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VIDEO James Franklin TaxSlayer Bowl Press Conference - Dec. 10

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JACKSONVILLE - Head coach James Franklin participated in the official kickoff event for the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl on Thursday inside the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

In preparation of Penn State's appearance in the 71st TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 (12 p.m. on ESPN) against Georgia, Franklin addressed the media and took part in the TaxSlayer Bowl Speaker Series Luncheon alongside Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon.

Take a look through some highlights from Coach Franklin's first press conference in Jacksonville leading up to Penn State's 46th appearance in a game, and stay tuned for much more coverage from the advance trip to the bowl site in the coming days.



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Inside the TaxSlayer Bowl Selection - News and Notes

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15taxslayer_Blog.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Selected to play in their 46th bowl on Sunday, the Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) are headed to Jacksonville for a matchup against Georgia (9-3, 5-3) in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2.

Led by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Carl Nassib, Penn State is postseason bound for the second straight postseason berth under head coach James Franklin. The Lions will enter the bowl season with a defensive unit ranked No. 14 in the nation in total defense, No. 1 in sacks and No. 6 in tackles for loss. Nassib headlines the unit with a Penn State record and nation-leading 15.5 sacks for the season. The first-team All-Big Ten honoree is second nationally in tackles for loss with 19.5.

The bowl season is now upon the Nittany Lions. Take a look inside some of the news, notes and history following the TaxSlayer Bowl announcement.

Coach Franklin's Reaction to the TaxSlayer Bowl Announcement
Head coach James Franklin participated in a media call on Sunday evening after the TaxSlayer Bowl announcement. On the road recruiting, Franklin and Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon answered questions from the media for approximately 30 minutes to look ahead to the game. Coach Franklin said that the team kicked off bowl practices on Sunday morning and that the group is thrilled with the opportunity in front of it.

On his reaction to the bowl announcement - "
Can't express enough how excited our coaches and players are, and our fans. Again, such a storied program at the University of Georgia, couldn't be more excited. It's a great opportunity to play in this wonderful bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida. Our coaches, players and fans are so excited, so I really, really appreciate the opportunity, and I look forward to a great game."

On the Matchup for the Team to End the Season - "
We're just so excited. It's just such a historic bowl game and a historic program. I have tremendous respect for Coach [Brian] McClendon and everything he has done in his career, as well. Our guys are excited. This will be two years in a row for us with the opportunity to play in a bowl. We'll have the opportunity to compete against one of the most storied programs in college football and go play well, and represent all of the Nittany Lions out there. We're just really looking forward to the opportunity."

On the Bowl Practice Season and Game Prep - "For us, like I mentioned, our first couple of practices for the bowl aren't specific to Georgia anyway. They are program development practices just to get our younger players and our older players focused on fundamentals, footwork. We do some drills we haven't done since camp or spring ball. We kind of get those drills back going, and then we'll shift gears and focus on our opponent, which is going to be a tremendous challenge for us."

"So at this point, no, we're just at the beginning levels of that. We do have some history with the program obviously, and I think that's helpful to a degree, but the most important thing is we have to study the film and see what they did at the end of the season so strong with four wins. So we want to break that film down, see what they did well, and how we're going to approach this game."


On the Offensive Coordinator Position Moving Forward - "One of the special things about bowl games is it allows your family to stay together for another month or so. At this point, Ricky Rahne is fulfilling those responsibilities on our staff, and then I hope to have the [offensive coordinator] position filled in the next week-and-a-half to two weeks or so. We'll just have to see how the process plays out, but that person will probably come on and spend that time evaluating our players, evaluating our staff and being able to have some input, but it's not like we are going to put in a new system right before the bowl game. We are going to try and keep things as normal as we possibly can, and it will be a great opportunity and a great experience for Ricky Rahne, as well, to call a game and also put in a game plan."

Matching Up against the Bulldogs
The Nittany Lions and Bulldogs will collide for just the second time when the teams meet in Jacksonville. It's hard to forget the first meeting in the 1983 Sugar Bowl when the Nittany Lions captured their first national championship.

