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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media
following Saturday's game against Northwestern.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- Several Nittany Lions addresses the media following Saturday's game against
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. Today, the Nittany Lions open the Big Ten home schedule with a matchup against Northwestern.
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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Life on the road is nothing new to the Penn State
men's soccer team. Playing in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions frequently travel
long distances and this weekend will be no different. Head Coach Bob Warming
and crew will trek about 390 miles (approximately a six hour drive) from State
College to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We bus, we don't fly," Warming said. "The big thing for us is mental
regeneration and doing some things the next couple of days and doing some yoga
on the trip to stretch out and prepare ourselves."
The Wolverines are just 1-3-2 on the season, but that doesn't mean that Warming
believes his team can just roll off the bus and beat their conference rivals
without being properly prepared.
"It ain't easy," Warming said of the upcoming trip.
Still, the Nittany Lions are feeling good going into the contest with a
7-0-1 record. They are also coming off their highest scoring performance in 15
years, a 6-2 win over Penn on Wednesday.
Records aside, the game will still be a battle the way every game in the Big
Ten is. Having graduated just three starters from last year's 8-7-3 team, the
Wolverines have plenty of experience and will have their eyes set on the
Nittany Lions after losing to them 3-1 last season.
Last season's leading scorer junior James Murphy (four goals, 11 points in
2013) and starting goalkeeper senior Adam Grinwis have both returned this
season, giving Michigan a solid foundation.
With a 2-0 record in conference play, the Nittany Lions biggest focus will
be making sure their legs are fresh on Sunday after their long trip.
"At this point it's all about regeneration," midfielder Drew Klingenberg
said. "We're [unbeaten] which is awesome but it's taking a toll on us. [Against
Penn] we did really well and the scoreboard says it but there are some things
we can definitely work on.
"Going into Michigan, [the focus] is a bunch of regeneration and getting
our minds right and back in a Big Ten mentality."
The Maloney Magic
At the Nittany Lions' preseason press conference, Warming said that
sophomore Connor Maloney was "developing into a great forward."
He certainly wasn't kidding.
Eight games into Penn State's season, Maloney has already scored six goals.
Twice, he has scored a pair of goals in a game and has added two assists,
giving him 14 points on the year already.
By comparison, Jordan Tyler led last year's Nittany Lions, a team that made
it to the Sweet 16, with five goals and 11 points. It has taken Maloney 13
fewer games to surpass those numbers.
Last year, Maloney was more of a creator than a scorer, finishing the season
with two goals and seven assists. That has changed this year as Penn State has needed
someone to step up as a scorer and the 5-foot-6 dynamo has more than filled
"He's just an impressive player," Warming said. "What you see when you
watch a game, we see it every day in training. He has not taken one practice
off since he's gotten here and what I mean by that is he's fully engaged every
practice. He works as hard at practice as he does out here on the field."
The last Nittany Lion to score ten or more goals in a season was Corey
Hertzog, who scored an astounding 20 times in 2010 after scoring 11 in 2009. With
nine games left on the Nittany Lions' regular season schedule alone, Maloney
has a great chance to reach double digits.
Not that he cares about such things. Many individuals are classified as
team players, but Maloney is someone who truly fits the bill.
Following his two-goal game against the Quakers on Wednesday, Maloney
answered questions about his own performance by complimenting his teammates,
just minutes after Warming had finished praising him on his work ethic.
"It definitely gives the whole team confidence, it's not just about
myself," Maloney said. "All of us got [the ball] in, all of us got minutes and
we're pretty confident going into Michigan."
That's the kind of attitude that Warming likes to see, and it's the reason
the head coach wants the rest of his players to take after the 19-year-old from
Harrisburg, even if he's just a sophomore.
"He needs to be a role model for some of our other guys," Warming said. "They
need to work that hard in practice every day."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the many
traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday experience is the
Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of the Nittany Lions. The
publication originated in the 1920s and continues to evolve, bringing fans
closer to the football program, its student-athletes and the entire Penn State
Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you
can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on
Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Northwestern
BSP that will be sold during the 95th Homecoming game.
Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.
the Linebacker U. Tradition
BY: Paul Marboe, Penn State Athletic
For anyone who watches senior Mike Hull, it is easy to see the traits
and work-ethic that make him the player next in line to leave his mark at
"Linebacker U." and add to its superlative legacy.
On fall Saturdays, Hull can be seen flying around the field, making plays from
sideline to sideline on defense and special teams. The 6-0, 225-pound Hull
contains that blend of toughness, discipline, instincts, speed and playmaking
ability that makes the Penn State linebacker tradition so special.
After three years playing alongside some great linebackers, Hull has emerged as
the clear leader of the 2014 unit and the Penn State defense.
Radakovich: The Man Behind "Linebacker U."
by: Lou Prato, Penn State Sports Historian
The man most responsible for the creation of "Linebacker U." doesn't know
when the nickname started or who came up with it, but it's the perfect and
succinct description for the bevy of talented linebackers at Penn State over
the last four decades.
Dan Radakovich is certain that the name evolved after he became Penn State's
first linebacker coach in 1958 and helped develop All-Americans Denny Onkotz
and Jack Ham and NFL stalwarts Ralph Baker and Bill Saul.
It wasn't just what the linebackers did at Penn State that gave the school its
initial reputation in the 1970s. What they did in professional football had
even more influence on the conception of the nickname.
Hockey Looks to Build on Last Year's Late Season Success
By: Matt Caracappa, Penn State Athletic Communications
Under the direction of third-year head coach Guy Gadowsky, the
Nittany Lion men's hockey team will look for continued success during the 2014-15
campaign. After an impressive run to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, Penn
State returns 24 lettermen from last year's squad while welcoming three
newcomers to the fold.
The Nittany Lions opened the 2013-14 season with heightened anticipation and
excitement throughout the Centre Region as the campaign commenced with a 4-1
victory over Army at the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena. Penn State also
began its first foray into the Big Ten Conference, as the conference sponsored
the sport for the first time.
The Nittany Lions battled through the second-hardest schedule in college hockey
a season ago and came away with many monumental firsts for the program. Penn
State defeated Michigan for both its first Big Ten win, which occurred at home,
and its initial Big Ten road victory. The Lions also defeated the Wolverines
for a third time during the Big Ten Tournament.
The Penn State vs. Northwestern BSP also
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: vs. UMass
Player Q&As w/ Ryan Keiser, Deron
Thompson & Matt Zanellato
University Feature: Nittany Lion Bonds All Penn Staters
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Penn State Athletics Sports Planner
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State is many things. It is a research institution
and an athletic empire. It is history, tradition and culture.
For most people that come across this campus, though, of any age, any
background, or any position, Penn State is one simple thing - a dream come
Dreams, like many things in life, come true through hard work, dedication,
and a vast amount of time.
After eight years with the University and two long months as an interim,
John Gondak has been officially named the Penn State cross country and track
and field programs' head coach and he could not be more thrilled.
"Words can't describe what this means to me," said Gondak. "I'm thrilled
and honored to continue to work with the student-athletes here. To be the head
coach here is the pinnacle of my career to this point and I'm looking to
continue that and achieve greater heights here with the program."
Gondak comes with a long history of experience and a great deal of time on
He was a walk-on runner onto the Syracuse University cross country team where
he earned a scholarship and the accolade of team captain. After graduating as
valedictorian of the civil engineering program, he made his way through over a
decade of coaching and recruiting experience at Georgia Tech, Toledo, and Kentucky
before ending up in Happy Valley.
During his time with the NIttany Lions, Gondak has been remarkable.
During his eight years, he has been named United States Track and
Field/Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach
of the Year five times, along with assisting to lead multiple Big Ten, NCAA,
and All-Regional championship appearances.
It's impossible to deny Gondak's passion, which flows right through him
when he speaks about the University and its athletic program.
"Every coach has that one university in mind that they would really love to
work for and for me Penn State has always been that," said Gondak. "Penn State
is the university I grew up with. I've been coming to athletic events here ever
since I can remember. Both my parents went to school here. They've been saying
great things about Penn State their whole lives."
His demeanor is confident and approachable, and he stands proudly and poised.
