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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive
coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all
12 games on the schedule. Penn State meets Maryland for the first time as a member of the Big Ten.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
One of the many traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday
experience is the Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of
the Nittany Lions. The publication originated in the 1920s and continues to
evolve, bringing fans closer to the football program, its student-athletes and
the entire Penn State athletic department.
Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on GoPSUsports.com.
Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Maryland BSP that will be sold during the longtime rivals first meeting as Big Ten foes.
Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.
Crime & Punishment Two Passions For Zwinak
BY: Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Zach Zwinak has always been one to trust his gut. It's what led the Penn State running back to choose criminology as his major during his sophomore year. Although no one in his immediate family had ever worked on a police force, he couldn't help but feel it was right for him.
This past summer, Zwinak was given the opportunity to work in law enforcement, as he completed an internship with the Spring Township Police Department near State College.
As a student intern, Zwinak was required to do much more than simply sit in an office. A typical day for him usually included going on a ride-along with an officer and learning how to handle the different situations that could arise at any time.
Community Service Vital Aspect To Penn State Student-Athlete Experience
by: Greg Campbell, Penn State Athletic Communications
The complete Penn State student-athlete experience includes a multitude of areas. From excelling in competition, to succeeding in the classroom, to building lifelong friendships, that is what each of the more than 800 student-athletes strive to accomplish during their time on the University Park campus.
The nearly 90,000 residents of Happy Valley are the heartbeat of Penn State University and regularly attend sporting events on campus. From Beaver Stadium to McCoy Natatorium, Rec Hall to Bryce Jordan Center or Pegula Ice Arena, the inhabitants of Happy Valley are Penn State athletics' No. 1 supporters.
Likewise, the Penn State student-athletes are their top supporters and they make it a point to show this through community involvement and fundraising efforts throughout the year.
Men's Basketball Returns Six Lettermen With Multiple Starts
By: Tony Mancuso, Penn State Athletic Communications
In just under two weeks, the Penn State Nittany Lion basketball team will open the 2014-15 season with a 7 p.m. tipoff Friday, Nov. 14, against Morgan State in the Bryce Jordan Center.
For the players, coaches and staff, it cannot get here soon enough. This offseason has been filled with relentless dedication by all involved, growing stronger and faster with more focus and consistency.
Patrick Chambers enters his fourth season with a veteran roster for the first time in his career. There are six players who made multiple appearances in the starting lineup last season. Seventy percent of scoring is back and more than 80 percent of the team's rebounds.
The Penn State vs. Maryland BSP also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: vs. Ohio State
Player Q&As w/ Ben Kline, Eugene Lewis & Trevor Williams
University Feature: At Penn State We Are -- Sustainable
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Upcoming Events: Penn State Athletics Sports Planner
GAME BLOG - Penn State vs. Maryland
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Maryland Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Smith Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in 21 seasons, Penn State (4-3, 1-3) and Maryland (5-3, 2-2) will collide on the gridiron on Saturday when the Big Ten East Division foes meet at noon (ESPN2) in Beaver Stadium.
The regional foes have met 37 times prior to this week's matchup in Happy Valley. Maryland is the eight-most played opponent in Penn State's history. The Nittany Lions own a 35-1-1 mark in the all-time series against the Terrapins, with the lone setback coming in 1961.
On the heels of a superb second half against No. 13 Ohio State last week, the Nittany Lions enter the eighth game on the schedule with confidence. Penn State's defense kick-started a stretch of 24-unanswered points for the Lions in a 31-24 double-overtime setback to Ohio State last week. The Lions shut out the Buckeyes in the final two quarters of the game.
The Nittany Lions remain ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 3 in rushing defense, No. 7 in total defense and No. 9 in scoring defense. After tallying 19 stops against Ohio State, senior linebacker Mike Hull is ranked sixth in the nation with 11.9 tackles per game.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg led a 77-yard scoring drive in the final three minutes of regulation to send last week's game into overtime. Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 265.9 passing yards per game. Coming off a Penn State record-breaking 14-reception effort against Ohio State, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver in receptions (57) and receptions per game (8.1).
Maryland fell to 5-3 on the season following a 52-7 loss at Wisconsin last week. The Terps are 2-2 in conference play during their first season as a member of the Big Ten. Maryland knocked off Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31) en route to a 2-1 start to Big Ten play. The Terrapins are ranked ninth in the Big Ten in total offense (373.9 ypg) and 13th in total defense (458.4 ypg).
