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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Akron

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VIDEO: Coach Franklin Postgame Interview - Akron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head into the winning locker room to hear from several Nittany Lions following Saturday's 21-3 victory over Akron in the home opener.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Interview with Coach Franklin - Akron

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Akron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talks with following Saturday's 21-3 victory over Akron in the home-opener. Penn State moves to 2-0 on the season with the win.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' home-opener against Akron in Beaver Stadium.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions open the home slate inside Beaver Stadium against Akron, today.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Meet Akron in Home Opener

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Game Notes | Gameday Central | Gameday Press Release | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Presser Roundup | Q&A with Coach Pry | 1994 Team Feature | 
Akron Scouting Report

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions welcome Akron to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for the 2014 home opener and head coach James Franklin's first game in Happy Valley. The game will kick at noon and will air on ABC regionally and ESPN2 in the rest of the nation.

10275653.jpegSam Ficken's 36-yard field goal as time expired capped off a thrilling 26-24 season opening win over UCF at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. The senior converted all four of his field goal attempts and both extra point opportunities to earn his third career Big Ten Specialist of the Week honors. He ranks fourth overall and first among kickers in scoring in the Big Ten conference.

Sophomore Christian Hackenberg and redshirt-freshman DaeSean Hamilton both had record setting days in Ireland. Hackenberg set the school record for all-purpose (456) and passing yardage (454) in a single game and completed a career-high 32 passes. Hamilton earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after breaking a pair of freshman receiving records. He hauled in 11 passes for 165 yards to eclipse both school freshman standards.

This will be the fourth meeting between the Nittany Lions and Zips on the gridiron, with Penn State looking to remain unbeaten. The first meeting came in 1999, with subsequent meetings coming in 2004, 2006 and 2009, all at Beaver Stadium. The 1999 contest remains the highest scoring game in Beaver Stadium history at 94 combined points (70-24).

Led by head coach Terry Bowden, quarterback Kyle Pohl helped lead Akron to a 41-0 blanking of Howard in its season opener last weekend, throwing for 304 yards on 22 of 35 passing with four touchdown passes. He found Mykel Traylor-Bennett on a pair of scoring strikes and also hooked up with L.T. Smith and Imani Davis for scoring strikes.

Saturday will be Community Hero Day in Beaver Stadium. First responders will be recognized throughout the game. Additionally, the undefeated 1994 team will be honored during halftime of the game. More than 40 members of the 12-0 squad will be back in town for a reunion, including All-Americans Kyle Brady, Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins and Jeff Hartings. The Nittany Lions topped Oregon, 38-20, in the 1995 Rose Bowl to cap off a perfect season.

The Nittany Lions are back in Beaver Stadium.  Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the home-opener against the Akron Zips.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10275671.jpeg1. There is nothing quite like the energy on opening Saturday in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions will debut a new entry into the South Tunnel of the stadium at approximately 9:20 a.m. on Saturday. The team will walk off of the Blue Buses near Medlar Field before walking down Curtin Road through a sea of Blue and White before entering the stadium. The idea behind the change was to extend the team's interaction time with the fans as they enter the stadium. Make sure to be near the stadium early to be a part of some history as the team walks into Beaver Stadium before final preparations for the game.

2. Coach Franklin opened his Tuesday press conference with positives and some things to work on this week following last week's 26-24 victory over UCF. Two big points of emphasis this week are turnovers and penalties. The Nittany Lions lost the battle in both categories against UCF and still found a way to win. The team will look to clean up both areas, namely taking care of the ball better on offense. The Lions tallied 511 yards of offense last week in the opener, but the coaching staff is looking for more consistency in the running game more touchdowns during red zone visits this week.

3. Akron's offense tests the perimeter defense of its opponents with quick passes to the outside edges of the field. Cornerback Jordan Lucas noted earlier this week that a big key for the Penn State defense against Akron will be its ability to get off of blocks and make clean tackles when the ball is in open space. Co-defensive coordinator Brent Pry was pleased with how the Nittany Lions tackled against UCF. Tackling will again be essential to a strong day for the Penn State defense against Akron. The Lions yielded just 246 total yards last week.

What to Watch For - Akron
10275677.jpeg1. Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl enters Beaver Stadium following a superb performance in Akron's season-opener against Howard last week. Pohl led the Zips with a career-high four touchdown passes on 23-of-36 passing for 308 yards. Pohl also led the Zips in rushing with 53 yards on seven attempts last week. The MAC East Player of the Week is a good athlete with the ability to hurt a defense with his arm and legs. Senior wide receiver L.T. Smith is among Pohl's top targets. Smith finished with five catches for 74 yards and a score against Howard.