The 2015 version of the Georgia Bulldogs enters the bowl season with a 9-3 record and under the direction of interim head coach Bryan McClendon. Kirby Smart was officially named the next head coach of Georgia on Sunday. McClendon will handle the head coaching duties during the bowl season.

Georgia enters the bowl on a four-game winning streak following wins over Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs' three setbacks came to No. 23 Tennessee, No. 19 Florida and No. 2 Alabama.

Georgia boasts a stout defense that is ranked No. 8 in the nation in total yards allowed (298.0 ypg). Georgia is ranked No. 1 in pass defense (146.1 ypg).

Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl
Originally called the Gator Bowl, the Nittany Lions will be playing in the Gator/TaxSlayer Bowl for the fifth time in January. The game's history stretches to Jan. 1, 1946 when Wake Forest and South Carolina played in the first Gator Bowl.

The 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl will be the 71st game in the bowl's history. The Nittany Lions will be making their first appearance in the Jacksonville Bowl since the 1976 season. The game annually pits a representative from the SEC against either the Big Ten or the ACC.

Penn State's Previous Games in the TaxSlayer/Gator Bowl
Dec. 30, 1961 - Penn State 30, Georgia Tech 15
Dec. 29, 1962 - Florida 17, Penn State 7
Dec. 30, 1967 - Penn State 17, Florida State 17
Dec. 27, 1976 - Notre Dame 20, Penn State 9

Penn State Bowl History
The TaxSlayer Bowl will be Penn State's 46th bowl game. The program's rich bowl history began with the Rose Bowl during the 1922 season. Here is a complete list of Penn State's bowl games.


                               Penn State Bowl Results (28-15-2)

Season

Bowl

Opponent

Score

W/L

1922

Rose

USC

3-14

L

1947

Cotton

SMU

13-13

T

1959

Liberty

Alabama

7-0

W

1960

Liberty

Oregon

14-12

W

1961

Gator

Georgia Tech

30-15

W

1962

Gator

Florida

7-17

L

1967

Gator

Florida State

17-17

T

1968

Orange

Kansas

15-14

W

1969

Orange

Missouri

10-3

W

1971

Cotton

Texas

30-6

W

1972

Sugar

Oklahoma

0-14

L

1973

Orange

LSU

16-9

W

1974

Cotton

Baylor

41-20

W

1975

Sugar

Alabama

6-13

L

1976

Gator

Notre Dame

9-20

L

1977

Fiesta

Arizona State

42-30

W

1978

Sugar

Alabama

7-14

L

1979

Liberty

Tulane

9-6

W

1980

Fiesta

Ohio State

31-19

W

1981

Fiesta

USC

26-10

W

1982

Sugar

Georgia

27-23

W

1983

Aloha

Washington

13-10

W

1985

Orange

Oklahoma

10-25

L

1986

Fiesta

Miami (Fla.)

14-10

W

1987

Citrus

Clemson

10-35

L

1989

Holiday

BYU

50-39

W

1990

Blockbuster

Florida State

17-24

L

1991

Fiesta

Tennessee

42-17

W

1992

Blockbuster

Stanford

3-24

L

1993

Citrus

Tennessee

31-13

W

1994

Rose

Oregon

38-20

W

1995

Outback

Auburn

43-14

W

1996

Fiesta

Texas

38-15

W

1997

Citrus

Florida

6-21

L

1998

Outback

Kentucky

26-14

W

1999

Alamo

Texas A&M

24-0

W

2002

Capital One

Auburn

9-13

L

2005

Orange

Florida State

26-23 (3OT)

W

2006

Outback

Tennessee

20-10

W

2007

Alamo

Texas A&M

24-17

W

2008

Rose

USC

24-38

L

2009

Capital One

LSU

19-17

W

2010

Outback

Florida

24-37

L

2011

TicketCity

Houston

14-30

L

2014

Pinstripe

Boston College

31-30

W (OT)



Five Lions From Florida

The TaxSlayer Bowl will be a home game of sorts for four Nittany Lions on the roster hailing from Florida. The list includes long snapper Nick Cox (Tampa), punter Robby Liebel (St. Petersburg), cornerback Amani Oruwariye (Tampa) and linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. (Miami). 