Saturday's game will feature the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) for the event's amazing fundraising efforts in the fight against pediatric cancer. The THON Executive Committee will present the theme for the 2015 Dance Marathon and the final total amount raised in the 2013-'14 academic year.
Additionally, the Maryland game will be the annual celebration of all Commonwealth campuses. Two students from each of Penn State's 24 campuses will proudly represent their campus by carrying its banner onto the field during halftime.
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week eight matchup against Maryland.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Head coach James Franklin said it best earlier this week when he talked with GoPSUsports.com. Following the second-half efforts against Ohio State, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lion offense take the next step against Maryland this week. Penn State found some momentum and success in the latter stages of Saturday's game with two critical scoring drives, which sent the contest into overtime. Freshman Saeed Blacknall hauled in the first touchdown reception of his Nittany Lion career on a 24-yard throw from Hackenberg. The offense also marched 77 yards on its final drive for a game-tying field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation. Finding consistency in the trenches will be critical for the Lions moving forward, and Franklin is hopeful that senior captain Miles Dieffenbach could see some action for the first time on Saturday.
2. Simply put, the Nittany Lion defense turned in a dominant performance against Ohio State. Hull's stellar 19-tackle effort speaks for itself, but the Nittany Lion defensive line has played at an elite level during much of the 2014 season. The impact Penn State's D-Line has made on every snap doesn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet every week, but the group has been disruptive on a consistent basis. Ends Deion Barnes, C.J. Olaniyan, Carl Nassib and Brad Bars have all made a tremendous impact off the edge. Inside, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson have been among the top interior tandems in the Big Ten. Zettel is leading the defense in tackles for loss (8.0) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (2), which includes his interception return for a touchdown against Ohio State.
3. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop challenges the defense to force more turnovers every time it steps on the field. Penn State's two turnovers against Ohio State played a paramount role in the team's ability to put itself in a position to win last week. The Lions enter the final five games of the season looking to extend the streak of forcing a turnover in five-straight games. The Penn State defense has forced 10 turnovers in the past five games.
What to Watch For - Maryland
1. Maryland senior quarterback C.J. Brown is a dynamic player for the Terps. The team's leader in rushing and passing yards, Brown is ranked second in school history in touchdowns responsible for (50). Brown is one of just 10 active players in the FBS to pass for 4,000 or more yards and rush for 1,000 yards. In 2014, Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards and rushed for 376 yards. He has accounted for 13 touchdowns this season (8 passing; 5 rushing). Brown's favorite target is junior Stefon Diggs, who has big-play ability every time he touches the ball. Diggs, who has at least one reception in 26-straight games, has made 46 catches for 601 yards and scored five touchdowns in 2014.
2. Maryland's defensive unit provides the look of a 3-4 scheme. Senior defensive end Andre Monroe is a name to watch on Saturday. Monroe is ranked third in the program's history with 21.0 sacks. He leads all active players with 32.5 TFL for his career. Maryland is tied with Michigan State in sacks during conference games this season (13). Cornerback William Likely has been a difference-maker in the secondary for the Terps in 2014. Likely has two interception returns for a touchdown this season, and he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in passes defended per game. As a unit, Maryland has 14 takeaways this season.
3. The return game has been a big piece of Maryland's success this fall. The Terps boast the Big Ten's top punt returner and kickoff returner in Likely and Diggs, respectively. Likely has one punt return for a score this season and is averaging 16.3 yards per touch. Diggs is averaging 25.2 yards per return each time he touches the ball on kickoffs.
The Final Word:
Dating back to 1917, Maryland is one of Penn State's oldest foes. Separated by just 198 miles, the Nittany Lions and Terrapins played 37 times from 1917 to 1993. Penn State and Maryland met during every season from 1960-'75 before a one-year break. The two teams then played one another during each season from 1984-'93 before the series took a break. Now, as members of the Big Ten East Division, Penn State and Maryland will meet on a yearly basis. The Nittany Lions are unbeaten in 21 games played against the Terps in Happy Valley. Penn State and Maryland will play at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2015. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 p.m. on Saturday with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Paul Carcaterra on the ESPN2 broadcast.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith
spoke with the media on Thursday. The
Nittany Lions host Maryland on Saturday at noon (ESPN2). Take a look at a
Q&A with Smith.
Q: What are your memories of the Penn State-Maryland series? You played in a couple of those games when you were here as a player.
Smith: "Back a long time ago when I played (laughter), the games were always competitive. We've always had players on our roster from Maryland. So there is always a battle for recruiting ground. It was always a physical game. It was always a tough game to mentally prepare for because you knew the physical battle that was coming. We anticipate another tough battle again on Saturday. Both teams have to get back on track after tough weeks. And it is going to be a battle for each to get back on track."
Q: With Troy Apke set to be on the field for the first time on Saturday in the secondary, what have you seen from him in practice?
Smith: "Troy is an extremely athletic kid. He is very explosive. He is very fast. He has very good size. He's also a bright kid. He's going to bring added athleticism to us. He's working really hard in practice to get caught up on his special teams assignments and his secondary assignments. He just brings a wealth of athleticism to us."
Q: How have you guys had to change your play-calling, so to speak, in the secondary with Ryan Keiser out? Coach Franklin has said he was like the quarterback of the secondary.
Smith: "Keiser is the quarterback. He helped us stay in the right call. He is a terrific communicator. Now, with a freshman safety back there, Marcus (Allen) did a really good job back there this past week against Ohio State. He's communicating a lot better each day as we speak. He's getting more reps. There is a little more demand on his communications skills, and he is doing a terrific job. All of the other secondary guys - Adrian Amos, Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams - they have to increase their communication as a whole. It was very loud in the game against Ohio State. We just have to do a better job as a whole, verbally and physically, communicating our signals."
Q: How would you sum up the year Jordan Lucas has put together so far?
Smith: "With Jordan, I think he is playing really good. He has been consistent all year. He hasn't given up many pass completions in his area. He's extremely physical. He knocked the ball out on a hit in the game against Ohio State. He brings a lot of leadership to our secondary. He's a guy that's been through it. He's a guy that when the lights come on, it doesn't matter to him. He can help the younger guys, like Marcus (Allen), to get through those moments. He's brought a wealth of experience to us. We want to try to get him to the point - he hasn't had an interception on the year, but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities, too, which a lot of times offenses go away from who they think is the best defensive back. So his opportunities are limited. I just told him that you have to be prepared for when the one or two come."
Q: You've worked with a number of units in your career, most recently wide receivers, what went into the move to working with corners, and how do you think it has gone?
Smith: "I knew for me to achieve my long-term goals, I needed to get some defensive experience. I didn't think it would come necessarily so quickly. But when the opportunity arose, I took advantage of it. And Coach Franklin had enough trust in me to handle the corners. I think so far this season we are playing really sound football. We have been really consistent in the secondary. And that's the most important trait right now."
Q: What have you seen from the Maryland passing game?
Smith: "In the passing game, they have a tremendously athletic (group) on the perimeter. Stefon Diggs is a very explosive athlete. He leads them with 46 catches. I think he has scored in the last four games. We need to keep him out of the end zone and keep his explosiveness away. Deon Long is a guy who can stretch the field. He is a good-sized athlete who has a lot of playing experience. And then they have another couple guys. Marcus Leak is a guy who can stretch the field. He's very fast. We've got to make sure we contain his speed. And then Jacquille Veii - he's kind of a do-everything guy. They try to get him some touches for him. We have to be able to contain their athletes on the perimeter when they run quick screens and bubbles. If we can contain them, obviously the No. 1 goal for the defense is to stop the run, but at the perimeter and in the secondary, we need to contain their athletes and not let them have explosive plays."
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Maryland | Beaver Stadium | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions meet the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since 1993, and the first since Maryland joined the Big Ten.
Randy Edsall is in his fourth year leading the Terrapins with a mark of 18-27. Edsall is 92-97 overall in his 16th year as a head coach. Maryland went 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC in 2013. They fell 31-20 against Marshall in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins returned 52 lettermen and 17 starters.
The Terrapins dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play on Saturday, losing 52-7 at Wisconsin. The Maryland offense gained 175 yards, with 129 coming through the air. Quarterback C.J. Brown completed 13-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Running back Wes Brown gained 22 yards on five carries. Deon Long caught six passes for 59 yards and Stefon Diggs hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Terrapins allowed 527 total yards, including 311 on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. Safety Sean Davis recorded 17 tackles, including 14 solo, and broke up a pass. Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson made seven stops, six solo, and forced a fumble. Defensive end Andre Monroe added a 10-yard sack.