"I truly believe we have the best student-athletes in the world here at Penn
State. They're not only highly focused to achieve success athletically but
their academics [are] a huge piece to them," he said. "Going forward to watch
the athletes come through the program and move on to the real world is exciting
Fortunately for Gondak, the student-athletes seem to feel the same way.
"I can't think of anyone better for the position considering how much he cares
about the guys and the program," said senior Glen Burkhardt. "He does a very
good job on everyone's individual needs. He cares a lot and I think everyone
really likes him. That alone is big incentive to work hard."
Most days, Gondak can be found on the track or out on the running course.
The days when he is in his office sitting at his dark burgundy desk, he is
planning practice workouts and reflecting on previous races.
The future brings big changes for Gondak and his professional career but, as
for the program, he simply hopes to continue the excellence that is already
"We have a great platform for success that was built not only by Coach
[Beth Alford] Sullivan but also, by Coach [Harry] Groves and the coaches before
them. We want to continue to build on that but we've got this thing going in
the right direction right now with two of what, I think, could be the best teams
Penn State has ever had," Gondak said.
Next weekend, Gondak will travel with the cross country team, for the first
time as their head coach, to South Bend, Indiana, for their first NCAA
qualifying meet at Notre Dame. The team has already been thinking about it,
preparing, and working towards their goals every day.
As they continue to prepare for the competition, perhaps the program can
rest peacefully, indeed, they have chosen the most dedicated man for the job.
GAME BLOG - Northwestern
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Northwestern Scouting Report
| Coach Franklin Wednesday
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Gattis Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview
Pa. - Penn State (4-0, 1-0)) welcomes Northwestern (1-2, 0-0) to Beaver Stadium
on Saturday for the 2014 Big Ten home opener and Homecoming. The Nittany Lions
and Wildcats are slated for noon kick on BTN.
The Lions marched to their fourth-straight win to open the season last week
with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball against UMass. Thanks to
strong play in the trenches, Penn State rushed for 228 yards and five
touchdowns. Seniors Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak each visited the end zone twice
and Akeel Lynch scored once in a 48-7 victory.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions turned in another strong effort against the
Minutemen. Limiting UMass to just three rushing yards, Penn State leads the
nation in rushing defense at 45.9 yards per game. The
Nittany Lions rank sixth in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and 10th in total
defense (270.8 ypg). In the past 12 quarters of football, Penn State has
allowed just two offensive touchdowns. Collectively, the Nittany Lions have
yielded 12.38 rushing yards per quarter during the 2014 season.
Northwestern enters Saturday's game following a 24-7 home victory over Western
Illinois. The Wildcats opened the season with two one-score losses against
California (31-24) and Northern Illinois (23-15). Led by head coach Pat Fitzgerald,
the Wildcats return 18 starters from the 2013 squad. That list includes senior
quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Saturday's gameday marks Penn State's 95th Homecoming game. The Alumni Blue
Band will be featured as they join the Blue Band performance at halftime. The
Homecoming court will parade onto the field and the 2014-'15 King and Queen
will be announced during halftime. The annual Homecoming Parade will be held on
campus and downtown State College on Friday night.
Also, a Varsity "S" tunnel will take place for team entrance against
the Wildcats, with hundreds of former student-athletes lining up on the field
just prior to kickoff.
The Penn State and Northwestern coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure
MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular
Dystrophy research. More than 110 FBS schools will be wearing a Coach to Cure
MD patch in this the seventh year of the annual initiative. Fans are encouraged
to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week five matchup against Northwestern.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. The Penn State ground attack played its best football of the season
against UMass last week. Junior Akeel Lynch said this week that the performance
against the Minutemen gave the running game some confidence, but now it is up
to the group to improve. Lynch, Belton and Zwinak are a formidable trio when
the offense is executing at a high level. In addition to the importance of
consistency from the running game, the success of the Penn State running backs
opens the door for play-action passing from Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg is
leading the Big Ten in passing at 315.2 yards per game. Geno Lewis leads the
conference in receiving yards per game at 115.5. DaeSean Hamilton leads the Big
Ten in receptions per game at 7.5. When all of the offensive units are playing
well, they complement one another.
2. Penn State's run defense has been lights out in 2014. Holding its opponents
to less than 50 yards per game speaks to unit's ability to swarm to the
football. The strong run defense begins with stout play in the trenches, but
the second level of the Penn State defense deserves a great deal of credit, as
well. The linebacker trio of Mike Hull, Brandon Bell and Nyeem Wartman has
played at a consistently high level since the season began in Ireland. Hull
leads the Nittany Lions in tackling with 37 stops on the season. Wartman, who
was named Defensive Player of the Week for the UMass game by the coaching
staff, has come on strong in recent weeks. He has 20 tackles. Bell has nine
stops on the season, but his impact on the defense goes far beyond the tackle
numbers. The New Jersey native has been a disruptive player for the Nittany
Lions throughout the 2014 season.
3. No player has been more consistent for the Nittany Lions since the end of
spring practice than kicker Sam Ficken. A perfectionist when it comes to
mastering his craft, Ficken is off to a strong start for the Nittany Lions this
season. He is 8-of-9 on field goal attempts and is 12-of-12 on PATs. Ficken has
also been a weapon on the kickoff unit. He has 12 touchbacks this season,
including eight touchbacks on nine attempts last week against UMass.
to Watch For - Northwestern
1. Northwestern senior quarterback Trevore Siemian is a veteran of 36
career games for Northwestern. Ranked ninth on the school's all-time passing
list, Siemian entered 2014 third on the active passer list in the Big Ten. He
has completed 59 percent of his passes this season. Siemian has thrown for 614
yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His top target thus far has
been superback (TE/HB) Dan Vitale, who has 11 catches for 103 yards. Senior
wide receiver Kyle Prater has 10 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.
2. Defensively, Northwestern is a fundamentally sound unit led by a veteran
cast of players. In all, eight of Northwestern's 11 starters on defense are
juniors or seniors. That list includes the linebacker duo of Chi Chi Ariguzo
(30) and Collin Ellis (28), who have combined for 58 career starts for the
Wildcats. Ariguzo and Ellis are the anchors of the Northwestern defense. The
two linebackers lead the Wildcats in tackling with 28 and 26 hits,
respectively. Ellis, however, was listed on the final injury report as out for the game on Saturday. Sophomore defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo has been disruptive this
season, as well, with 2.0 sacks and three forced fumbles.
3. Sophomore punter Chris Gradone was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the
Week for his efforts in week four. Gradone averaged 44.1 yards on seven punts.
Six of his seven kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line, including two kicks
inside the 5-yard line. Junior wide receiver Miles Shuler has been
Northwestern's top returner. Shuler is averaging 21.2 yards per return on
The Final Word:
Penn State played its first Homecoming game on Oct. 9, 1920 against
Dartmouth (W, 14-7). All-time, the Nittany Lions are 68-21-5 in games contested
on Homecoming. That list includes eight on-field victories in the last 10
Homecoming games, including last season's thrilling 43-40 triple overtime win
against Michigan. Saturday's game marks the third time the Nittany Lions will
host Northwestern on Homecoming. The Nittany Lions topped the Wildcats in 2002
(49-0) and 2012 (39-28). Dating back the latter stages of 2013, head coach
James Franklin and the seven members of the coaching staff who were with him at
Vanderbilt last year have won nine-straight games heading into the Northwestern
game. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 p.m.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The journey to Penn State for Nia Grant was an
interesting one. In middle school, she missed volleyball tryouts and instead
decided she wanted to become a professional basketball player.
But that all changed when her mom brought her to a local gym near her Warren,
Ohio, home to practice volleyball. The skills stuck, and Grant ran with it. She
tried out for the team, made it and the rest was history.
Grant began her college search during the Christa Harmotto and Arielle Wilson
era of Penn State women's volleyball. Watching the standout athletes win
national championships and Big Ten titles, Grant knew she wanted to play for
Penn State. When Grant and Wilson met, they quickly became friends and Grant
found herself in Happy Valley very frequently to spend time with Wilson.
"I just loved [Penn State]. And it was where I wanted to be all of the time,"
Now, five years later, Grant is playing in her final season as a Penn State
women's volleyball player. She has grown as a player over the last four years, especially
from her junior to senior season. This season, Grant tallied 100 kills on a
.525 hitting percentage during the non-conference slate. At that point last
season, she had 53 kills.
But Grant said it's her mental game that has really improved.
"My mindset is different. Something clicked. Being good is a decision, and I
need to be good," Grant said. "Everything just seems like it's falling into
This season, Grant has been playing with much more confidence, approaching the
net with swings like never before. She said the confidence boost is the product
of being a senior and understanding that she has a leadership role this season.
"Being a senior, having to play a big role, having a lot of freshmen and
knowing that you have to teach them a lot of different things, I had to step
up," Grant said. "And I feel really good about it."
Leading the freshmen is something that Grant has loved so far this season and
said that she could not have asked for a better class of freshmen. But rather
than telling the newcomers how to be successful as a Nittany Lion, she shows
"I hope more so that I lead them by example, rather than teach them anything
with my words," Grant said. "They're an awesome group of girls."
With conference play kicking off this week, Grant and the other veterans have explained
the nature of the Big Ten to the freshmen. They also have established goals to
achieve as a team during the 10-week conference schedule.
"[We] just want to grow and win as many games as possible. I want the team to
peak when we need to peak and just continually get better every day and keep
working hard in the gym," Grant said.
Individually, Grant said she wants to improve her blocking during her senior
The Nittany Lions head to Minnesota on Saturday following a 3-0 sweep at No. 5
Wisconsin on Wednesday. Grant and the Lions are fired up for the Big Ten
excited...I can't wait," Grant said.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's been more than six months since the Nittany
Lions were on the ice together. 203 days to be exact. But this past Saturday the
Penn State women's ice hockey team embarked on its 2014-15 campaign.
The transition from a club team to a Division-I program a mere three
seasons ago trickled into last year as the Blue and White finished just 4-29-3.
However, as third-year head coach Josh Brandwene and his Nittany Lions enter
their third season as a varsity program, the energy in the first week of
practice has been very high.
"Things have been really good," said junior captain Shannon
Yoxheimer. "The momentum has been at a really, really high pace. It's been
really competitive, and it's a really good environment to come to practice to
incorporated half-ice and full-ice game situations as well as conditioning
drills. From a coaching perspective, the year has gotten off to a progressive
"The effort, the intensity, the pace, and the enthusiasm are exactly where we
want it right now," said Brandwene. "Lot's of work still to do. Any a number of
things to work the kinks out of and clean up, but we're making good progress."
A big reason why practice has started so smoothly is due in large part to the newly
appointed leadership. Yoxheimer and fellow junior Jordin Pardoski were voted on
by their fellow teammates as the captains this season, while junior Sarah Wilkie
and sophomore Laura Bowman both earned assistant captain duties.
"We're all honored that we were voted by the team to be captains, and we hope
that we can represent the team well," said Bowman.
And, despite earning team leadership honors, the two captains and assistants
plan on acting the same on and off the ice as they have in previous seasons.
"It doesn't really mean anything different than we were last year and in
previous seasons," said Pardoski. "It's just us stepping up and being able to
be leaders vocally or leading by example."
Although a letter distinctively separates the four captains from the rest of
the team, according to Yoxheimer, each player on the squad adds a unique
characteristic that makes for a well-rounded group.
"We have a lot of good leaders on the team who aren't captains, too," said
Yoxheimer. "It adds to the whole environment of the team. Just having other
leaders creates a positive ripple effect with everyone."
Penn State's first game of the season is this upcoming Friday, and due to the
lengthy offseason, the Nittany Lions have been anticipating this game for a
"We've been preparing for this since the end of the last season," said Wilkie. "Everyone
has been thinking about this day and really focused and excited to get to the
Even though the game Friday is simply an exhibition, the competitive ambiance
that has overtaken the Nittany Lions has created a game-like mindset for the
"We are not looking at Friday's game as an exhibition game," said Pardoski. "We
are acting like Friday's game is our first real game of the season. We're pumped
and ready to go for the game."
The puck drops at Pegula Ice Arena at 8:00 p.m. on Friday as the Penn State's
season commences against the Western Ontario Mustangs.
"It's so great to be rocking and rolling now," said Brandwene.