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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Although she's not the most vocal player on
the ice and may not headline every stat sheet, sophomore forward Emily Laurenzi's
multi-faceted and consistent play continues to aid her team in close games.
"I am certainly very pleased with [Emily's] continual consistency," said head
coach Josh Brandwene. "She does a real good job in all of her regular shifts, a
great job commanding one of our power play units and remains one of our top
The Delaware native possesses tremendous hockey knowledge, but one of her most
impressive attributes is her ability to make an impact all over the ice. You
name it--face offs, puck handling or blocking shots--Laurenzi is working to
perfect her abilities in all aspects of the game.
"I feel like my strengths are in the defensive zone, winning battles in the
corners and playing physically to get the puck up the ice," Laurenzi said. "I could
work on playing more physically in the corners to create offensive scoring
The right-hander has recently been playing on the team's first line alongside
sophomore Shannon Yoxheimer and senior captain Taylor Gross. In last weekend's
victory over Lindenwood, the team's first conference win, Laurenzi connected
with Yoxheimer to register her third assist of the season on a power play goal.
The line has accounted for a combined 23 points this season, more than any
other offensive trio on the team.
"It is challenging at times but it works out really well because I try to be a
playmaker. I like to set Shannon and Taylor up to score," Laurenzi said. "I try
to do a lot of defensive work and get them the puck moving up the ice."
Laurenzi was relieved to get the first conference win of the season and see the
team play a full 60 minutes and not relinquish a lead--something they had done
in four straight losses prior to last Saturday's win over Lindenwood.
"I think we kind of just played our game the whole time and didn't let the
score factor into our game plan," Laurenzi said. "We played like there wasn't
even a scoreboard and everything came out on top for us."
The sophomore registered two blocks in last weekend's win, which is a facet of
her game that not only helps keep goals off the board, but also translates into
offensive rushes and goals for her team.
In 35 games last season she registered a total of 20 blocks, and in 16 games
into this season she has already matched last year's total.
"She is a really good defensive player," said sophomore Jill Holdcroft. "She's
always in the right position and seems to know what the offensive player is
Last season, the gritty skater was tabbed the team's unsung hero because of her
productive style of play that was not always rewarded on the scoreboard or in
the box score. She finished the 2012 season with a plus/minus of plus-six,
which was the best on the team.
The consistent level of passionate play that she brings to the ice at each and
every game and practice isn't a new attribute of hers. She has been playing
hockey since she was just seven years old and has made sacrifices on and off
the ice for the sport.
"It is my life," she said. "I love the sport and I love this team. It has truly
made me who I am today."
Prior to Penn State, Laurenzi played for the National Sports Academy in Lake
Placid, N.Y. and gave up other sports such as soccer to pursue hockey. When it
came time to begin the college search, she never thought she would end up at a
school the size of Penn State.
"I never wanted to play at a big school and I always thought in high school
that I would go to a small school," she said. "But now that I am here, I
couldn't imagine playing anywhere else and I'm proud to say that I go to Penn
As for post-collegiate plans, the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management
major isn't quite sure what she wants to do after graduation, but she knows she
wants to work with animals in some capacity. Although her playing days might
come to an end in two years, hockey will always remain a part of her life.
"I feel like I will always be close with my teammates...they are my best
friends," she said.
Laurenzi's grittiness and passion will be on display next at Pegula Ice Arena when
the Nittany Lions host Maine on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 2 p.m.
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's basketball team will look to claim the
Junkanoo Jam for the second time when they take to the court at the St.
George's High School Gymnasium in Freeport, Bahamas on Friday afternoon.
GAME NOTES: Junkanoo
It has been nine days since Penn State last laced up the high tops for a
contest, defeating Bucknell, 92-49, but the Lady Lions will look to use the
break as a time to continue their growth as a team. With six freshman logging
quality minutes early in the season, head coach Coquese Washington's squad
continues to evolve as a group.
Penn State will open the Junkanoo Jam against
Oregon State on Friday, Nov. 29 at 3:15 p.m. EST and play either Florida or
Illinois State on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 11:30 a.m. EST or 1:45 p.m. EST.
What To Watch For - Penn State
1. The last time Penn State traveled to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo
Jam, the Lady Lions walked away with the title in 2003. That season, Penn State
defeated a pair of nationally ranked foes in No. 25 George Washington, 77-51, and
No. 9 Kansas State, 69-56. That season the Lady Lions went on to claim their
fifth Big Ten Regular Season Championship.
