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By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com 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 psuredcross.org and click on the blood drive tab or go to redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code: psu.

 

VIDEO: Ohio State Week Player Q&A - Geno Lewis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with wide receiver Geno Lewis to preview the Ohio State game.

Week Seven Press Conference Roundup - Ohio State Week

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cjf_OSU.jpgJames Franklin Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 21

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions play host to Ohio State on Saturday evening for a primetime kick against the Buckeyes (8 p.m. on ABC).

Head coach James Franklin previewed the matchup against Ohio State on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.

On the heels of a second bye, Franklin is pleased with how the team improved on the off week. With the season moving into its ninth week overall, Franklin said that practices are beginning to be scaled back. But the team took full advantage of the extra time during the bye.

"Obviously, really excited for this week's game and this opponent coming off a bye week, which we got a lot of stuff done," Franklin said. "We were able to rest our players, we were able to work on technique and fundamentals and some scheme things that need to improve. We were able to get on the road recruiting. We were able to scrimmage the young guys. We were able to get a lot of work done, so really productive bye week."


Moving to Ohio State prep, Franklin noted the Buckeyes as the most athletic team the Nittany Lions have played this season to date. Ohio State enters the week on a four-game winning streak, which includes Big Ten victories over Maryland and Rutgers.

"Ohio State and Coach Urban Meyer, you look at their program and their team doing a tremendous job, probably the fastest, most athletic team and also tremendous size, probably the best combination that we've seen so far this year," Franklin said.


Two names that stand out among the talented Buckeyes are quarterback J.T. Barrett and defensive end Joey Bosa. Barrett has thrown 17 touchdowns and has just one interception during the last four games. He has been responsible for at least four touchdowns during each of the last four contests. Bosa is leading the Big Ten in tackles for loss (1.50 per game) and fumbles forced (0.50 per game).

"You talk about a guy who is 6-5, 280 pounds and really has some quickness and is sudden," Franklin said. "He's able to play with quickness and he's able to play with power, and a lot of times you can find guys that are extremely strong and powerful and explosive at the point of attack but maybe don't have the quickness as a pass rusher. He's got a rare combination that he can beat you with speed and quickness but he can also beat you with power."

With Saturday being the annual Penn State White Out game, Coach Franklin said on Tuesday that he is excited to see the crowd inside Beaver Stadium, and he is looking for the fans to provide a boost to the team.

"Obviously we would love to have a huge, home field advantage, which I anticipate us having," Franklin said. "107,000 Penn State fans wearing white, screaming and going crazy, making it really difficult for them to communicate."

In the 30th meeting between Penn State and Ohio State, Franklin said balance on the offensive side of the ball would be key for the Nittany Lions.

"Obviously balance on offense, we've been talking about that all year long," Franklin said. "The games that we have had some balance and have been able to establish somewhat of a running game we've been able to do some nice things. That's something we're not going to shy away from.  We're still committed to doing that."


Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Ohio State offense:
"I think the coaching staff does a great job of tailoring their scheme to the players. They're No. 1 in the Big Ten right now in yards per game. They're averaging 46 points per game. Third down percentage, they're doing a great job at 49 percent, which is ninth in the nation. They run a spread offense, run a spread offense, have a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism, like us they're young on the offensive line coming into the season, one of those players most of their guys have been in the program for a long time with that scheme and with that system and have stepped in nicely for them."


- Franklin on the Ohio State defense:
"They're a 4‑3 defense, they're going to press you on the outside and challenge your receivers. They're typically a quarters team, what we call 'full press', creative in their third down package. They're excellent up front. I would say across the board they run extremely well, offense, defense, and special teams."

- Franklin on the Ohio State special teams:

"
Kerry Coombs, who I think does a really good job coaching their corners as well, they've done some really, really nice things, I know Urban is really involved on special teams as well, they're leading the Big Ten in kickoff coverage, you look at their special teams, they run extremely well, they're long and rangy, they do a good job of being physical in their return units and Dontre Wilson is a guy we're going to have to be aware of as a kick returner."


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



By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-
With Sports Center Top 10 worthy goals and Big Ten coverage, this weekend not only proved that Penn State is at the top of their game, but that their nine seniors are integral to their success.