Maryland ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game. They also rank ninth in the Big Ten, gaining nearly 374 yards of total offense per contest. They average 137.5 yards rushing and 236 yards passing, ranking 11th and seventh in the conference, respectively.
Brown has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He also leads the team with 376 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Brown is seventh in the conference in total offense, averaging 211.5 yards per game.
Junior Brandon Ross and sophomore Wes Brown join C.J. Brown in the backfield. Ross, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior, has 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns, gaining 4.4 yards per carry. Ross also has 11 catches for 202 yards and two scores. Wes Brown has recorded 231 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also has 115 yards on 11 receptions. Fullback Kenneth Goins has 41 rushing yards, 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.
The Terrapins have a very strong receiving corps, led by junior Stefon Diggs. One of the fastest players in the country, Diggs leads the team with 601 yards and five touchdowns on 46 catches, averaging 13 yards per catch. Diggs has caught a pass in 26 straight games. Senior Deon Long has caught 33 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown. Junior Marcus Leak has 253 yards and three touchdowns on 16 receptions.
The Maryland offensive line includes two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Three linemen have at least 21 career starts.
The Terrapins use a 4-3 style defense, but provide the look of a 3-4 scheme (standing defensive end). They allow 29.2 points and 458.4 total yards per game, ranking 11th and 13th in the Big Ten, respectively. They rank 13th in the conference, giving up 212.4 yards rushing. They are 11th in the league, giving up 246 yards passing. They have forced 14 turnovers this season.
The defensive line is led by end Andre Monroe. The senior has 44 tackles, including eight for loss and 6.5 sacks and has forced a fumble. Fellow end Keith Bowers has recorded 27 tackles, 14 solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Tackle Darius Kilgo has made 30 stops, 22 solo, six for loss and two sacks. Kilgo has also recovered three fumbles and blocked a kick.
Cole Farrand, an inside linebacker, leads the unit with 67 tackles, including 35 solo, and four tackles for loss. He has also broken up five passes. Also on the inside is L.A. Goree, who has made 66 stops, 43 solo and two for loss. On the outside, Yannick Ngakoue has a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss. Ngakoue also has 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Cornerback William Likely leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He has 134 total return yards on those four picks. Likely also has 51 tackles this year, nine passes defended, a sack and a forced fumble. Fellow cornerback Jeremiah Johnson has three pass breakups and an interception. Safety Sean Davis leads the team with 75 tackles, 52 solo. He has two tackles for loss and four pass breakups. The other safety, Anthony Nixon, has 34 tackles, an interception and a blocked kick.
Kicker Brad Craddock, a Lou Groza Award candidate, has hit on all 12 attempts this year, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State. Craddock has made 18 straight attempts, dating back to last season. Punter Nathan Renfro averages 41.1 yards per punt and has placed 15 inside the 20-yard-line. Diggs and Likely handle the return duties. Diggs has averaged 25.2 yards per kick return. Likely leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally, averaging 16.3 yards per punt return. Likely returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia.
Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland. The schools last met on Oct. 2, 1993, with Penn State winning 70-7.
What Randy Edsall is saying about Penn State:
"They have a tremendous history with their football program over the years. I think it's great to be able to be in the same conference with them, in a bordering state."
"[Hackenberg]'s big, he's strong, and he can make every throw that you want a quarterback to make. He's mobile and able to move around, so when an opportunity does present itself, he can hold the ball down and run."
"I think when you take a look at their defense, it starts with Mike Hull. That guy is all over the place. He is a tremendous football player. He makes a ton of tackles and is a leader for them... They are very strong up the middle and have very good athletes at the other positions."
Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer Paul Marboe.
James Franklin Transcript - Oct. 28
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions cap off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they face off against Maryland for the first time since 1993.
Head coach James Franklin reviewed Saturday's clash with Ohio State and previewed the matchup against the Terrapins on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.
Penn State scored 24-straight points on Saturday before dropping a narrow 31-24 double-overtime decision to No. 13 Ohio State. The Nittany Lion defense held the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half, largely thanks to an aggressive effort from the collective unit.
"Defense I thought we played really hard, 91 percent pursuit grade, which is really good," said Franklin. "I think that's one of the things we believe in, just the importance of running the ball, we had two takeaways, pick six."
With a strong performance down the stretch in regulation on both sides of the ball, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions play with the same energy, passion and execution again this week, and every remaining week of the season. Penn State has a great deal to build on from the second half against Ohio State.
"I talked to the team on Sunday after the game that I felt a difference on our - in our team in terms of their focus and in terms of their preparation and in terms of their enthusiasm and energy and I don't know if that was Ohio State, I don't know if that was the white‑out, I don't know what this was, prime time game, whatever it may be but I talked to them about we have to make sure that our approach and preparation and our attention to detail is consistent week in and week out," said Franklin. "It shouldn't be based on the opponent, it shouldn't be based on what time the game is. It shouldn't be based on outfits that people decide to wear to the game, shouldn't be based on anything of those things. It should be based on us wanting to go out and play at our highest level."
Shifting into Maryland week preparations, the Nittany Lions corrected the mistakes from the Ohio State game on Sunday before the team's off day on Monday. The squad resumed practice on Tuesday afternoon. Maryland's talent in the skill positions (offense and defense) is the focal point for the Nittany Lions this week as the group prepares for another tremendous crowd in Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
"Tremendous challenge for us, excited to be back at home," said Franklin. "Love to have the opportunity for the first time in the last four years to have back-to-back sellouts. 107K strong. We're excited about that. I cannot stress the impact that our fans had on our last game. Gave our defense a real home field advantage. Can't stress, again, how much would he appreciate their support."
Franklin is hopeful that the Nittany Lion offensive line will receive a boost on Saturday with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach on the brink of a return. Dieffenbach has returned to the practice field in recent weeks, and Franklin said his role could expand this week.
"Hopefully he will have a bigger role this week and that will allow us to play him in a game a little bit," said Franklin. "I think that would be the ideal situation. How much that is, I'm not sure, we'll see, but I think the biggest thing is we are never, ever going to put winning a game in front of what's in the best interest of our players and our student‑athletes, and we want to make sure he's prepared before we put him back on the field that's mentally, physically, emotionally, that's the whole package."
It was announced on Tuesday that senior linebacker Mike Hull has been named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player). From day one, Franklin has been complimentary of Hull's efforts and how sets the tone for the Nittany Lion defense. He has been a huge factor in Penn State's outstanding defensive unit in 2014.
"Mike Hull is as good as I've ever been around, with coaches, fans, NFL scouts with selection committees for awards and things like that, we all get way too caught up in the eyeball test," said Franklin. "With the guy that walks through the door, he's 6-3, 250 pounds, just looks what you imagine in your mind and don't get me wrong, it's not like Mike is little, he's 6-feet, 235 pounds but how productive he is."
The Nittany Lions and Terps are slated for a noon kick on Saturday (ESPN2). The two teams have met 37 times in a series that dates back to 1917.
Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin Update on Ryan Keiser
"There is stuff being reported in the media that I don't think is completely accurate about Ryan Keiser. Ryan did suffer a fracture in a rib in practice last Thursday. After undergoing operation for a small bowel injury sustained, overall he's improving. He's at Hershey Medical Center right now. There is no infection. I wanted to make sure that we're clear. Ryan's family has our complete support. I've talked to his mother, talked to Ryan. Our trainers and doctors have been in constant contact or have been involved every step of the way, and I just want to clear that up because I know how the Penn State community supports one another. I wanted to make sure that everybody understands clearly what's going on."
- Franklin on the Maryland offense:
"(They are) averaging 31 points a game, eight starters, spread, no huddle team, they use tempo, big into the quarterback running game. They got a really fast and productive wide receiver unit. That's one of the things I would say in general about Maryland their skilled positions are really good. C.J. Brown their sixth year senior at quarterback, 6-3, 218 pounds, I recruited C.J., know him extremely well, athletic guy who place extremely well and say able to make plays with his arm, as well. Brandon Ross, know him extremely well, so know him, Stefon Diggs seems like he's been playing there forever, I know Stefon and the family fairly well and he's doing nice things for them, continues to be one of the more explosive athletes in the country and the Deon Long who I've known for a very time, big-time playmaker for them as well. Athletes across the board. "
- Franklin on the Maryland defense:
"Nine starters, we talked about, an experienced group. I guess they technically call themselves a 4-3 defense, I would say they are a 3-4 defense, but their one defensive end stands up. They're able to play both from a three-down and four-down front, play a variety of coverages, pressure the quarterback well and as a defense Maryland has returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and that's William Likely who is a good player, he may not be very big, but he's an explosive player."
- Franklin on the Maryland special teams:
"They're leading the Big Ten in the punt return average, third in kickoff return average, that's a lot to do with their scheme but that's a lot to do with their personnel, William Likely who we have talked about as the punt returner, he's seventh in the nation right now, got one return for a touchdown, that's going to be a challenge for us, Stefon Diggs is their kick return guy, first in the Big Ten in kickoff return yardage so we're going to have a tremendous challenge there and a guy that jumps out to me is Kenneth Goins, running back, "H" back type guy who is all over the field on special teams."
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Despite playing at a high level during the first six weeks of the season, the
Penn State defense said that it could play a little better.
True to its word, the defense took its game to another level in the second half on Saturday against Ohio State. Simply put, the Nittany Lions were dominant in the second half of the primetime Penn State White Out against an offensive unit that came into the game among the top statistical groups in the country.
Ohio State entered the game averaging 46.5 points per game. The Nittany Lions held the Buckeye offense to 17 points through four quarters of regulation, including zero in the second half. Ohio State had only two combined scoreless quarters during the first six games before the Lions held the Buckeyes scoreless in back-to-back quarters.
Additionally, the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 256 total yards through four quarters (277.8 yards below season average).
"I think, as the game went on, the fact that we were rotating our defensive line was helpful," head coach James Franklin said. "Like Bob [Shoop] usually does, he gets a feel of some adjustments that he's going to make. Slight adjustments, not really anything we're doing at halftime, just different calls. Mike Hull getting 19 tackles, that's helpful as well. The turnovers; that's something we talked about, trying to get some turnovers to get off the field, helping our defense."
Senior linebacker Mike Hull spearheaded the stout defensive effort on Saturday. Hull notched 19 tackles against the Buckeyes, the most by a Penn State player since the 2011 season. He is now averaging 11.9 tackles per game, which is ranked sixth in the nation and atop the Big Ten.
"I think he should be on every award list right now," Franklin said. "He deserves that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've coached in a lot of different leagues, even the NFL. The guy is playing at a really, really high level week in and week out. He makes plays from sideline to sideline in the run game and in the pass game. You guys have heard me say this before, but I have a man crush on that guy. I love him. He's a big-time football player."
Collectively, the Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense (No. 3), total defense (No. 7) and scoring defense (No. 9).
Penn State will renew its series with Maryland on Saturday (noon on ESPN2) in a Big Ten East Division matchup.
Hamilton B1G Freshman of the Week
For the second time in 2014, DaeSean Hamilton has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his efforts against Ohio State on Saturday. Hamilton tallied 14 receptions against the Buckeyes, breaking the Penn State record for receptions in a game. Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver with 57 receptions and 8.1 receptions per game. He is ranked No. 8 overall in the nation in receptions per game and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Hamilton heads into the week just six yards shy of the Penn State freshman receiving record.
Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:
QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 265.9 yards per game and completions per game at 23.57. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,861.
WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is eighth nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (8.1). He ranks 16th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 98.0.
LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is leading in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in total tackles at 11.9 per contest.
K Sam Ficken - Ficken is 10th in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 1.86.
Early Look at the Terps
Maryland enters the week with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big Ten. The Terps suffered a 52-7 setback at Wisconsin on Saturday. In Big Ten play, Maryland has victories over Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31).
Quarterback C.J. Brown is leading the Maryland offense in passing and rushing. Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He has rushed for 376 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Receiver Stefon Diggs is ranked third in the Big Ten in receptions per game at 5.8. Diggs has 46 total receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Diggs is also the Big Ten's kick return leader (25.2 yards per return).
Maryland is the Big Ten leader in punt returns and third in kickoff returns. Cornerback William Likely is averaging 16.3 yards per return (1 for TD).
Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 38th time on Saturday, but last played in 1993. Penn State is 35-1-1 overall against the Terps.
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