2. Maggie Lucas continues to move up the Penn State scoring charts, entering
this weekend with 1,929 points. She is just 67 points shy of moving past
Tanisha Wright into fifth place on the charts and can become just the fifth
player in Penn State history to score 2,000 points in a career with 71 points.
3. The younger players are starting to find their legs for the Lady Lions, with
three players registering career-highs in the scoring column vs. Bucknell.
Sophomore Candice Agee netted 16 points, freshman Kaliyah Mitchell tallied 14
and freshman Alex Harris dropped in eight points vs. the Bison. Rookie Jenny
DeGraaf scored her first basket in the blue and white vs. Bucknell, as well.
To Watch For - The Field
1. Oregon State enters the tournament at 4-0, largely thanks for the
fifth ranked in scoring offense in the NCAA (92.0 ppg). They are able to
control the boards, ranking second in rebound margin (+18.8) and are limiting
their opponents to the eighth lowest shooting percentage in the country (.299).
The Beavers are led by a balanced attack on offense with seven players
averaging at least eight points.
2. Illinois State has opened the season with a 0-3 record, but the scoring
tandem of Chloe Nelson (15.3 ppg) and Stekara Hall (10.3 ppg) have helped the
Redbirds stay close in their contests. Illinois State out rebounds the
opposition by over six boards per game, thanks to Octavia Crump's 8.0 rebounds
per game and Brianna Puni's 7.0 boards per contest.
3. Florida already has six games under their belts in 2013-14 and enters with a
4-2 record, with losses coming at Virginia Tech and at home against Florida
State. The Gators like to force turnovers, sitting plus-seven in turnover
margin, forcing 23.5 turnovers per game and only committing 16.8. Jaterra Bonds
is the top scorer on the squad with 16.5 points per game and is among the
leading rebounders with 5.8 boards.
Gameday Central | Game Notes | Wisconsin Scouting Report | Press
VIDEO: Player Q&As | VIDEO: Nittany Lions Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (6-5,
3-4) will conclude the 2013 season with a trip to No. 14 Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1)
on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (TV-ESPN) inside Camp Randall Stadium.
Penn State and Wisconsin will meet in the regular season finale for the
third-straight year. The two teams are
not scheduled to meet again until the 2018 season after the conference begins
its new East and West Division alignment in 2014. Saturday's game marks Penn State's sixth
contest against a team that is nationally ranked this season.
Junior running back Zach Zwinak gained 149 yards last week in Penn State's
23-20 overtime setback to Nebraska.
Zwinak heads into the season finale with three-straight 100-yard
performances. Allen Robinson's eight
catches for 106 yards against the Huskers moved him into second on the career
receiving chart with 169 receptions.
Robinson is 10 catches shy of Deon Butler's 179 grabs from 2005-'08.
Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg is among the Big Ten's top signal
callers, ranking second in the conference in completions (210) and passing
yards (237.8). Hackenberg has eight
200-yard passing games this year, breaking the Penn State freshman record and
ranks in the top five on the school season completions and yardage lists.
The Badgers enter the final week of the season on a six-game winning streak
following a 20-7 road victory over Minnesota.
Wisconsin averages 297.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks eighth in
the NCAA and second in the Big Ten. The
Badgers are 6-0 at home during the 2013 season.
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for Penn State's final regular season matchup of
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. November has been a strong month for Zach Zwinak during his Nittany
Lion career. In eight career games
during the month, Zwinak has rushed for 1,062 yards. In his last three outings, the Nittany Lion
junior has 448 yards on the ground. In
addition to Zwinak, Bill Belton, who has 796 yards in 2013, is expected to
return this weekend against Wisconsin.
Success on the ground against a talented Wisconsin defense will create
opportunities for Hackenberg in the passing game. The true freshman has connected with Robinson
on 17 passing plays of 20 or more yards this season.
2. Since the second half of the Minnesota game,
the Nittany Lion defense has played its best football of the 2013 season. During that span of 10 quarters and one
overtime period, the Nittany Lions have held opposing offenses to 30 total
points. Junior linebacker Mike Hull said
this week that one of the biggest keys to the way Penn State has been playing
on defense is communication. The Lions
have done a great job of communicating with one another in simple terms before
the snap to ensure they are lined up in a good place to make plays. Additionally, Penn State's defensive unit has
played with great passion in recent weeks.
Look for that to continue on Saturday as seniors DaQuan Jones, Glenn
Carson, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Malcolm Willis all line up for the final
time in a Penn State uniform.
3. Against a Badger offense averaging 36.8 points per game in 2013, the Nittany
Lions will be looking for a very quick start on the offensive side of the
ball. Efficient play from the offense,
especially on third down and in the red zone, will play a big role in Penn
State's success against the Badgers.
Wisconsin has out-scored its opponents 103-26 in the first quarter this
to Watch For - Wisconsin
1. Redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon and senior James White make up the
top running back duo in the nation.
Gordon has rushed for 1,375 yards (8.2 ypc). White has rushed for 1,281 yards (6.5
ypc). Both players have at least one
touchdown run of 80 or more yards. As a
team, Wisconsin has 36 rushing plays of 20 or more yards and 13 rushing
touchdowns of 20 or more yards this season.
Simply put, Gordon and White are potential game-changing players every
time they touch the ball. Additionally,
Wisconsin's offensive line is a superb unit.
2. On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Chris Borland is the
heart and soul of the Wisconsin 3-4 defense.
The fifth-year senior leads the team in tackling with 92 stops. In his last five full games (missed time due
to injury), Borland has averaged 11.2 tackles and 1.3 tackles per loss. Borland plays a central role on a Wisconsin
defense that has allowed just 6.0 points per game in the six games contested at
Camp Randall Stadium this season.
3. Although Wisconsin has 67 plays of 20 yards or more on offense, the Badger
attack is a very efficient group led by sophomore quarterback Joel Stave. Stave, who has thrown for 2,075 yards while
completing 63 percent of his passes, is very good in the play-action game. Senior wideout Jared Abbredaris is his
favorite target in the passing game.
Abbredaris has made 61 receptions for 916 yards. The Badgers are 45-for-51 in the red zone,
including 34 touchdowns.
The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions will put on the Blue and White for the final time in
2013 on Saturday. While they were
honored last week in Beaver Stadium, it will be a special day for the 17 Penn
State seniors, who will take the field for the final time as a college athlete. The Nittany Lions enter the game knowing they
need to play mistake-free football on both sides of the ball. The battle in the trenches will play a key
role in deciding the outcome on Saturday.
Penn State has a great opportunity to play one of the top teams in the
nation on the final regular season Saturday.
Tune in at 3:30 for the ESPN coverage with Mike Patrick and Ed
Cunningham on the call.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fathers and sons, brothers and sisters or mothers and
daughters playing for Penn State is nothing new.
It almost seems as if every athlete on the Penn State campus has a family
member who once donned the blue and white proudly.
It's part of the tradition here at Penn State and it's something every Nittany
Lion is proud of. It's a story every fan loves to hear and every journalist
loves to write. We see athletic and academic legacies all over this campus.
We see them on the football field, the volleyball court or basketball courts and,
yes, now in the hockey rink.
Zach Saar is a freshman forward on the men's ice hockey team. His young career
is off to a solid start for the Nittany Lions. The forward has already notched
three assists and he's taken seven shots. He knows his role on the ice and his
coaches are proud of the progress the young man is making in practice and on
Saar, however, is not the only Penn State athlete in his family.
His father, Brad, was a linebacker for Penn State's 1982 national championship
So when the Richland, Mich., native committed to Hockey Valley, his father couldn't
have been more proud.
"He was really excited for me. He said that the two years he played football
were the most fun of his life," Zach said. "He has a ton of respect for the university,
but he definitely didn't try to push me one way or the other.
"He let me choose as I wanted to and make that choice for my future. But,
naturally, when I committed to Penn State, he was very happy and proud, which
And just like that, another Saar would don the Nittany Lion uniform.
Although being able to play hockey for Penn State was incredibly ideal to the
freshman, his father reminded him why so many athletes pick Penn State.
"[My dad] said it's a top-notch university. It's a Big Ten university with an
awesome athletic department," Saar said. "But, he reminded me that It's an
awesome educational opportunity, as well, which was really important to us. He
thought it would be a really exciting opportunity to be a part of the inaugural
Big Ten season here at Penn State."
That experience is about to become reality, with Big Ten play scheduled to get
underway on Dec. 6-7 in Madison, Wis. against the No. 12 Badgers.
Being a part of a new program was something Saar was excited about, as well,
and he has worked hard to help lay the foundation for the program that he has
come to love in his short time on campus.
"I couldn't be happier with my choice," said Saar, "I love it here and knew I
would when I committed to coach Gadowksy and Penn State. I'm really blessed and lucky to be at Penn
State and to be able to play hockey. The arena is beyond what I could have ever
imagined and the fan support is amazing."
Brad is all too familiar with the Penn State experience. He knows about the
student body's passion for Penn State and how they treat their athletes on game
day. He has seen a packed Beaver Stadium and has had the chance to experience firsthand
Nittany Lion fans cheering him on.
Now, Zach has experienced that atmosphere firsthand inside Pegula Ice Arena -
which is located just a short walk from the Beaver Stadium South Tunnel which his
father once charged through as a linebacker. From the "S Zone" inside the
football stadium to the Roar Zone at Pegula Ice Arena, they both agree the
students make the game day experience second to none.
"He thought the Roar Zone was incredible," Zach said. "There is not much more
you can say. You walk in the building and you can feel [the energy]. The game
atmosphere is incredible.
"The student support is amazing. The support has been better than any of us could
have dreamed of and we need them. The first game versus Army was probably one
of the most emotional experiences of my life. It was overpowering."
Although his parents are over 500 miles away, that doesn't stop them from
traveling to watch their son begin his college hockey career.
With the inaugural season of Big Ten hockey under way, Brad and Rene Saar will
get several opportunities to see their son play when the team travels to
Michigan. Of course, the proud parents do sneak out to Hockey Valley from time
to time, as well.
"Once the Big Ten schedule picks up, I'll get to see them at Michigan State and
Michigan, because that's where I'm from," Saar said. "It's awesome. They also
like to come to Happy Valley whenever they get the opportunity. They love to
make up an excuse and come out."
Zach and Brad, however, are not the only athletes in the Saar family. Zach's
sister is a volleyball player at Georgetown University. So the Michigan-based
family has two good reasons to travel to the East Coast.
The Nittany Lions are back in action after a two week
break. They welcome No. 17 Union on Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1. It is
also the last game before the team heads to Madison to take on their first Big
Ten rival in Wisconsin.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
'Tis the season for giving thanks, and 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 unrivaled 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.
By Christine Nairn, GoPSUsports.com Soccer Analyst
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the final whistle blew at Klöckner Stadium, the Penn State women's soccer
seniors knew that their time in the blue and white jersey had officially come
to an end. Despite one of their best showings of the year, the women's soccer
team's season is over. The Nittany Lions were defeated 1-0 by the Demon Deacons
of Wake Forest due to a late second-half goal.
Penn State fans looked across the field at the scattered players, they could not
help but give a standing ovation their hard work, dedication, and tenacity
displayed throughout the season and in their final game as a team.
Senior midfielder Taylor Schram looked at her teammates and coaches in
astonishment and disappointment.
"We played our hearts out. We put our bodies on the line; we sprinted until we
couldn't run anymore. We are frustrated because we know that we had our
chances, but couldn't capitalize," said Schram.
"It's sad to think that my time at Penn State is over, but I wouldn't trade any
second with this team for anything. I will forever be grateful for Penn State
and it's Women's soccer program," said Schram.
Redshirt junior, Emily Hurd, reflected on her time with the senior class and
their influence on the younger players.
"The seniors are a huge class with many different personalities. It's going to
be impossible to replace them, but I think we can benefit from their hard
learned experiences and implement them into our mentality and playing style in
upcoming seasons," Hurd said.
"They are some of my best friends in their class, so I will miss them everyday
at practice. I hope to make them proud next year and play for them each and
every game," said Hurd.
The Nittany Lions traveled home for Thanksgiving, but will return to State
College next week with one goal in mind...next season.
"The preparations for next year start in the offseason. We are excited for some
down time but it's back to work with strength and conditioning coach Greg
Miskinis. He will prepare us for next season mentally and physically," said
"With every sprint and weight lifted, we will have our seniors in mind and give
that extra effort to make them proud next season."
PARK, Pa. - Each week, GoPSUsports.com
will preview the upcoming opponent on the Penn State schedule. Here is a week 12 glance at the Wisconsin
Gary Andersen is in his first year as head coach of the Badgers after replacing
Bret Bielema, who left for Arkansas.
