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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 24 Penn State football hits the road for the first time all month, traveling to Purdue for noon matchup in West Lafayette, Indiana Saturday.
The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 East) enter the week on a three-game winning streak on the heels of a comeback victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last week.
"It's going to be a good challenge," Franklin said. "It's going to be a different environment than the one we played in last week and that's what we are preparing for all week long."
Penn State has not played a game outside Beaver Stadium since meeting then-No. 4/5 Michigan, Sept. 24, 2016, as the trip to Purdue opens a series of three of the next four games in a true road game setting.
As he does every week, Franklin took a few moments to highlight the historic Ohio State victory, thanking the fans for filling Beaver Stadium and making a difference, before turning the focus toward the upcoming trip to Purdue.
Franklin noted that the return of Nittany Lion linebackers Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda from injury made tremendous difference to only in terms of their combined 31 tackles, but in their leadership as well.
"There's a lot of confidence with those guys on the field because we're able to lean on their experience," Franklin said.
While Penn State knocked off its first top-2 team since winning at then-No. 1 Notre Dame in 1990, the Nittany Lions were quick to get back to work, making corrections, learning from the tape and focusing in on the Boilermakers.
"I think that's something that gets lost in big wins," Cabinda said. "Mistakes were made and there were a lot made during that game and we got better off that film. We put the Purdue film on and we're on to Purdue and our goal is just to be 1-0 this week."
On The Quote Board -
- Quarterback Trace McSorley's mother provides snacks for the offensive line every week.
"At our snack every Friday before the hotel, whether we're on the road or at home she finds some local establishment like bakery or something in town and she brings something different each week for those guys and there's always a little note in there," Franklin said.
- Brandon Bell and DaeSean Hamilton both addressed the team in the hotel prior to Saturday's game, something a little unfamiliar to Bell.
"I've always had things that I wanted to express to the team, things like that," Bell said. "This year I am kind of in more of a leadership role; I felt more comfortable doing it. I expressed that to them and making sure our minds are right before the game and continue to do that in practice and on Saturdays."
- Franklin said he has been most impressed with the way defensive coordinator Brent Pry has persevered in the wake of challenging situations throughout his tenure, specifically noting the recent injuries to the Nittany Lion linebacker unit.
"I've been a lot of place where that has happened and there has been a 'woe is me' by the coach and if you do that, the players take on that identity and he hasn't been like that. It's been next man up and what a great opportunity we have to go out and do something really special," Franklin said.
- Following the win on Saturday, Jason Cabinda located his mother in the front of the stands and went over to give her a hug.
"I had been out for a month and you can be down because you're not playing and stuff like that and then being able to finally be back on the field and being that she saw me through it all and that injury and that process of sitting out, it was just so great to have that kind of experience."
- Coach Franklin reflects on punter Blake Gillikin, with specific regard to the high snap on a punt attempt that he chased own to recover for a safety against Ohio State.
"We believe in recruiting athletes who happen to kick and that's what he is. He's been in competitive environments his entire life. You know, you could make a decision there to either fall on the ball and scoop it up or kick it out the back of the end zone, and I thought he showed great poise and athleticism to go get that ball."
By Lou Prato, noted Penn State football historian and former director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - If anyone should know the last time Penn State scored a touchdown on a blocked punt or field goal, it should be someone like me who has written a few books and many articles about the history of the Nittany Lions football team, right?
Based on my near octogenarian memory and much research, which continues to this day, I'm not sure Penn State returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown had ever been done until Grant Haley did it last Saturday night late in the fourth quarter to upset No. 2 Ohio State. No Penn State player has ever done it inside Beaver Stadium, which opened in 1960.
You don't have to go too far back to find the last time Penn State blocked a punt for a touchdown, which also came against Ohio State. In the 2012 Penn State White Out clash in Beaver Stadium, Mike Hull blocked a Buckeye punt that fellow linebacker Michael Yancich recovered in the end zone for the score.
For the last 20 years, I have been researching Penn State football, studiously reading about every game. I have been at many of those games since my first one in 1955, either as a member of the media or simply a fan. I remember seeing only one other blocked kick run in for a touchdown and it was by Penn State's opponent, UCLA, in 1967 at Beaver Stadium. From my research, I found just one other game where a blocked kick resulted in an immediate touchdown, and that also was by an opponent, Penn, in 1908.
