time, I didn't know. When I got here, I'd studied all
of the personnel and I knew there was potential. I knew there was a nice
nucleus of seniors...I knew Deion Barnes. I knew who Austin Johnson was. I knew
C.J. Olaniyan. I certainly knew who Mike Hull and Adrian Amos were. The guys
are hungry. They are team-first individuals. They play hard. And I think is a
group that embodies the thought that the whole is greater than the sum of its
parts. They've been really neat overachievers."
Were you able to put your finger on what the defense needed to do a little bit
better at the end of the Illinois game and how did the unit bounce back?
Shoop: "It was just a couple plays. (Mike) Dudek and (Reilly) O'Toole
made a couple plays. And I think you certainly give them credit. Bill Cubit is
an outstanding offensive coordinator. Dudek played a great game on senior day,
and O'Toole came up with a couple big plays. We misplayed the first two. We
played 72 snaps in that game. You hold them to 282 yards and 14 out of 16 on
third down and you don't execute in the two-minute drill. We stepped up at the
end and made them kick a field goal, but we needed to block it obviously at
that particular point. I think Coach might have said this yesterday; there is a
difference between playing well and playing winning football. We need to
execute in all situations. We didn't do as well as we needed to at the end of
the Illinois game.
"We did a two-minute drill yesterday against the offense, and they executed
very, very well. They are a resilient group. They are very confident. We always
have a 24-hour rule, good or bad. Twenty-four hours after the game, we have a
Sunday meeting to debrief the previous day's game. I show them a good, bad and
ugly tape. We evaluate all of the situations to show what we did well and what
we did poorly. And then we move on to the next opponent. The players are really
excited to play Michigan State this weekend."
What can you say about Ryan Keiser and what he meant to the defense? And how
much will it mean to you to see him get honored with the senior class?
Shoop: "Words probably can't express what it means to me to see him out
on the field with his teammates on Saturday. That was really one of the
weirdest, flukiest things I've ever gone through as a coach on the Thursday
before Ohio State...We thought he had the wind knocked out of him, and then for
him to have gone through what he has gone through during the past month has
been tough. Someone put it really well to me, there is probably no one in our
program more equipped to handle such a thing than Ryan because he is married.
He's so mature. He recognizes that football is what he does and not who he is.
He's handled it incredibly well and unselfishly. I've gotten to know his wife
McKenzie during this period better than I knew her before. What he brought to
the team that people don't recognize, he is one of those unique people who can
make everyone around him not only a better player, but a better person. I
include myself in that...As good of a football player as he is, he is a better
person. He can be on my team any day. I can promise you that."
How would you describe the improvement Deion Barnes has made this year and his
commitment to get better?
Shoop: "Deion is awesome. I saw it when I first got on the job here.
When I first got on the job here the perception was that in (2013), he took a
little bit of a step backwards. I watched a lot of the game film, and I didn't
necessarily see it that way. He and Sean Spencer developed an incredible
relationship. And he and I developed a really good relationship. He's a man of
few words. He doesn't say a whole lot, but his approach to getting better as a
person and as a football player everyday was incredible...There is probably not a
player who practices more consistently than he does. He has great fundamentals.
He has great techniques."
How much of an impact do you think Mike Hull has had on Nyeem Wartman and
Brandon Bell through the whole season?
Shoop: "That is a great question. Mike Hull has had an impact on our
entire unit, this entire team, and maybe the entire program. I don't know that
I have ever seen a person be more of an ultimate teammate than he is. Similar
to Deion, Mike is a person of few words. It's not like he is the most vocal
guy. But when he says something, it has a significant amount of substance. To
him, it's not talking about it, it's being about it. It's about how he
approached winter program, how he approached the new staff with tremendous
energy, about how he embraced being the quarterback of the defense. Certainly,
he helped Brandon and Nyeem take their games to another level. But certainly he
helped a lot of people on the defense take their game to the next level. In
some ways, he's like a quarterback on the field. And he has really taken the
next step now that Keiser is out."
Remarks on the Michigan State offense...
Shoop: "Michigan State will certainly provide as tremendous of a
challenge that we have faced all year. Connor Cook is an outstanding
quarterback who is playing really well. (Jeremy) Langford is a tremendous
running back. They have great depth at running back. They've got good tight
ends. They've got a stable full of wide receivers. And their offensive line is
really very, very good."
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Michigan State | Beaver Stadium | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
Pa. - Penn State hosts No. 10/8 Michigan State on Saturday in the final game of
the regular season. Get to know the Spartans in this week's scouting report.
Mark Dantonio is in his eighth year leading the Spartans. Dantonio is 73-31 at
Michigan State and 91-48 overall. The Spartans went 13-1 overall and 8-0 in the
Big Ten in 2013, winning the Big Ten Championship and defeated Stanford, 24-20,
in the Rose Bowl. Michigan State returned 46 lettermen and 12 starters from
The Spartans improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play with a 45-3 win
over Rutgers last Saturday. Michigan State's offense gained 520 yards,
including 242 on the ground. Quarterback Connor Cook completed 16-of-24 passes
for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jeremy Langford gained 126 yards
and scored twice on 16 carries. Fellow back Nick Hill contributed 61 yards and
two touchdowns on 12 carries. Tony Lippett caught five passes for 72 yards and
a touchdown. R.J. Shelton had three receptions for 39 yards and a score.
Michigan State allowed only 234 yards and 95 yards rushing. The Spartans also
forced three interceptions, with safety Kurtis Drummond, linebacker Riley
Bullough and cornerback Arjen Colquhoun all recording picks. Drummond added six
tackles, including five solo. Linebacker Ed Davis led the Spartans with seven
tackles. Defensive tackle Joel Heath added five stops, two for loss and a sack.
The Spartan offense averages nearly 44 points per game, ranking second in the
conference. They lead the conference averaging 514.5 yards and 269 passing
yards per game. They also rank fifth in the Big Ten in rushing offense,
averaging 245.5 yards.
Junior Connor Cook sits atop the Big Ten with 2,720 yards passing. He has
completed 59 percent of his passes and thrown 21 touchdowns and five
interceptions. Cook also has two rushing touchdowns.
Jeremy Langford, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior, has 1,242 yards, averaging 5.7
yards per carry, with 17 touchdowns. Langford has rushed for 100 yards in 14
straight Big Ten regular-season games. It is the longest 100-yard streak in the
FBS for regular-season conference games since STATS began tracking records in
1996. Langford also has eight catches for 55 yards. Five-foot-eight, 196-pound
senior Nick Hill has contributed 596 yards and nine scores, while 6-foot-1,
228-pound sophomore Delton Williams has 314 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior Tony Lippett leads the Spartan receivers with 56 catches for 1,071 yards
and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-3 Lippett averages 19.1 yards per catch. Junior
Macgarrett Kings Jr., 5-foot-10, has 336 yards and a score on 24 receptions. Tight
end Josiah Price, 6-foot-4, has 23 catches for 347 yards and five touchdowns.
The physical Michigan State offensive line includes two redshirt seniors, two
juniors and a sophomore. The five combine for 109 career starts. Center Jack
Allen and left tackle Jack Conklin were named midseason first team All-Big Ten
by Phil Steele.
The Spartan defense ranks in the Top 25 in the nation in virtually every major statistical
category. They rank 22nd in scoring defense, allowing 20.8 points per game, and
eighth in total defense, allowing 299 yards per game. They give up 103 rushing
yards per game, ranking eighth, and 196 passing yards, ranking 25th. Michigan
State leads the nation in turnover margin and has forced 31 turnovers. They
have returned three interceptions for touchdowns.
Defensive end Shilique Calhoun leads the line with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5
sacks. Calhoun has 33 tackles, tied for the lead on the line with fellow end
Marcus Rush, who also has 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Calhoun also has
a fumble recovery and Rush forced a fumble.
