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Happy Thanksgiving from Penn State Athletics

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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 unwavering 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.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Michigan State Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

The Nittany Lions travel to No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) kick in East Lansing. Take a look at the practice update from Michigan State week.

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Freshman Feature: Marsh Establishes Roots in Happy Valley

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11518517.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman forward Alec Marsh has seamlessly transitioned into the system of Penn State hockey and is off to a quick start, notching five goals and seven assists so far this season.

With 12 games as a Nittany Lion under his belt, Marsh has meshed in quite nicely amongst his teammates, learning the ways of Penn State hockey and using his talents on the ice. Since he has established himself as a strong forward with great puck-handling skills, Marsh is eager for more challenging opponents as Big Ten play draws closer.

"I'm looking forward to playing some of those [Big Ten] teams and seeing just what this team can do," said Marsh. "But every game is important, so we take it one game at a time."

However, prior to his success on the ice, the 20-year-old had to get used to being a student-athlete once again. Marsh, who played for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL from

2012-15 said that his time in Iowa prepared him for once again splitting time between the classroom and the rink.

"I went to high school in Cedar Rapids for two years so I'm kind of used to the whole going to school in the morning and playing in the afternoon routine," said Marsh.

Marsh also explained that his friendship with David Goodwin, prior to attending Penn State, was a big help when making the transition to college life. Goodwin and Marsh were teammates on the Roughriders during the 2012-13 season.

"Over the years, I had talked to Goodwin a lot about coming here and getting used to the system [the Nittany Lions] have," said Marsh. "So I definitely think it's been a big help."

Marsh, now playing on a line with senior David Glen and fellow freshman Andrew Sturtz, has found synergy with his line mates.

"It's been really great actually, I really enjoy playing with those guys," said Marsh. "They're both talented and it's cool to see what the three of us can do."

Marsh credits his line's success with being able to blend their individual talents and styles with the communication needed to make plays.

"I think we've already had some pretty good chemistry going," said Marsh. "I believe it shows on the ice and if we keep working hard, we'll keep making plays."

Marsh also noted his strong support system for his success in hockey. His family is often in attendance at both games in Pegula Ice Arena and away contests, if possible.

"They've been able to come out to a few games already [in Pegula Ice Arena] and even made it to our game at Canisius," said Marsh. "They have plans to be at more of them in the future, so having their support is really awesome, I really appreciate it."

Marsh, whose years in with Cedar Rapids along with his time with the Fargo Force and Sioux Falls Stampede distanced him from his family in New Jersey. Now in Central Pennsylvania, Marsh is happy to be back closer to home.

With his success early this season, Marsh is looking to build off this momentum and use it to help the Nittany Lions on the ice.

"Whatever I can do to get my team the win, I'll do it," said Marsh.

Penn State will face off against Vermont in Philadelphia this Sunday at 1 p.m. as part of the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. 

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Update - Kendall Pierce (11/25/15)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with senior defensive specialist Kendall Pierce in advance of Penn State's final two matches of the regular season, including Wednesday's Senior Night contest against Northwestern.

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Men's Hoops Gameday 2015-16 - Penn State vs. Radford

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015-16 Nittany Lion basketball season. Tonight, Penn State hosts Radford inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Live Blog 2015-16 Men's Hoops Gameday - Penn State vs. Radford

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2015 Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Michigan State Week

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11516786.jpegVIDEO: Michigan State Week Player Q&As | Transcripts - James Franklin | Players

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talked with the media for the final time on a game week in 2015 when he addressed questions on Tuesday afternoon to preview Penn State's trip to No. 6 Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-3) will meet the Spartans (10-1, 6-1) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. inside Spartan Stadium. Franklin reviewed Penn State's game against Michigan and looked ahead to the regular season finale against Michigan State inside the Beaver Stadium media room.

Penn State kicked off the final week of the regular season with a good practice on Sunday afternoon. The team participated in community service efforts on Monday in advance of Tuesday's practice, and all eyes are looking ahead. There were lessons to be learned from the Michigan game, but Coach Franklin and the team are excited about what is coming this week.

"Michigan State is
an experienced football team, a talented football team, so it should be a tremendous challenge," said Franklin. "But I know our guys are fired up about it. We've got a great opportunity on Saturday. There will be no way to send these seniors out better than to find a way to get a win on Saturday and go into the postseason with a lot of momentum, so looking forward to the opportunity."