Prior to Sunday's game against the Hoosiers, nine Nittany Lions were honored at Senior Day. They have played in the NCAA quarterfinals twice and won two Big Ten regular season titles and two Big Ten tournaments.

After discussing her team's success this weekend, coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss reminisced on her time coaching this group of seniors.

"I can't believe four years have gone by with this group," said coach Morett-Curtiss. "They are a bunch of different characters and they embrace the team. They each bring so much to this program."

It was obvious in this weekend's victories that from the offense and the mid-field to the defense and the goal line, senior leadership is the driving force behind Penn State's success. Coach Morett-Curtiss described what each senior has brought to this program over the past four years.

"Amanda is diligent."
Amanda Dinunzio, a product of State College High School, has been a key contributor for the Nittany Lions on the forward line. Her "diligence" is obvious in her circle play. Dinunzio doesn't lift her stick off the ground while near the goal and is consistent in Penn State's offensive pressure. In this weekend's match-ups against Rutgers and Indiana, Dinunzio helped dish off passes inside the circle and the 25-yard line. One of those passes was to Jenna Chrismer, who found Taylor Herold seconds later, putting the Nittany Lions up on the board.

"Jenna has a great work ethic."
Jenna Chrismer is one of the most consistent players on Penn State's forward line. She never falters inside the circle and always does whatever she can to force a scoring opportunity. This past weekend, Chrismer contributed to two of the five goals scored for Penn State. Her work ethic is clear in her ability to pull the defense and make the goalie move. Chrismer's stick work is unparalleled inside the circle; it's almost as if she is thinking three steps ahead of the play.

"Nat brings enthusiasm."
Natalie Buttinger is never afraid to commit to a defensive attack from the forward line. The former track star uses her speed to aid the Nittany Lion defense and quickly switch gears into scoring mode. She might not always earn an assist or score, but Buttinger is solid in her passing game. She is able to trap the ball on her stick and accurately place wherever she wants to on the field, a skill the Nittany Lions benefit from inside the 25-yard line.

"Taylor is determined"
Taylor Herold is almost indescribable; she is the entire package. From her speed to her stick handling and her ability to work the ball in open space, Herold always delivers a stellar performance. Performance is often the only word to describe her contributions on the field because more often than not, her goals are unbelievable. In Friday's game against Rutgers, Herold's unassisted goal made ESPN Sports Center's Top 10. She carried the ball on her stick from the end line to the post of the net, where she reverse-shot the ball into the cage. If you blinked, you missed it. Goals like this aren't uncommon for the senior, as she is notorious for making jaw-dropping plays.

"Casey steps up."
Casey Haegele is an asset to the Nittany Lions inside the circle. She always finds a way to find a foot in the circle and force a corner. Her speed is a weapon on the forward line. Coach Morett-Curtiss says that Heagele is one of the most coachable players on the team. Much like in baseball, Haegele is the equivalent of a relief pitcher, offering a fresh set of legs for the Nittany Lions; she always helps Penn State close on a win.

 "Laura brings passion."
Laura Gebhart is one of the most seasoned members of the Penn State field hockey team. She has not only played in every game of her career, but has fostered her craft on the U.S. National Team, as well. Gebhart is the backbone of the Nittany Lions offensive and defensive strategy, as she is always in control from the center mid position. Gebhart is as versatile as they come and plays wherever her team needs her. When she isn't scoring from the top of the circle while laying flat on her stomach, Gebhart is in constant communication with her teammates on the field. Her passion for the game shines with every pass and every pre-game pep talk.

"Katie B. is confident."
Katie Breneman floats between the mid and defensive position for the Nittany Lions. One of her biggest contributions is her confidence, as she is never afraid to commit. Breneman is solid from the attack position of defense and takes risks with her block tackle. There are times when Breneman is almost parallel to the ground while trying to steal the ball from the opposing team; more often than not, she is successful.

"Katie A. is tenacious."
Katie Andrews has been solid for the Nittany Lions in the center back position. Her tenacity shined this weekend and against Bucknell last Tuesday when she assisted on the scoring drive. She always looks for an opportunity to spread the field, often calling for the back pass to help reposition the offense. When she sees an opportunity to take the ball up the field, she does. Andrews is solid for the Nittany Lions' defense inside the circle and a key contributor in this season's five shut outs.

"Kylie has a competitive spirit."
As a red shirt senior, her experience inside the cage has prepared her for pretty much anything. The most unique quality about Licata is her trust in her defense. She is a versatile goalie who can make the save from above the stroke mark. This season she has managed to earn five shut outs and only allowed one goal in this weekend's contests.

These nine seniors are leaving behind big shoes to fill, but their story is not finished yet. With their leadership, there is no question that Penn State will have a successful post-season as they currently have its 13-3 record on their side. The Nittany Lions three losses this season were incredibly close; two of them came from over-time play and the other was a one-goal deficit.

Penn State heads to Iowa this Saturday, before returning home the following week to take on Northwestern at home on Oct. 31.

"Everyone from the seniors to our coaching staff played a part in our wins this weekend," Andrews said. "It doesn't get much better than winning on senior day."

 

VIDEO: #WGYMonday - Meet Lauren Li

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team is just 12 weeks away from opening their 2015 campaign and each Monday we will introduce you to a member of the squad. Our #WGYMonday series will kick off with Lauren Li from Plano, Texas.





By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In just their third year as an NCAA Division I women's hockey team, the Nittany Lions are off to their best start in program history. 


This past weekend, Penn State (2-2-2) traveled to Schenectady, New York, to faceoff against Union (1-4-1) in a two-game series. After defeating the Dutchwomen, 4-1, on Friday night, the Blue and White rallied to a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon.

Not only are the Nittany Lions off to their best start in program history, but they are also unbeaten in their last three contests, going 1-0-2.

"I'm certainly very pleased with the poise and perseverance to stick with the game plan," said head coach Josh Brandwene.

In Friday night's three-goal victory, freshman Caitlin Reilly scored her first career goal to give the Blue and White an early lead. Experience led the rest of the way for the Nittany Lions as juniors Shannon Yoxheimer and Amy Petersen as well as sophomore Sarah Nielsen each scored.

Saturday's matinee was no different, as Petersen scored to even the game at 1-1. Then, sophomore Kelly Seward scored three minutes into the third period to tie the game, 2-2.

"We have a great balance of experience and youth, and we made a lot of strides as a hockey team again this weekend," said Brandwene. "We have a lot to build on and still some things to get better at. Never satisfied.

Penn State went on the offensive against Union, outshooting the Dutchwomen in both games. The Nittany Lions outshot Union 36-21 in Friday's win and 37-22 in Saturday's tie.

According to Brandwene, puck control and communication led to such dominant play in the attacking zone.

"We did a good job all weekend of puck possession," said Brandwene. "Just great poise, great work ethic and puck possession and control. We really distributed it well. Good communication and lots to build on there."

The line of Laura Bowman, Amy Petersen and Hannah Hoenshell led the Nittany Lions offensively, scoring a pair of goals, recording five assists and taking 24 shots.

Petersen has been on fire, scoring three goals in as many games.

"I'm really pleased with Laura, Amy and Hannah's effort this weekend," said Brandwene. "They were really strong at both ends of the ice. They did all the little things. They generated some great scoring chances. If they keep working hard, great things are going to happen for them."

While Celine Whitlinger started in net Friday, Hannah Ehresmann got the nod on Saturday. Both continued their impressive play between the pipes. Whitlinger made 21 saves en route to her first win of the season, and Ehresmann swatted away 20 shots to preserve the tie.

"Great efforts from both Celine and Hannah on the weekend," said Brandwene. "Whenever we had breakdowns and little moments here and there, they both came up very big for us. I'm really pleased with the goaltending."

The Nittany Lions will look to continue their unbeaten streak when they return home to Pegula Ice Arena on Sunday to faceoff against Princeton at 7:00 p.m.

Nittany Lions Draw and Fall to Alaskan Teams in Brice Goal Rush

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10453850.jpeg
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions arrived in Fairbanks last Wednesday, after traveling 4,160 miles, ready to compete in the Brice Goal Rush tournament against Alaska Anchorage and Alaska for the first time in program history.

