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VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Maryland Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions meet Maryland on Saturday at noon (ESPN2).

2014 Opponent Previews - Maryland

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10480549.jpegMaryland | Beaver Stadium | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions meet the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since 1993, and the first since Maryland joined the Big Ten.

Randy Edsall is in his fourth year leading the Terrapins with a mark of 18-27.  Edsall is 92-97 overall in his 16th year as a head coach.  Maryland went 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC in 2013.  They fell 31-20 against Marshall in the Military Bowl.  The Terrapins returned 52 lettermen and 17 starters.

The Terrapins dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play on Saturday, losing 52-7 at Wisconsin.  The Maryland offense gained 175 yards, with 129 coming through the air.  Quarterback C.J. Brown completed 13-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Running back Wes Brown gained 22 yards on five carries. Deon Long caught six passes for 59 yards and Stefon Diggs hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass.

The Terrapins allowed 527 total yards, including 311 on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.  Safety Sean Davis recorded 17 tackles, including 14 solo, and broke up a pass. Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson made seven stops, six solo, and forced a fumble. Defensive end Andre Monroe added a 10-yard sack.

Maryland ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game. They also rank ninth in the Big Ten, gaining nearly 374 yards of total offense per contest. They average 137.5 yards rushing and 236 yards passing, ranking 11th and seventh in the conference, respectively.

Brown has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.  He also leads the team with 376 yards rushing and five touchdowns.  Brown is seventh in the conference in total offense, averaging 211.5 yards per game.


Junior Brandon Ross and sophomore Wes Brown join C.J. Brown in the backfield.  Ross, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior, has 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns, gaining 4.4 yards per carry.  Ross also has 11 catches for 202 yards and two scores.  Wes Brown has recorded 231 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also has 115 yards on 11 receptions. Fullback Kenneth Goins has 41 rushing yards, 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

The Terrapins have a very strong receiving corps, led by junior Stefon Diggs. One of the fastest players in the country, Diggs leads the team with 601 yards and five touchdowns on 46 catches, averaging 13 yards per catch. Diggs has caught a pass in 26 straight games.  Senior Deon Long has caught 33 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown. Junior Marcus Leak has 253 yards and three touchdowns on 16 receptions. 

The Maryland offensive line includes two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Three linemen have at least 21 career starts.

The Terrapins use a 4-3 style defense, but provide the look of a 3-4 scheme (standing defensive end). They allow 29.2 points and 458.4 total yards per game, ranking 11th and 13th in the Big Ten, respectively.  They rank 13th in the conference, giving up 212.4 yards rushing.  They are 11th in the league, giving up 246 yards passing.  They have forced 14 turnovers this season.

The defensive line is led by end Andre Monroe. The senior has 44 tackles, including eight for loss and 6.5 sacks and has forced a fumble.  Fellow end Keith Bowers has recorded 27 tackles, 14 solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Tackle Darius Kilgo has made 30 stops, 22 solo, six for loss and two sacks. Kilgo has also recovered three fumbles and blocked a kick. 

Cole Farrand, an inside linebacker, leads the unit with 67 tackles, including 35 solo, and four tackles for loss.  He has also broken up five passes.  Also on the inside is L.A. Goree, who has made 66 stops, 43 solo and two for loss. On the outside, Yannick Ngakoue has a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss. Ngakoue also has 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. 

Cornerback William Likely leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.  He has 134 total return yards on those four picks.  Likely also has 51 tackles this year, nine passes defended, a sack and a forced fumble.  Fellow cornerback Jeremiah Johnson has three pass breakups and an interception.  Safety Sean Davis leads the team with 75 tackles, 52 solo. He has two tackles for loss and four pass breakups.  The other safety, Anthony Nixon, has 34 tackles, an interception and a blocked kick.

Kicker Brad Craddock, a Lou Groza Award candidate, has hit on all 12 attempts this year, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State. Craddock has made 18 straight attempts, dating back to last season.  Punter Nathan Renfro averages 41.1 yards per punt and has placed 15 inside the 20-yard-line. Diggs and Likely handle the return duties.  Diggs has averaged 25.2 yards per kick return.  Likely leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally, averaging 16.3 yards per punt return.  Likely returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia.  

Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland. The schools last met on Oct. 2, 1993, with Penn State winning 70-7.


What Randy Edsall is saying about Penn State:


"They have a tremendous history with their football program over the years. I think it's great to be able to be in the same conference with them, in a bordering state."

"[Hackenberg]'s big, he's strong, and he can make every throw that you want a quarterback to make. He's mobile and able to move around, so when an opportunity does present itself, he can hold the ball down and run."

"I think when you take a look at their defense, it starts with Mike Hull. That guy is all over the place. He is a tremendous football player. He makes a ton of tackles and is a leader for them... They are very strong up the middle and have very good athletes at the other positions."


Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer Paul Marboe.

VIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&As - Miles Dieffenbach & Trevor Williams

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach and junior cornerback Trevor Williams.

Week Eight Press Conference Roundup - Maryland Week

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10478864.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Oct. 28

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions cap off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they face off against Maryland for the first time since 1993.

Head coach James Franklin reviewed Saturday's clash with Ohio State and previewed the matchup against the Terrapins on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.

Penn State scored 24-straight points on Saturday before dropping a narrow 31-24 double-overtime decision to No. 13 Ohio State. The Nittany Lion defense held the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half, largely thanks to an aggressive effort from the collective unit.

"Defense I thought we played really hard, 91 percent pursuit grade, which is really good," said Franklin. "I think that's one of the things we believe in, just the importance of running the ball, we had two takeaways, pick six."

With a strong performance down the stretch in regulation on both sides of the ball, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions play with the same energy, passion and execution again this week, and every remaining week of the season. Penn State has a great deal to build on from the second half against Ohio State.

"I talked to the team on Sunday after the game that I felt a difference on our - in our team in terms of their focus and in terms of their preparation and in terms of their enthusiasm and energy and I don't know if that was Ohio State, I don't know if that was the white‑out, I don't know what this was, prime time game, whatever it may be but I talked to them about we have to make sure that our approach and preparation and our attention to detail is consistent week in and week out," said Franklin. "It shouldn't be based on the opponent, it shouldn't be based on what time the game is. It shouldn't be based on outfits that people decide to wear to the game, shouldn't be based on anything of those things. It should be based on us wanting to go out and play at our highest level."

Shifting into Maryland week preparations, the Nittany Lions corrected the mistakes from the Ohio State game on Sunday before the team's off day on Monday. The squad resumed practice on Tuesday afternoon. Maryland's talent in the skill positions (offense and defense) is the focal point for the Nittany Lions this week as the group prepares for another tremendous crowd in Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

"Tremendous challenge for us, excited to be back at home," said Franklin. "Love to have the opportunity for the first time in the last four years to have back-to-back sellouts. 107K strong. We're excited about that. I cannot stress the impact that our fans had on our last game. Gave our defense a real home field advantage. Can't stress, again, how much would he appreciate their support."

Franklin is hopeful that the Nittany Lion offensive line will receive a boost on Saturday with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach on the brink of a return. Dieffenbach has returned to the practice field in recent weeks, and Franklin said his role could expand this week.

"Hopefully he will have a bigger role this week and that will allow us to play him in a game a little bit," said Franklin. "I think that would be the ideal situation. How much that is, I'm not sure, we'll see, but I think the biggest thing is we are never, ever going to put winning a game in front of what's in the best interest of our players and our student‑athletes, and we want to make sure he's prepared before we put him back on the field that's mentally, physically, emotionally, that's the whole package."

It was announced on Tuesday that senior linebacker Mike Hull has been named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player). From day one, Franklin has been complimentary of Hull's efforts and how sets the tone for the Nittany Lion defense. He has been a huge factor in Penn State's outstanding defensive unit in 2014.

"Mike Hull is as good as I've ever been around, with coaches, fans, NFL scouts with selection committees for awards and things like that, we all get way too caught up in the eyeball test," said Franklin. "With the guy that walks through the door, he's 6-3, 250 pounds, just looks what you imagine in your mind and don't get me wrong, it's not like Mike is little, he's 6-feet, 235 pounds but how productive he is."

The Nittany Lions and Terps are slated for a noon kick on Saturday (ESPN2). The two teams have met 37 times in a series that dates back to 1917.


Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin Update on Ryan Keiser
"There is stuff being reported in the media that I don't think is completely accurate about Ryan Keiser.  Ryan did suffer a fracture in a rib in practice last Thursday. After undergoing operation for a small bowel injury sustained, overall he's improving. He's at Hershey Medical Center right now. There is no infection. I wanted to make sure that we're clear.  Ryan's family has our complete support. I've talked to his mother, talked to Ryan. Our trainers and doctors have been in constant contact or have been involved every step of the way, and I just want to clear that up because I know how the Penn State community supports one another. I wanted to make sure that everybody understands clearly what's going on."

- Franklin on the Maryland offense:
"(They are) averaging 31 points a game, eight starters, spread, no huddle team, they use tempo, big into the quarterback running game. They got a really fast and productive wide receiver unit.  That's one of the things I would say in general about Maryland their skilled positions are really good. C.J. Brown their sixth year senior at quarterback, 6-3, 218 pounds, I recruited C.J., know him extremely well, athletic guy who place extremely well and say able to make plays with his arm, as well. Brandon Ross, know him extremely well, so know him, Stefon Diggs seems like he's been playing there forever, I know Stefon and the family fairly well and he's doing nice things for them, continues to be one of the more explosive athletes in the country and the Deon Long who I've known for a very time, big-time playmaker for them as well.  Athletes across the board. "

- Franklin on the Maryland defense:
"Nine starters, we talked about, an experienced group.  I guess they technically call themselves a 4-3 defense, I would say they are a 3-4 defense, but their one defensive end stands up. They're able to play both from a three-down and four-down front, play a variety of coverages, pressure the quarterback well and as a defense Maryland has returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and that's William Likely who is a good player, he may not be very big, but he's an explosive player."

- Franklin on the Maryland special teams:

"
They're leading the Big Ten in the punt return average, third in kickoff return average, that's a lot to do with their scheme but that's a lot to do with their personnel, William Likely who we have talked about as the punt returner, he's seventh in the nation right now, got one return for a touchdown, that's going to be a challenge for us, Stefon Diggs is their kick return guy, first in the Big Ten in kickoff return yardage so we're going to have a tremendous challenge there and a guy that jumps out to me is Kenneth Goins, running back, "H" back type guy who is all over the field on special teams."



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Monday Notebook: Defense Looking to Build on Dominant in Second Half

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10476866.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite playing at a high level during the first six weeks of the season, the Penn State defense said that it could play a little better.

True to its word, the defense took its game to another level in the second half on Saturday against Ohio State. Simply put, the Nittany Lions were dominant in the second half of the primetime Penn State White Out against an offensive unit that came into the game among the top statistical groups in the country.

Ohio State entered the game averaging 46.5 points per game. The Nittany Lions held the Buckeye offense to 17 points through four quarters of regulation, including zero in the second half. Ohio State had only two combined scoreless quarters during the first six games before the Lions held the Buckeyes scoreless in back-to-back quarters.

Additionally, the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 256 total yards through four quarters (277.8 yards below season average).

"I think, as the game went on, the fact that we were rotating our defensive line was helpful," head coach James Franklin said. "Like Bob [Shoop] usually does, he gets a feel of some adjustments that he's going to make. Slight adjustments, not really anything we're doing at halftime, just different calls. Mike Hull getting 19 tackles, that's helpful as well. The turnovers; that's something we talked about, trying to get some turnovers to get off the field, helping our defense."

Senior linebacker Mike Hull spearheaded the stout defensive effort on Saturday. Hull notched 19 tackles against the Buckeyes, the most by a Penn State player since the 2011 season. He is now averaging 11.9 tackles per game, which is ranked sixth in the nation and atop the Big Ten.

"I think he should be on every award list right now," Franklin said. "He deserves that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've coached in a lot of different leagues, even the NFL. The guy is playing at a really, really high level week in and week out. He makes plays from sideline to sideline in the run game and in the pass game. You guys have heard me say this before, but I have a man crush on that guy. I love him. He's a big-time football player."

Collectively, the Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense (No. 3), total defense (No. 7) and scoring defense (No. 9).

Penn State will renew its series with Maryland on Saturday (noon on ESPN2) in a Big Ten East Division matchup.


Hamilton B1G Freshman of the Week
For the second time in 2014, DaeSean Hamilton has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his efforts against Ohio State on Saturday. Hamilton tallied 14 receptions against the Buckeyes, breaking the Penn State record for receptions in a game. Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver with 57 receptions and 8.1 receptions per game. He is ranked No. 8 overall in the nation in receptions per game and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Hamilton heads into the week just six yards shy of the Penn State freshman receiving record.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 265.9 yards per game and completions per game at 23.57. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,861.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is eighth nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (8.1). He ranks 16th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 98.0.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is leading in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in total tackles at 11.9 per contest.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is 10th in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 1.86.

Early Look at the Terps
Maryland enters the week with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big Ten. The Terps suffered a 52-7 setback at Wisconsin on Saturday. In Big Ten play, Maryland has victories over Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31).

Quarterback C.J. Brown is leading the Maryland offense in passing and rushing. Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He has rushed for 376 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Receiver Stefon Diggs is ranked third in the Big Ten in receptions per game at 5.8. Diggs has 46 total receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Diggs is also the Big Ten's kick return leader (25.2 yards per return).  

Maryland is the Big Ten leader in punt returns and third in kickoff returns. Cornerback William Likely is averaging 16.3 yards per return (1 for TD).

Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 38th time on Saturday, but last played in 1993. Penn State is 35-1-1 overall against the Terps.


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VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame vs. Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's 31-24 (2OT) setback to No. 13 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium.

VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Ohio State

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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.

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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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 Penn State's primetime matchup against Ohio State.

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2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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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. The Nittany Lions meet rival Ohio State under the lights in Beaver Stadium.



Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State
 



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2014 Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Host Buckeyes

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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.

10462710.jpegPenn 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.

PreviewGraphic_Ohio State.jpg
Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10354231.jpeg1. 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
10462681.jpeg1. 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.


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