Lions Begin Practice
Penn State kicked off its postseason practices on Sunday morning inside Holuba Hall. Penn State will again practice on Monday, in addition to the latter stages of the week. The Lions are allowed to practice 15 times leading up to the bowl game on Jan. 2. Stay tuned for much more coverage as the Nittany Lions return to the postseason.



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Highlighting Penn State's 2015 All-Big Ten Offensive Selections

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2015 regular season in the books, Carl Nassib led a host of Nittany Lions on the 2015 All-Big Ten honoree list on Monday evening. On Tuesday, a trio of Lions earned All-Big Ten recognition on the offensive side of the ball.


Headlining the list were freshman running back Saquon Barkley and sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin. Take a look inside Penn State's All-Big Ten offensive selections for 2015.

Second Team All-Big Ten (Media and Coaches):
RB Saquon Barkley
From the moment he first stepped on campus, true freshman Saquon Barkley wanted to be an impact player for the Nittany Lion offense. He asked question after question to his peers and coaches to best prepare himself for his first season on campus. Barkley debuted in the season-opener at Temple with one carry, but one week later, he set the stage for a tremendous rookies season. The Coplay, Pa., product rushed for 372 yards and three touchdowns during the next 10 quarters of the season (Buffalo, Rutgers and San Diego State). And despite missing two and a half games due to injury, Barkley set Penn State's freshman rushing record with 1,007 yards. The numbers speak for themselves, but the true freshman back dazzled with an uncanny ability to make plays. Barkley's blend of size, speed and quickness truly separated him from other backs in the conference. Averaging 6.1 yards per carry, Barkley has characteristics that aren't coachable. His ability to make big plays after contact is unique, and the future is incredibly bright for a guy that has already put himself in elite company in Penn State history.

"I'm just glad to represent Penn State Football (on the All-Big Ten list)," said Barkley. "This season was awesome for me. It was great. Overall, it was a great first experience for me (to be a part of)."

- Barkley is 14th in the country in rushes of 30 or more yards (6). He leads the Big Ten and is tied for 17th in FBS in 20-plus yard rushing plays (13).

- Barkley surpassed 100 rushing yards for the fifth time this season at Michigan State, which is tied for most in a season for a Penn State true freshman with D.J. Dozier in 1983.
- Barkley's seven rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the lead by a Penn State freshman. D.J. Dozier also had seven in 1983.
- Thirty-two of Barkley's rushes have gone for double-digit gains.
- Barkley is only the second running back to rush for 175 yards or more at Ohio State (194 yards) since 2000, joining Indiana's Tevin Coleman, who had 228 yards last season.
- Barkley turned in his fifth 100-yard performance with 103 rushing yards on 17 carries at Michigan State.



Second Team All-Big Ten (Media); Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches):
WR Chris Godwin
Chris Godwin was a name the coaching staff repeatedly mentioned as a guy poised for a breakout season in 2015. All signs pointed in Godwin's direction because of the attitude and work ethic he brought to the weight room and practice field during spring practice. A tireless worker in all aspects of his game, Godwin turned in a tremendous season for the Blue and White in 2015. A true football player in every sense of the word, Godwin loves all facets of the game and made a significant impact on offense and special teams. The Delaware native led the team with 63 receptions and 968 yards. He notched four games of 100 or more receiving yards and scored five touchdowns. What the numbers don't show is Godwin's ability to make contested catches. The true sophomore has an uncanny ability to use his size and strength to make plays in tight windows. He finished the regular season No. 1 in the Big Ten and tied for ninth nationally in receptions of 30-plus yards (11). Godwin will only continue to improve, and he is poised to again be an impact player in the bowl game.

"It's an honor, honestly, knowing my name was mentioned with the top receivers in the Big Ten," said Godwin. "It's a testament to all the hard work put in and the work the team has put together to have a pretty good season."

- Godwin ranks 18th on the career receiving yards list with 1,289.
- He ranks tied for No. 4 on the Penn State single season receptions list with 63.
- He sits No. 7 on the single season receiving yards list with 968 yards
- Godwin is just the sixth player in program history to have 60 catches in a season.
- He has four 100-yard performances in his last six games.
- He has at least one catch in 23 of 24 career games, including four or more grabs in 10 of his last 12 games dating back to 2014.
- Godwin had a career-high 11 catches for 109 receiving yards with two touchdowns at Michigan State. The effort marked Godwin's first career multi-touchdown game.



All-Big Ten Honorable Mention

WR DaeSean Hamilton



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Highlighting Penn State's 2015 All-Big Ten Defensive Selections

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2015 regular season in the books, a host of Nittany Lions were honored on Monday evening when the conference unveiled its 2015 All-Big Ten selections for the defensive side of the ball.

Headlining the list is Carl Nassib, who was tabbed as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Take a look inside Penn State's All-Big Ten selections for 2015.

First Team All-Big Ten (Media and Coaches):
DE Carl Nassib - Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

Senior Carl Nassib has etched his place among the all-time greats in Penn State lore following a record-breaking season where he became the program's all-time season leader in sacks. Nassib's statistics speak for themselves, but it has been the approach to every snap on the practice field, in the weight room and on the game field that has separated him from the best in the conference. Simply put, Nassib is a relentless worker with a never-ending drive to do everything in his power to ensure the Penn State defense is among the nation's elite. A former walk-on, Nassib has the utmost respect from all of his peers in the locker room for his efforts on and off the field. He will head into the bowl season as the nation's leader in sacks and forced fumbles. Nassib is a deserving recipient of the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year honor, but he would be the first to tell you that he doesn't play for individual accolades. Always humble, Nassib's preparation, effort, intensity and production put him a cut above the rest of the defensive players in the Big Ten this fall. And in doing so, Nassib joins an elite list of Nittany Lions who hold the honor of being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

"It's incredible. I'm so happy to be here and represent Penn State the right way," Nassib said. "I'm happy to show that hard work does pay off, and I couldn't be happier (to receive the award)."

- While making his first career start (high school or college), Nassib made a career-high 10 tackles with a sack and 2.5 TFLs in the season opener at Temple.
- Nassib had at least one sack in 10 consecutive games, which is the longest streak by a Penn State player since sacks became an official NCAA statistic in 2000.
- His 19.5 tackles for loss this season are the most by a Nittany Lion since Aaron Maybin had 20 in 2008. Nassib's TFL total is the fourth-most by a Penn State player since 2000.
- Nassib's six forced fumbles are the most by a Penn State player since Michael Haynes had a school-record seven forced fumbles in 2002.
- Nassib is the first Penn State player to force two fumbles in two games in the same season since Maurice Evans did it in 2007.



Second Team All-Big Ten (Media); Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches):

DT Austin Johnson
One of the most dominant interior defensive lineman in America, Austin Johnson has been disruptive every snap in 2015. Johnson is among the most unsung players in the conference. A tremendously athletic individual for a player his size, Johnson is the top tackler among all defensive tackles in America and No. 3 in the nation among all defensive linemen. The team's third leading tackler with 70 stops, Johnson has made 13.0 tackles for loss and has 5.5 sacks. The numbers are remarkable for a defensive tackle, but they don't do his impact on games justice. When opposing coaches flip on the film of the Nittany Lion defense, Johnson's blend of quickness and power stand out. The New Jersey native made arguably the top play on the defensive side of the ball against San Diego State when he raced 71 yards for a touchdown after scooping up a fumble caused on a Nassib sack. Simply put, Johnson is a rare talent on defense and a deserving honoree of all-conference recognition.

- Johnson is second among defensive tackles in FB with 70 tackles, which is third on the team.
- He is second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss.
- Johnson has the most tackles by a Penn State defensive tackle since Jordan Hill had 64 stops in 2012.

- He has four outings this season with at least nine tackles.
- Registered his first career touchdown with a 71-yard fumble return. The fumble recovery was Penn State's first fumble recovery for a touchdown since Mike Hull's 74-yard return vs. Navy in 2012
- Johnson tallied a career-high 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, at Northwestern.