Moving into the final week of preparations for the regular season, Coach Franklin wants to see more physicality out of the Nittany Lion offensive line and tight ends. The games where the Lions have been successful on offense this season are the ones where the Blue and White has set the tone up front.

"We had our opportunities, didn't take advantage of it (against Michigan)," said Franklin. "I think the things that jumped out to me and probably to everybody else, we need to be much more physical on the O-line and at tight end. There was times where we did not win those match-ups, too many times that we were getting knocked back in the backfield and made it difficult to consistently run the ball for positive yardage."

Coach Franklin's point gets magnified in the red zone when physical play in the trenches is essential to score touchdowns. Penn State has been one of the best teams in the conference all season long in converting red zone visits into points (92 percent). But to beat teams like Michigan or Michigan State, the Lions know they need to put touchdowns on the board.

Penn State has scored 20 touchdowns and 15 field goals in 38 red zone visits this season.

"When you get down there, you need to make the most of your opportunities," said quarterback Christian Hackenberg. "You don't beat good teams by kicking field goals (in the red zone)."

Much has been talked about the magnitude of Saturday's game for Michigan State. Simply put, the Spartans will play in the Big Ten Championship Game with a win over the Nittany Lions. Franklin noted on Tuesday that the Lions have plenty on the line Saturday, as well.

"We've got a chance to win eight games in the regular season," said Franklin. "We've got a chance to go into a bowl. We've got a chance to continue to do special things on the field and continue to build our program and our culture and the things that we're doing, so we're playing for a lot. Trust me, we're playing for a lot."

The Michigan State game marks Penn State's third contest against teams ranked in the nation's top 12.

The Nittany Lions will practice in shells on Tuesday and Wednesday before the final game week session on Thanksgiving Day. Saturday's game inside Spartan Stadium will kick at 3:30 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN.

Press Conference Notes:
- The Nittany Lions used their off day on Monday to participate in community service at The Village where approximately 45 members of the team spent time with the elderly during lunch hour. Additionally, the team went bowling on Monday afternoon.

- Coach Franklin on defensive tackle Austin Johnson's leadership...

"Austin is a guy that's very well-respected. He's graduating. He's doing it in the classroom. He's been a great teammate. You know, he's been very, very productive on the field, so yeah, I wouldn't say he's really outspoken, but there's times where he does speak up. He's also a guy that I see in our offices all the time. He's always up kind of watching film and hanging out with the coach. He's got a great relationship with Coach Spencer."

- Coach Franklin on the Michigan State defensive line...

"They're big and physical and long on the defensive line. At linebacker they're very, very productive, and in the secondary they are athletic and long, as well. I mean, that's kind of their model. It's like their whole defense is six-foot or taller, and they challenge you. They challenge every yard. They challenge every route. They're going to be in your face with press coverage on the perimeter, no gimme throws, no easy throws, and then they're going to use their safeties. They're going to get very involved in the run game, which puts their corners in some challenging positions at times, but their philosophy is they're going to get to you before you can get the ball out, and that philosophy has worked very well for them for the last couple years, and that's exactly what showed up again on Saturday."

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VIDEO: Michigan State Week Player Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with junior defensive tackle Austin Johnson, sophomore linebacker Troy Reeder and junior wide receiver Geno Lewis during Michigan State week.

Austin Johnson

Troy Reeder

Geno Lewis

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway and the program is nearing the start of its indoor season. GoPSUsports.com caught up with throws coach Patrick Ebel to get a preview of this year's athletes.

Ebel enters his fourth season with high expectations for the Nittany Lion throwing group. He's coached numerous athletes who have notched phenomenal throwing performances while winning titles and breaking records in his first three years at Penn State. Ebel had the pleasure of coaching Penn State great, and now professional thrower, Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.), who graduated last year after a remarkable throwing career in which he capped it off with a second place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 66 feet, 8.25 inches

Not having Hill competing will be different for the Nittany Lions, but he's left an impact beyond what he's done in the shot put circle. Coach Ebel mentioned that when Hill threw for Penn State he gave advice to the younger throwers on how to throw in big events. Even though Hill won't be suiting up in the blue and white this year, he can still be found at the Multi-Sport Facility working on his craft. The throwers that Hill has impacted look to follow up on his career with success of their own.

