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Nittany Lions Ring Opening Bell at New York Stock Exchange

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Photo Gallery - NYSE Visit

NEW YORK - Head coach James Franklin and seniors Brad Bars, Sam Ficken and Devin Pryor received the thrill of a lifetime on Friday morning when they participated in the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Ficken, who interned with Merrill Lynch during the summer, officially opened the trading for the day by ringing the bell for 10 seconds at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. The opening of the stock exchange aired live on 35 media outlets and will be on approximately 225 times during the course of the day.

"I was a little bit nervous, not going to lie," Ficken joked. "It was a really cool experience for us."

Bars (Finance) graduated with a 3.67 GPA; Pryor (Energy Business & Finance) graduated with a 3.20 GPA and Ficken (Finance) has a 3.59 GPA. All three were thrilled with the opportunity to visit Wall Street inside the world's largest stock exchange.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to come to the New York Stock Exchange and ring the bell," Bars said. "Ficken did a great job up there and got it exactly on point. It's really cool to see the atmosphere."

"It was awesome," Pryor said. "How many people can say they did that? I'm so grateful."

Just as Ficken finished ringing the bell for 10 seconds, a "We Are" chant broke out from traders on the floor. A host of Penn State alums and football letterman have direct ties to financial firms working in the stock exchange. Andrew and Mike Guman and Pete Massaro are among the long list of former Nittany Lions with experience on Wall Street. The Penn State group met letterman Tony Matesic (1991), who works for Barclays, on the floor during Friday's visit.

"Penn Staters are everywhere. I met a letterman while we were here that works on the floor," Ficken said. "I knew we are going to have some here. It was awesome to be up there for the opening bell."

Ficken has aspirations of working on Wall Street when his football playing days are over.

"The letterman and alumni who work here afforded me the opportunity to work at Merrill Lynch," Ficken said. "It's an incredible network, and it's something that I'm looking to join whenever football ends. I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity and the path they have created."

The education provided by Penn State put finance majors, like Ficken, in a position to be successful in the world's financial capital. The power of the degree coupled with the network of Nittany Lion football letterman with experience working on Wall Street puts student-athletes like Ficken in fantastic opportunities for success.

"It's a top of the line education," Ficken said. "The value of the degree is seen by everyone. I've seen it firsthand, and I couldn't be more thankful for that."

The Nittany Lions received commemorative medallions for opening the New York Stock Exchange. The average daily trading value was approximately $169 billion during 2013.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Opponent Previews - Boston College

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Boston College | New Era Pinstripe Bowl | Yankee Stadium | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN

NEW YORK - Penn State will make its 45th bowl appearance, taking on Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Meet the Eagles in the final scouting report of the 2014 season.

Head coach Steve Addazio is in his second year leading the Eagles after previously coaching at Temple. Addazio has a 27-22 career mark and is 14-11 at Boston College. The Eagles are making their second-straight bowl appearance, after playing Arizona in last year's AdvoCare V100 Bowl. The Eagles returned 31 lettermen and nine starters from 2013.

Boston College enters the bowl game with a 7-5 record, including 4-4 in the ACC. They finished fourth in the Atlantic division. The Eagles faced eight teams that were selected for bowl games, with wins over three of those teams. The Eagles' best win came when they knocked off No. 9 USC, 37-31, on Sept. 13.

The Boston College offense averages 25.9 points per game, ranking 81st in the nation and 10th in the ACC. The Eagles also average 383.8 total yards, ranking 76th in the FBS and 10th in the ACC. The strength of the Eagles' offense is their rushing attack, which averages 251.8 yards per game to rank 14th in the nation and second in their conference. Boston College averages 132 passing yards, ranking 121st in the nation and 14th in the ACC.

Leading the Boston College offense is senior Tyler Murphy, who completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,526 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. A dual-threat quarterback, Murphy also rushed for 1,079 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, and 10 touchdowns. Murphy is the only quarterback in FBS this year to pass and rush for 1,000 yards. He is one of two quarterbacks with more than 1,000 rushing yards.

Jon Hilliman, a 6-foot, 215-pound freshman, has 712 yards and 12 touchdowns on 185 carries to lead the Eagles' running backs. Hillman was selected third team All-ACC. Splitting time with Hilliman is sophomore Myles Willis, a 5-foot-9, 203-pound back. Willis has 440 yards and two touchdowns, while averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

The Eagles' receiving corps features boasts some very good size, led by 6-foot-4 senior Josh Bordner, who has 26 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Dan Crimmins, a 6-foot-5 junior, has 23 receptions for 297 yards. Charlie Callinan, a 6-foot-4 freshman, has 13 catches for 149 yards and a score, while 6-foot-3 senior Shakim Phillips has 10 receptions for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Five-foot-six freshman Sherman Alston is a unique threat for the Eagles, with 352 yards rushing, 169 yards receiving and four total touchdowns.