Third Team All-Big Ten (Coaches & Media):
DT Anthony Zettel
Alongside Johnson, Anthony Zettel is an All-Big Ten honoree for the second-straight season. It would be hard to find a more disruptive pairing of interior lineman than the duo in blue and white. Zettel and Johnson embody every facet of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's mantra of never-ending pressure and relentless pursuit. The Michigan native found a home at defensive tackle after playing at defensive end during his first two years on the field. However, the senior demonstrated his versatility by starting at defensive end in the regular season finale on Saturday in East Lansing. Zettel's motor never stops when he is on the field. Opposing coaches throughout the season pinpointed Zettel as a guy who needed consistent attention. Heading into the bowl season, Zettel has 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. Those figures speak volumes about No. 98's importance to one of the Big Ten's top defensive units.

- Zettel ranks third on the team in sacks (3.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (10.0).
- He is tied for eighth on Penn State's career sacks list (19.0).
- Zettel is 10th on the program's career tackles for loss chart (37).
- Zettel registered seven tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and recovered his second career fumble against San Diego State a day after his father passed away. He was selected as Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
- He had a career-high eight tackles against Maryland.


All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
S Marcus Allen

 
LB Jason Cabinda

 
CB Grant Haley

 
CB Trevor Williams



The All-Big Ten offensive awards will be announced on Tuesday.



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VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame Press Conference - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Head coach James Franklin talks with the media following the regular season finale at Michigan State.






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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Hear from several Nittany Lions as they talk with the media following Saturday's regular season finale at Michigan State.




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2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Welcome to live, interactive coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in the final regular season game. Follow along for live updates from gameday.

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Michigan State
 

 

2015 Photo Blog - Penn State at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in the final regular season game. Follow along for photos from gameday.


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2015 Gameday - Lions Travel to Michigan State for Regular Season Finale

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Gameday Central | Game Notes | Game Blog | Press Conference Roundup

Wednesday Practice Update | Monday Notebook | Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State will wrap up its 2015 regular season with a trip to No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.

Looking to snap a two-game slide after winning seven of their previous eight games, the Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-3) will battle the Spartans (10-1, 6-1) in a 3:30 p.m. kick (ESPN) inside Spartan Stadium.

11518686.jpeg"We've got another really good opportunity, you could make an argument maybe the top program in the conference right now (is Michigan State)," said Franklin. "They've got a culture of winning that they've established now. Again, they have talent on offense, defense and special teams and at each level, and they play smart. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. Looking forward to the opportunity to compete."

For the second-straight week and third time in 2015, the Nittany Lions will collide with a team ranked in the Top 12 of the national rankings. Penn State's trip to East Lansing on Saturday will mark its first since a 42-14 victory over the Spartans to close out the 2009 season.

Saturday's matchup will pit two of the nation's best defensive ends on the field in Nittany Lion Carl Nassib and Spartan Shilique Calhoun. Despite playing only three snaps against Michigan due to injury, Nassib still leads the country in sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (6). Calhoun is 18th in FBS in sacks with 8.5 and has 15 quarterback hurries.

Additionally, the game will feature two of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks in Christian Hackenberg and Michigan State's Connor Cook. Hackenberg has become PSU's career leader in passing yards (8,061), touchdown passes (46), completions (663), attempts (1,182), 200-yard passing games (20) and 300-yard passing games (9). Cook is the winningest quarterback in school history with a 32-4 record (.889) as the starter, including a 21-2 (.913) mark against Big Ten opponents. He is a finalist of the Unitas Golden Arm Award.


Led by head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) is the fifth-ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings this week. The Spartans turned in a masterful defensive performance in a road victory over No. 3 Ohio State last week. Kicker Michael Geiger nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired to knock off the Buckeyes, 17-14. The Spartan defense limited Ohio State to five first downs and 132 yards of total offense in the win. Michigan State's lone setback in 2015 came in the final seconds in a 39-38 decision at Nebraska.

In a series that dates back to 1914, Penn State and Michigan State will meet for the 30th time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 14-14-1 all-time against the Spartans and 5-8 in games at Michigan State.


Following the trip Michigan State, Penn State will await its bowl destination with the announcement coming on Dec. 6. The Nittany Lions are eligible to compete in their 46th bowl game.