2. The linebacking trio on Akron's defense is among the most experienced group of players on the depth chart. Junior Jatavis Brown and senior Justin March return as the team's top two tacklers from a season ago. Brown led the Zips with 107 stops in 2013, while March contributed 80 hits. Fellow senior linebacker C.J. Mizell led Akron with 10 stops and a fumble recovery last week.

3. The Zips enter the week with great confidence. With last week's win, Akron has won five consecutive games for the first time since 2004. In total, the Zips have won five of their last six games dating back to last season. Akron's projected starting lineup features just two players younger than junior eligibility. The starting lineup will likely include 10 seniors.

The Final Word:
Penn State fans from across the nation wait for home football weekends in Happy Valley all year long. Saturday's game begins the seven-game home slate for 2014. Beaver Stadium opened on Sept. 17, 1960 when the Lions blanked Boston University, 20-0. The 2014 campaign marks Penn State's 55th season inside Beaver Stadium. The second-largest college football shrine in America, Beaver Stadium has 106,572 seats. Penn State owns a 188-67 (.739) record inside Beaver Stadium. When the stadium is at full capacity, it becomes the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania. Be on Curtin Avenue by 9:20 on Saturday morning to watch the Nittany Lions march from Porter Road to the South Tunnel in the new, interactive team arrival. Kick is slated for 12:05 p.m.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Akron Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Brent Pry

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10275380.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry talked to the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions meet Akron on Saturday at noon in the home opener inside Beaver Stadium (ABC/ESPN2).  Take a look at a Q&A with Pry leading up to Saturday's clash with the Zips.

Q: What has it meant to you to be back in this region as a coach? What are some of the benefits to being back in your home region?
"Well, first of all, being able to see family. One of the tough things about this business is that you are moving all over the country. In most situations, you don't have family nearby. That's been the case for my wife and I at the last couple places we have lived. To have the chance to come back to Central PA and be close to all of my family in Altoona, Williamsport, as well, has been really good. We have seen a lot of them already. They have spent time with my children, gotten to know them. We've gotten to see their kids. Particularly for my wife and kids, it is a benefit. It's a real positive."

Q: As the assistant head coach, can you talk about the responsibilities that entails for this program?
"I would say in general that I am a sounding board that the assistants come to when they have questions or concerns that may need to go on to Coach Franklin or may not need to go on to Coach Franklin, as well as the support staff...There is a little bit of administrative responsibilities that go along with it. I think it's what I make it and what Coach wants it to be. He likes a voice. He likes opinions. He likes feedback. And I feel it is my responsibility to give him that."

Q: We've heard a lot about Gary Wooten during spring ball and practice. Do you think we are close to seeing him within the framework of the defense?
"Yes. Gary had a very good camp. I feel good about his development. I trust putting Gary into the game. Saturday's game in Ireland didn't merit it just from a reps standpoint. It just wasn't necessary to play him. We were able to ride the game out with Mike, and we were glad to do that. Gary is ready. If the situation presents itself, I feel good about putting Gary in the game this weekend."

Q: How has the depth at linebacker developed?
"Obviously, the first guy is Gary Wooten. He is our fourth guy right now. He is the guy I am most comfortable with. He runs the defense from the 'Mike' position. He calls the shots. He's done a very good job learning the position. Of course, he's got a great guy to learn from and follow. Jason Cabinda has had a strong camp. He's in a position where he could potentially play at 'Will' linebacker, as well as Troy Reeder. (We don't have) the same need at 'Mike' linebacker, but Troy Reeder has had a very nice camp, and he has put himself in a position where he could potentially play as a freshman this year. The depth, we've also developed Brandon Bell at both outside linebacker positions. He's had ample time at 'Sam' and 'Will'. He's a really knowledgeable guy who studies the game. He provides some depth, too, at the outside positions since he can play multiple spots. We have the same situation with Nyeem. He could easily move out and play the 'Sam' position if needed. Those positions mirror each other to a degree. As much 'Star' as we are playing and sub-packages, we are able to have more flexibility with those guys."

Q: When you went over the film from Saturday with the players, what did you see from the UCF game?
"When we looked at the tape Sunday and watched it as a unit, there were some really positive things. There were very, very few missed tackles. There were very few mental errors. For the most part, we were technique-sound. We did have a few things that we needed to clean up as a group. And then there were a few things individually. All three guys graded out a winner. I was very glad to see that. But each one of them had a few items that we need to get cleaned up and be better at this week. All in all, it was a good day's work. There were a lot of positives on the tape. We addressed those things. We talk about them. We want everyone to understand what guys did well. And then we address the liabilities and we talk about the things that weren't good enough that we've got to take a step forward with. And that goes for the whole unit. We want everyone to learn from each other's mistakes so that we can get the whole group advancing forward. It was a productive day for us in a lot of ways."

