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VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's game against Northwestern.




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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions addresses the media following Saturday's game against Northwestern.








2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' Big Ten home opener against Northwestern in Beaver Stadium.

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2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Northwestern

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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.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. 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 that role.

"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." 

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: Northwestern Preview

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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 athletic department.

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 GoPSUsports.com.

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.

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Upholding the Linebacker U. Tradition
BY: Paul Marboe, Penn State Athletic Communications
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.

Dan 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.

Men's 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 features;
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

Gondak, Nittany Lions Look Forward to New Era

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10372381.jpegBy 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 true.

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 the track.

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 to see."

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 established.

"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.

2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Meet Northwestern on Homecoming

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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

UNIVERSITY PARK, 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.

10369524.jpegThe 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 90999.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week five matchup against Northwestern.

PreviewGraphic_Northwestern.jpg
Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10369526.jpeg1. 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.

What to Watch For - Northwestern
10369570.jpeg1. 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 kickoffs.


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. on BTN.



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Grant Off to Hot Start During Final Season

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10370582.jpegBy 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," Grant said.

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 place."

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 them.

"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 season.

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 season.

"I'm really 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 everyday."

Practice has 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 start.

"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 long time.

"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 game Friday."

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 contest.

"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.