Davis leads the linebackers with 54 stops, 11 for loss and six sacks. Senior
Taiwan Jones has recorded 52 tackles, with 11 for loss and four sacks. He also
has an interception and a fumble recovery. Darien Harris has 44 tackles, with
three for loss, two fumbles and an interception.
In the secondary, Drummond leads with 59 tackles, 41 solo, and three for loss.
He also has four interceptions and nine pass breakups. Fellow safety R.J.
Williamson has three interceptions and has returned two for touchdowns.
Williamson also has 46 tackles and five pass breakups. Cornerback Trae Waynes
has two interception and six breakups, while Darian Hicks has two picks and
Kicker Michael Geiger has converted on 12-of-19 attempts, with a long of 42. Punter
Mike Sadler averages 41.3 yards per kick. R.J. Shelton handles the kick return
duties, averaging nearly 23 yards per return. Kings is the Spartans' punt
returner, averaging six yards per return.
Penn State leads the all-time series 14-13-1, on the field. The teams last met
in 2010, with the Spartans winning 28-22 at Beaver Stadium.
What Mark Dantonio is saying about Penn State:
"A great environment Penn State has. Very exciting to go over and play. I think
Penn State itself, Coach Franklin has a football team that's been extremely
close in a lot of games."
"When you look at them defensively, they're No. 1 in rushing defense. They are
top five in scoring defense, pass efficiency and total defense. So an excellent
"They have a quarterback that can throw it and a very productive wide receiver
in [DaeSean Hamilton]."
on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of the 2014-'15 men's basketball season. Tonight, the Nittany Lions face Akron inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with senior linebacker Mike Hull and junior Akeel Lynch leading up to the Michigan State game.
James Franklin Transcript - Nov. 25
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State (6-5, 2-5) returns home for the final regular season game of 2014 on
Saturday against No. 8 Michigan State (9-2, 6-1). The Lions and Spartans are
set to collide in a Senior Day showdown at 3:30 p.m. (ABC).
Head coach James Franklin previewed the matchup against the Spartans on Tuesday
afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.
Saturday will be a special day for 17 seniors on the roster. A group that has
been through seemingly everything during its time on campus will be honored
prior to kickoff. A senior class that stuck with the program during some of its
toughest times deserves a tremendous ovation from the Nittany Lion fans.
"I think what we've been through the last three years and what these guys have meant,
how they've stuck with this university and the football program and the
community as well have been tremendous leaders, have been tremendous
ambassadors both on and off the field and in the classroom," Franklin said. "It's
significant. I think everybody in our program, all the players kind of look up
to them, which is typically the case in most programs. But I think it's
magnified, obviously, from what they've been through."
Six of Penn State's seven captains for 2014 are seniors. The lone exception is
sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Coach Franklin said that the
captains met with him in his office on Saturday evening following the Illinois
game. It's a group of senior players that is incredibly passionate about the
program in every sense of the program.
"We sat there for probably at least an hour talking about a lot of different
things," Franklin said. "They've been awesome. I think it's probably like this
in a lot of professions, but you get frustrated or disappointed and you're
going through some challenges or adversity. As long as you're surrounded with
really good people that care and are committed, you can talk through it, you
feel better. I know they made me feel better. Gave me some perspective on some
things, really valuable. I think these seniors have been unbelievable. I know
myself as well as the rest of the staff and the young guys look up to him and
are very, very thankful."
Mike Hull will be one of the 17 players honored on Saturday. With every fiber
of his body, Hull embodies what this class and Penn State Football stands for.
A tremendous individual off the field, Hull has put together one of the best
seasons by any linebacker in school history. Hull enters the final week of the
regular season with 121 tackles (11.0 tpg), which ranks seventh in the nation.
Hull is excited for the challenge to compete against a superb offense in his
final game at Beaver Stadium.
"Yeah, it's definitely going to be a fun atmosphere. It's
going to be a great challenge," Hull said. "That's what we like especially
defensively. Want to keep our team in this game and give us every chance of
winning. We're just going to have to step up and it's going to be a really
While every game on the schedule is treated the same when it comes to the
squad's preparation, this week's Senior Day buildup adds an extra element of
anticipation for Franklin and the underclassmen. The Nittany Lions want to send
the group of 17 on a high.
"We're focused on playing Illinois this week at the end of the year," said
Franklin. "If people tell us we have an opportunity to go somewhere, we'll be
excited about going there. But we're focused on Illinois, and that's how you
make sure that you're able to come out and play as consistent as you possibly
can week-in and week-out, by taking it one game at a time."
The Nittany Lions and Spartans will meet for the 29th time on Saturday.
Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Michigan State offense:
"Great experience, seven starters, multiple pro offense, very balanced. Again,
one of the things that jumps out to you, their quarterback is having a great
year, but he's playing behind a really, really strong, physical, massive
offensive line that does a great run game and also does a great job protecting
them as well. That allows them to be balanced. No. 6 in the nation in scoring
offense, No. 7 in the nation in total offense, No. 11 in fewest turnovers. No.
1 in the Big Ten in passing offense. Connor Cook is having a great year. Running
back Jeremy Langford is having a really, really good year, and then you've got
wide receiver, No. 14, Tony Lippett is having a great year as well."
- Franklin on the Michigan State defense:
"They're a 4-3 team. Quarters in the secondary with two run support safeties
and they press you on the outside. You're pretty much one-on-one because those
safeties are run players. Probably the most similar defense that I've seen to
Alabama in terms of body-type and model. Their offense, defense, and special
teams are very specific about what they're looking for, long, athletic guys. D-line
is really long, linebackers are long. You look at the DBs and almost everybody
is over six-foot. They run to the ball extremely well. They're very physical.
They're No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, number three in the nation in
turnover gains recovered. No. 8 in the nation in rushing defense, and No. 15 in
sacks. No. 1 in the Big Ten in defensive touchdowns. They've forced 61 three-and-outs.
This is a good defense we're facing."
- Franklin on the Michigan State special teams:
"Special teams in Coach
Tressel. They're number 8 in the Big Ten in punting. Long, rangy, consistent
with their schemes. Been very, very impressed with what they do as well."
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion wrestling team moved to 3-0 over
the weekend with road victories at Pittsburgh and Clarion. GoPSUsports.com
caught up with sophomore Jimmy Gulibon for a weekly update on the Lions.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the heels of
back-to-back wins to cap off a trip to the Charleston Classic, the Nittany
Lions (4-1) will continue their stretch of seven games in 14 days on Tuesday
night when they take on Akron (3-1) inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State bounced back from a heartbreaking 106-97 double overtime setback
against Charleston last Thursday with a pair of victories. D.J. Newbill's
game-winner at the buzzer sealed a 72-71 win over Cornell on Friday. Penn State
finished off the trip to Charleston with a gritty 63-61 win against USC.
"Obviously, we wanted to win that first game so
we put ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but I thought we competed against
Charlotte," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "I think Charlotte is a really
good team. We competed. We played hard. We left everything out on that
court...We've got to just continue to develop and continue to get better."
Newbill was tremendous for the Nittany Lions in Charleston. The senior guard set
a tournament record with 83 total points in three games (27.7 ppg). That mark
included a 35-point effort against Charlotte. The scoring numbers speak for
themselves, but Newbill played with great efficiency. He shot 50 percent from
3-point range, 47 percent from the field and 85 percent from the foul line over
While the senior guard was tremendous, Chambers noted on Monday that he is
looking for more consistency from the post players as the Lions prep for two
games this week.
Akron enters Tuesday's game after knocking off South Carolina to finish its
trip to Charleston. The Zips defeated USC (66-46) before a setback to Miami
(79-51) sent them to the third-place game in the consolation draw. Freshman
Noah Robotham leads the Zips in scoring at 12.0 ppg.
Penn State and Akron have met six times prior to Tuesday's matchup (4-2, PSU).
Tip is slated for 7:30 p.m. following the Lady Lions' matchup against St.
Bonaventure at 5:30 p.m.
"It was great in Charleston, but there is no place like home," Newbill said.
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