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Rose Bowl Head Coaches Press Conference

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Transcript: Franklin I Photo Gallery I Rose Bowl Media Central

LOS ANGELES - In his final media appearance before gameday, Penn State head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Saturday morning ahead of the 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. 

The Nittany Lions and the Trojans are set to square off in "The Granddaddy of Them All" Monday, Jan. 2 at 5 p.m. ET with live coverage on ESPN. 

Covering a wide variety of topics this morning, Franklin opened his press conference with high praise for the Tournament of Roses organization, for all they have done to provide a unique and memorable experience for the team.

"We've had a tremendous experience so far," Franklin said. "Everything's been really organized. Our players have gotten a chance to have some really unique experiences, same thing with our coaches."

Check out a few more highlights from the Q&A session below.

Core Values
When asked about his leadership and core values, Franklin was quick to elaborate on one of the fundamental pieces of the Nittany Lion football program - his four core values.

"That's something that I believe in and our players have, and really players that have been with us for a number of years," Franklin said, before describing each of the core values.

For Franklin and his staff though, perhaps the most important and challenging of the four is "sacrifice."

"Everybody says that they want success, but very few people are willing to sacrifice things to have the success that they want," Franklin said. "Are you able to give up small things now for big things later in life?"

Check out Franklin's full segment on the four core values.

The Ultimate Teammate
Speaking of core values, most Penn State fans have seen Franklin's pregame pump up session throughout the year, where he and Nittany Lions Nick Scott and Marcus Allen push back-and-forth, holding the entire team back, just before running on to the field for kickoff.

Having Scott there among the the leaders of the hype, is something Franklin noted as a special responsibility for the junior in the pregame experience, specifically relating to the type of student athlete he is.

"We do a thing that we call ultimate teammate, which, typically in team meetings, we start with either our core values or ultimate teammate and have somebody kind of say that," Franklin said. And ultimate teammate is basically who is the guy in the program that everybody respects for how they handle their business both on and off the field." 

Scott is frequently mentioned among staff members and teammates alike as the ultimate teammate, for his positive attitude and energy that he brings daily, whether its in meetings or on gameday.

McSorley's Intangibles
On a few occasions this season Franklin has noted that based on just eye test alone, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley might not score high. As the 3,000-yard passer has proved all year long though, it's his unique set of intangibles that are checking boxes for Franklin and his staff.

"Winner, he's a winner," Franklin said. "Four straight State Championships games that he appeared in in high school. Accuracy, he's got that. Mobility, he's got that. Competitive demeanor, he's got that. Ability to affect people around him, I think that's one of the more important traits - it's does he make the people around him better? He does that. Do the guys want to play for him? He does that."

Franklin, Helton and the Leishman Trophy
In between press conferences, Franklin and USC head coach Clay Helton paused for a quick picture between the Leishman Trophy, presented to the winner of the Rose Bowl Game.


A Visit with Sandy Barbour
Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour took time to meet with members of the media at the conclusion of the head coach press conferences. Barbour took time meeting with members of the media for a short question and answer session which spanned a variety of topics.

Barbour pointed out that the success of the Nittany Lion football season has certainly played out positively not only in the Happy Valley community, but across the country too. 

"You see it every where you go," Barbour said. "You're seeing it here in L.A. in terms of how Penn Staters feel about their program, win or lose, but it's always nicer when you win, you have a little bit of pep in your step, you square your shoulders a little bit more and we're seeing that here and we're seeing that in every aspect of the community, every aspect of the program." 

Check out a snapshot of Barbour's media availability below.

Rose Bowl Media Day Recap

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Transcript: James Franklin I Photo Gallery I Rose Bowl Media Central

LOS ANGELES - Penn State Football was up and at it bright and early this morning, participating in the Rose Bowl Game media day. The entire team and coaching staff traveled to the media hotel in downtown Los Angeles for nearly an hour of open question and answer sessions.

The Nittany Lions will hit the practice field again early this afternoon before taking a bit of time after practice to give back in a charitable event.

Check out a few updates from the media day event below.

Present in the Moment
Throughout the season, staying present in the moment has been a key focus in the message from the coaching staff to student-athletes, and it's something the Nittany Lions have fully embraced.

"It's been huge, especially toward the end of the season," running back Andre Robinson said. "Especially during the last game, Michigan State, when we were thinking Ohio State needs to beat Michigan for us to go to the Big Ten Championship game or we'll go to this or that bowl, but really just staying in the moment and controlling what we can control has helped us to the position we're in now."