There was a blocked kick by Penn State in 1906 that should have been a touchdown but wasn't because the player who recovered it ran the wrong way, in what is one of the more bizarre moments in college football history. Also, in 1974, Penn State had a field goal attempt blocked by West Virginia, but amazingly scored on the play.
I covered the 1967 UCLA game for Pittsburgh's Channel 11 television station. UCLA was No. 3 in the nation, led by quarterback Gary Beban, who would go on that season to win the Heisman and Maxwell trophies. Coach Joe Paterno was in his second year as head coach, and despite a surprising 17-8 win over favored Miami in the Orange Bowl the week before UCLA's visit, Paterno was still feeling the heat from his 5-5 finish in 1966 and a season opening 23-22 loss at Navy.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, and Penn State holding a surprising 7-3 lead over the Bruins, star running back Bobby Campbell went back to punt with the Lions at their own 25-yard line. UCLA's Vic Lepisto blocked the punt and it bounced into the end zone where tackle Hal Griffiths recovered. The game went down to the last minute with Penn State scoring and trying an onside kick that failed and UCLA escaped with a 17-15 victory.
The narrow setback to UCLA would be the last loss for Penn State until 1970 as the Nittany Lions went on to set a team record that still stands of 31consecutive games without a defeat.
The blocked kick in 1908 against the Quakers cost Penn State the game. It was on Oct. 10 in Philadelphia, with 7,000 fans watching at legendary Franklin Field and once again Penn State was surprising the heavily favored opponent. With the game still scoreless and about five minutes left, freshman Vic Ballou dropped back to punt from inside the Penn State 10-yard line. Penn's Fred Gaston recovered the blocked kick for the touchdown and Penn stopped a last minute Penn State drive near its 20-yard line to win, 6-0. Penn didn't lose a game that season, winning 11 and tying one. Meanwhile Penn State would finish 5-5 and in the next four years would become one of the best teams in the country, with the undefeated in 1911 and 1912 teams now recognized by some historians as national champions.
What happened on Oct. 20, 1906 against Yale in New Haven was almost unbelievable. Although both teams were undefeated, Penn State was again a big underdog. The rain started before the opening kickoff and with just five minutes into the game, Penn scored on a 39-yard run off a fumbled Penn State punt return to take a 6-0 lead. A short time later, Penn State's veteran center-linebacker William "Mother" Dunn broke through and blocked a Yale punt at its 40-yard line. Sophomore guard Cy Cyphers scooped up the ball as it bounced into the air and ran towards the goal line. All at once he was in the clear and goal line was getting closer. Then he looked back and saw his teammates waving their arms and screaming something at him. Suddenly, he realized he was running the wrong way!
Cyphers turned and started going back but it was too late. He was smothered by several Yale tacklers at about the Penn State 20-yard line. Yale took advantage of Cyphers faux pas and kicked a field goal (worth four points then) and that would end the scoring for the day. Yale's 10 points would be the only ones scored on Penn State that season and the team finished with an 8-1-1 record, best in Penn State football's short 20-year history to that point. Yale wound up undefeated and unscored upon but tied in nine games and is considered at least the co-national champions of the season.
However, it was the Penn game that made Dunn Penn State's original first-team All-American. Walter Camp, the former Yale coach and patriarch of college football, was there, but he was more than a spectator. Since 1889 (and for years after) Camp had selected the bonafide All-American team. After the season, Camp chose Dunn as his center, writing in Collier's Magazine, "...it was he who led his team to such a remarkable record, a good deal of it depending on Dunn himself." Of course, Dunn became a Penn State legend while "Wrong-way Cyphers" disappeared into Penn State history.
In the Nittany Lions' 1974 game at West Virginia, the Mountaineers blocked John Reihner's field goal attempt from the 17-yard-line in the third quarter. West Virginia's John Eastwood tried to pick up the ball, but it bounced into the end zone, where Eastwood again tried to corral it. Penn State's Ron Coder pounced on the loose ball for the bizarre touchdown en route to a 21-12 Nittany Lion win on October 26, 1974.
In one play against Ohio State, Grant Haley has become a Penn State luminary and a unique one in school history. Now the question is, will fans remember Marcus Allen, who blocked that Buckeye kick?
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith joined the Big Ten Head Coaches Teleconference in place of Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin this afternoon.
Smith took questions from members of the media, recapping Penn State's victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last weekend, while also looking ahead to the trip to Purdue Saturday.
Check out updates from the Q&A session below.
Being ranked for the
first time in five seasons, is there any change in terms of your game week
Smith: No, we're going to approach it as business as usual. We work under the belief that the next game is the most important game, no matter who your opponent is. I think there is just a little bit more excitement. Our kids, have bought into the process the entire year and after a game like this past weekend, the process becomes - I don't want to say easier, but the buy in is even greater. Our kids are excited for this week. For us personally, we haven't won a game on the road so it will be a good test for us to get our first road victory.
What are your
impressions of Purdue's David Blough, as he has led the Big Ten in passing
yards at 306 per game?
Smith: He can throw the ball, he has some very good receivers on the perimeter, some guys who are fast and athletic, who create challenges for us out on the perimeter. When you watch him play the last few weeks, I think he has thrown for over 300 yards the last two games. He is very accurate, he throws a good ball - a catchable ball, and you can see him directing the offense. He got off to a pretty good start after the first play last week, but after that they got it together. We have our work cut out for us and we're going to figure out how to slow him down and keep the pass game to a minimum.
How critical has Marcus Allen been over the last few weeks with his ability as you have waited to get healthy at linebacker?Smith: He has been huge. A few weeks ago he had 22 tackles in the ball game and then obviously blocking the kick and making a lot of tackles this past weekend. He is doing what we would expect of him. We knew he was a special player for us a few years ago when he started midway through his freshman season. He has taken on a leadership role on our team and he is doing a lot of leading by example and producing pretty good results for us.
How much more
versatile can this defense be moving forward, considering a guy like Koa Farmer
has kind of gotten involved while waiting for [Brandon] Bell and Jason
[Cabinda] to get back?
Smith: The one good thing is that we've built some depth through the injury situation, so we have some guys who have good, viable playing experience, that can come off the bench and keep guys fresh. The guys who have come off the bench are probably a little bit more athletic, just not as much playing experience. It gives us some options and it gives us the ability to change our scheme slightly, depending on who our opponent is. The last few weeks we've started to jell a little bit. Each week we're playing a little bit better and better.
With the return of
Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda, how crucial were they in the win Saturday and
how much of a boost do they give the defense moving forward?
Smith: They give us a tremendous boost, when you talk about two veteran players who have played a lot of football for Penn State. Their leadership, most importantly, they are getting guys lined up and making sure there's the right calls, the right checks. Then for the two of them to go out there and have 31 tackles, we've missed that. We've missed their direction and their leadership. We just want to try to make sure those guys stay healthy and stay active and try to continue to lead us in a good direction.
On Jordan Smith, what
does his experience mean to the team and your secondary group and what are your
thoughts on his play down the stretch against Ohio State?
Smith: Jordan has played a huge role for us, coming off the bench in certain roles. He has made tremendous plays for us the last few weeks, including the pass breakup on the last series of our defense. His veteran savviness, he's a great leader in the cornerback room. All the other corners look to him. He is kind of that wise, older spokesman. He has been around the block, he doesn't get too high and doesn't get too low. He understands what his role on our football team is and when he's asked to contribute, he is contributing greatly for us. He has had some good success for us here in the last few weeks and we hope for that to continue here in the last few weeks.
Coming off of a big win
that coincided with 75 prospects in attendance, how do you think that showcased
Smith: The greatest thing is that we defended our home turf. We always want to win games at home. It was a pretty electric atmosphere. We hope that we impacted one or two recruits for the future, but all we can do is try to take care of business on the football field. We're just worried about one more game and that's Purdue this week. We're trying to keep our focus right on those guys because if we turn around and lay an egg against Purdue, then what good is that victory last weekend?
How many times since
Saturday have you watched Grant Haley's touchdown off of the blocked field goal
and how have to seen him develop as a corner this year?
Smith: I watched it probably two times through film study, just when I'm grading the film. Once the game is over and we review the film, it's time to move on. Purdue is our next test so that's for the fans to continue to watch and to continue to Tweet and those things. Our mission and purpose right now is 100 percent Purdue.
Obviously the play on Saturday was a huge play for Penn State football this year and maybe one of the biggest plays in the history of Penn State football. He [Haley] has developed into a great corner, he competes at a high level and he covered exceptionally well against arguably some of the best receivers in the nation and he has done that all year. He competes at a high level. He is a smart kid. He is fundamentally sound and he makes very few mistakes. He is just developing into a great leader, player and person for us here at Penn State.