Welcome to the gameday preview for week 12 - Penn State at Michigan State.

PREVIEW_vs_MichiganState.jpg
Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
11518683.jpeg1. Coach Franklin was very clear this week in that he wants to see a more physical approach from the offensive line and tight ends when blocking in the trenches. Penn State's offensive success in East Lansing will hinge on the play up front. Additionally, the Lions will be looking to get Saquon Barkley open space in the running game. In Penn State's four Big Ten victories, the Lions have rushed for an average of 163 rushing yards per game. Success on the ground also opens up opportunities for quarterback Christian Hackenberg down the field. The Nittany Lions are tied for the Big Ten lead in passing plays of 30 or more yards with 23 on the season.

2. Like the offensive line, Penn State's defensive line will be looking to control the line of scrimmage when Michigan State has the ball. The combination of the starting line - Carl Nassib, Garrett Sickels, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel - has spearheaded a season filled with 97 tackles for loss through the first 11 games. The Spartans have only allowed 15 sacks this season. Penn State has tallied 44 sacks as a defense.


3. The Nittany Lion offense has been terrific at turning red zone visits into points this season. The Lions are ranked No. 10 in the nation in conversion percentage (92.3 percent). However, scoring touchdowns inside the 20 has been a big point of emphasis. The Nittany Lions have ended red zone visits in the end zone 53 percent of the time in 2015. Against a team like Michigan State, the Lions know they need to get the ball in the end zone when presented with opportunities. Coach Franklin said scoring touchdowns in the red zone is a byproduct of being able to run the ball. Keep an eye on Barkley inside the 20.
 

What to Watch For - Michigan State
1. The stakes are high for the Spartans on Saturday. A win from Michigan State would send it to Indianapolis for a date with Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Additionally, the victory would crown the Spartans as the East Division champion for 2015. Going a step further, Michigan State is firmly in the picture for the College Football Playoff as the season nears conclusion. Simply put, the Spartans have a lot on the line during Senior Day in East Lansing.

2. Connor Cook missed last week's game in Columbus due to a shoulder injury, but head coach Mark Dantonio said earlier this week that Cook was close to a return. The veteran signal-caller is among the best players in the Big Ten. An accurate passer with great field awareness, Cook is averaging 282.2 passing yards per game and is tied for the Big Ten lead with 21 passing touchdowns this season. Cook has thrown for 2,482 yards this season. Wide out Aaron Burbridge is the Big Ten's top receiver with 69 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns this season. Burbridge is an exceptional receiver when it comes to make contested catches in traffic. R.J. Shelton and Macgarrett Kings have made 34 and 33 receptions, respectively.

3. As is the theme throughout most of the Big Ten, the Michigan State defense is led by a stout front seven. Linebackers Riley Bullough, Darien Harris and Jon Reschke are MSU's top three tacklers with 83, 71 and 67 stops, respectively. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun and nose tackle Malik McDowell have combined for 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks thus far in 2015. Michigan State's defense is tied for the Big Ten lead with Iowa and Penn State in turnovers forced at 21 on the season.


The Final Word:
When the Penn State-Michigan State series was renewed with the Nittany Lions' entrance into the Big Ten in 1993, the Land Grant Trophy was established to go to the winner in what was each school's annual season finale from 1993-2010.  The Land Grant Trophy honors Penn State's and Michigan State's unique places in history as the two pioneer land-grant institutions in the United States.

Each school was founded in 1855, Michigan State on February 12 and Penn State on Feb. 22. The schools were the prototypes after which the land-grant system was patterned. The Land Grant Trophy joins the Governor's Victory Bell, presented to the Penn State-Minnesota victor, as the other trophy the Nittany Lions play for in Big Ten competition.

The Lions and Spartans will be meeting in the regular season finale for the 20th time since 1993. ESPN's live coverage of the Michigan State game begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with kickoff slated for 3:35 p.m. Bob Wischusen (Play-by-Play), Brock Huard (Analyst) and Shannon Spake (Sideline) will call the game.



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Happy Thanksgiving from Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.

As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unwavering support you give every team on campus.  Penn State's teams would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.

As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them throughout the athletic season.

 

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