The ability to stay focused under pressure and ignore whatever the outside circumstances are has paid dividends for the Nittany Lions, who enter the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on a nine-game winning streak, fresh off of the program's fourth overall conference title. 

Being at such a historic and prestigious event like the Rose Bowl hasn't deterred the Nittany Lions from their plan to remain present in the moment as gameday draws closer each day.

"Just stay in the present, wherever you're at," quarterback Trace McSorley said. "If we're at Disneyland, being there and having fun and enjoying that. And if you're out of practice, you're in meetings, focus there, paying attention in meetings. At practice you're going through each drill like it's a game day rep, things like that. Just staying present and staying in the moment." 

A Turning Point
Speaking of the nine-game winning streak, McSorley has often noted throughout the regular season that the team came together and started watching film on their own nearly four games into the season, getting a head start on their weekly Monday off day.

"On Mondays, me, Brian Gaia, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton, Andrew Nelson and a couple other guys, kind of got together after the Michigan game and started doing these player runs and film sessions where we get as many guys as we could on the offensive side of the ball, watching as a unit," McSorley said. 

The early preparation translated into better practices with the Nittany Lions already having a jump on looks for Tuesday practice. Off the field though, the extra time together ultimately meant a lot more extra time together come postseason. 

"As players, we really flipped the switch in our preparation, as far as how we were preparing during the week, the mentality we were bringing into practice ourselves and that kind of switched," McSorley said. "And that change is what really helped us to be able to turn our season around and get us on this nine-win streak we're on and be able to end up being in the Big Ten Championship at the end of year and allow us to play in the Rose Bowl." 

Cabinda's Unsung Hero
When asked about who he's name as the unsung hero this year, linebacker Jason Cabinda directed that credit to Penn State's defensive line.

At the start of the season, it was a swirl of doubt that surrounded the Nittany Lion defensive linemen such as Carl Nassib, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettle, who all departed and moved on to the NFL. As new leaders emerged, that notion of doubt quickly became old news as Penn State was busy moving forward.

"It's a testament to really our strength coaches and what they've been able to do in the offseason," Cabinda said. "They really grind it and really wear teams down in the third and fourth quarter. I think in the second half, you've seen our D-line get a ton of negative yard plays, TFLs and sacks, and even zero yard plays are really huge to be honest."

Check out a few more one-on-one question and answer sessions from Rose Bowl media day below.

A Childhood Dream

If you ask nearly any Nittany Lion on the team about the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl, it's been a common answer all week that it's a dream-like experience since childhood.

"This game is special and just the tradition it holds here, I remember growing up and watching games and watching USC and Texas go at it," running back Saquon Barkley said. "I'm just really excited to be able to play this game and represent Penn State."

We caught up with a few more Nittany Lions for a look back at some of their earliest childhood memories of "The Granddaddy of Them All." 

Rose Bowl Offensive Media Wrap-Up

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CARSON, Calif. -  Penn State's second Rose Bowl practice on location in California is in the books, as the Nittany Lions took to the practice field at the StubHub Center on a warm and sunny afternoon. 

Following practice, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and five Nittany Lions met with members of the media for the offensive media availably opportunity. Along with Moorhead Nittany Lions Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, Ryan Bates and DaeSean Hamilton spent time during the half hour question and answer session. 

After wrapping up defensive media availability yesterday, Penn state is another day closer to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET Monday, January 2nd in Pasadena. 

Check out a few takeaways from the afternoon media sessions.

 A Prolific Offense in The Making
In just his first season as Penn State's offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead has reshaped and revamped the Nittany Lion offense into a dynamic unit that ranks among the most prolific in program history.

The revitalization is just what Moorhead had in mind when he arrived in Happy Valley and something that certainly didn't happen over night. 

"We came in during camp and Joe Mo put up on a board all the teams, the successful teams in Penn State history and the bowl games they went to and the points they averaged," Barkley said. "It's all 30 points or up."

Similar to a roadmap, that board in preseason would be the foundation for Moorhead's newly installed offense, with the goal to reach the ultimate level, whether it be a national championship or even a prestigious bowl such as the upcoming "Granddaddy of Them All."

Aware of the challenge ahead, the Nittany Lions have dazzled fans with a high-scoring offense that frequently features a sprinkling of jaw-dropping long yardage plays. Perhaps it's more than a sprinkling though, as the tandem of McSorley and Barkley have played major roles in helping Penn State emerge among Big Ten teams as a leader in chunk plays of 20 yards or more.

An abrupt deep ball is all part of what makes the offense so exciting for the Nittany Lions to execute week in and week out though.

"That's the nature of our offense," Hamilton said. "A deep play could happen any moment, any time. So just always being prepared when your number is called and things like that is really what it all comes down to, and knowing your details, knowing your assignments no matter what. Guys have been able to step forward and take on their roles and take on their opportunities."

Hamilton's Momentum
One of those Nittany Lions taking full advantage of his opportunity on the field is Hamilton, who has seen success throughout the season, but most recently posting a game-high eight catches in the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin - the second-most in the history of the event.

For Hamilton, the opportunity to make big plays has come from the year-long focus from Penn State opponents, attempting to limit Barkley.

"Guys trying to take him away opens up the passing lanes for guys like myself, Mike [Gesicki], Chris [Godwin], DeAndre [Thompkins], and things like that," Hamilton said. "Once that happens, teams are finally caught off balance, they don't know what to do. Then when we're able to hit them with a run or a pass, and those go for 20, 25 yards, big plays like that, then teams are just caught off guard, and that's when we're finally clicking on all cylinders." 

A Few Notes on USC and the Rose Bowl

- Barkley's early USC impressions thus far in pregame preparation. 

"Their defensive line is impressive in general. But their one defensive tackle is really good. We have to be aware where he lines up and where he's at. Their one linebacker, I think he was a freshman All-American last year, he was really good too. Their one defensive end is huge. I mean, looks like a door, like he's huge, like he's really massive." 

- Hamilton's early takeaways on the Trojan defense.

"Fast, athletic. I'd say really they swarm around the football. Confident group of players. I'd say they're a lot like our defense. Very athletic in the back end. Strong, strong front seven, and basically kind of athletic in the front end also."

- McSorley's impressions on USC'S Adoree Jackson.

"A guy of his capability, any time you throw the ball near him, he can maybe a play. When he gets the ball in his hands or he gets his hand on the ball, he's a threat to do something with. He's a big-play guy, so you have to be aware of the type of player he is and where he is at all times, knowing how he plays guys and how he can play in certain different coverages and not being away from him, but respecting the type of player that he is. Not being scared of it, but respect that he is a tremendous talent and he's a tremendous player."

More from the Nittany Lion Q&A sessions below. 

A VIP Rose Bowl Experience
Penn State families and friends were treated to a special experience this afternoon. Various family members, staffers and friends were all invited to a VIP tour of the Rose Bowl Stadium as well as a sneak peak at the float decorating stations for the upcoming Tournament of Rose Parade on gameday.

Check out a sneak peek from the exclusive tour. 

Penn State At The Lawry's Beef Bowl

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Rose Bowl Media Central

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Penn State football attended the annual Lawry's Beef Bowl Wednesday evening for a prime rib feast. One of the oldest and most historic traditions in Rose Bowl Game history, the Nittany Lions traveled Beverly Hills, entering the restaurant with a warm welcome.

"Overall the whole experience has been tremendous," Franklin said. "Coming in here tonight with the welcome we got was awesome."

Penn State head coach James Franklin as well as Nittany Lions Mike Gesicki and Curtis Cothran met briefly with members of the media before getting right to eat.

Nittany Lion Tyler Yazujian did the honors for Penn State with the ceremonial salad spin.

"First I was a little nervous, I didn't want to mess it up," Yazujian said. "But it was fun and I'm glad I got to do it."

Derek Dowrey followed with the ceremonial first cut of prime rib, decked out in a chef's attire before delivering a heaping plate of tasty food to Franklin.

"It was a lot of pressure, the guys here tired to coach me up the best they could, they're professionals though, I'm not on the level they are very talented. I just had to cut the steak and plate the food as best as I could and take it to coach Franklin. 

Rose Bowl Defensive Media Wrap-Up

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Transcripts: Pry I Cabinda I Bell I Schwan I Allen I Reid  
Photo Gallery: Practice, Media & Lawry's Beef Bowl
Rose Bowl Media Central

CARSON, Calif. - For the first time since arriving in California, Penn State football hit the practice field at the StubHub Center this afternoon. Following practice, defensive coordinator Brent Pry and five Nittany Lions met with members of the media for the defensive media availability opportunity. 

