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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions address the media following Saturday's 31-24 (2OT) setback to No. 13 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive
coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all
12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions meet rival Ohio State under the lights in Beaver Stadium.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway. This week GoPSUSports.com caught up with the sprinters, hurdlers, and relay runners to get an inside look on this year's athletes, training plans, and goals.
Senior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) is coming off a big year with the team after playing a key role in the women's 4x400-meter relay team that finished in first place at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. McGee made a big impact in the outdoor season as well by winning eight events, qualifying for the NCAA Championships, and being named First Team All-American.
"Last year was a big year for me and I just want to top that. I want to get better and better and I know that if I stay focused and dedicated, I'll do that," said McGee.
Junior Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) had an eventful summer as a part of the United States National Team in the 400-meter hurdles in Kamloops, Canada.
"When I went to Kamloops...it was the best track experience of my life. I got to run in the USA [under] 23 team and I made life-long friends," said Seymour. "After training with [coach] Bungard he really told me that I had nothing to lose so I went for it."
On the men's side, the team is looking young, focused and powerful.
"I'm just looking to go out, compete and do my best out there," said freshman Xavier Smith (Douglasville, Pa.).
The team is led by two upperclassmen, senior Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) and junior Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), who both qualified for an NCAA Championship event in 2013.
Coach Randy Bungard is in his third year with the program and he is thrilled to begin this season noting this year's goals are almost identical to those in the past - winning.
"Our goals this year are kind of the same they've always been. As a team, we want to win the Big Ten Championship and go to the NCAA Championships and be a presence there," said Bungard.
While the team's first official event isn't until December 13th when they host an intrasquad Blue vs. White meet, the athletes are already hard at work and preparing for the competition.
For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www. GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.
Game Blog: Penn State vs. Ohio State
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Ohio State Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Pry Q&A | Player Q&A Video | White Out History
Penn State to Team with Best Man Tim Campaign
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) return home on Saturday for a primetime Penn State White Out contest against Ohio State (5-1, 2-0). Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. with television coverage on ABC.
Penn State and Ohio State first met in 1912 and have met annually since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993. The two schools will continue to meet on a yearly basis as members of the East Division. The Buckeyes own a 16-13 edge in the all-time series.
The Lions return to action following their second and final bye week of 2014. Penn State's defense headlined the first six games of the season by playing at a consistently high level. The Lions are 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.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 272.8 passing yards per game. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton has opened his Nittany Lion career with a Big Ten best 7.2 receptions per game. Hamilton is averaging 93.3 yards per contest. The Lion freshman is just 131 yards shy of Deion Butler's freshman record of 691 yards (2005 season).
Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 56-17 win over Rutgers in Ohio Stadium last Saturday. The No. 12 Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten and fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.5 points per game and have topped the 50-point mark in four straight games entering this week's game. Ohio State also is second in the conference and ninth in the NCAA in total offense at 533.8 yards per game.
A team and fan favorite and one of the most iconic scenes in college football, the stage is set for the 2014 Penn State White Out. All fans are encouraged to sport white attire to ensure a Penn State White Out for the primetime clash. The official White Out T-shirt can be purchased at the Penn State Bookstore and the GoPSUsports.com online store. A Penn State Football Letterman's Club tunnel will take place when the team takes the field. At the end of the third quarter, the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will present a check to the Uplifting Athletes Organization.
Additionally, Penn State and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced on Thursday that they will jointly honor Shane Conlan with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during Saturday's game. Among one of the all-time greats at "Linebacker U," Conlan starred from 1983-86. He will become the 23rd member of the Penn State football family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Get primed for the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week seven matchup against Ohio State.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the Penn State defense look to make opponents one-dimensional on offense. In a way, the Nittany Lions strive to play complementary defense, using rushing defense to set up effective passing defense, blitzing opportunities and forcing turnovers. But that process begins with defending the run. Through six games, the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the nation against the run (60.8 ypg). Opponents have tallied just 2.0 yards per rush on 182 attempts against the Lions this year. Penn State's stout play against the run has been a huge part of the unit's collective success. Penn State is ranked No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and total defense (283.3 ypg). Senior linebacker Mike Hull has been the catalyst on the defensive side of the ball. Hull is second in the Big Ten in tackles per game at 10.7.
2. Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg enters the second half of the season as the Big Ten's leader in passing yards per game. A healthy passing game begins with an effective ground game. With the second bye week in the books, Penn State will remain committed to a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball. Hackenberg talked earlier this week about how a strong outing from Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch can lead to opportunities down the field in the passing game. Wide receivers Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton head into the week averaging 16.0 and 13.0 yards per reception, respectively.
3. Head coach James Franklin has said it since spring practice that Sam Ficken has arguably been the most consistent player for the Nittany Lions. Ficken's senior season has gotten off to a strong start. Ranked sixth in the nation with 2.0 field goals per game, Ficken has connected on 12 of his 14 field goal attempts and all 13 of his extra point attempts. His two misses were both blocked at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Ficken has 15 touchbacks on 31 kickoffs this season.
What to Watch For - Ohio State
1. The Ohio State offense enters the week having scored 50 or more points in four-straight games. Efficiency is a big reason for the offensive output from the Buckeyes. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is the conference's leader in total offense (333.0) and passing efficiency (182.1). The redshirt freshman has thrown for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2014. Barrett has led Ohio State on a touchdown drive during its first possession in each of the last four games.