This year's throwing contingent has depth with a combined total of 22 throwers between the men and women. The group of women throwers returns three of its top performers in the shot put, weight throw, hammer, and discus events. For the women, senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.), sophomore Obeng Marfo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and junior Alyssa Robinson (Saint Clairesville, Ohio) were all Big Ten place winners last year and look to build upon those accomplishments this season. Coach Ebel expects big things from all three throwers.

Fatherly went on to qualify for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in shot put last season. She finished 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 54 feet, 8.25 inches.

The men's side is made up of many underclassmen throwers. Ebel said the group largely consists of incoming freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and sophomores. There are two seniors on the men's side, one of those throwers is Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.). Shuey is looking to repeat once again after winning the Big Ten outdoor javelin title the last two seasons with throws of 236 feet, 8 inches in 2014 and 236 feet, 2 inches in 2013. He also won the Big Ten outdoor competition in 2013 by over 26 feet. Coach Ebel expects a fair share of men throwers to represent Penn State at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships.

Both the men and the women throwers are continuing to train and prepare for the first official competition of the season in a few weeks. The indoor season kicks off with the annual intrasquad Blue-White Meet on Dec. 12. Following the Blue-White Meet, is the opening home Penn State Relays on Jan. 9.

For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www.
GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  

VIDEO: Lions Focused on Radford Matchup

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11514311.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Head coach Patrick Chambers wants the young Nittany Lions on the roster to learn from their experience at Duquesne on Friday night, but the previous game is an afterthought.

The Lions are focused on what is ahead and how they can continue to grow as the season rolls into its third week on Tuesday when Penn State (2-1) hosts Radford (3-2) inside the Bryce Jordan Center (6 p.m. on BTN). The clash with the Highlanders kicks off two-straight at home for the Blue and White.

"We had a great film session. We had a great day yesterday. Guys competed hard," Chambers said. "Guys were angry. Guys were disappointed. They were mad. And that's what I wanted to see. I wanted to see how they would respond. And hopefully we will respond that way tomorrow."

With the youth in the Penn State rotation, Chambers knows the season will be a process. The team will continue to grow as the rotation gets more experience in game situations. As Chambers said on Monday, the Nittany Lions took a blow for the first time on road at Duquesne on Friday when the Dukes buried 17 3-pointers. Now, it's up to the young players to learn from the experience and grow against Radford.

"We just have to continue to fight and continue to get better," Chambers said. "We need to continue to get these younger guys more significant minutes where they feel more comfortable."

Radford's early schedule was highlighted by an 82-80 double overtime win at Georgetown. The Highlanders also defeated Catawba (68-60) and Prairie View A&M (64-56), with losses coming at the hands of VCU (92-74) and Siena (76-62). Senior guard Rashun Davis is Radford's leading scorer at 14.6 ppg and six assists. The Highlanders have 10 players averaging more than 15 minutes per game.

Hear more about the state of the team and Tuesday's game from Coach Chambers.

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Monday Notebook: Senior Class Bonded by Loyalty

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seniors.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday marked the final Beaver Stadium chapter for a group that has been paramount to Penn State football's storied history during some of its toughest times.

Nineteen senior student-athletes were honored prior to Saturday's kick during the Senior Day ceremony, giving the 107,000 fans inside the stadium an opportunity to say thank you for all they have done. The seniors have two more opportunities to suit up in the Blue and White, and the group will embrace its chance to remain together as a family for the next few weeks.

Alongside its predecessors in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the 2015 football senior class will go down as a group of individuals who deserve a special place in Penn State's illustrious history.

It's fitting that the group is a smaller in numbers. Under the circumstances, the size of the class enabled the seniors to forge a tight-knit connection with one another through some of the program's most challenging days. The 2015 seniors have seemingly been through everything, but their commitment never once wavered, and the special bond they have with one another will never be broken.

For the past three, and in some cases four years, this group's actions have spoken louder than any words. These seniors played for one another. They played for their families. They played for the players who wore the blue and white before them. They played for Penn State.

