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2014 Big Ten Media Days - Day I Coverage

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14_mediaday_blog_4.jpgCoach Franklin Transcript - July 28 | Press Conference Video | Photo Gallery


CHICAGO - Coach James Franklin and seniors Bill Belton, Sam Ficken and Mike Hull kicked off Big Ten Media Days on Monday at the Hilton downtown Chicago.

Franklin and the trio of players participated in a wide range of activities with local and national media throughout the day.  Stay tuned for continuing coverage of Penn State's trip to the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.

9 a.m. - Hackenberg Tabbed as Player to Watch
The first piece of Penn State news from Big Ten Media Days broke just before 9 a.m. on Monday when the conference announced that sophomore Christian Hackenberg was named one of 10 Big Ten Players to Watch heading into the 2014 season.

9327000.jpegHackenberg was selected the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, becoming the second-straight Nittany Lion to win the award, with defensive end Deion Barnes doing so in 2012. His tremendous true freshman season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from 247Sports.com. He completed 231 of 392 passes for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg.

The Virginia native broke one Penn State overall passing record and 12 school freshman passing records, including the freshman marks for game and season passing completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. He compiled four 300-yard passing games to tie Matt McGloin for the school single season record and tie Kerry Collins for second place on the career list, just two behind McGloin's career mark of six. Hackenberg completed 14 passes of 40 yards or longer, which was tied for the most nationally by a freshman and eighth overall, including a season-long 68-yard touchdown pass to Adam Breneman in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.

2014 Big Ten Players to Watch
EAST DIVISION
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

WEST DIVISION
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Rob Havenstein, RT, Wisconsin

10:05 a.m. - One-on-One Interviews Kick Off Media Days
Head coach James Franklin kicked off the festivities with a one-on-one interview with the ESPN.com Big Ten reporters.

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12 p.m. - Quoting the Nittany Lions
A collection of quotes during the open media session at Big Ten Media Day:

14_mediaday_blog_5.jpgCoach Franklin on the logistics of playing in Ireland - "We think we've got a pretty good plan going into it. We're going to need to be very disciplined. We'll leave Tuesday night. Go to class on Tuesday, practice on Tuesday and leave Tuesday night, and we'll get there on Wednesday. We're going to have to force them to stay up that entire day and try to get adjusted and acclimated as quick as we possibly can, but no doubt it's a challenge."

Coach Franklin on Christian Hackenberg - "The thing that I'm most impressed is how humble and how hungry and how open he is to coaching. I think Billy O'Brien and our staff did a really good job of teaching concepts. That's kind of what we believe is you teach the game from a big picture perspective. They understand concepts. They've got a chance to put things together in their head and understand offenses. So now we come in, there's a lot of similar philosophies, but he understands concepts of football. But I've been very impressed with him."

Mike Hull on Coach Franklin - "We feed off of his energy. I wouldn't want another head coach with different energy."

Sam Ficken on the offseason - "My big thing during the offseason was consistency. I feel great coming into camp."

Bill Belton on being a complete back - "The big thing about being a complete back is doing all of the little things well and executing all phases of the game."


2 p.m. - Coach Franklin Addresses the Media
Head coach James Franklin stepped to the podium inside the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton at 2 p.m. ET for his 15-minute session with the approximately 800 credentialed media in attendance at Big Ten Kickoff.

"Really appreciate the opportunity to be here," said Franklin. "I want to thank the Big Ten. I want to thank Commissioner Delany. Great experience for our players. They're really, really excited. Got a chance to spend some time in Chicago, and now having this experience has been wonderful. So I want to thank everybody for that."

The first-year leader of the Nittany Lions is pleased with the progress Penn State made during spring practice. Franklin said the spring was spent laying the foundation for what the program is trying to accomplish with mentality and culture and offensive, defensive and special teams philosophies. Franklin said the team embraced the opportunity to learn, and he is excited for practice to begin on Aug. 4.

"This spring we weren't able to really play at the type of speed that we want to play at because guys were thinking, and I think since then, over the summer, we've been able to really kind of gain some confidence, and guys are looking forward to it," said Franklin.


2:30 p.m. - Open Media Session
Franklin and the trio of players moved into a podium media session for 30 minutes at 2:30 p.m. The trio of players and Franklin found a spare minute to snap a selfie to document the open session.

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VIDEO: Coach Franklin on Day One of Big Ten Media Days



VIDEO: Player Sound Bites on Day One of Big Ten Media Days




6 p.m. - Day One Roundup
The Nittany Lion contingent wrapped up a day full of interviews with TV affiliates, radio stations, online reporters and print reporters in the late afternoon hours in Chicago.  Day two of Big Ten Media Days will feature two hours of open media on Thursday morning.  Coach Franklin and former Nittany Lion great Anthony Adams will then participate in a Big Ten autograph session with the fans.  From there, the 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff will take place in the International Ballroom of the Hilton.  Stay tuned for more coverage from Tuesday's events.




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Follow GoPSUsports.com at 2014 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The unofficial kickoff to the 2014 Big Ten football has arrived.  The 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff will take place in Chicago on Monday and Tuesday.

GoPSUsports.com will be on site to cover all of the action.  Head coach James Franklin, senior running back Bill Belton, senior kicker Sam Ficken and senior linebacker Mike Hull will represent Penn State in Chicago.

The two-day event will be filled with interviews and press conferences with a wide variety of national media outlets.  The BTN and ESPNU will have extensive coverage on TV. 
BTN will present more than five hours of live coverage of Big Ten football media days on Monday, airing the press conferences for all 14 coaches, BTN President Mark Silverman, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and College Football Playoff Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly.  Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. ET live on BTN. The press conferences and remarks will re-air at 7 p.m. on Monday.

Coverage by ESPNU will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Monday with coverage of the press conferences and media day festivities.


On Monday and Tuesday, GoPSUsports.com will be home to all of the happenings in Chicago.  Stay tuned throughout Big Ten Media Days for live blog updates, videos and photos from Chicago.

Listed below is a schedule with key events from the Big Ten Kickoff in Chicago.

Monday, July 28

- All 14 coaches, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, BTN President Mark Silverman and College Football Playoff COO Michael Kelly will address the media in press conferences.

- 2:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET - James Franklin Press Conference


Tuesday, July 29

- All 14 coaches and three players from each team will be open to reporters for interviewing from 9-11 a.m. ET.
- ESPN's Rece Davis will emcee the 43rd Annual Big Ten Kickoff luncheon at 12:30 p.m. ET.

All of the events will take place at the Hilton Chicago.  We look forward to taking you with us to Chicago for complete Penn State coverage from Big Ten Media Days.



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Barbour Eager to Lead Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.

Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of play.

"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State," Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at Penn State."

A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.

Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.

"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It stands for family," Barbour said.

Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who are elite performers in the classroom.

"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to be."

Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.

"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said. "As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing a lot of listening."

Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.

"There is a culture, history and tradition of tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president, athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."


"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular, will be positively impacted by her leadership."

"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start working with her."


Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics is fired up to get started.

"We are Penn State. I'm all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.

 


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Pre-season Football Depth Chart Released

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Pre-season Depth Chart - July 24


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin released the Nittany Lions' depth chart heading into the start of pre-season camp, which begins on Aug. 4.

Heading into camp, each player begins the season with a clean slate as the team competes for starting positions. Therefore, the first depth chart of the fall season features assignments ranked by seniority. The depth chart includes 11 players with senior eligibility (seven fifth-year seniors), including three on offense, seven on defense and one specialist.

On offense, the tandem of Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak lead the list of 11 Nittany Lion running backs. Belton and Zwinak head into their senior campaigns after combining for 1,792 rushing yards in 2013. Fellow senior Miles Dieffenbach is the most experienced player on the offensive side of the ball with 23 career starts.

On defense, the list of seniors includes the team's most experienced player in safety Adrian Amos. The senior has started 25 career games as a Nittany Lion. Fellow seniors Ryan Keiser and Jesse Della Valle will join Amos in an experienced secondary.

Veteran linebacker Mike Hull will lead the linebacking corps into camp. Hull is the team's top returning tackler from 2013 (78 stops). Brad Bars (DE), C.J. Olaniyan (DE) and Tyrone Smith (DT) make up the senior trio on the defensive line.

Placekicker Sam Ficken is the lone senior specialist on the roster. Ficken broke Craig Fayak's school record of 13-straight made field goals with 15-straight successful kicks stretching from the end of 2012 into 2013.

The depth chart features six tight ends, which includes the standout trio of returnees - junior Jesse James (Y), junior Kyle Carter (F) and sophomore Adam Breneman (Y).  Sophomore Brent Wilkerson (F) is back to full strength after missing 2013 due to injury. Sophomore Tom Pancoast (Y) joins the tight end group, in addition to true freshman Mike Gesicki (F).

Young talent stands out on the pre-season depth chart. The initial depth chart includes 33 players with true freshman eligibility (19 on offense, 11 on defense and three specialists). In total, there are 57 players with either true freshman or redshirt freshman eligibility. The depth chart includes 85 players with sophomore or freshman eligibility and 33 players with junior or senior eligibility.

The Lions return 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (seven on offense, seven on defense, one specialist) from 2013.

The 2014 schedule features a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6, 12 p.m.), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.

Penn State kicks off the 2014 season at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 (ESPN2) at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland, against UCF.



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Nittany Lions Deliver Positive Attitude at Hershey Children's Hospital

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Photo Gallery - Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital Visit


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Core value No. 1 for Penn State Football is ensuring that every member of the program has a positive attitude at all times.

When the entire team boarded three buses on Wednesday afternoon, head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions set out on a mission to make a visit to Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital one filled with positivity and enthusiasm.

The team arrived at the hospital to a rousing cheer from medical center staff members, patients and their families. The Nittany Lions and staff split up into groups for guided tours to visit with patients and their families in different sections of the hospital.

"We are really excited about being here," Franklin said. "Penn State has an unbelievable tradition of giving back, obviously with THON, but we love that our new freshmen were able to do something like this as soon as they got on campus...This turned out really well. We are excited about it. I know our players are excited about it, just watching them interact with the children who are here overcoming some incredible obstacles."

Several groups of players visited with non-ambulatory patients in their rooms in the Hematology/Oncology, Pediatric Intermediate Care and Medical/Surgical units. Other groups spent time engaging with ambulatory patients in the Tree House Cafe where they signed autographs and played games.

"This was just a great opportunity for us to come here and make an impact on the community," sophomore Adam Breneman said. "With training camp coming up and the pressure that will be on the team, it's really neat to come here and see the kids and see what they are going through, it puts things in perspective for us. You realize that we have good health and we are very fortunate for that."

Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital is a 263,000-square-foot, five-story facility. The nearly $207 million facility was built adjacent to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's main entrance.

"There is nothing more important than taking the time to share a smile with somebody and making a positive impact on their life," Franklin said. "Coming here and having this type of visit, it puts things in perspective for you."

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Offense Tops Defense in Fight Against Kidney Cancer at 2014 Lift For Life

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VIDEO: Lift for Life Player Interviews | Photo Gallery: 2014 Lift for Life

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday's 12th annual Lift For Life was a resounding success with the offense topping the defense by a score of 30-24 in a six-event, head-to-head strength and conditioning competition to benefit the Kidney Cancer Association through Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

For the fourth-straight year, the funds raised at Lift For Life were on pace to reach record heights. With donation figures still to be finalized, the 2014 Uplifting Athletes fundraising efforts have the 12-year total nearing the $1 million mark.
Fans can still make a Lift For Life donation by visiting the Penn State Uplifting Athletes donation page HERE.

Sunny skies and a crowd of approximately 2,500 fans greeted the Nittany Lions at the Penn State Lacrosse Field on Saturday. The upperclassmen participated in the head-to-head competition pitting the offense against the defense. Simultaneously, the true freshmen ran in a mini Lift for Life kids clinic with more than 100 participants on the turf at the lacrosse field.

Lift_blog_3.jpgThe Nittany Lions put on a show for the fans in attendance with an exhibition in six strenuous events. The competition featured five rotations of one-on-one battles in the "dominator" shuttle run, deadlift, sled push, tire flip, tug run (water-filled plastic tug device) and 225-pound max bench press.

The final tally (30-24, Offense) was based on head-to-head victories in each individual rep. Some of the notable performances of the day on the bench press included senior linebacker Mike Hull's 30-rep effort at 225 pounds. Sophomore Brian Gaia and junior Tarow Barney each finished with 29 reps on the bench.

Tight end Jesse James turned in a pair of outstanding performances on Saturday, including 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench and 12 reps at 500 pounds on the deadlift.

"Our tight end crew could be a special group," Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt said. "Jesse is a freak (athlete). He's putting up national elite numbers.

When the six-event rotation wrapped up, the Nittany Lions moved the center of the field for the tug of war finale. The offense claimed the first tug of war battle, but the defense notched three-straight victories to grab the upper hand in the final battle of strength.

Despite the 3-1 edge in tug of war, the offense will take some friendly bragging rights into the rest of the summer as the overall winners at the 2014 Lift for Life.

Life_blog_1.jpg Following the workout, the Nittany Lions met with the loyal Nittany Lion fans and signed autographs.

"It's really fun to be able to work out in front of the fans to show them all of the hard work he have been putting in for the last eight or nine weeks," tight end Brent Wilkerson said. "They support us so much, so it's fun to be able to show them all of the progress we have made since they last saw us."

Galt and his staff had a blast at their first Lift for Life event. He applauded the player-run Uplifting Athletes organization for its countless hours of prep work to put on another successful event.

"This was a great event to be a part of," Galt said. "We thoroughly enjoyed it, and we are thrilled to have been able to work out in front of the fans.

The 12th Lift For Life was again a tremendous success and fundraiser for kidney cancer, largely thanks to countless hours of preparation from the Uplifting Athletes group led by junior Ben Kline.

Penn State begins preseason practice on Aug. 4.


Much more to follow, including video highlights from the 12th Annual Lift For Life


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VIDEO: Lift for Life Player Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions talk with the media at the 2014 Uplifting Athletes Lift for Life on Saturday at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Breaking Down the 2014 Lift for Life

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the past 11 years, Uplifting Athletes, a Penn State Football player-run group, has worked together to lead the fight against kidney cancer.

To date, the group has raised more than $825,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association since the first Lift For Life in 2003. A staple on the summer calendar, Uplifting Athletes hosts Lift For Life, a grueling test of physical and mental strength, to benefit of kidney cancer. This year, Uplifting Athletes has its eye set on eclipsing the $1 million plateau.

Founded by Penn State Football teammates Scott Shirley, Dave Costlow and Damone Jones in 2003, Uplifting Athletes is currently led by linebacker Ben Kline.

This year's event will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Field (located next to the Multisport Building). Uplifting Athletes placed an emphasis on fan interaction for 2014. Penn State fans will have an opportunity to meet the Nittany Lions on the field from 1-2 p.m. during a meet and greet autograph session. Additionally, members of the football team will host a kids clinic on the field as the Lift for Life event takes place.

"We love our fans, and it's important to us to give them as good of an experience at Lift for Life as possible," Kline said. "They have done a great job helping us raise nearly a $1 million during the last 12 years for kidney cancer. We couldn't have done it without them. This should be a day to show appreciation for the fans while we fight against kidney cancer. We are really excited about it."

In the heart of the summer workout season, the team enjoys the opportunity to participate at Lift for Life in front of the Penn State fans. It is the only workout all year where the team competes in front of its loyal supporters. Saturday's workout, led by Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt and his staff, will consist of six stations before a tug of war at the center of the field.

The list of events includes:
- 225-pound Bench Max Out
- Dead Lift
- Tire Flip
- Sled Push
- Shuttle
- Tug Run (Plastic tug device filled with water)

To donate to Uplifting Athletes Lift for Life, click the link listed below:

Donation Link



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VIDEO: Previewing the 2014 Uplifting Athletes Lift for Life

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Uplifting Athletes officers are in the final stages of preparation for the 12th Annual "Lift for Life".

This year's event takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Field. Entirely player-run, the 2014 Lift for Life will feature more fan interaction than in previous years. In addition to a six-event workout, kids will be able to take part in a Lift for Life clinic on the turf with Nittany Lion players during the event. Additionally, fans will be able to participate in a meet and greet with the team from 1-2 p.m. after the workout is complete.

Go PSUsports.com caught up with Penn State Uplifting Athletes president Ben Kline for an update on the preparations and excitement around the 2014 Lift for Life.




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Looking Back at the Top Events from 2013-'14

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the calendar begins to shift towards the start of the 2014-'15 athletic season, GoPSUsports.com wanted to take a look back at a tremendous campaign for Penn State Athletics.

Fueled by national championships from women's volleyball, wrestling and fencing, Penn State accumulated a record point total in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in 2013-'14.

Penn State's three NCAA Championships are its most since winning three in 1999-2000. Penn State student-athletes, who have an 88 percent graduation rate, won a school record-tying and conference-best eight Big Ten titles in 2013-'14 and 16 over the past two years, easily topping second place Michigan (9) in combined titles the last two years.

Take a look back at some of the top events from a stellar Penn State sports season.


Men's Hockey: Oct. 11, 2013 - Penn State 4, Army 1 (First Game in Pegula)

HKY_Pegula_First Game.jpgIt was a night fans in Hockey Valley had been dreaming of for years. The Nittany Lion men's hockey team christened the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena with a dominant performance before a boisterous sold out crowd on opening night for the 2013-'14 season.

At 8:14 p.m., the puck dropped in the first game inside Penn State's sparkling new home for hockey.

Nate Jenson owns the honor of tallying the first goal for the Nittany Lions in Pegula. He took a feed from Taylor Holstrom early in the first period and beat Army goalie Rob Tadazak to the high corner, glove side. Just as Jensen scored, the crowd of 6,370 exploded and Zombie Nation blared through the speakers.

An early third-period two-on-one shorthanded goal from Curtis Loik and a breakaway goal from David Goodwin would spark the same reaction. Leading 3-1, Eric Scheid notched a last-second empty net goal to seal the first win in their inaugural game in Pegula.

Hockey Valley could not have any been prouder of its team following the 4-1 victory, and the student section made that very clear. The Roar Zone was full song from the moment it walked into the building 90 minutes before faceoff.

The Nittany Lions went on to win four games inside Pegula Ice Arena during their first Big Ten season. The list of victories included a thrilling 4-0 win over Michigan and a 4-2 triumph over Ohio State during conference play.



Football: Oct. 12, 2013 - Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (Beaver Stadium)

FB_Robinson Michigan.jpegDown by 34-27 at its own 20-yard line with 50 seconds on the clock and no timeouts, Penn State found itself in a difficult situation in sold out Beaver Stadium against rival Michigan.

The stakes were simple. Drive down the field and score a touchdown or the game was over.

True freshman and 18-year old signal-caller Christian Hackenberg jogged onto the field to lead the offense during the 2-minute drill with the game on the line.

On first down at the 20, Hackenberg connected with Robinson, who dragged his toe just inside the sideline paint in front of the Penn State bench for a 14-yard gain.

One play later, it was Brandon Felder's turn.

Hackenberg's toss to Felder in front of the Michigan bench covered 29 yards and set up another first down at the Michigan 37-yard line.

Two plays later, Robinson returned to the spotlight with the play of the game.

Hackenberg fielded Ty Howle's snap and looked to Robinson, who was lined up wide on the left side of the formation. Robinson stuttered in the first 10 yards of his route, attempting to freeze the Michigan defensive back. As he regained full speed, Hackenberg's pass was in the air.

Robinson skied over the Michigan defender and plucked the ball at the highest point in his jump before falling to a rest at the 1-yard line.

Hackenberg finished the drive off with a plunge into the end zone, capping off a five-play, 80-yard game-tying touchdown drive that covered just 23 seconds on the clock.

The teams exchanged blows in the overtime frames before Bill Belton became the hero. Belton trotted into the north end zone of Beaver Stadium for a game-winning touchdown in the fourth OT, capping off an epic comeback and a victory that will live in Penn State history for decades.



 
Women's Volleyball: Dec. 21, 2013 - Penn State 3, Wisconsin 1 (Championship Match)

WVB_Title.jpegPenn State's road to the national semifinals in Seattle was not an easy one in 2013. After knocking off LIU Brooklyn and Utah inside Rec Hall to open the NCAA Tournament, the Nittany Lions traveled to Kentucky for the regional round of the 64-team tournament.

Penn State rallied from 1-0 down to defeat Michigan State in the regional semifinals, which set up a showdown against seventh-seeded Stanford for a trip to the national semifinals.

The Lions and Cardinal battled to a fifth set in what evolved into an epic clash among two of volleyball's heavyweights. Penn State trailed Stanford 9-6 in the fifth before head coach Russ Rose used a timeout. Out of the break, the Lions were not going to be denied.

Penn State scored the next six points in the decisive set on the way to punching a ticket to the national semifinals in Seattle.

Playing in the NCAA semis for the 11th time in program history, Penn State rolled over Washington (3-0), which was playing just four miles from its campus, with a truly dominant performance.

The national title match, the Lions' ninth all-time appearance, was next. Facing off against Wisconsin in the first all Big Ten national final, Penn State jumped out to a hard-fought 2-0 lead before the Badgers rallied to make it 2-1.

Wisconsin took a 23-20 lead in the fourth and was just two points from forcing a fifth set, but the Lions were not done. A service error from the Badgers made it 23-21. With ice water in her veins, ESPY nominee Micha Hancock stepped to the service line. The junior delivered four potent jump serves, two of which dropped for aces, before senior Deja McClendon's kill clinched the program's sixth national title and fifth in the last seven years.

In six NCAA Tournament matches this season, the Nittany Lions dropped just four total sets.


 
Men's Basketball: Jan. 29, 2014 - Penn State 71, Ohio State 70 (Value City Arena)

MBB_Newbill_Craft copy.jpgThe Nittany Lion basketball team trailed Ohio State, 59-48, with 7:58 to play in Columbus after Buckeyes capped off a 10-2 scoring run.

Penn State never panicked, largely thanks to a dominant performance from D.J. Newbill down the stretch.

A pair of buckets from Jordan Dickerson and two free throws from Newbill set the score at 62-59, Buckeyes, with 2:20 to play.

Newbill then fielded a long pass moving right to left across the floor from Frazier before burying a corner three, which tied the game at 62-62 with 1:08 to go. Ohio State scored the next three points to make it 65-62.

Newbill answered in the form of a second clutch 3-pointer with 11.0 seconds to play.

After Ohio State's final possession in regulation came up empty, the game headed into overtime.

The Buckeyes took a 70-67 lead on a pair of Lenzelle Smith Jr. free throws in the extra frame, but Newbill was not done.

The Philly product snaked through the Ohio State defense for a lay-in with 45 seconds to play, pulling the Lions to within one (70-69). The Buckeyes turned the ball over on the next possession, setting up an inbounds play with 13.2 seconds.

Tim Frazier inbounded to Jordan Dickerson, who handed the ball off to D.J. Newbill in front of the scorer's table. Down one with 11 seconds to play in overtime as he crossed halfcourt, Newbill raced to the right side of the floor.

The Philly native wanted the ball in his dominant hand. With one of the Big Ten's top defenders an arm's length away, Newbill began his move with 5.4 seconds on the clock.

After one power dribble to his right, he sent the ball to his left hand under Aaron Craft's extended right arm. Newbill took one more power dribble with his left hand before elevating at the right elbow with 3.5 seconds on the clock.

The ball never touched the rim as it sailed through the cylinder to give the Lions a 71-70 victory. Penn State's win at Ohio State was its first since 2001.



Women's Basketball: March 1, 2014 - Penn State 77, Michigan 62 (Bryce Jordan Center)

WBB_Big Ten.jpegTo put it simply, Senior Day couldn't have gone any better for Penn State's four seniors in 2014.

Maggie Lucas, Talia East, Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards all were double figure scorers on a day where they were honored with friends and family in attendance as the team claimed its third consecutive Big Ten title with a 77-62 over Michigan.

Edwards led the Lady Lions with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field while Lucas, East and Taylor added 17, 16 and 11 points respectively.

Penn State had control of the game from start to finish as they shot 54 percent from the field, missed just one free throw on 19 attempts and collected seven blocks and 11 steals.

The group of seniors combined for 65 of the team's 77 points; epitomizing their leadership during their time at Penn State in their last regular season home game.

That was expected from a group of four leaders who ensured a team of seven freshmen didn't miss a beat coming off of two-straight conference titles heading into the season.

Edwards, Lucas and East left Penn State as one of the winningest classes ever. They finished with 101 wins, good for second in program history. Taylor was at Penn State for 75 of the 101 wins after transferring from Maryland.

With all of the championships, accolades and wins, it was a perfect way for Lucas, East and Taylor to complete their Penn State careers.

Penn State's third-straight Big Ten title put the Lady Lions in elite company with Iowa and Ohio State as the only programs in the conference to win three or more consecutive conference crowns. The title also fueled the Lady Lions' second run to the Sweet 16 in past three years.




Wrestling: March 22, 2013 - Nittany Lions Clinch Fourth-Straight NCAA Title

WR_Title.jpegPenn State's reign over the college wrestling world continued in March when the Nittany Lions captured their unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA team title in Oklahoma City.

Fueled by NCAA individual crowns from seniors Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and David Taylor at 165 pounds, the Lions celebrated on the sport's grandest stage inside Chesapeake Energy Arena as the 2014 national champions.

By no means was the fourth title an easy one for the Nittany Lions, who edged Minnesota by 5.5 points in the final team standings. Following a victory from Ruth at 184 pounds, the Lions pulled ahead of the Gophers by 1.5 points after two championship bouts.

Minnesota suffered setbacks in its two national title bouts, with the second coming in the ninth match of the evening. As the 157-pound bout ticked to zero on the clock, the white-clad Penn State fans rose to their feet to celebrate the program's fifth national championship.

But the work was not quite done for the Nittany Lions, as Taylor was on deck in the final championship match of night against Oklahoma State's Chris Perry.

You could not have scripted a better way for Taylor's career to end in a Penn State singlet than the way it did on Saturday night. The epitome of a team player, Taylor's imprint on the program goes far beyond his stellar accolades. He didn't miss a match at the national tournament because he wanted to support his fellow teammates. On Saturday morning, he did not need to be at the arena, but he was the first to greet fellow senior James English as he came off the mat after his critical win in the seventh-place match at 149 pounds.

Thanks to another dominant performance, Taylor finished off his collegiate career with a victory in the final match of the national tournament, an individual national title and a team title. 

Taylor and Ruth played a paramount role in Penn State's fourth-straight title, but the Nittany Lions will remain atop the NCAA wrestling mountain because of a hard-fought team effort in the 2014 NCAA Championships.



Fencing: March 23, 2014 - Nittany Lions Clinch 13th NCAA Title

FEN_Title.jpegNo program in Penn State's illustrious sports history has won more national titles than the fencing team. Under the direction of interim head coach Wes Glon, Penn State mounted a furious charge on the final day of the NCAA Championships in Columbus to clinch its 13th national championship.

As a team, Penn State finished the competition with 180 bout victories, toppling Princeton in second-place (159 victories), and St. John's in third (156 victories).

Individually, sophomore Kaito Streets claimed the 2014 men's saber NCAA title. Streets became the 13th individual champion for the Nittany Lions in program history.

In the team race, the Nittany Lions were neck and neck with Princeton throughout much of the competition. The Lions began pulling away from the Tigers on day three of the competition. Penn State clinched the program's third title in the past six seasons on day four.

Streets held the number one spot in the men's saber event heading into the final competition. He knocked off Ferenc Valkai from St. John's to become an individual champion.

Glon has been with the Nittany Lions for 29 seasons, and he has seen all 13 national titles. But the 2014 crown marked his first as the leader of the program.




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