2. Ohio State's defensive line headlines the Buckeye defense. Tackle Michael Bennett and end Joey Bosa are the two names to watch for when Ohio State's defense is on the field. Bennett is a disruptive player in the middle of the defensive line. A member of the watch lists for the Bednarik, Outland, Nagurski and Lombardi Award, Bennett has 12.0 career sacks. Bosa enters the game as the Big Ten's leader in tackles for loss (1.50 per game) and fumbles forced (0.50).
3. Head coach Urban Meyer has always placed a big emphasis on special teams play. The Buckeyes enter the weekend rated No. 1 in the Big Ten in kickoff coverage. Ohio State is also ranked in the third of the Big Ten in punting, kickoff returns and punt returns. Dontre Wilson is the lead returner for Ohio State. Wilson is averaging 9.7 yards per punt return and 22.7 yards per kickoff return.
The Final Word:
Saturday evening will mark Penn State's third and final primetime game of the 2014 season. The Nittany Lions play host to their seventh all-stadium Penn State White Out. The history of Penn State White Outs stretches back to the 2004 season when the first student section white out took place when the Nittany Lions hosted No. 9 Purdue on Oct. 9. Beaver Stadium hosted student white outs in 2005 (Ohio State) and 2006 (Michigan) before the first all-stadium Penn State White Out took place on Sept. 8, 2007 (Notre Dame). Since 2007, the Lions hosted full stadium Penn State White Out games against Illinois (2008), Iowa (2009), Alabama (2011), Ohio State (2012) and Michigan (2013). Kickoff is slated for 8:14 on Saturday night with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe on the ABC broadcast.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- It was a matter of inches that separated victory and defeat for the Penn State men's soccer team Wednesday night.
At home against West Virginia, the Nittany Lions had numerous close chances come up short, including two shots that hit the crossbar, in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss.
"That's what I told them at halftime," Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. "A couple off the crossbar ... the game could be a little different. About two inches was the differences on those balls."
Coming off of consecutive losses, Penn State started fast and looked to be back to the form that helped it win 10 of its first 11 games.
Like many of the Nittany Lions' first halves this season, they generated plenty of opportunities with eight shots, yet were unable to score.
Mikey Minutillo was the first Nittany Lion to hit the crossbar, just missing an empty net opportunity on a play in which his jersey was pulled at the 21:40 mark. Just over 10 minutes later, fellow forward Mark Wadid would also nail a ball off the top bar as the game remained scoreless going into halftime.
"It's always discouraging when you hit the post," sophomore forward Connor Maloney said. "It's an opportunity to get one in the net but we just have to bounce back now."
Maloney has been the spark Penn State has needed all season, and as Wednesday night's game moved into the second half, he delivered once again.
Just into the fourth minute of the period, the 5-foot-6 forward blasted a shot past Mountaineers goalie Lee Johnston from 18 yards out to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0.
"We had a lot of opportunites don't get me wrong," Maloney said. "Our attack was pretty good. I wouldn't say our best, but it was decent."
Although it seemed like the Nittany Lions were on their way to snapping their two-game losing streak, the Mountaineers clawed their way back.
In the 62nd minute, West Virginia senior Andy Bevin got past the Penn State backline and one-timed a long cross from Paul Ehrenworth to tie the score at 1-1.
Bevin would strike again eight minutes later. After being brought down in the box by Mike Robinson, the Mountaineer striker converted a penalty kick to give West Virginia a 2-1 lead it wouldn't give up.
Although the Lions would continue generating chances, including back-to-back shots by Wadid and Minutillo that were just blocked in the 86th minute, they were unable to get another ball in the net and fell for the third straight game.
"You can't point at one guy who's playing terrible, you've got to say collectively as a group we're not playing very well right now," Warming said. "We should be better than this and they know they are."
Despite the disappointment, the Nittany Lions' season is far from over. They are still 10-3-1 on the season and have three regular-season games remaining, including two against Big Ten opponents.
After such a fast start to the year, Warming admitted that the grind of the season has been tough on his players lately.
"We were a great team there for quite a while," Warming said. "There have been a lot of factors. Guys have been sick, guys have been heavy under a lot of stuff with school, we gotta find a way to get it back."
One person who knows what Penn State is going through is West Virginia coach Marlon LeBlanc.
LeBlanc, who played at Penn State from 1997 to 2000 before serving as an assistant coach from 2001-2005, watched his Mountaineers squad start 3-0 before dropping three of their next four.
"We've gone through it," LeBlanc, who's Mountaineers are now 7-6-1, said. "You've just got to stick to your beliefs and continue to fight through. Sometimes the best teams don't always win and the best team on the night wins. This game was an even game for a long time."
"I'm saying this as an alum, they keep their heads to the grindstone and they're going to be fine. We want them to win every game the rest of the way through."
With a strong group of leaders, both young and old, the Nittany Lions will strive to keep their heads up as they fight through this tough stretch.
"I believe in everybody on this team," junior midfielder Drew Klingenberg said. "I think going forward we need to get that confidence back where we all believe in each other because we are a great team. It might be a little low right now but as soon as we start believing in each other again it's going to turn around."