Andersen has a career mark of 39-33.
The Badgers are 9-2 this season and 6-1 in Big Ten play. They are 6-0 at home.
Last weekend, Wisconsin visited Minnesota, knocking off the Golden Gophers, 20-7. Running back James White compiled 125 yards
on 26 carries and a one-yard touchdown run.
Melvin Gordon added 12 carries for 69 yards. Quarterback Joel Stave completed 16-of-26
passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Receiver Jared Abbrederis caught a two-yard
touchdown pass as part of his seven catch, 67-yard day. Wisconsin totaled 324 yards of offense,
including 197 on the ground.
For the second-straight week, Wisconsin defense did not give up an offensive
touchdown. Minnesota's only points of
the game came on a pick-six. The Badgers
allowed only 185 yards and held the Gophers to 83 yards passing. Linebacker Chris Borland led the defense with
12 tackles (eight solo) and forced a fumble.
Linebacker Brendan Kelly recorded three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Wisconsin is tied for second in the Big Ten and ranks 23rd among FBS
schools in scoring offense, averaging 36.8 points per game. The Badgers are also eighth in the nation in
rushing offense, gaining 297.8 yards per game.
The passing attack is tenth in the Big Ten, averaging 191.5 yards. The Badgers hold the ball for an average of
34:12 per game, good for fourth in the nation.
The Badgers are led by the top running back tandem in the country. Redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon is tied for
eighth in the nation with 1,375 yards. He
also has 12 rushing touchdowns. The
6-foot-1, 207-pound Gordon averages 8.2 yards per carry. Senior James White has rushed for 1,281 yards
and 13 touchdowns, while also adding 258 receiving yards and two
touchdowns. Freshman Corey Clement has
contributed 515 yards and seven touchdowns.
With a combined 2,656 rushing yards, Gordon and White are 349 yards shy of
breaking the NCAA's single-season record for rushing yards by two players on
the same team. They are the only running
back duo in the country to each have 1,000 yards and average 100 yards per
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joel Stave has completed 63 percent of his
passes for 2,075 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Stave will try to find receiver Jared Abbrederis and tight end Jacob Pedersen through
the air. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Abbrederis
has recorded 61 catches for 916 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 15
yards per catch. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound
Pedersen has 437 yards and three touchdowns on 32 receptions.
The Badgers employ a 3-4 scheme on defense.
In addition to having one of the top running offenses in the country, Wisconsin
boasts one of the top rushing defenses, ranking seventh in the nation while
allowing only 99.1 yards per game. The
Badgers give up only 278.5 total yards per game, good for sixth in the
country. The Badgers' pass defense is
just as good, ranking ninth in the country, allowing only 179.4 yards per game.
The Badgers have given up only 13.4 points per game, fifth among FBS
schools. In six games this year,
Wisconsin has not allowed an offensive touchdown. They have allowed a total of three touchdowns
in six homes games this season.
Borland, a redshirt senior, leads the defense with 92 tackles (56 solo). Despite missing almost two games due to
injury, Borland needs just eight tackles to post his third consecutive
100-tackle campaign. He also has eight
tackles for loss and four sacks. Kelly
has 6.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks.
Nose guard Warren Herring has six tackles for loss and four sacks. Defensive end Pat Muldoon has 14 tackles,
including 4.5 for loss and two sacks.
Cornerback Sojour Shelton leads the team with four interceptions. Safety Dezmen Southward has 31 stops and an
Wisconsin leads the all-time series 9-7 on the field, but Penn State earned a
24-21 overtime win at Beaver Stadium last year.
the season wrapping up this weekend, special thank you to student writer Paul
Marboe for all of his Contributions on the 2013 Opponent Previews
each week throughout the season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Welcome to the live in-game blog for the Nittany Lion basketball team. Tonigh, Penn State takes on Monmouth in the second
of four games in seven days this week.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
GoPSUsports.com talks with freshman Christian Hackenberg and junior Mike Hull leading
up to the season finale at Wisconsin.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Bill O'Brien Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Head coach Bill O'Brien previewed Saturday's season finale at Wisconsin during
his final weekly teleconference of the 2013 season on Tuesday afternoon.
With Penn State students on Thanksgiving holiday all week, the Nittany Lions
have a unique game week schedule in the days leading up to the trip to Madison.
Penn State conducted a walkthrough in shorts and shirts on Monday afternoon to
kick off on-field preparation for the No. 14 Badgers. O'Brien said the Monday walkthrough enabled
the players to rest bumps and bruises after a physical game on Saturday.
Penn State will practice normally on Tuesday and Wednesday before a morning
practice on Thursday. The Lions will
then enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in Pollock dining commons put on by Jim Hopey
and the excellent training table staff.
With a schedule solely focused on football, the team has more time to
receiving treatment in the training room and rest. Additionally, the team loaded up in Blue
Buses on Monday night for an evening at the movies where it saw "Thor".
"I think Thanksgiving week, not having classes, being able to sleep in a little
bit, come over, get some treatments in the training room and then come back
after practice and get another treatment," O'Brien said. "I think that will help (guys get some
rest). And there's only one game left,
so you should - our guys will be ready to go out there and lay it on the line,
I know that."
The Badgers enter the weekend on a six-game winning streak. Led by the nation's only pair of 1,000-yard
rushers in Melvin Gordon (1,375) and James White (1,281), Wisconsin has tallied
more than 500 offensive yards in six games this season.
"This is a big challenge," O'Brien said.
"They run the football very well.
They're very well‑coached.
They're physical, they're big.
Gary Anderson has done a good job coming in there and putting his style
of play and putting his mark on that program right away. Big challenge. These are two good running backs."
Wisconsin has been equally as good on defense during the 2013 season, limiting
its opponents to just three total touchdowns in six games at Camp Randall
Stadium this fall. The Badgers play a
3-4 defense, something O'Brien said on Tuesday requires a unique approach
offensively in the gameplan.
"They play a 3-4 look, which is tough," O'Brien said. "They have two good outside backers that set
the edge really well, and then Borland, another guy on the inside. There are actually three guys that play
inside linebacker with Borland being the guy that plays in there all the
time. Borland is a really good
player. He's about six-feet tall, a 240-pound
kid. He's stout, he's tough, he's
smart. He's what you're looking for in a
linebacker. A lot like our guy, Glenn
Carson, just a tough, tough dude."
O'Brien said that while the Nittany Lions have had their ups and downs in 2013,
there have been a lot of positives to build on heading into the final week.
"I think the fact that we've been able to play a freshman quarterback in every
game and he's stayed healthy, and I believe he's gotten better and better, I
think that is a real positive," O'Brien said.
"I believe that for the most part we've run the ball pretty well on
offense. I think that's a positive."
The story has been the same on defense, and Penn State heads into Wisconsin
after playing its best defensive football of the season in the last
two-and-a-half games. The Nittany Lion
defense has allowed a total of 30 points in its last 10 quarters and one
"I believe our defense has improved every single week," O'Brien said. "I think the last three weeks our defense has
played well and a lot of younger players or guys that have years left here at
Penn State have played a lot of football for us on defense."
Kick is slated for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN inside Camp Randall Stadium.
Press Conference Notes:
- Injury Update - Coach O'Brien said Von Walker (concussion), Bill Belton
(shoulder) and Zach Zwinak (shoulder) are all on track to play in the Wisconsin
game. Adrian Amos has a foot sprain, but
is also expected to be ready for Saturday's game.
- Coach O'Brien on C.J. Olaniyan:
"C.J.'s made a lot of improvement. He
made a lot of improvement in the weight room.
He really worked hard in the off-season in the weight room. He got in better condition. He's doing better in school. It all kind of goes together. He's "grown up," and he's played
some good football for us. He had a
strip sack on Saturday night. He caused
a fumble against Minnesota. He's a long
guy. He's got long arms and he's an
instinctive player and a tough kid.
He'll continue to get better."
- O'Brien talking about the season Zach Zwinak has put together (874 yards and
"Zach's had a good year. He's a mentally
tough kid... Tough kid, tough runner, mentally tough kid, really enjoy coaching
him. I think he's -- he and I have
had a lot of talks about ball security and we just try not to get all over him
about it every single second of the day.
We just say, look, it's important for you to hold the ball the proper
way and all these things. And remind him
of those things, and he's taken it to heart, and knock on wood, he's done a
good job in the last three games and he needs to do a good job on Saturday."
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony