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Transcript: Franklin | Transcript: Schwan | VIDEO: Schwan Q&A

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Penn State Football is headed to the Big Ten Championship game with a Saturday matchup against Wisconsin set for 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

"We are looking forward to seeing a big contingent obviously this week in Indianapolis," Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin said. "It should be fun. It should be exciting." 

Penn State is set to make its first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game, having claimed its third overall Big Ten regular season title and second divisional crown since joining the conference in 1993.

As he does weekly, Franklin recapped last weekend's 45-12 win against Michigan State before turning the focus toward Wisconsin.

Looking back at the Michigan State victory, Franklin was quick to point out that the Nittany Lions committed just one penalty, noting both focus and discipline as a key to another team win.

"The thing I'm probably most proud of is this team's focus overall, their discipline, and our chemistry," Franklin said.

With positive takeaways from offense, defense and special teams, Franklin also revealed Nittany Lion coaching staff's player of the week awards with Trace McSorley on offense, Brandon Bell and Marcus Allen splitting defense and Blake Gillikin earning special teams honors. 

Both McSorley and Bell earned a few more honors for their standout performances against the Spartans. McSorley earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor. 

Turning the focus toward the Badgers, Franklin stressed that consistency has been key for Wisconsin, which is making its fourth trip to the Big Ten Championship game in the last six years.

"What I would say about these guys is when you think in your mind or at least when I think in my mind of what a traditional Big Ten team is, that's who these guys are," Franklin said.

With a big physical presence on offense and a defense bolstered by a stout front seven and a strong linebacking unit, Franklin also made note of the Badger special teams unit. 

"The thing that really jumps out is they are solid and consistent in all phases on special teams," Franklin said.  "One of the things that they do on punt return is line up, screen move and shift their fronts. They've gotten so many people to jump off-sides by real fast screen jumping or moving guys down the line of scrimmage. It has caused everybody to jump off-sides. There's been some games it's happened multiple times." 

On the Quote Board -
-  Franklin on the matchup between Wisconsin's secondary and the Nittany Lion receivers. 

"I think the explosive plays come from Trace's mobility, when he is able to step up in the pocket and extend plays. He's also one of those quarterbacks that when he steps up in the pocket, even when he's kind of on the run, he's eyes are downfield."

"The other thing is, as good as defensive backs are all over the country, and specifically in the Big Ten, if the offensive line can protect and the quarterback can extend [the play], I don't care who you are, I think playing defensive back may be one of the most difficult positions in all of sports. You're basically doing everything that most people do backwards. It's all reactionary."

-  Franklin on the progress Ryan Bates has made. 

"I think that's probably one of the bigger stories of our season. We have always thought he was talented enough. Trust me, we got into a discussion with the staff the other day, Josh Gattis brought this up a long time ago, we've all kind of seen it and discussed it. There's some aspects of his body type that you'd say he's probably more fit for center or guard, but his feet and his athleticism and his comfort in space make him really good at tackle."

-  Schwan on the potential Wisconsin could utilize two quarterbacks.

"Throughout the entire season we've played teams that have had the same situation, where they'll put a guy in who's a bigger guy that can kind of run you over. They'll put a speed guy in to do certain jet sweeps. We'll prepare for that accordingly."

VIDEO: Wisconsin Week Player Q&A

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football is headed to the Big Ten Championship game with a Saturday matchup against Wisconsin set for 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Penn State's Evan Schwan took time to preview the upcoming matchup against the Badgers, while also taking a quick look at the journey to the title game. 

Men's Hoops Gameday Live - vs. Georgia Tech (11/29/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's basketball is back in action returning to the Bryce Jordan Center to square off against Georgia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Nittany Lions will don their black and pink throwback uniforms for the ESPNU matchup which tips at 7 p.m. 

Follow along with our live blog for all your in-game updates in one place and exclusive content.
Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday 2016-17 vs. Georgia Tech
 

Penn State Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky took time to recap the bye week while also providing a quick preview of the upcoming Big Ten opening weekend at home in Pegula Ice Arena. Nittany Lion Chase Berger also took time to preview the weekend of conference opening action, featuring a special addition to Friday's THON game.

Check out updates from both video sessions below.

 

Guy Gadowsky Chase Berger

Monday Notebook: Nittany Lions Join B1G Championship Call

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, linebacker Jason Cabinda and quarterback Trace McSorley all joined the Big Ten Football Championship Game conference call this afternoon ahead of the Wisconsin matchup Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Nittany Lions downed Michigan State 45-12 to earn a share of the Big Ten East Division title, earning a spot in the championship game Saturday at Beaver Stadium helped out by an Ohio State win against Michigan.

Separated into 10 minute segments, the trio of Nittany Lions talked everything from big plays to the buzz in Happy Valley following Penn State's third Big Ten regular season title in program history.

One common theme united the three though, a unique approach from the offseason throughout the year, focused on achieving a championship standard, something that's been embedded in their mindset for more than just the last eight consecutive wins.

"That's something that we talked about before the season started, we started talking about championships and focusing on the little things to get there," Barkley said. 

For Cabinda, it's simply an awesome experience to see all the hard work and dedication from the offseason begin to come to fruition. 

"Really this is the vision that we've had from the get-go in the beginning of the season and really through the offseason, we've been talking about winning a championship here and this is always the goal and the vision and what we've planned to do."

Check out a few more notes from today's teleconference. 

Saquon Barkley -

-  Barkley opened up with a quick note on Wisconsin's defense, which has limited opponents to just 13.7 points per game through the regular season, good for second in the conference and third nationally. The Badgers have also logged a national-best 21 interceptions this season.

"Wisconsin has a really good defense and they have the numbers to show for it" Barkley said. "They have a bunch of studs over there, so we have to come out really focused. It's going to be a really tough game, a physical Big Ten game and we have to come out ready for it." 

-  Barkley noted how the Nittany Lions have only benefitted from depth at the running back position, most recently illustrated by back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdowns from Andre Robinson against Michigan State and a career-high performance from Miles Sanders at Rutgers with 85 yards on five attempts. 

"We have that next man up mentality," Barkley said. "Obviously you don't want to see a teammate go down or not be able to finish a game, but you have to get the win and you have to be ready for your team when you're called on."

Jason Cabinda -

-  Following the win against the Spartans, Cabinda noted there has been a tangible buzz on campus as students are arriving back to campus, eager to support the team as it prepares for the trip to Indianapolis.

"They call it Happy Valley for a reason," Cabinda said. "I don't remember the last time I've seen Happy Valley this happy. There's just a buzz around the whole community, everyone's talking about the team and really what we've been able to accomplish so far this year."

-  Cabinda also took a quick look back at the Minnesota overtime victory, a moment where he was both pleased with the defense's next man up mentality as well as how the win revealed glimpses of true character. 

"You had young guys in there stepping up like Brandon Smith and Manny Bowen with some linebackers out and guys were stepping up," Cabinda said. "To get that win in OT and continue to see guys fight and grind, it was huge and it just shows the kind of character this team has." 

Trace McSorley -

-  McSorley recalled a moment a preseason camp last year where he realized Barkley was going to be a special piece of the Penn State offense. 

"There was one run that he had, kind of broke outside and we were doing a live drill and he made one cut and was gone. It was one of those cuts that you don't see all the time, it was pretty special just to see him do that." 

-  McSorley talked about the key to Penn State's explosive offense, which ranks among the best in college football in terms of long yardage plays. Averaging a national-best 16.17 yards per completion, McSorley is among the nation's best with the deep ball, slotted top five in passes of 20-, 30- or 40-plus yards.

"I think a big key has been our offensive line," McSorley said. "They've been doing a great job with protection all year, giving us quarterbacks time to look down field to take those shots, trying to get explosive plays, letting our receivers work on the outside." 