Boston College's offensive line includes five graduate seniors. The five have combined for 124 career starts. Center Andy Gallik was named second team All-ACC, while guard Bobby Vardaro was named to the third team. Tackle Ian Silberman was honorable mention All-ACC.

The Eagles defense is tied for 18th in the nation and third in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 20.5 points per game. They also rank 12th in the FBS and third in the conference in total defense, giving up 313.5 yards per game. The Eagles allow 218 passing yards and 95.5 rushing yards per game, ranking 48th and fourth in the nation, respectively. They rank 10th and second in the ACC, respectively, in those categories. The Eagles have forced 12 turnovers, including nine interceptions.

End Kevin Kavalec leads the defensive line with 37 tackles, including 29 solo. Kavalec also has 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Fellow end Brian Mihalik has 27 stops, including 15 solo, 4.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Mihalik also has an interception. Tackle Connor Wujciak was named third team All-ACC after recording 30 tackles, 17 solo, 7.5 for loss and three sacks. He also has a forced fumble and blocked a kick.

Junior Steven Daniels leads the linebackers with 68 tackles, including 42 solo stops. Daniels also has 7.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks, as well as an interception and two fumble recoveries. Josh Keyes has contributed 63 tackles, including 43 solo and 11.5 for loss, with four sacks. Keyes also forced a fumble. Matt Strizak has 42 tackles, including five for loss, a sack and a pick.

Safety Justin Simmons leads the defense with 70 tackles, including 57 solo. He also has two TFL, a sack, two interceptions and five pass breakups. Cornerback Manuel Apsrilla has recorded 61 stops, with 48 solo, four for loss and nine pass breakups. Safety Dominique Williams has 55 tackles, 37 solo, 4.0 hits for loss and an interception.

Boston College has used three different kickers this year. Mike Knoll started the final two games of the season, connecting on two-of-three attempts, with a long of 40. Joey Launceford is 4-of-4 with a long of 28, while Alex Howell is 5-of-11 with a long of 44. Howell handles the kickoff and punting duties, averaging 43 yards per punt. Willis is the Eagles' kick returner, averaging 25 yards per return. Willis returned a kick 95 yards for a touchdown on the opening kick against Syracuse. Alston handles the punt return duties, averaging 7.8 yards per return.

Penn State leads the all-time series, on the field, 19-4. The teams last met in 2004, with the Nittany Lions earning a 21-7 win in Alumni Stadium.

What Steve Addazio is saying about Penn State:

"Penn State is a very good football team...They've got a bunch of good football players there. Mike Hull, their linebacker, is outstanding. They've got some great pass-rushers."

"Christian Hackenberg is a typical NFL quarterback. He's got a terrific arm; he's a big, strong guy and he's pretty athletic. The quarterback has to make it happen for you and he does."

"There's great history between the two teams playing each other, so we couldn't be more excited."

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

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Media Day Highlights

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Pinstripe Bowl Coverage - NYC Arrival | 9/11 Memorial Visit | Rockefeller Center Visit

NEW YORK - The Nittany Lions capped off a busy Christmas Eve with media day and a New Era Pinstripe Bowl Welcome Reception inside Yankee Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Following practice at Fordham University, coordinators John Donovan, Charles Huff and Bob Shoop, along with senior Mike Hull, juniors Jordan Lucas, Angelo Mangiro and Anthony Zettel and redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton traveled to Yankee Stadium to take part in the media day festivities.

"We've had a great week so far," Donovan said. "We've been busy. We've seen a lot of sights. We've been around town. We've had some good meetings and good practices. It's been busy. It's exciting. It's an exciting town. There are a lot of things going on. The game is going to be electric, and we are looking forward to it."

For Mangiro (Roxbury, New Jersey) and Lucas (New Rochelle, New York), the trip has been a homecoming and granted the duo a unique opportunity to prepare for a game close to home.

"It means a lot to me," Lucas said. "A lot of family will be at the game that don't get to travel as much. A lot of my friends are able to come, and they've never seen me play before in State College. It means a lot to me to be back home and play in such a prestigious stadium."

"It's been fun. It's something that I will always remember," Mangiro said. "It's been fun to be around the guys who haven't been to New York before or to a city this big. It's been fun to see them wide-eyed and in awe of the Big Apple."

The players and coaches received a tour of some of Yankee Stadium's tradition-rich artifacts, photography and exhibits prior to media day. The tour included a view at countless pieces of photography throughout Yankee history and a case featuring all of the franchise's 27 World Series rings.