With less than five days remaining until Penn State and USC meet in "The Granddaddy of Them Al," Pry and Nittany Lions Evan Schwan, Brandon Bell, Jason Cabinda, John Reid and Marcus Allen all met with members of the media with questions ranging from a broad variety of Rose Bowl topics.

Improvement Up Front
Pry had high praise for his Nittany Lions up front, specifically giving credit to a group of redshirt freshmen who have improved steadily as the season progressed, gaining more confidence with each opportunity.

"Robert Windsor, Kevin Givens, Shareef Miller, you're talking about a bunch of redshirt freshmen, Ryan Buchholz, that as the year went on, they got more comfortable at their position, and we got more comfortable doing more with them," Pry said. 

For Pry, having the ability to see young guys gain their footing and make adjustments, has played into Penn State's evident shifts in momentum from the first half to the second half of a variety of games this season. On the year, Penn State's second half offense ranks second in the FBS (22.92) with the Nittany Lions outscoring opponents 298-105 in the second half this season.

"I think part of it is we do have some young guys out there, some inexperienced players, and sometimes seeing the plays at live speed, getting used to the game speed against a different style of offense, I think there is some of that, an inexperience factor," Pry said.

For Pry, that growing maturity throughout the season has translated into a more experienced Nittany Lion unit up front - one that now possess the ability to execute at a higher level.

Nittany Lions on Coach Pry
As Pry's first season as Penn State's defensive coordinator is nearly wrapped up, every single Nittany Lion available talked not only about his positive demeanor on the field, but also his father-like intangibles that have made his transition move along with ease.

"There's challenges with all these young guys, and you're here to help them succeed and grow and mature and understand and realize things," Pry said. "That's awesome. Football's a great tool to do that, a great vehicle for those guys to mature. I've said it. I believe 100% the more maturity we put on that field, the better off we are."

Cabinda's Announcement
Prior to practice, Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda announced he'll be staying in Happy Valley for another season, deciding to opt out of an early departure to the NFL.


"I just felt like it's the right thing for me to do and I thought it was in the best interests for me," Cabinda said. "Obviously make sure I have my degree, as well and I get to play for Penn State for a whole 'nother year. Not a lot more to say than that. I love playing here and I love this place to death."

A Few Notes on USC and the Rose Bowl

- Jason Cabinda on how the Trojans have compared to other teams this season.

"I think from a talent aspect, they are up there with the best of them. They have got really good receivers, big receivers. I don't think we've played receivers as big as USC has, big possession receivers who can make big catches."

- Brent Pry on USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

"He doesn't hold the ball. He's smart enough that he's not going to be careless with it. I think they're asking him to do the right things. He's got a quick release. Again, I liken him to our guy."

- Evan Schwan on returning to the Rose Bowl to compete this time, rather than attending with his family as a fan.

"Actually when I was home for break for Christmas, my mom was pulling out a bunch of pictures, saying hey, this is us at the Rose Bowl kind of thing, so 16 years later, to be able to play in such a prestigious game, "The Granddaddy of Them All," it's such an honor. I'm honored to be with my team out here and play one last game."

- Brandon Bell on defending a dynamic Trojan offense.

"A ton of athletes that they get the ball to in space. Those guys make plays, athletic, O-line. The running back is one of the best running being backs we might see this year. Just fast guys that they get the ball to him."

- John Reid on Adoree Jackson and what he brings to the Trojan team. 

"We know on offense and even special teams, the work he does there. He's an explosive guy, real athletic. I remember in his previous years, he played a little more receiver than he did this year, so you have to respect that as a defense and things like that. We know he's going to be pretty much everywhere, if they play him on offense. So we have to kind of prepare for that."

Penn State Football Takes on Disneyland

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Rose Bowl Media Central

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Penn State Football was treated to an afternoon of fun and excitement at Disneyland and the park's ESPN Zone Monday.

While most of the team headed straight to the park, Penn State head coach James Franklin and a few Nittany Lions participated in the official Rose Bowl game welcome ceremony, with a press conference and media availability hosted right inside the park.

First up, Penn State kicked off the event in California Adventure's Cars Land, introduced with USC head coach Clay Helton and a few student-athletes, with a brief question and answer session in front of a packed crowd.