"I came here to get a college degree from one of the best schools in America," said defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. "I'm going to accomplish that. And I've always just wanted to give everything I had for this football program, not just on the football field but in the community. This opportunity is something no one will ever take away from us. It's something I will never forget. And I am forever grateful."

Where do you even begin to start when you think about what it must have been like to walk in the shoes of guys like Kyle Carter, Angelo Mangiro, Carl Nassib or Anthony Zettel. Despite the odds of competing in major college football with a roster of limited scholarships, the group's mindset never changed.

"It would have been easy to let things get to you, but that's not who we are. We had a job to do, and we did it because we love being a part of this family," Zettel said.

This group's college experience has been unique to say the least, which is why the group deserves the utmost respect from any supporter of the program or intercollegiate athletics. They worked hard for one another in the toughest of circumstances because that is the only thing they knew how to do.

The Lions will meet the Spartans at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) on Saturday in Spartan Stadium in the final game of the regular season.

Full feature story on the senior class will be posted on GoPSUsports.com later this week.

Lions Lend a Hand to Begin Thanksgiving Week
Photo Gallery - Visit to The Village

The Nittany Lion football student-athletes have a lot to be thankful for as the calendar approaches the Thanksgiving holiday.

An opportunity to attend a world-renowned institution like Penn State and compete on the gridiron at the highest level is something the group takes very seriously. As figures in the community, the student-athletes understand the importance of giving back to the loyal supporters whenever the schedule permits.

With the academic calendar on Thanksgiving break for the week, Monday's off day was a terrific opportunity for the Nittany Lions to serve the community. Two buses filled with approximately 45 players traveled to The Village State College during the middle part of Monday to serve food, take photos, eat lunch and visit with the elderly.

"I just think it's a great opportunity for us to be with people who support us," said cornerback Grant Haley. "It's amazing to me. Some of these people are telling me that they have been coming to games since 1960. They are like, 'Your parents weren't even born.' I laughed. I think it just shows the support system we have. It's great to be here to give back to them."

The team will resume football game week duties on Tuesday.

Nassib Remains Nation's Leader in Three Categories
Despite very limited action against Michigan, senior defensive end Carl Nassib remains atop the NCAA rankings in three categories. Nassib will head into the final week of the regular season as the national leader in sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (6).

The Penn State season record holder in sacks, Nassib has averaged 1.41 sacks per game. He has at least one sack in 10 of the 11 games this season. Additionally, Nassib has averaged 2.0 tackles for loss per game.

Nassib is 2.0 sacks clear of Maryland junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is second in the nation in sacks at 13.5 on the season. Clemson defensive lineman Shaq Lawson is second nationally in tackles for loss with 19.0.

Early Look at Michigan State
Led by head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) is the sixth-ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 this week. The Spartans turned in a masterful defensive performance in a road victory over No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday. Kicker Michael Geiger nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired to knock off the Buckeyes, 17-14. The Spartan defense limited Ohio State to five first downs and 132 yards of total offense in the win.

With the victory in Columbus, Saturday's game will be a high stakes contest for the Spartans. A win this week would send Michigan State to the Big Ten Championship as the East Division champion against Iowa. Additionally, the Spartans are firmly in the mix for a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Offensively, senior quarterback Connor Cook headlines the group. Cook is averaging 282.2 passing yards per game and is tied for the Big Ten lead with 21 passing touchdowns this season. Those numbers come despite missing last week's game in Columbus with a shoulder injury. Cook has thrown for 2,482 yards this season. Wide out Aaron Burbridge is the Big Ten's top receiver with 69 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Defensively, Michigan State is ranked No. 26 in the nation in total defense. Linebacker Riley Bullough and defensive end Shilique Calhoun lead the defense. Bullough has made 83 tackles in 2015, while Calhoun is 18th in sacks with 8.5 on the season. The Spartans are No. 15 in rushing defense (117.8 ypg). The Spartans are No. 5 in turnover margin (plus-1.00) and No. 5 in fewest turnovers lost (10 on the season).

Penn State and Michigan State will meet for the 30th time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 14-14-1 all-time against the Spartans and 5-8 in games at Michigan State. Saturday marks Penn State's first visit to Spartan Stadium since a 42-14 victory in 2009.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony