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Hamilton Thrilled to be Back in a College Sweater

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After competing at Miami (Ohio) during the 2013-14 and part of the 2014-15 seasons, junior Trevor Hamilton will use his final two years of eligibility to don the Blue and White for Penn State.

As a transfer, Hamilton is already familiar with the speed of play at the collegiate level. A skilled defenseman, Hamilton will be critical in replacing the graduated seniors from last year's team who manned the blue line, Luke Juha and Connor Varley.

While Hamilton took a break from collegiate hockey he was playing in the competitive environment of the United States Hockey League. Hamilton played 56 games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks during the 2014-15 season and served as team captain. The following year, Hamilton played 32 games for the Lumberjacks, two games for the Chicago Steel and ended the season playing 23 games with the Lincoln Stars, including four playoff contests. 

"The USHL is a great league, but obviously college is a step faster," Hamilton said. "Guys are stronger, older and they're smarter. I felt like I was a little bit more ready to go back [to the USHL], and perform to my full potential."

Hamilton enjoyed his time with Muskegon, and is thankful for the opportunity they gave him to continue his hockey career. 

"Muskegon was a great place to go back to, it's close to home and I was able to see my family every weekend," Hamilton said. "[The Lumberjacks] welcomed me, they gave me a chance to pla, and I did what I could there and hopefully made progress for that program." 

The Michigan native is now eagerly anticipating this coming season and is ready to once again face down some of the best players in the country at the collegiate level. He is also looking forward to having consistency back in his life. Knowing where he'll be playing for the next two years is a reassuring feeling.

While Hamilton may be looking forward to having some certainty back in his schedule, fans should be excited to have Hamilton's work ethic and determination as part of the Penn State program. A fearless defenseman, Hamilton has been known to deliver hard hits on the ice. 

A self-described two-way defenseman, Hamilton believes he's more offensive-minded than the average defender, but is also capable of playing shut down defense.

"If we're down by a goal I can play offense, but if we're up by a goal I can shut it down and know my role and what to do with the puck and how to keep it out the back of our net," Hamilton said. 

Hamilton brings physical play to the Lions' blue line, which will compliment the style of play enjoyed by the program's established defensemen like Vince Pedrie, David Thompson and Kevin Kerr. 

"The last two years I've broken three fingers blocking shots and I haven't missed a game," Hamilton said. "I told the guys here I'd rather be on the [penalty kill] first than the [power play], since I like to block shots and do whatever I can to make the team win. If that means blocking a shot or scoring a big goal, I'm doing whatever I can to put the team on my back and lead us to a victory." 

2016 Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Michigan

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Transcript: Franklin Transcript: Players |  Game Notes | VIDEO: Player Q&A with Derek Dowrey and Brandon Smith

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football head coach James Franklin addressed the media Tuesday afternoon to preview the Nittany Lion Big Ten opener on the road at Michigan.

Penn State (2-1, 0-0) and No. 4/5 Michigan (3-0, 0-0) will both open their respective Big Ten conference slates Saturday at Michigan Stadium. The Nittany Lions and the Wolverines are set to meet for the 20th time in program history, with Penn State opening conference play at Michigan for the first time since 2007. 

The Nittany Lions also enter their first season in a nine-game Big Ten schedule format after the conference announced in July 2013 that Penn State would play the six teams East Divisional opponents (Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Rutgers), in addition to three other West Division teams in 2016. The last time the Big Ten played a nine-game conference schedule was 1984.

As every week, Franklin opened his press conference with a review of the Temple game before switching gears to Michigan. Franklin recapped with positive emphasis on continuing to create explosive plays offensively. 

The Nittany Lions look to build on last week's effort, which featured three long yardage plays for at least 50 yards. Quarterback Trace McSorley logged two 52-yard completions, with wide receiver Chris Godwin grabbing the first reception to open scoring and tight end Mike Gesicki making the catch with one hand to put Penn State in scoring position the second half. Running back Saquon Barkley also helped widen a three-point Penn State advantage to 10 with a 55-yard scoring haul in the fourth quarter.