Franklin introduced the attending Nittany Lions before the group was off to the Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters ride, where both Penn State and USC rode the attraction following a few opening remarks from the likes of the president of the Tournament of Roses and Disneyland Resort vice president, Patrick Finnegan. 

Next up, both teams took time for their first media appearance since arriving to Los Angeles, seated in chairs below the afternoon California sun, taking questions from a strong showing from the media contingent.

"Our guys are really excited to experience all of this and obviously Disney is a huge part of that," head coach James Franklin said. "It's a great experience for our players to be a part of the Rose Bowl, we're extremely honored and proud and it's great for Disney to open their doors and allow us to have this experience."

Already settled into the area, Penn State is able to get right into the format of a typical game week practice schedule. With a few USC bonus practices already completed back home in Happy Valley, it will be business as usual when the Nittany Lions return to the practice field come tomorrow afternoon. 

First though, Penn State is taking advantage of a little down time, enjoying the Disney parks and spending time with teammates.

"I've never been to Disneyland," Nittany Lion Garrett Sickels said. "I'm an east coast guy, I've been to Disney World, so we're looking forward to having a good day and then tomorrow getting after practice and getting ready for the game."

For Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin, his first trip to California has already kicked off with a fun and relaxing start.

"This is a chance for us to unwind and enjoy being in California," Godwin said. "I think that it will be good for our team to unwind, kick back and have some fun."

Godwin, Sickels, Koa Farmer and Brian Gaia also hit the Radiator Springs Racers ride in the park just before members of the Trojans team. 

Then it was off to the ESPN Zone, where the entire team enjoyed an hour of games and food before given the opportunity to head back into the park for the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow, Penn State will hit the practice field, traveling just outside Los Angeles to the StubHub Center for the first official Rose Bowl practice out in California. 

Penn State will cap tomorrow with a feast at the Lawry's Beef Bowl later in the evening.

Koa Farmer: At Home at the Rose Bowl

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State linebacker Koa Farmer, a trip home to the Rose Bowl game this year, marks a return trip to his hometown, which happens to be rooted just a few minutes from the historic Rose Bowl. 

Flashing back a few months though, it didn't seem fathomable that the Nittany Lions would be destined for Pasadena, California. 

"After that Michigan loss we came back, we looked at the tape and we saw the mistakes and we just kind of saw that we weren't playing together in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams, the chemistry was not clicking," Farmer said.

Farmer and the Nittany Lions got to work though, reshaping their mentality and revitalizing their approach, refusing to back down from a challenging Big Ten Conference slate. 

"Eventually by the next game, all three phases were clicking and we got a win," Farmer said. "I think it's very important that all three phases have to connect and have chemistry together to win the game." 9495877.jpeg  

Among an evident shift in mentality and a spark in team chemistry, the Nittany Lions were back on track. For Farmer though, it also meant changing positions following Penn State's 34-27 win against Temple.

At dinner one evening, Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry mentioned that he needed to speak to Farmer about something.

"I said to him, yeah, but I already know what you're going to talk to me about," Farmer said, recalling his conversation with Pry. "I was all for it though, whatever I can help my team do to win."

Having already played linebacker, the transition came with ease for Farmer, as he settled in to a position that Penn State head coach James Franklin had already eyed him at.

"We think his best position long-term is at outside linebacker," Franklin said during the week leading up to the Michigan game, publicly announcing that Farmer would be making the move from safety. 

For Farmer, it all came down to a sampling of qualities that are uniquely shared in both positions, qualities that he sees blended between both safeties and linebackers. 9485540.jpeg  

Joining the linebacker unit at a time when the group was as injury riddled as it had been all season, Farmer knew he could lean on experienced veterans to help guide the way. 

"We just listened to the older guys who have more experience than us," Farmer said. "Myself, Brandon Smith, Cam Brown and Manny Bowen, we just kind of looked to Brandon Bell, Jason Cabinda and Nyeem [Wartman-White] for experienced advice, or things we couldn't see on the field and that's what helped all of us as a group grow as a unit." 

Embracing every sense of the "next man up mentality," Farmer and the rest of the newly fashioned linebacker group grew stronger each day, helping the Nittany Lions string together win after win.

Following the loss at Michigan, Farmer stepped up for his first career tackle for loss in the win against Minnesota. The following week, he logged his first career sack, forcing a fumble on the same play.