"I haven't really had a chance to sit down and think about the fact that, wow, we are getting ready to go play a game in Yankee Stadium,' Hamilton said. "We got a really cool tour before we came down for media day and got to see a lot of the history. It's pretty exciting to be here, and it's only Wednesday. On Saturday, it's only going to be more exciting."

Following media day, the entire Penn State travel party congregated at Yankee Stadium for a superb welcome reception and dinner. The holiday-themed affair featured a buffet dinner, carolers and an opportunity for the Nittany Lion football family to spend time together as a group during the trip.

Penn State will practice on Christmas Day before dinner and a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular during the evening.

Penn State and Boston College are slated to meet in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Visit Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock

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top_rock_1.jpgPHOTO GALLERY - Top of the Rock

NEW YORK - The Nittany Lion football team kicked of a busy Christmas Eve with a walk to Rockefeller Center.

The Lions visited Top of the Rock observation deck on a foggy morning in Manhattan. Designed by John D. Rockefeller as a gift for the visitors in America during the economic hardship between the two world wars, Rockefeller Center and the observation deck were created for people to marvel at Manhattan.

The observation deck is located on the 70th floor of the GE Building in Rockefeller Center. After touring the deck, the Nittany Lions visited the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Penn State will again practice on Wednesday before media day festivities and a welcome reception commence at Yankee Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Visit 9/11 Memorial and Museum

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10644321.jpegPHOTO GALLERY - 9/11 Memorial and Museum Visit

NEW YORK - The Nittany Lions paid tribute to those impacted by events of September 11, 2001, on Tuesday morning with a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

An educational and historical institution designed to honor the victims and educate visitors of the events of 9/11, the memorial and museum provided the players and coaches with a unique experience during the Pinstripe Bowl trip. Each member of the travel party felt the power of the setting and its significance.

"It was a really unique experience to come down here," senior Mike Hull said. "They did a tremendous job on the memorial. Words can't describe what it's like to be in this area after everything that happened here."

Hull was in second grade when the events of Sept. 11 took place. Like most Americans, he remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing when he learned of the news.

"I remember everything about that day when I was in school and when I got picked up," Hull said.

The visit to the memorial took on a different meaning for head coach James Franklin, who paid tribute to Martin Wortley. Wortley, a 9/11 victim, was a teammate of Franklin's when he played at East Stroudsburg.

"A lot of lives were lost here, and it was a dark day in our history. It's hard not to feel the emotion and everything that goes into it, especially when you have personal ties like Coach Franklin has," Hull said.

Former Penn State Football placekicker Patrick Dwyer was among the 2,977 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The Nittany Lions practiced at Fordham University on Tuesday afternoon. The Pinstripe Bowl is slated for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN).

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Nittany Lions Arrive in New York for Pinstripe Bowl

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NEW YORK - Penn State's Pinstripe Bowl festivities officially kicked off on Monday afternoon when eight buses and the equipment truck departed Happy Valley bound for New York City.

The Nittany Lions practiced on Monday morning before lunch and the four-hour ride to Manhattan. Penn State will participate in a wide-range of activities in the days leading up to Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl matchup against Boston College in Yankee Stadium (4:30 p.m. on ESPN). The team events include a visit to the 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday, dinner in Little Italy, viewing the city from the "Top of the Rock" observation deck and opening the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Penn State will practice each day at Fordham University and will stay at the Hilton Midtown. Stay tuned for continuing coverage from the Pinstripe Bowl events as the Nittany Lions prepare for the program's 45th bowl game.

VIDEO: James Franklin Arrival Press Conference

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Arrival Player Interviews

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Preview - Adrian Amos

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Pinstripe Bowl Previews - James Franklin | Miles Dieffenbach | Mike Hull | Akeel Lynch

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - continues its series of interviews leading up to Penn State's trip to New York for the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College (Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN). Today, we talk with senior safety Adrian Amos, who is scheduled to graduate on Saturday.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Preview - Akeel Lynch

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Pinstripe Bowl Preview Interviews - James Franklin | Miles Dieffenbach | Mike Hull

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - continues its series of interviews leading up to Penn State's trip to New York for the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College (Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN). Today, we talk with junior running back Akeel Lynch.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Preview - Mike Hull

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Pinstripe Bowl Preview Interviews - James Franklin | Miles Dieffenbach

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - continues its series of interviews leading up to Penn State's trip to New York for the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College (Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN). Today, we talk with senior captain and Big Ten Linebacker of the Year Mike Hull.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Pinstripe Bowl Preview - Miles Dieffenbach

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - continues its series of interviews leading up to Penn State's trip to New York for the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College (Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN). Today, we talk with senior captain Miles Dieffenbach.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony