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2015 Photo Blog - Penn State at Maryland

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BALTIMORE - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Maryland inside M&T Bank Stadium. Follow along for photos from gameday.


2015 Gameday - Nittany Lions Set to Meet Maryland in Baltimore

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

Coach Franklin Wednesday | Coach Gattis Q&A | Monday Notebook | Lions in NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State heads on the road for the second straight week with a trip to Baltimore for a matchup against Maryland on Saturday afternoon.

11422547.jpegThe Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-1) will meet the Terrapins (2-4, 0-2) at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) inside M&T Bank Stadium, marking Penn State's second game this season in an NFL venue and the program's first contest against the Terps in Maryland since 1993.

Obviously, playing University of Maryland is going to be exciting (for us)," head coach James Franklin said. "We have so many fans and alumni in that region. Playing at the Ravens' stadium should be a great venue."

True freshman running back Saquon Barkley highlighted Penn State's trip to No. 1 Ohio State last week. Barkley rushed for 194 yards in his return to the lineup, marking his third career 100-yard performance in just five games this season. Barkley's efforts included a season-long 56-yard rush in the third quarter.

Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg enters the Maryland game just 74 yards shy of becoming Penn State's career passing leader. Hackenberg has thrown for 7,138 yards and 40 touchdowns during his decorated career in the Blue and White.

Defensively, Carly Nassib reached seven straight games with at least one sack during Penn State's trip to Columbus. The standout senior is now the nation's leader in sacks (11.5), tackles for loss (15.5) and forced fumbles (5). Through seven games, linebacker Jason Cabinda is leading the team in tackling with 51 stops.

Led by interim head coach Mike Locksley, Maryland returns to action following a bye week. The Terps opened the season 2-1, but lost three-straight before the bye. Maryland opened Big Ten play with losses to Michigan (28-0) and at Ohio State (49-28). Additionally, the Terps went 2-2 in non-conference games with victories over Richmond (50-21) and USF (35-17) and setbacks to Bowling Green (48-27) and at West Virginia (45-6).

In a series that dates back to 1917, Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 39th time in Baltimore on Saturday. The Nittany Lions own a 35-2-1 mark in the all-time series. That includes a 2-0-1 record in games played in Baltimore. The two teams met annually from 1960-'75 and then again from 1984-'93. The series resumed last season in Beaver Stadium when the two regional foes were aligned in the Big Ten East Division.

After playing in back-to-back road games for the first time since 2012, Penn State returns home next week for a matchup against Illinois at noon on Halloween. The Lions will then head back on the road for a contest against Northwestern on Nov. 7 before the bye week.

Welcome to the gameday preview for week eight - Penn State at Maryland.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
11422536.jpeg1. Freshman running back Saquon Barkley dazzled in his return to the field against Ohio State. Barkley is now averaging 194.5 rushing yards in the two Big Ten games he has appeared in. The Coplay, Pa., native's athletic ability speaks for itself, but Barkley's uncanny ability to tally yards after contact has separated him from other backs around the conference. Barkley has 567 yards in approximately three and a half games of playing time.

2. Sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin is a guy who a lot of people talked about during the offseason as a player the coaching staff expected to take a step forward this season. Godwin and fellow sophomore DaeSean Hamilton have headlined the passing game for the Nittany Lions. The duo has combined for 49 of Penn State's 96 completions in the first seven games. In addition to being consistent, Godwin has been the focal point of Penn State's downfield game. He has accounted for seven of Penn State's 14 passing plays of 30 or more yards, including a season-long 56-yard connection with Christian Hackenberg against Ohio State.

3. The Nittany Lion defense has limited its opponents to 325 total yards or less in 13 of the last 15 games. A big piece to that has been Penn State's consistent ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Carl Nassib's stellar season has been well documented, but the collective front seven has been strong since 2015 began. The Lions are No. 2 in the nation in sacks (3.86 per game) and No. 6 nationally in tackles for loss (9.0 per game). Penn State has tallied at least 5.0 tackles for loss in 14 consecutive games.

What to Watch For - Maryland
1. One week after facing a talented array of quarterbacks in Columbus, the Nittany Lion defense will meet another athletic signal caller in Maryland's Perry Hills. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior set a Maryland quarterback record with 170 rushing yards at Ohio State. Hills, who started the Ohio State game after missing the previous three, has rushed for 289 yards in three games. He has thrown for 439 yards (37-78) with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

2. Defensive back William Likely is one of the most dynamic players in the Big Ten. The nation's leader in punt returns for touchdowns this season (2), Likely is averaging 22.6 yards per touch when returning punts. He is also averaging 20.8 yards per return on kickoffs. Maryland is ranked No. 2 in the nation in punt returns, thanks to Likely's game-changing abilities with the ball in his hands. Likely is also fifth in the Big Ten with eight pass break-ups in six games.

3. The Maryland defense is among the nation's leaders in sacks. The Terps (No. 9 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten) have tallied 20 sacks this season. Junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is ranked sixth nationally with 1.2 sacks per game in 2015. Ngakoue finished with 3.0 sacks against Bowling Green earlier this season. Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson has 4.5 sacks this season, in addition to 5.5 tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and a blocked kick.

The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions and Terrapins will be battling for the fourth time in Baltimore, but first inside M&T Bank Stadium. Penn State and Maryland met in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium in 1987, '89 and '91. Saturday's game will mark the Lions' first game in Baltimore since 1991. The greater Baltimore area is home to approximately 10,500 Penn State alums.

In all, there are nine Nittany Lions on the roster from Maryland, including six that were part of the last two recruiting classes. The Maryland players on the roster include: Marcus Allen (Upper Marlboro), Mark Allen (Hyattsville), Kam Carter (Silver Spring), Brian Gaia (Pasadena), Jonathan Holland (Brandywine), Josh McPhearson (Columbia), Ayron Monroe (Largo), Brent Wilkerson (Clinton) and Trevor Williams (Baltimore). ESPN's live coverage of the Maryland game begins at 3:30 p.m. with kickoff slated for 3:35 p.m. David LaMont (Play-by-Play), Ray Bentley (Analyst) and Dawn Davenport (Sideline) will call the game.

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Maryland Week Q&A - Josh Gattis

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11422514.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions head to Baltimore on Saturday for a matchup against Maryland inside M&T Bank Stadium.

Leading up to the clash against the Terps, offensive recruiting coordinator, assistant special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis talked with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Take a look at a Q&A with Coach Gattis.

Q: Where do you see the wide receiver unit from summer camp until now? Has the group improved in the areas you thought they would?
Gattis: "I've been very pleased. I think we have done a very good job in the role they've been asked to play. They've been unselfish. They have been active in the run game. They have really taken strides there, really taking on their assignments, which has led to some explosive runs down the field. They have made some plays. They have made some contested catches. They have made big plays for us. We've had 18 explosive passes. I've been very pleased with them up to this point."

Q: How would you say the receivers, as a group, have made progress in route running this year?

Gattis: "They have made tremendous progress. I don't think it has been area lacking. They are continuing to grow each and every week. They are continuing to make progress. They have very few mental assignments that are being blown this year, which is a huge stride in terms of learning the offense and understanding things. I'm very pleased where we are. Like I said, they are a very unselfish group. A lot of guys' numbers are down, but the ultimate goal is winning the game. And the guys have accepted their role and been very active in the run game, and I'm really pleased with how far they have come."

Q: You have a number of different personalities in your room. How do you keep everyone motivated?

Gattis: "I have a great group. I think they kind of balance themselves out personality wise. It's a very interesting meeting room. You have all those different personalities. They laugh. They joke. They are really a tightknit group. They are close among each other. They push each other. They expect each other to show up and out-perform one another. I'm really pleased with how unselfish they have been. They've all had different roles. Each guy has brought something to the table. And no one is jealous of another guy. They just continue to push each other. I really like the camaraderie and the bond we have in that room. It only makes each and every guy better."

Q: What are one or two areas that Chris Godwin is better than he was last year?

Gattis: "That's very hard because last year, he was a very, very good football player. As I told people last year, he graded out as our best receiver. But a lot of people don't look at the overall picture of football. They are only looking at your production numbers. So obviously, he didn't have some of the touches and some of the catches that he has this year, but he graded out extremely high. He's a mature kid. He does everything you want and the way you want it done. I'm really happy for him. I think all of his work is paying off. And I think people are starting to see the type of player he is and the type of playmaker he is. He still has so much room to grow in a lot of areas. And you're starting to see him come into his own as a receiver. And I think what you are noticing is the trust that the quarterbacks have in him. He's an elite player in this league at his position."

Q: What does DaeSean's personality do for the group? He seems to have good balance in the group with how he works and has fun.

Gattis: "DaeSean is the jokester in the room. He really brings out the personality of all the other guys. The guys love him. He works hard and at a very, very high level. So, they all respect him for how hard he practices and prepares. He's the guy who lights up the room and makes those guys laugh and joke around. And then he practices at a high level. I've been very pleased with how he's handled everything this year. He goes from being the leading catcher in the Big Ten, and then maybe not having some of the same opportunities. But he's been very successful in the opportunities that he has had. I think right now his completion percentage (on his targets) is somewhere in the 80s. He's just got to continue to stay patient, continue to work on his craft, continue to run his routes and get open and the ball will find him...He's working extremely hard. He's just got to continue to be patient, and the plays will come just like they have during the past two weeks."

Q: We've seen a lot of Brandon Polk this season. How are the other two freshman receivers - Juwan Johnson and Irvin Charles - coming along?

Gattis: "They are coming along really, really, good. Those two guys are exciting. Could those guys be out there playing for us right now? Yes. Is it in the best interest of the team? We have a lot of different options. I just think our room is talented. You always want to make sure you put your freshmen in the best positions to succeed. We are playing six wide receivers right now. I think those guys are going to have a very bright future here. I know they are. They are very talented. If you ask anyone in our program, the sky is the limit for those guys. They have huge upside. I've been really happy with the steps they've taken forward. They are going to have big-time futures and careers here at Penn State."

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VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Maryland Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

The Nittany Lions travel to Baltimore on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. kick against Maryland. Take a look at the practice update from Maryland week.

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2015 Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Maryland Week

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11419052.jpegVIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&A | Transcripts - James Franklin | Players

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon to preview Penn State's trip to Baltimore for a matchup against Maryland.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-1) will meet the Terrapins (2-4, 0-2) inside M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN). Franklin reviewed Penn State's contest against Ohio State and looked ahead to the second consecutive road game.

Franklin kicked off his opening remarks on Tuesday talking about the way that the Nittany Lions started the game in Columbus. Penn State took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter and had chances to make it a 10-point edge. Granted, Franklin is seeking 60 minutes of consistent football from the Lions, but the way Penn State started the game on the road against the No. 1 team in the nation injected some confidence into the group.

"We had opportunities in that game to be up at least 10-0 on the road, and we just didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had, and when you do that against a real talented team on the road, you're going to have a hard time," said Franklin.

That being said, Coach Franklin is looking for the Lions to play aggressive from the moment they step on the field at Maryland. Playing aggressive means that a team is playing fast and performing with confidence, all things Coach Franklin expects out of the team every single day of the week.

"I thought it was a point there in the game where they made some plays and we got tentative, which is not who we've been," said Franklin. "We've been an aggressive team. So we need to be aggressive. We need to be aggressive in the way we play. We need to be aggressive in the way we coach and call the game. We need to be aggressive."

Penn State's running game continues to take steps forward following a 200-yard effort in Columbus. Freshman Saquon Barkley carried the ball with a purpose against the top-ranked Buckeyes and is now second in the nation in rushing yardage by a freshman with 567. Barkley's success goes hand in hand with growth up front.


"I think it's a combination of both. I think our offensive line is improving, I do. I think they're improving," said Franklin. "I do think that Saquon Barkley has some special qualities, and I think that his ability to make guys miss and break tackles - I've said that to you guys before about that's how you evaluate a running back is by making people miss and breaking tackles, and he has the ability to do that."

On the defensive side of the ball, no individual has been more productive during the first seven weeks of the season than Carl Nassib. While Franklin spends a great deal of time talking about the senior defensive end, who was named a mid-season All-American by ESPN.com and CBSSports.com, it's with good reason. Nassib is a benchmark for work ethic, and his approach to being the best is infectious.

"I just think it's a great example with the right work ethic and the right attitude and then some God given ability and you keep working through that, good things happen," said Franklin. "...I think it's a guy that's kind of stuck with it and persevered. Probably a great example of Penn State. If we keep working and keep a positive attitude and persevere, good things are going to happen for us as a whole as well."

The Nittany Lions will practice in pads on Tuesday and Wednesday before the final game week session on Thursday. Penn State will travel to Baltimore on Friday. Saturday's game will kick at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Press Conference Notes:
- Coach Franklin spent some time discussing some of the things that make Chris Godwin an effective player at the wide receiver position.

"He's a big, strong guy. He's athletic. I think he ran one of our fastest 40s at the wide receiver position. But I think the thing that's really stood out about him is his maturity -- his maturity, his intelligence, his football IQ. He picked up the playbook very quick, makes very few mistakes in games or in practice. He's a guy that you can depend on. He's a guy that you can depend on as coaches. He's a guy that you can depend on as the quarterback. So he's got a bunch of traits that are desirable traits."

- Coach Franklin on the collective growth of the tight end unit:

"I think we're making strides as being more complete tight ends than we were last year. We have missed some real opportunities either with missed throws or either with dropped balls, things that I think we can do better. Those guys have the ability to do it. So, yeah, I think they have improved since last year. They're more willing and able blockers, and I think with that, we've seen some opportunities for them, but we've got to consistently take advantage of those opportunities."

- Defensive end Carl Nassib was a unanimous choice as a CBSSports.com All-American on Tuesday. When asked at the press conference which member of the Nassib family was the most talented football player, everyone in the media room anticipated Nassib selecting either himself or his brother Ryan, who is a quarterback for the New York Giants. But Nassib did not hesitate in answering.

He said it is without question his 7-year-old nephew, Jackson.

"He's a stud."


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VIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with senior defensive end Carl Nassib and sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin during Maryland week.

Carl Nassib

Chris Godwin

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Monday Notebook: Lions Focused on Maryland

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11415886.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Regardless of the outcome on a Saturday, the Nittany Lions move forward with the same mindset each and every week.

The team approaches each Sunday with a fresh outlook looking to find a way to go 1-0 each week.

Saturday's 38-10 decision at No. 1 Ohio State is in the rearview mirror. Eyes are on the next task at hand; this week's contest against Maryland inside M&T Bank Stadium (3:30 p.m. on ESPN).

"At the end of the day, it was a learning experience," Godwin said. "We will grow from this. You come in and get to work to try and go 1-0 next week."

The Nittany Lions can take a number of positives out of the trip to Columbus. Penn State led the No. 1-ranked team in the nation 3-0 after one quarter and had chances to extend the lead in the second frame. The Lions know they had chances, and it's something at the front of their minds moving into preparations for the Terps this week.

"We left a lot of opportunities on the field," quarterback Christian Hackenberg said. "We are going to be able to get back to the film and get better from that. We just need to be more consistent."

Coach Franklin's message to the team focused on maximizing chances by making plays when the opportunities present themselves. It all comes down to execution, and the Lions are confident.

"We know what we are capable of," linebacker Troy Reeder said.

Barkley Dazzles in Return
Freshman Saquon Barkley brings a different dimension to the Nittany Lion offense when he is on the field. After missing two games, Barkley was superb against the Buckeyes, tallying 194 yards on 26 carries. The true freshman averaged 7.5 yards per carry and raced for a career-long 56-yard run in the third quarter.

"He adds another element the way he can make plays after contact," said Hackenberg. "He did a great job all game with that, and it helps us get a lot of things going."

Barkley's 194 yards are the fourth-most by a Penn State freshman. He also had the third-highest total with 195 yards earlier this season against Rutgers. With 567 yards, Barkley is No. 2 in the nation in rushing yards by a freshman. Additionally, he has three 100-yard rushing games in five outings for the Nittany Lions this season.

"He is a great player, and he is going to do great things for Penn State," tackle Andrew Nelson said. "We are very thankful for him, and he is a 'make it right' guy. You may not get everything blocked correctly, but he can make it right and make people miss, and he is explosive."

Barkley enters the Maryland game averaging 8.3 yards per carry on the season.

Nassib Now Nation's Leader in Three Categories
With each passing week, Carl Nassib continues to find ways to wreak havoc the backfield of the opponent. The standout senior defensive end turned in another gem against the Buckeyes, extending his streak of games with at least one sack to seven. Nassib tallied 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in Saturday's game against Ohio State.

Through seven games, he is now leading the nation in three major statistical categories. Nassib is No. 1 in sacks with 1.6 per game, No. 1 in tackles for loss with 2.2 per game and No. 1 in fumbles forced with 0.7 per game. As a collective unit, the Nittany Lions are No. 2 in the nation with 3.9 sacks per game and No. 6 nationally in tackles for loss with 9.0 per game.

With 11.5 sacks this season, Nassib is now just 3.5 sacks from the Penn State season sack record. He is also just the fourth Nittany Lion player in the past 15 years to reach a sack total of more than 11 in a season, and Nassib has done it just seven games.

Early Look at Maryland
Led by interim head coach Mike Locksley, Maryland (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) returns to action following a bye week. The Terps opened the season 2-1, but lost three-straight before entering the bye week. Maryland opened Big Ten play with losses to Michigan (28-0) and at Ohio State (49-28). Additionally, the Terps went 2-2 in non-conference games with victories over Richmond (50-21) and USF (35-17) and setbacks to Bowling Green (48-27) and at West Virginia (45-6).

Junior quarterback Perry Hills has three starts in 2015. Hills has thrown for 439 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Senior running back Brandon Ross headlines the ground game. Ross has 431 yards (5.4 ypc) and two touchdowns. Levern Jacobs is Maryland's leading receiver with 22 receptions for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jermaine Carter leads the team in tackling with 63 stops.

Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 39th time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 35-2-1 all-time against the Terps and 21-1 in series games played in Maryland.

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VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame at Ohio State (10/17/15)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Head coach James Franklin talks with the media following the game at Ohio State.

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks at Ohio State (10/17/15)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Several Nittany Lions talk with the media following the 38-10 setback to No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday night.

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2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Ohio State

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COLUMBUS, Ohio. - Welcome to live, interactive coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will travel to Ohio State for a primetime matchup inside Ohio Stadium. Follow along for live updates from gameday.

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Ohio State