In total, since making the move, Farmer has registered 4.5 tackles for loss with a sack in two of the last five games of the season, often rotating in to give the unit the right spark at just the right time.

Perhaps no sack was bigger than his most recent one though, which came in a crucial situation early in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.

"I was praying for a big play," Farmer said. "For the amount of times we were blitzing, I just kept thinking, I have to get through, I have to get one of them."

A surreal moment moment, recounted Farmer, noting the Bart Houston sack on one of the biggest stages, is a memory he'll have forever.

Making perhaps his biggest statement of the season, Farmer and the Nittany Lions completed an incredible comeback, topping Wisconsin 38-31 to win the Big Ten Championship. Screen Shot 2016-12-27 at 10.08.38 AM.png

The very next day, the Nittany Lions found out they would be headed to Pasadena, California for "The Granddaddy of Them All."

It was a special moment for Farmer, who instantly realized that a lifelong dream of his was about to come true. The Southern California native was returning home to his Rose Bowl roots.

Farmer grew up exactly 13 minutes away from the Rose Bowl stadium, located just outside Los Angeles in Pasadena. 

"Growing up, my parents used to jog around the Rose Bowl stadium together, we would go to breakfast at the Rose Bowl restaurant," Farmer said.

Living so close to such a historic event, for Farmer, the iconic Rose Bowl is something that engulfs the entire community year in and year out.

"You can kind of hear the stadium noise from my house," Farmer said. "The community is always involved."

With the lifelong dream to one day play a collegiate football game inside the storied venue, it wasn't always an easy path for Farmer to make it across the country to Penn State - and then back again.

"It's hard to get recruited, especially in Southern California because of the competition, there are so many players," Farmer said.

Initially receiving interest from Vanderbilt among others, just a few weeks later, Farmer was then receiving interest from Penn State, following Franklin's move to Happy Valley.

"One week I saw black and gold and one week I saw blue and white," Farmer said, recalling a pair of home visits from some familiar faces.

When Farmer and his family arrived at Penn State for their official visit though, Farmer felt like all the pieces of the puzzle were coming together for the Nittany Lions, a perfect scenario which ended up securing the decision for Famer. 

Just a year later though, the Rose Bowl was back on Farmer's mind.

"My mom texted coach Franklin a picture of the Rose Bowl because she was working out at the Rose Bowl one day," Farmer said. "My mom said to him, I believe that you can take us here. She texted him the same exact message again probably two years later and he said yeah, we're going, I love it." 

Farmer's Rose Bowl roots now extend deeper than just family and his connection with the Nittany Lion coaching staff. 

"A couple of my teammates come home with me every year and we always go to the Rose Bowl stadium because they are so fascinated with it, but it's normal for me, I've seen it thousands of times," Farmer said.

Every time he makes the trip with his Nittany Lions teammates, he takes a picture. Most recently it was Farmer, Mark Allen, Johnathan Thomas, Amani Oruwariye and Jason Cabinda who all gathered for a picture during his first season.

Together, they made a promise to get back to the Rose Bowl and in just a few short days, nearly all of them will see that promise come to fruition. 

With his teammates around him, Farmer is ready to take on the Rose Bowl, revealing bits and pieces of his family and childhood experiences along the way.

"I feel like when I come to Penn State its kind of like going to a different world for me, but when I see my teammates come home with me its showing them my culture, the kind of things I do with my family and where I came from," Farmer said. "For my whole team to come back and see where I came from it's really cool, it's going to be a really fun trip."    

Rose Bowl Game Travel Day

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a busy day for the Penn State Football team, as the Nittany Lions packed up and shipped out to Pasadena, California for the 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. 

With student-athletes and staff back in town from a holiday break, the Nittany Lions packed up the buses around 11 a.m. before departing to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, only to be greeted in style by a luxurious plane headed directly to California. 
From wheels up to wheels down, the Nittany Lions flew in style, with the comfort of some top-notch accommodations leading the way.

Upon arrival, the official travel party was greeted by a police escort before heading to the team hotel for another warm welcome to the tune of the Penn State fight song. 

Check out the full recap of the Penn State travel day below. 

Checking in on the Penn State Football Christmas List

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Happy Holidays Penn State fans. While some of you may have already checked off every items of your Christmas list, we caught up with a few of our Nittany Lions to see what's on their holiday list this year. 

The Penn State football staff and travel party is off to Pasadena, California in just two short days! We'll see you all in sunny California. 