Franklin also had positive things to say about the depth and talent running back with Miles Sanders, Andre Robinson and Mark Allen all getting more opportunities against Temple following a short departure from Barkley during the game. Describing a strong, powerful and consistent effort from Robinson, Franklin also highlighted the quickness in Allen's game, which gave him the ability to leave defenders grabbing at nothing.

"I think you're going to see a series or half where you'll get those guys in," Franklin said. "And typically what we've been doing say the first drive, Saquon's in there, and he's tapping for Andre in the first drive. So now the second drive when he taps, he's tapping for Miles or Mark or whatever it may be."

Defensively, Franklin was quick to point out the leadership and confidence showcased by linebacker Brandon Smith, who totaled a career-high eight tackles and a half a tackle for loss in the win against Temple. With injuries providing opportunities for younger players to step up, Smith isn't the only Nittany Lion who has been directly impacted by the next man up mentality. 

Franklin also noted that this week he has safety Koa Farmer listed at sam linebacker behind Manny Bowen, who Franklin also said could be potentially moved around a little bit too.  

"It's a transition that we think is going to happen," Franklin said. "[Farmer] did it a little bit since he's been here. He was predominantly an offensive player in high school. We think his best position long-term is an outside linebacker."

Focus areas for the week continue to be similar to last week in terms of ball security and gap accountability. Those areas improve though by continuing to stress ball security fundaments and building confidence among some of the younger Nittany Lions.

"If you can find a way to protect the ball on the offense and create turnovers on defense, that is a huge momentum swinger in the game and creates more opportunities," Franklin said. "Same thing, if you look statistically at giving up big plays on special teams, blocked punts and things like that, it's hard to win if you do those things, so eliminating those things."

Penn State is 11-12 all-time in Big Ten openers and 7-7 when beginning the conference schedule on the road. Saturday's opener is set to kick at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

On The Quote Board -

- Among those injuries at linebacker, Franklin noted that Wartman-White would also miss the remainder of the season due to an injury he sustained against Temple. Wartman-White was among the top five on the team with 14 tackles in three games, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a half a sack. 

"I feel for Nyeem because he's had two years in a row now where he's missed the season and has worked really, really hard and has had an unbelievable attitude from a leadership standpoint as well. 

- With the offensive line starting to come together as a unit, Derek Dowrey mentioned that the line will never be a finished project. Dowrey also commented on the progress the unit has made as a unit.

"I think it's just time playing together. A lot of us have been through this the last couple of years and I think we've been getting better steadily, but I think now it's starting to show on the field a little bit more."

- Brandon Smith never gets angry and he's never been to Michigan Stadium before, but he's no stranger to a hostile environment.

"I've gone to some away games that were pretty hostile," Smith said. "I think it just gets the guys even more excited sometimes when people are jeering you and mocking you and all sorts of things. You know, you can either get distracted by it or it can increase your intensity and your focus." 

VIDEO: Michigan Week Player Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with Derek Dowrey and Brandon Smith, catching up on the season and previewing the Big Ten opener at Michigan Saturday. 

Brandon Smith

Derek Dowrey

Monday Notebook: Godwin Highlights Temple Victory

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State has showcased some serious depth at the wide receiver position this season, with five different receivers combining for 10-of-14 long yardage pass plays on the year.

Last week, it was junior Chris Godwin's turn as he stepped up to lead the Nittany Lions with seven catches for 117 yards, notching his seventh career 100-yard receiving game. 

Godwin highlighted the Temple game with a 52-yard grab in the first quarter to put Penn State on the board early, finishing with three of his seven receptions for at least 16 yards. His seven catches also moved him to 10th all-time on the Penn State career receptions list (112).  

Godwin enters the week leading the team with 73.3 yards receiving per game, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten standings. Averaging 6.0 receptions on the year, he's also ranked second in the conference and 30th nationally among DI FBS programs.

Heading into the 2016 campaign, expectations were high for the 1,000-yard receiver, who was named to both the Maxwell Award and Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch Lists prior to the start of the season.

Godwin had been relatively quiet in the first two games totaling 11 catches for 113 yards. Despite opening the year with a 26-yard reception in the first quarter against Kent State to put the Nittany Lions in position for their first touchdown of the year, Godwin is simply among a deep group of talented options.

Last week, wide receivers coach Josh Gattis acknowledged that dealing with six or seven offensive possibilities has meant that he's asked the team to be unselfish in how they approach a newly installed offensive scheme.

A selfless mentality just makes it all the more exciting when No. 12 is called though.

"Anytime you can get in the end zone is a blessing," Godwin said following his team-high performance against Temple. "Just the fact that it was my time was a great feeling. With the offense that we have, anyone can score at any given moment. It's just a matter of being patient, working on technique and waiting for your turn."

New Faces
Head coach James Franklin noted that he was pleased to see different faces making contributions last week. With injuries taking their toll, Penn State saw career-high efforts from linebackers Brandon Smith (eight tackles, 0.5 TFL) and Manny Bowen, who collected his first career sack in the second quarter. Other new faces included defensive end Torrence Brown, who earned his first career start against the Owls and combined with defensive tackle Robert Windsor for a sack in the fourth quarter. 

Still Perfect
Penn State place kicker Tyler Davis has not missed either a field goal attempt or a PAT kick this year, extending his career combined total (field goals and PATs) to 35-for-35. Having made two field goals in the win against Temple, Davis is among 18 DI FBS players to have a perfect 1.000 percentage on the year. Davis, who did not play a single snap of football during his high school career, took over place kicking responsibilities late last year. 

A few notes on Michigan
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh mentioned earlier this afternoon that Penn State's offense presented an opportunity to change things up, specifically noting that the Nittany Lions have both a very good quarterback and a very good running back. 

There's really no question as to who his was referring to, as quarterback Trace McSorley enters the week leading the Big Ten in passing yards. Running back Saquon Barkley also ranks first in the conference in scoring (14.0), having secured the win against the Owls with a career-long 55-yard scoring run.

At 3-0 on the year, Michigan enters the first week of Big Ten play ranked fourth in the AP poll and fifth in the coaches' edition. Among leaders for the Wolverines, Jabril Peppers stands out, having earned Big Ten Special Teams and Co-Defensive Player of the Week awards this week. 

"There's not another player like him - I know there's never been another player like him that I've coached," Harbaugh said. "The unique thing about him is all the positions that he can play, if you start counting them it would be safety, corner, nickel, outside linebacker, flat receiver, wildcat quarterback, running back, kick returner, punt returner, hold up - that's 11 or 12 right there and I know there's others he could do and do well."

Penn State travels to Michigan to take on the Wolverines Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m. live on ABC.

Balance Improves as Penn State Heads Toward Big Ten Play

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9440242.jpegBy Jack Milewski, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -Penn State women's volleyball teams have always had standouts. As one of the most storied programs in collegiate volleyball, the Nittany Lions have developed some of the nation's top talent in the game. This year's Penn State team is not without standouts, but if this past weekend is any indication, a balanced attack might be the best way for Penn State to find success.

The Nittany Lions swept the Penn State Invitational, playing some of their better volleyball this season on the way to straight set victories against Rhode Island, Howard and Clemson. Led by a balance of offensive fire power in all three matches, Penn State had at least two Nittany Lions with seven or more kills. In two matches (Clemson, Howard), the Nittany Lions had at least three with seven or more kills.

"When it comes to offense, we really wanted to move the ball around," setter Abby Detering said after Friday's match. "Simone [Lee] has been fantastic for us but we have so many good hitters that we don't lose much if we spread it around. That's my mentality going in to the games, is to try to open up and spread the ball around."

Lee has been the focal point of the Penn State offense throughout the first four weeks of the season, but the past couple of weeks, the emphasis on getting multiple arms involved has paid dividends for Penn State.

"I think Haleigh [Washington] and Heidi Thelen had a great match," head coach Russ Rose said after Saturday's match against Clemson. "Heidi has been taking some good swings and Haleigh had a very efficient match."

Thelen, a middle converted to right side, had 21 kills on .447 hitting in three matches this weekend, swinging with authority. Washington had 27 kills for the Nittany Lions and recorded a .610 hitting clip across the tournament.

The added emphasis on a balanced attack has fueled an early season rejuvenation for the Nittany Lions. After starting the season 2-3, the Nittany Lions regrouped with six straight wins. It hasn't just been the result that has been positive, but the energy and continued improvement from Penn State has been a breath of fresh air as well.

"I thought the crowd was great and we had very good energy," Rose said following Saturday's match. "When we were 2-3 I didn't know how ready we would be to head into Big Ten play, but were playing better and we feel better about the way we have been playing. I'm pleased with where we are right now." 

The Big Ten regular season will come in a hurry for Penn State as they have just a few days of rest before heading to Rutgers for their first conference match up. Though Penn State has improved, by the same token, the Big Ten will present a whole new challenge in terms of competition.

"We like where we are, but we can be better," Rose said. "I think the players understand that and want to be better as well."

With Big Ten play, comes a gauntlet of eight teams teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, including Penn State. Historically one of the best conferences in collegiate women's volleyball, Penn State will have to dig deep in the upcoming months.

"For the next 10 weeks we play two games a week that hold the same weight," said Rose. "It will be tough but we like where we are."

Penn State travels to Rutgers Wednesday, Sept. 21 with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Rizzo Prepares for USA Junior National Team Debut

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By Mandy Bell, Student Staff Writer

Penn State goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo has been selected to the United States U21 junior national team and the one person she has to thank is her fourth grade gym teacher.

"I actually never knew what field hockey was until I came to Pennsylvania." Rizzo said. "I grew up in Long Island, New York and they didn't have much of that out there. My gym teacher in fourth grade was the coach at the high school level.  We used to play in gym class and she really thought I had potential.  She told me to come out to their camps, so I started going to camp. There was just something about hitting the ball with the stick that was just really fun for me." 

Rizzo decided to join a local field hockey team and played all the way through high school, but it was not until her sophomore year that she became a goalie.

She had been a right midfielder since she began playing the sport, but her high school team needed a goalkeeper and Rizzo was the answer.

"My coach told me they needed a goalie and she thought I was pretty athletic and that I would be able to do it," Rizzo said. "I was definitely nervous to transition into the goalie position because I didn't know if it was the right decision since I knew I wanted to play at a college level. I never had a desire to have balls hit at me, but I started playing and I really enjoyed being in the cage." 

It is safe to say that she made the right decision. 

Because of her switch in positions, Rizzo has now secured her spot to compete in the 2016 Field Hockey World Cup in Chile at the end of November, but the process was not easy. 

"USA Field Hockey has a program called 'High Performance' so every year around May, any college student who is under 21 years old can try out for the team," Rizzo said. "You go to High Performance locations throughout the country and there's East Coast, West Coast, Midwest and some down south.  You just train with the people in your area."

Rizzo started in May at Drexel University. After spending some time there, her Drexel coach selected multiple athletes who stood out and sent them to a young women's High Performance tournament at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Pennsylvania at the end of June. From there, the U21 junior national team head coach, Janneke Schopman, watches each game and chooses the girls she thinks are the best to go to a junior national camp to then be selected for the national team.

"There's definitely more pressure with [Schopman watching] than a collegiate game," Rizzo said. "I know she saw a lot of my clips through video, so I didn't even know she was watching for some of them. So, I am kind of glad about that, but at the same time the added pressure kind of makes me play better."

After being selected by Schopman to attend the junior national camp, Rizzo had the opportunity to compete against India's Olympic field hockey team before they left for Rio this past July.

"It was really cool. They were phenomenal," Rizzo said. "We just went into it just thinking we are going to grow from this no matter what happens.  It was really cool to be put under that much pressure and we really played well against them considering they were an Olympic team.  We followed them in the Olympics the whole way." 

At the conclusion of her final training camp, Rizzo still did not know if she had landed a spot on her dream team. 

"I got an email from Janneke before [Rizzo] knew," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "So I called [Rizzo] and asked how it was going and she said everything was good and I just told her that I knew she made the team. She was so excited. I think they selected 12 and then were going to select another six, but she was in the top group right from the start. "

"It's pretty awesome to be selected," Rizzo said. "It's always been an aspiration of mine to play at an international level, so it was pretty rewarding."

With her Penn State season underway, Rizzo had one final training camp with her national team two weekends ago. She left after a game to go to Spooky Nook that evening and missed class on Monday and Tuesday. But, this balancing act has never been a problem for the sophomore.

"She just does a great job getting ahead in classes. She's always prepared," Morett-Curtiss said. "She went away last year to Trinidad and Tobago for a tournament and she had to miss a week of classes, she had to submit reports to our faculty advisor who wasn't really keen on her going because it was a lot of missed class time, but she checks in with her professors and stays on top of her academics. She's the prototype of being a student athlete." 

Rizzo leaves for Chile with the U21 junior national team November 21, but until then, her focus is winning a national championship with her fellow Nittany Lions.

Smith Makes the Most of Temple Opportunity

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Postgame media sessions at Beaver Stadium typically hum along with questions from the flurry of individual interviews prompting familiar names like Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkey and Chris Godwin. This week, a new name emerged from the Beaver Stadium media room following Penn State's 34-27 win against Temple.

Brandon Smith.

Just a little more than an hour drive from Beaver Stadium, a standout linebacker and running back from Lewisburg Area High School turned away offers from prestigious institutions like Penn and Princeton to pursue his Penn State Football dream.

Before Saturday, Smith's career stat line included appearances in five games, three contests in 2015, including one tackle against Illinois. Smith did not see any playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and was a member of the scout team as a walk-on true freshman in 2013. On pace to graduate in December, the kinesiology major and Dean's List student currently carries a 3.77 cumulative GPA.

Saturday afternoon, nearly every player in the media room, including head coach James Franklin, had something to say about the bold and brave performance from the Penn State walk-on from Winfield, Pennsylvania, who had just recently earned a scholarship.

In front of more than 100,000 fans in the "Stripe Out" crowd at Beaver Stadium, he stepped in the game at middle linebacker for starter Nyeem-Wartman White, who departed the game in the first half with an injury. 

"Coach told me to be ready to play," Smith said. 

Smith embraced every sense of the familiar "next man up" phrase he had surely heard all week, with the Nittany Lions already dealing with the loss of starting linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell to injury.

Still, he rose to the occasion, stopping Temple running back Jahad Thomas, a 1,000-yard rusher, midway through the second quarter to match his career-high one tackle mark. Smith wasn't done though, as he registered seven more tackles in the second half, pairing up with Torrence Brown for his first tackle for loss, bringing down Temple quarterback Phillip Walker for a 1-yard loss in the fourth quarter.

"I thought it might be for a couple of series to give Nyeem Wartman-White a break," Smith said. "I didn't really know what to expect but I was preparing mentally and physically for the game because you never know what's going to happen and you have to be ready when your number is called."

When No. 47 was called, Smith made the most of the big opportunity he'd been preparing for his entire career, delivering and communicating calls without missing a beat, despite having little to no experience in practice with the first team.

"Brandon comes to work every single day," defensive tackle Parker Cothren said. "He's a guy that I've always looked up to and tried to follow because his work ethic is unbelievable. He's always ready to go. His number got called today and he came out and had a great game."

Franklin awarded Smith one more opportunity postgame, letting him break the team down at the end of the Nittany Lion locker room talk.

Smith's focus was family.

"There's nothing like being a part of a football team," Smith said. "We spend all our time together and I broke it down on family tonight, because that's the way I feel about these guys and we feel about each other. We're here together, we spend about 345 days out of the year together and it's just been an awesome experience."

VIDEO: Postgame Players One-on-One - Temple

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - spent time with several Nittany Lions in exclusive interviews with Mike Gesicki, Chris Godwin, Trace McSorley, Brandon Smith and Marcus Allen.

VIDEO: Postgame One-on-One with Coach Franklin - Temple

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talks with following Penn State's 34-27 win against Temple Saturday at Beaver Stadium. 

2016 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Temple

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live, interactive coverage of the Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions are back at Beaver Stadium this week, wrapping up the non-conference slate with a Stripe Out matchup against Temple.

Live Blog Penn State vs. Temple