Friday night, Penn State (1-1-2) and Alaska Anchorage (3-0-1) reached a 3-3 tie following overtime, and after allowing two third-period goals in the final minutes of Saturday's game, the Lions were defeated, 4-3, by Alaska (4-0).

Although the team made the 4,160 mile journey back home with a tie and its first loss of the season in hand, head coach Guy Gadowsky is happy with the overall effort.

"For the most part, I thought we performed well," Gadowsky said. "We were ahead in the third both nights. In one we let them come back, and in the other game we lost. That's certainly a maturation process that we have to go through, but I'm very optimistic that we'll get it quickly because we had to go through that last year."

Moving forward, the Lions will need to dig deep and find ways to hold off the opposition in the final minutes of play, which is a not a new concept for the team.

"I thought we played pretty well until the last five, ten minutes of both games," said senior Max Gardiner. "We have to find a way to win those games. Come Big Ten play, we're going to be playing good teams every night. Those are the types of games we're going to be in. To be successful in the Big Ten, we're going to have to find a way to win those games."

While the results were not what the Lions were striving toward, the team once again found success on the power play. The Blue and White scored three goals with the man advantage throughout the course of the weekend, two against Alaska Anchorage and one against Alaska.

The team also received its first five-minute power play, which it took full advantage of.

"I think one of the goals is to always score on a five-minute major," Gadowsky said. "That's the first five-minute major power play that we've had. We've given up eight. When you get a five-minute power play, it certainly looks good.

"I think it's a little bit of a factor of we're focused more on it than we were last year because we're further in our process, and I think we're putting ourselves in better positions by just making better decision all around. We're on the power play instead of killing, which is very much opposite last year."

Gardiner, who had not recorded a point since November of last year, scored the Lion's goal on the five-minute penalty.

"It was a beautiful goal, and it's funny because he was playing extremely well, very well in his own end," Gadowsky said of Gardiner. "He made really good decisions, so to see him score a goal, and such a beauty, was really great."

Bailey and Scheid Return to Alaska

While this trip was the first to Alaska for the majority of the Lions, Casey Bailey, an Alaska native, and Eric Scheid, a former student-athlete at Alaska Anchorage, both made their returns to the state.

Even with the bit of added pressure, both forwards did their best to contribute.

"I actually thought they both played very well," Gadowsky said. "Casey scored, and Eric Scheid led our team in shots Friday night. I thought both of them played extremely well."

Against his former team, Scheid won eight of his nine faceoffs and tallied six shots. His lone goal of the weekend came the following night when the team took on the Nanooks.

Bailey, who had the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends, scored Friday night, which allowed him to settle in and focus on the games at hand.

"It was definitely a lot of fun," Bailey said of playing in his home state. "It was a little bit nerve wracking the first night, but I think after the first period or so I calmed down. I was excited to be able to see all my family and friends. They were pretty enthusiastic about being able to watch me play, so it was a good weekend."

Thompson Injury

Friday even also marked a scary experience for the Lions, especially for defenseman David Thompson. With 3:32 left in the overtime period against Alaska Anchorage, Thompson required medical assistance for an abdominal laceration and was ultimately take off the ice on a stretcher.

Luckily, the defenseman's injury could have been much worse. Thompson was taken to the local hospital for stiches, but Gadowsky is confident he will be back on the ice shortly.

"Yeah, he's going to be great," said Gadowsky of Thompson. "He's going to be fine. They took really good care of him. It was scary at the start, and we took every precaution, but he's going to be back at 100 percent very soon."

Alaskan Adventures

When not at the rink, the team made the most of exploring Alaska and experiencing all Fairbanks had to offer.

The Lions took a trip to Eielson Air Force Base and were given a private tour by Penn State hockey alumnus Maj. Joe Bassett.

"I think every one of our student-athletes won't forget their Alaskan experience," Gadowsky said. "I think it opened their eyes a little bit. I think it was different.

"We had a chance to meet one of our hockey alumni that works as a fighter pilot at Eielson Air Force Base, which was a great experience. Overall, obviously we would have loved to have won, but the overall experience I think was excellent."



By M
att Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Andrew Wolverton has weathered plenty of rough storms during his four years as the goalie of the Penn State men's soccer team.

Just last season, he and the Nittany Lions lost their last two regular-season games and still rebounded to make it to the Sweet 16 a month later.

The senior goalie knows the team doesn't have to lower its goals this season just because it lost its second-straight game Saturday night to Michigan State, by a score of 2-0.

"There's a lot of things we can learn, and I think the biggest thing is taking those and working on the things that we aren't doing as well these last two games and getting back into it," Wolverton said. "This isn't the first stretch we've gone through in my four years where we haven't had a couple of good games in a row."

The Spartans entered the game with an 8-2-2 record, and early on, the two teams looked evenly matched, as neither squad was able to take control of the game in the first 20 minutes.

It was then that the Michigan State offense got going, as Jason Stacy blasted a shot off a corner kick from 20 yards out past Wolverton to make the score 1-0 at the 20:43 mark.

Five minutes later, Jay Chapman slipped past the Nittany Lions' backline and put a pass from Adam Montague in the back of the net to give Michigan State a 2-0-halftime lead.

"[Stacy] hit a nice shot and that was a little disappointing," head coach Bob Warming said. "We talked about it at halftime said that would be the last one of the year like that.

"The first 25 minutes of the game, they hardly touched the ball, we passed it so well. I thought it was as good as we've passed the ball all of year."

With the rain picking up in the second half, the Nittany Lions registered nine corner kicks and outshot the Spartans eight to zero yet couldn't get on the scoreboard with Michigan State keeping its defense packed in the back all half.

"Once you get behind a goal to Michigan State, that team is so well organized defensively, you can have a lot of possessions and pass a lot of balls between the centerline and 35 yards out," Warming said. "That's when things get tough." 

Having watched his team generate the number of corner kicks and shots that it did, Warming is pleased with the effort of his players. Moving forward, he wants them to work on improving the quality of their chances.

"When you take a long time to build the ball up, it allows them to get nine players behind the ball," Warming said. "And then things get tight when you've got a bunch of big bodies in there."

Warming knows the Nittany Lions can produce good shots, as they created plenty during a 10-0-1 start to the season that included four victories over Big Ten opponents.

If there is one thing that reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year believes after over 30 years in the business, it's that its one thing to stay positive when you're playing well, and another to keep the same attitude after a tough loss.

With four regular-season games remaining prior to the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, there is still plenty of time for the Nittany Lions to get back on track.

"Everybody goes through tough stretches in one way or another, in sports or in life and everything else," Warming said. "This is where your character gets tested, when things get tough. Things aren't right now and we don't want to make excuses."

After having a week in between its last two games, Penn State has a short turnaround with West Virginia coming to State College on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions will look to get back to the form that had them outscoring opponents 21-3 over their first 11 games.

"Really just stay focused and keep working hard," Wolverton said. "Just keep working and it'll all fall out how it should."

 

Monday Notebook: Lions Hosting Penn State White Out

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10453730.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Always a favorite of the fans and players, the Nittany Lions will host a Penn State White Out on Saturday when they welcome border rival Ohio State to Beaver Stadium for an 8 p.m. kick on ABC.

After practicing three times during the bye week, the team opened Ohio State week preparations on Sunday afternoon. The team's off day is Monday. Practice will resume on Tuesday as the Nittany Lions prepare for the seventh game on the 2014 schedule.

Beaver Stadium will be a sea of white on Saturday evening as all fans are encouraged to wear white under the lights. The history of the Penn State White Out in Beaver Stadium stretches back to the 2004 season. The first organized student white out took place during the Purdue game on Oct. 9. The first full stadium Penn State Whiteout was on Sept. 8, 2007 against Notre Dame.

Penn State and Ohio State have met during organized Penn State White Outs in 2005 (student white out) and 2012 (all stadium). Saturday's game will mark the seventh full stadium Penn State White Out in Beaver Stadium's history. The full list includes the following games: 2007 vs. Notre Dame, 2008 vs. Illinois, 2009 vs. Iowa, 2011 vs. Alabama, 2012 vs. Ohio State, 2013 vs. Michigan.

On the field, the Nittany Lions enter Saturday's game with a defense ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 1 in rushing defense (60.8 ypg), No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and No. 6 in total defense (283.3 ypg). Penn State is No. 1 in the Big Ten in all three of those categories.

Saturday marks the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Ohio State holds a 16-13 edge in the all-time series between the two programs.


Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 272.8 yards per game. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,637. He is second in the conference in completions per game at 22.33.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 14th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (7.2). He ranks 21st in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 93.5.

WR Geno Lewis - Lewis ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 85.3 receiving yards per game and 5.3 receptions per game.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is second in the Big Ten and 17th nationally in total tackles at 10.7 per contest.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is sixth in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.00.

Early Look at the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes enter the week on a four-game winning streak after cruising past Rutgers at home on Saturday. Since dropping a 35-21 decision to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6, the Buckeyes have been red-hot on the offensive side of the ball. During the four-game winning streak, Ohio State has averaged 56.0 ppg.

The winning streak includes a 2-0 start in Big Ten play following a win at Maryland (52-24) and Saturday's triumph over the Scarlet Knights (56-17). The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in total offense at 533.8 yards per game. The unit is second in scoring at 46.5 points per game.

Freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett leads the conference in total offense (333.0 ypg) and pass efficiency (182.1). Barrett has thrown for 1,615 yards and 20 touchdowns. Additionally, he has rushed for 383 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, Ohio State is ranked fifth in the Big Ten, allowing 319.5 yards per game. The Buckeyes are ranked second in the conference against the pass (181.7 ypg) and sixth against the run (137.8). Linebacker Joshua Perry leads the Ohio State defense in tackling with 45 stops on the season.


Saturday marks Ohio State's second true road game of 2014.



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



By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The intensity meter is about to spike as the Penn State cross country teams head to Indiana State University on Saturday to compete in the 2014 Pre-National Invitational.

Penn State will face its toughest competition to date with 83 teams competing, 40 women's and 43 men's.

"This [meet] is a much larger competition approximately 80 teams will be there this weekend," said head coach John Gondak. "We competed well this weekend but I think we can be even better."

They will look to greatly improve their outing from the women's 13th place and the men's 17th place finish in 2013. The team has two focuses in their game plan.

The Pack

Penn State is focused on running smart, emphasizing the importance of beginning to race strong and ahead of the competition as it sets the tone for the finish line.

"I hope that this weekend we can pack up and be further up into the pack. When you have 40 teams, it's an amoeba of people that move through the course and where you start is where you get stuck for a while," said Gondak.

The men's team is focused on improving from their previous race and staying packed together from as early as the first 800 meters. They plan on using their newfound depth as an advantage.

"We have a lot more experience. We run all the workouts together as a team. The front-runners are there but the four, five, and six guys are up there and running together, too," said sophomore Conner Quinn.

The women want to improve noting they hold the same mindset they always do; to win. 

"The mindset is to stay more as a pack. I just really want to the team to do well," said junior Tori Gerlach.

"We had a solid showing last [meet] but it needs to be our best this weekend."

The Course

The course at the LaVern Gibson Championship is much larger and more complex than the one at the Blue and White golf courses and it will be a big test for the Nittany Lions' fitness.

"Indiana State has a dedicated cross-country course that hosts the national championship meet and there's specific criteria that the course needs to be," said Gondak.

The straightaways and turns are measured to specific standards with straightaways and turns distanced farther or closer apart than the runners are used to.

"It should provide us a good opportunity to compete well this weekend," said Gondak.

"It's a very different course so I'm looking [forward to] seeing how other teams stack up against each other," said Gerlach.

This weekend will be the teams' only chance to check out the course before its possible return to Terre Haute in late November for the NCAA National Championships.

Looking Forward

Ahead for the Nittany Lions is a whirlwind of competition as the Big Ten Championships are next on the schedule. However, the team won't let the pressure get to them.

"We will be seeing a lot of Top Ten teams at Pre-[Nationals]. We will see a bunch of guys and teams that will be contending for the national title but we're a good team, [too]" said Quinn. "We are taking it one meet at a time."

The women and men will begin at 11:00 a.m. and 11:35 a.m., respectively. The women will run in a 6k Blue race and the men will compete in an 8k Blue race in hopes of earning NCAA qualifying points.