Happy Holidays from all of us at!

Rose Bowl Rewind: Penn State vs. USC - 2009

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With Penn State's fourth Rose Bowl appearance less than two weeks away, it's only fitting to take a look back at the three times in program history the Nittany Lions have traveled to Pasadena, California for the "Granddaddy of Them All." 

We've spanned several decades in parts one and two, rewinding to Penn State's first bowl game following the 1922 season before arriving at one of the most memorable seasons in Nittany Lion football history - the undefeated 1994 squad.

In Penn State's most recent Rose Bowl appearance, the 2008 Nittany Lions met USC on New Year's Day, 2009 on the heels of an 11-win season that featured the program's third Big Ten title.

The fabric of the 2008 team consisted of another explosive offense, guided by first-year starting quarterback Daryll Clark. The Nittany Lions closed out the regular season averaging more than 40 points per game, with nine 30-point scoring performances along the way. 

Penn State rolled through its non-conference slate, out-scoring opponents 211-40, rising from a pre-season No. 22 ranking and rising to No. 6 after opening the Big Ten Conference slate with a 38-24 win over Illinois. Penn State knocked off its next three conference opponents with ease, winning at Purdue (20-6), at Wisconsin (48-7) and against Michigan (46-17) on Homecoming to stretch its winning streak to nine games, including the 2007 Alamo Bowl victory over Texas A&M.


Penn State put its winning streak on the line the next week, though, heading to No. 9 Ohio State for a primetime showdown in Columbus. The No. 3 Nittany Lions pulled off a stunning fourth-quarter comeback, scoring 10 points in the final frame, as senior safety Mark Rubin's forced fumble set up the game-winning touchdown to help boost Penn State to a hard-fought 13-6 victory.

In the next game, the Nittany Lions saw a 23-14 fourth quarter lead become a heart-breaking night loss at Iowa, as the Hawkeyes stormed back and converted a 31-yard field goal with :01 remaining to claim a 24-23 win. 

The Nittany Lions quickly rebounded from their first loss, topping Indiana 34-7 before heading into the regular season finale focused on the opportunity to beat Michigan State and capture the Big Ten Championship. 

Leading just 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, Penn State's offense got into its rhythm, rolling to a 49-18 victory, totaling 557 yards along the way, including 419 through the air.

Clark was sensational for the Nittany Lions in the Spartan victory, as the first team All-Big Ten quarterback threw for a career-high 341 yards and four touchdowns. Penn State averaged 8.4 yards per play in the win, as Clark hit Derrick Williams for a 32-yard touchdown pass and Deon Butler for a 70-yard touchdown grab, finishing with 21.3 yards per completion.

In possession of their third Big Ten title under Coach Joe Paterno, the Nittany Lions clinched an berth in the Bowl Championship Series, earning a spot in the 95th Rose Bowl game. 

Winners in their last three bowl game appearances, the sixth-ranked Nittany Lions were paired up with the No. 5 Trojans, who entered the match-up seeking their third consecutive Rose Bowl victory.


Clark ran for a nine-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to tie the score, 7-7, but the  Nittany Lions may have played their worst half of the season against the Trojans. Penn State committed nine penalties for 72 yards against USC, including 62 yard in the first half alone. Uncharacteristic turnovers and penalties took their toll as the Trojans entered the locker room leading 31-7 at the half.

Despite a scoreless third quarter, the Nittany Lions did not go down without a fight, as All-American Williams grabbed a two-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to bring Penn State within, 31-14. Jordan Norwood added a nine-yard touchdown catch in the final frame following a Nittany Lion field goal, but the 17-point fourth quarter was not enough to overcome USC's lead. Penn State fell in a 38-24 decision in front of a crowd of 93,293 in the Rose Bowl. 

Penn State finished with 410 yards, marking the most by a USC opponent all season. The Nittany Lions were also the first team to tally more than 20 points against USC's top-ranked scoring defense, which was allowing a mere 7.8 points per game entering the contest. 

Clark finished with 273 passing yards to re-write Penn State bowl game record, setting another school bowl mark with 290 yards of total offense. He went 21-for-36 with two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Trojans.

In less than two weeks, Penn State and USC will meet again in the 103rd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. On January 2, 2017 the Trojans will become Penn State's most common bowl opponent, as the teams prepare to square off in "The Granddaddy of Them All," for the third time and in postseason play for the fourth time in their storied, rich histories.


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