He also noted Penn State's ability to utilize play-action with Barkley, leveraging his threat to opponents out of the back field to create one-on-one opportunity for Penn State's deep group of talented wide receivers. 

"You have guys like Chirs [Godwin], Saeed [Blacknall] and DaeSean [Hamilton] outside, and the kind of talent at wide receiver, it helps get those guys on one-on-one matchups and we're confident in their ability to win those matchups."

Second Half Adjustments Key for Nittany Lions

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted postgame Saturday, the 2016 regular season has come to a close, but a new challenge though, is now on the horizon as the seventh-ranked Nittany Lions sped past Michigan State, 45-12, on the way to a Big Ten East Division title.

Backed by the mission to send a special senior class out with nothing less than win in their final game at Beaver Stadium, Penn State was on the grind from the very start of the game. The Spartans though, came out with chunk play after chunk play, scoring on their first four consecutive drives, as the Nittany Lions stalled slightly on offense.

It was the Nittany Lion defense though, that proved relentless from the start, limiting Michigan State to just four field goals on consecutive trips to the red zone. 

"In the first half, we kind of struggled getting them off schedule on first and second downs," senior defensive end Evan Schwan said. "But as soon as they got into the red zone every time, it was kind of an all or nothing mentality." 

The all or nothing mentality certainly paid dividends as defensive end Garrett Sickels came off the edge to bring Michigan State quarterback Damion Terry back for a loss of five on the first Spartan scoring drive, before Terry rushed an incomplete pass on third-and-goal, nearly sacked by a blitzing Brandon Bell.

On the second Spartan scoring drive, it was defensive end Ryan Buchholz who broke through to bring Michigan State running back LJ Scott down for a loss of five before Terry once again threw incomplete, with well executed coverage in the end zone from corner John Reid. 

Linebacker Manny Bowen highlighted the opening half, speeding around the edge to sack MSU quarterback Tyler O'Connor for a loss of nine on third-and-5 as the Spartans opted for their third field goal.

"The fact that we stopped them and they couldn't get into the end zone was a huge momentum swinger," Schwan said.

Momentum certainly shifted in favor of the Nittany Lions, as Franklin noted postgame that his halftime message in the locker room was simply to settle the team down and make necessary adjustments to create movement on the offensive side of the ball for the team to make plays in the second half. 

With Penn State already proving time and again this season the ability to find success in second half adjustments, those big plays plays dazzled the senior day crowd of more than 97,000 at home in Beaver Stadium.

Penn State's explosive offense came alive in the second half as Penn State scored five unanswered touchdowns to secure the win. Four of the five touchdowns came on long yardage pass plays, with quarterback Trace McSorley making gutsy passes of at least 34 yards, in a career-high effort.

McSorley found wide receiver Chris Godwin for 34-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to spark the offense. 

"All season long we've been one big play away from getting it done," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "We came out and when Chris caught that touchdown, that gave us the spark that we needed and that just kind of propelled it." 

Gesicki also contributed to the offensive momentum, following Godwin with a 45-yard touchdown grab of his own from McSorley, before Godwin added a 59-yard touchdown reception a few minutes later.

Gesicki closed out a productive day with 64 receiving yards, improving his season total to 610 yards, which sets a Penn State tight end single season record.

Check out Gesicki's touchdown catch below.

Connecting with McSorley, the Godwin-Gesicki duo accounted for 18 of Penn State's 21 third-quarter points with the Nittany Lions only having possession for 4:51 during the entire frame.

McSorley finished with a nearly unstoppable performance, logging his school-record tying fourth 300-yard passing performance with a career-best 376 yards through the air.

"Trace has got a really good feel in the pocket stepping up, knowing when he needs to run and knowing when he has a little bit more time to keep his eyes down the field to make big plays," Franklin said. "It's been fun to watch those guys make plays and it's been fun to watch Trace grow up in front of our eyes."

As the Nittany Lions prepare to look toward their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, Penn State is confidently guided by McSorley, who is the fourth Penn State quarterback to lead his team to 10 wins in his first year as the starting quarterback since Daryll Clark in 2008.

More from McSorley following the win below.

A Few Notes from the Big Ten Championship Game Coaches Conference Call
-  On Sunday afternoon's call, Franklin only echoed his point about Penn State's success in the second half. For context, Penn State is currently outscoring its opponents 274-102 in the second half on the year, helped out by the Nittany Lions' 35-0 run to close out the final half against the Spartans.

What has been the key to the success in second half adjustments this season?

"We're a young football team," Franklin said. "People do things to attack us based on game film, which is smart, but they come up with some things that are going to give us pause or give us some question or concern and when you have a young line - I think last week we traveled 13 linemen and either eight or nine were freshmen. People have done a good job attacking those guys and when those guys haven't had the experience that most offensive lines have, they don't play as aggressive as they need to, and it takes them a few reps to settle down. We're able to go in at halftime, get them settled down, explain to them what's going on." 

-  Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst had high praise for McSorley noting that he has really enjoyed watching him play this season, up until it became clear the Badgers would have to square off against McSorley and the Nittany Lions in the upcoming Big Ten Championship game. 

"He makes a lot of plays," Chryst said. "Certainly pushing the ball down the field, he competes and has a great energy about him, obviously is talented and makes plays with his arm, makes plays with his feet."

VIDEO: Postgame Players - Michigan State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 7 Penn State football earned the Big Ten East title with a 45-12 win against Michigan State Saturday at Beaver Stadium on senior day. 

Nittany Lions Trace McSorley, Jason Cabinda, Brandon Bell, Mike Gesicki, Chris Godwin and Brian Gaia took time to recap the win against the Spartans. 

VIDEO: Postgame James Franklin - Michigan State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 7 Penn State football earned the Big Ten East title with a 45-12 win against Michigan State Saturday at Beaver Stadium on senior day. 

Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin took time postgame to recap the victory against the Spartans, while also looking ahead to the Big Ten Championship matchup next week in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Beaver Stadium Extra - Penn State vs. Michigan State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Go behind the scenes with Penn State Athletics on football gameday for exclusive interviews and a closer look at team arrival, Nittany Lion senior day, special recognitions and more. 

Team Arrival & Senior Ceremony
Senior day in Beaver Stadium kicked off with a few Nittany Lion seniors heading the team arrival before all the Penn State seniors, managers and their families were honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the game. Follow the team in to Beaver Stadium and check out a few highlights from the ceremony. 

Weis Fight Hunger Program Recognition
Paring up with the Central Pennsylvania Food Banks and Penn State Athletics, Weis Markets has teamed up to fight hunger throughout the Central Pennsylvania region. Commissioning the Fight Hunger program, Penn State donated nearly 2,000 meal through the Stuff a Bus campaign, while also helping through various product purchases in Weis stores. Kevin Broe, VP of merchandising was in attendance today to present the 
Central Pennsylvania Food Bank with a $200,000 pledge from Weis Markets and Penn State Athletics for a state of the art Healthy Food Hub in Williamsport.

Nittany Lion Reveal
We got to meet the Nittany Lion mascot Jack Davis, who revealed his identity as the beloved Penn State Nittany Lion during the senior spirit group recognition. 

Postgame Celebration! 
From trophies on the field to postgame in the locker room, go behind the scenes with the Nittany Lions as they celebrate the win against Michigan State for the Big Ten East title.

2016 Gameday Live - No. 7 Penn State vs. Michigan State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live blog coverage of the 2016 Penn State Football season. The Nittany Lions and the Spartans are set for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at home in Beaver Stadium in the regular season finale on senior day. 

Follow along with our live blog for in-game updates and exclusive content. 
Live Blog No. 7 Penn State vs. Michigan State
 

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