By Arielle Sargent,
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State's victory Saturday has certainly earned its place among
historic wins in program history. Rallying back from behind by 14 points, the
Nittany Lions completed their largest fourth-quarter comeback since at least
1967, taking down then-No. 2 Ohio State.
On the way
to a No. 24 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, Penn State earned its
positioning in the Top 25 poll for the first time since week 15 of the 2011
upended Ohio State's Urban Meyer for the first time in the month of October
throughout his entire tenure with the Buckeyes.
On the year, Penn State has now come back from double figure deficits in two of its last three games, outscoring the Golden Gophers 20-10 in the second half to force overtime before clinching the win.
The 14-point comeback is the largest in a Big Ten game and at home since the Nittany Lions rebounded from a three-touchdown deficit against Northwestern November 6, 2010 at home in Beaver Stadium.
Further back a little bit, Penn State rallied back from a 37-17 third-quarter deficit to defeat Michigan State, 38-37, on the road in East Lansing Nov. 27, 1993. The Nittany Lions scored three touchdowns in a span of five minutes to engineer the close victory. Penn State scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, sacking Spartan quarterback Jim Miller three times in the final frame.
Against The Undefeated
Holding Ohio State scoreless in two quarters for the first time since the Michigan State game last year, Penn State put an end to Ohio State's perfect 6-0 record at the time of kickoff. Penn State has halted unbeaten opponents in each of the last three games, beating Minnesota and Maryland before the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions have played seven teams on the year that entered the matchup without a loss on the season.
Tackles For Loss
Penn State notched a season-high 11.0 tackles for loss in the win against Ohio State, marking the most for the Nittany Lions since taking down Maryland last year (11.0). The Nittany Lions have totaled at least 9.0 tackles for loss in all but one game this season, with double figure TFLs in each of the last two games. Last week, it was Garrett Sickels, who led the team with 3.5 tackles for a loss of 15 yards. Entering the week, Penn State is ranked fourth in the FBS standings and second in the conference with 9.0 tackles for loss per game on the year.
A Quick Look at Purdue
Guided by interim head coach Gerad Parker, the Boilermakers are 3-4 on the year and 1-3 in Big Ten play. Parker will lead Purdue on to the field at Ross-Ade for the first time as head coach of the squad, since being elevated to the position Oct. 16, 2016. The Boilermakers have lost their last two consecutive conference outings, most recently falling to then-No. 8 Nebraska on the road in Lincoln. Purdue led the Cornhuskers at the half, 14-10, before Nebraska rallied back with 17 unanswered points in the second half to claim the win.
Penn State holds a 13-3 advantage in the
all-time series against the Boilermakers, having won each of the last seven games
dating back to 2005. The Nittany Lions will also make their first trip to West
Lafayette since claiming a 34-9 win on the road in 2012.
Allen's Blocked Field Goal
No, this was not a dream. https://t.co/EfyAreKPj9-- Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) October 23, 2016
Dangerous Defensive Line
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Go behind the scenes with Penn State Athletics on football gameday for exclusive interviews and a closer look at team arrival, Nittany Lion honorary captains, special recognitions and more.
Team Arrival in a Penn State White Out Crowd
Penn State football pulled up just after 5:30 p.m. greeted by a Penn State White Out crowd and Nittanyville campers before heading into Beaver Stadium. Follow the Nittany Lions as they make their way into the stadium.
Current NFL Network broadcaster and founder of the Excel to Excellence Foundation, Nittany Lion standout Michael Robinson is this evening's honorary captain. The 2005 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year guided the Nittany Lions to the 2005 Big Ten Championship and an overtime win in the 2006 Orange Bowl.
Undefeated 1986 National
Championship Penn State Football Team Returns
Penn State's undefeated 1986 national championship team returned to Beaver Stadium for a special recognition. The 1986 season was capped by Penn State's dramatic 14-10 victory over No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
Hear from former Nittany Lion running back DJ. Dozier on what it means to be back in Happy Valley.
The 1986 team produced many Penn State household names, including team captains Shane Conlan, John Shaffer, Bob White and Steve Smith. The squad also produced four All-Americans, as linebacker Conlan, tackle Chris Conlin, Dozier and defensive tackle Tim Johnson all were honored. Conlan, who made two interceptions in the title win over Miami, was a two-time first-team All-American.
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