Q: Can you talk about some of the challenges Akron's offense presents to your defense?
"I'm going tell you. My father (Jim Pry) was the offensive coordinator when they won the MAC championship. Charlie Frye and Luke Getsy were the quarterbacks back in those days. It's a good program. They get good athletes. They've got a couple receivers who can really play. They've got a confident quarterback who can make all the throws. They've got an experienced tailback. Any time you have that type of offense that can move the football, if I'm sitting in their offices right now, they feel like they are turning the corner...They've got a lot of momentum. For them, they are looking at this as the perfect time to come down to Penn State and get a win. And really put a stamp on what they are doing there. I have tremendous respect for Coach Bowden and everything he has done. They have a really experienced staff with a lot of good coaches. And they have a very formidable offense. They pose a real threat."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Special Feature: Legends of '94 - The Oral History

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kijana_blog.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Twenty years have passed since the Nittany Lions put together one of the greatest seasons in school and Big Ten history. More than 45 members of the undefeated 1994 Big Ten title team will be back in town this weekend for a reunion. Many of the squad's stars, including All-Americans Kyle Brady, Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins and Jeff Hartings will be among the attendees who will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game.

To commemorate the unstoppable '94 team's return, Ryan Jones, editor of The Football Letter Blog, compiled a tremendous oral history from the figures involved with Penn State's last undefeated team. A portion from Part 1 of a five-part oral history is compiled below.

Please follow this link to The Football Letter Blog for the remaining parts to the special series on the 1994 team.

The Football Letter Blog - 1994 Team Oral History (Parts 1-5)

Unbeaten, Unstoppable, Uncrowned
An Oral History of the 1994 Penn State Football Team

By Ryan Jones, The Football Letter Blog Editor

Part 1:
We trace the '94 team back to its roots, following the recruiting classes of 1990 and '91 as they mature from talented prospects into proven leaders who will provide the foundation for greatness.


Chapter 1: Building the Foundation

In the winter of 1990, Joe Paterno's staff inked a 16-player recruiting class, led by stud tight end prospect Kyle Brady and featuring a trio of quarterbacks. One of them was Kerry Collins, whom one Philadelphia newspaper described as "the biggest and strongest of the bunch... has been mentioned as a possible tight end candidate."

PAUL "BUCKY" GREELEY: Growing up a Pennsylvania kid, the opportunity to even be recruited by Penn State, it's almost like that was a win. For family members, friends, people in my high school, when Penn State was recruiting me, that was the accomplishment.

KYLE BRADY: When we first got there in 1990, most of us redshirted. Our class was a small one--I think we only had 16 guys--but we had a couple of quality guys: Kerry, myself, Bucky Greeley, Brian Gelzheiser, Phil Yeboah-Kodie.

KERRY COLLINS: Certainly Kyle was a big-name recruit, and there were a couple of other guys. I don't know what the ranking was, but I got the feeling that everyone was excited about our class.

FRAN GANTER: We knew Kerry was going to be something special.

COLLINS: Initially, there were four or five of us--John Sacca, Danny White, Craig Fayak, who at the time was a quarterback--but I don't remember that scaring me too much. I felt like Penn State was the best place for me. I had an assurance that I was gonna be a quarterback, and I took them at their word. Even when I was there, I would kind of tease Billy Kenney, who recruited me, "Hey, you guys aren't going to move me."

GREELEY: I played against Kerry my senior year, and he was my quarterback at Big 33, and there was no doubt he was going to be the quarterback. He had the confidence, the raw talent, the leadership ability. I look at a lot of the stuff that was written back then... we never had those doubts.


Not every member of that class was a sure thing.

VINCENT STEWART: I didn't play football until tenth grade. I'm this 6-foot-4, 280-pound guy out of Long Island that nobody knows about. After a lot of pushing from my coaches, I ended up at Penn State camp going into 11th grade. Joe Sarra was in charge of the defensive tackles, and he was the guy who spotted me, inspired me, and ultimately fought for me to get my scholarship. From that day on, by hook or by crook, I was going to Penn State...

On my visit, I sat with Coach Paterno, and the first and only thing he talked about was school. I talked to a lot of other coaches, they talked about playing time and all that, but none of them really talked about school. I knew something was different when Coach Paterno looked me in the eye and said, "Just give me all you can. I don't care if you come here and don't play, you're going to graduate." I had four other recruiting trips scheduled, and I cancelled all of them.


The group that would form the core of the 1994 team drew heavily from the recruiting classes of 1990 and '91. There were a handful of exceptions, including a pair of 1989 high school graduates. One was defensive tackle Chris Mazyck, who tells his story in Chapter 3; the other was cornerback Marlon Forbes.

MARLON FORBES: I came to Penn State as an ROTC student. I graduated in '89, then went into the Navy right out of high school. I qualified for a program where you become a scholarship ROTC student at the school of your choice. I wanted to go to Penn State anyway, and this became a vehicle to get there. So in the fall of 1990, I walked on as a quarterback and wide receiver.

Once I got on the team, I took at look at the quarterbacks we had, and I was like, "You gotta be kidding me. Everybody's good here." The receivers? It was Dave Daniels, Terry Smith, O.J. McDuffy, Ricky Sayles... It seemed like we had everything. It might've been the second or third practice, and one of the coaches said "Hey, you ever play defensive back?" I was like, "Not really." Next thing I know, I'm a scout team DB. Ron Dickerson said, "Come back next spring on defense," and that was it.


Forbes was understandably impressed by the Lions' veteran skill players that fall; a year later, he and the rest of the Penn State squad would be wowed by an incoming freshman class that stands as arguably the greatest in Penn State history. Boasting nearly two dozen players, the '91 recruiting class was particularly loaded with offensive linemen--Keith Conlin, Jeff Hartings, Andre Johnson, and Marco Rivera among them--and running backs. Analysts called it the top class in the nation. Who were those freshmen to disagree?

KEITH CONLIN: We were the No. 1 class in the country. We were Joe's best recruiting class of all time. The running backs, the offensive linemen, everywhere, we were loaded.

MARCO RIVERA: Even before we got up to Penn State, we knew all these guys right away, from reading about them in the newspaper. We knew we had a good class.

GANTER: There were so many kids who were hard to get, and we worked hard to get them.

TONY PITTMAN: With those two classes, '90 and '91, it was like, "Wow, we've got a lot of talent coming in." But you never know how that talent pans out.

BRADY: We had heard so much about that '91 class. I was already starting to take those things with a grain of salt. Guys can be all-world in high school--you hear all these numbers about their speed and bench press--then they get there and it's a different story. You never know what you're going to get.

TODD ATKINS: A bunch of us--myself, Keith Conlin, Eric Clair, Mike Archie--we all played on the Pennsylvania Big 33 team, so quite a few of us knew each other coming into camp. It seemed like everybody kind of gelled.

BOBBY ENGRAM: It seemed uncommon at the time, how well we all got along.

CONLIN: I played with seven or eight guys in the Big 33 game, so we already had our little clique going. Plus, a lot of us were recruited by the same teams. I ended up living with Eric Clair for four of my five years there, and we first met on a visit to Florida State.

RIVERA: I remember I went on a recruiting trip to Syracuse, and I'm standing there with Andre Johnson--he's a lineman from Long Island, I'm a lineman from Long Island--and I'm asking him, "Where do you think you're going?" And he's asking me... Next think you know, I commit to Penn State, he commits to Penn State. That's how it happened with us.

MIKE ARCHIE: When I came in, you know who my host was? Kerry Collins. It was just a great time. Touring me around, showing me the campus, he really did feel like a brother. I remember meeting Keith Conlin and Marco Rivera and thinking, "Are these guys coming here? Because these guys are pretty big."

COLLINS: The offensive linemen, it's hard to see into the future with those guys--Jeff Hartings put on probably 70 pounds when he was there. Those guys had to grow into it. But you could see it. That class kind of carried themselves in a certain way. They knew they were good.

BRADY: Guys like Jeff Hartings and Marco Rivera, they were the ideal guys to come in as offensive linemen. You don't want a guy to come in at 300 pounds with a bunch of baby fat. You want a guy who shows up maybe 260, athletic, maybe played basketball in high school, then you get them in the weight room and build them up from there. Their work ethic was tremendous, they had the smarts, they had the talent. You don't know what the potential could be, but it could really be something.

GREELEY: When that class came in, they were loaded for bear. The expectation was, "We're going to be good. How good? We want to be national champions."

JEFF HARTINGS: I think with a Joe Paterno team, all of us went there for one reason. That was to win national titles.

KI-JANA CARTER: We were all close with each other, we had no egos, and we knew we had the No. 1 class coming in. We basically sat down and said, "We know what we've got here. Before we leave, we want to go undefeated and win a national championship."

ARCHIE: When we first came in, we had a little meeting, and I believe it was Kerry who stood up and said, "There is no reason, by the time we get out of here, we shouldn't be a national championship-caliber team."

TOM BRADLEY: If you look at Penn State's greatest teams, the seeds of those teams were probably built when those guys were freshmen. The '82 team, it was the '79 team going to the national championship game.

GREELEY: There were a lot of guys in both of those classes who could've gone to other schools and made contributions earlier, but we all saw the opportunity and bought into our goals at Penn State. I know I took it personally that every class up until that point, Joe used to say, "You're either going to have an undefeated team or play for a national championship." I was like, "I don't want to be the class that breaks that streak."


A common feature on Joe Paterno's championship-caliber teams was the presence of at least one transcendent running back. The '91 class featured a half-dozen potential backfield stars: tailbacks Mike Archie, Ki-Jana Carter, J.T. Morris (who eventually transferred), and Stephen Pitts, along with Brian Milne and linebacker-turned-fullback Jon Wittman.

CARTER: I think Mike committed first, then Stephen, then myself.

ARCHIE: If memory serves, I was the last to come in.

STEPHEN PITTS: If I wasn't the first of the three of us, I was at least the second. Ki-Jana kind of came on at the end, when some things fell apart with his recruiting at Ohio State.

CARTER: Me and Archie were on the same visit.

ARCHIE: I knew about Ki-Jana, and I knew about Stephen, and I knew about J.T. Morris. I was wondering if all these guys were gonna come in. But it was fun to meet them on the visits. You get to talking--Ki-Jana's like, "You thinking about coming here?" I'm like, "I don't know, are you thinking about coming here?"

CARTER: Wherever you go, there's gonna be competition. From my standpoint, if I can play, I'm gonna play anywhere. That's how I felt. I went where I was comfortable.

PITTS: My process was kind of slow. I wasn't one of those guys that dreamed of playing in the NFL. I loved the game--that was it. I was going to college regardless. The way I made the final pick was, if there was no football, where would I want to go to school?

ARCHIE: When I heard all three of them were coming here, I made up my mind. "I said, I probably could go anywhere and play right away, but if I'm going to be the best I can be, I'm going to go with that group right there." I wanted to come in and compete with those guys. I knew I was only going to get better.

BRIAN MILNE: I came in as a tailback, but on our very first lap around Holuba Hall, I looked at Mike Archie, Ki-Jana Carter, and Stephen Michael Pitts and said, "You know what? I think I'm gonna change to fullback. I might be fast, but I'm not that fast." You just look at these guys, see them run, it was like, "Oooh, boy." I knew right away the talent that was in the room.

Click here for the continuation of Part 1 of the oral history of the 1994 team

The Football Letter Blog - 1994 Team Oral History (Parts 1-5)

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Akron Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions meet Akron on Saturday at noon inside Beaver Stadium (ABC/ESPN2).

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2014 Opponent Previews - Akron

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Akron | Beaver Stadium | Noon | ABC/ESPN2

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions welcome MAC foe Akron to Beaver Stadium for the first home game of the 2014 season on Saturday. Get to know the Zips in this week's scouting report.

Terry Bowden, who is in his third year leading the Zips, has a record of 7-18 in Akron. Akron went 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference last year.   The Zips return 39 letterwinners and 15 starters from a year ago.

akron-logo_blog.jpgAkron began its 2014 campaign with a 41-0 victory over Howard.  The Zips gained 513 yards of total offense and held the Bison to just 216.  Quarterback Kyle Pohl earned MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 22-of-35 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns.  He also led the team with 48 yards rushing on seven carries.  Running back Jawon Chisholm added 21 yards and a score on nine carries.  Sophomore Mykel Traylor-Bennett caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.  Imani Davis, L.T. Smith III and Austin Wolf each had a receiving touchdown.

Senior linebacker C.J. Mizell recorded a team-high 10 tackles, eight solo, and recovered a fumble.  Defensive end Nmesome Okafor made seven stops, 1.5 for loss and was one of four Zips to record a sack.  Linebacker Justin March forced a fumble.

Akron looks to improve on offense after ranking 108th in scoring last year, averaging just 20.2 points per game.  They also ranked 106th in total yards, averaging 342 per contest.

Pohl, a junior, was named preseason Third Team All-MAC by Phil Steele after completing 56 percent of his passes in 2013 for 2,438 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  Chisholm, a Harrisburg native, rushed for 869 yards and eight touchdowns last year, while averaging 4.6 yards per rush.  Chisholm also contributed 211 yards and a touchdown on 27 receptions.  Junior Conor Hundley also returns to the backfield after gaining 425 yards a year ago.

Junior Zach D'Orazio leads the receiving corps after catching a team-high 42 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.  Fransohn Bickley, a speedy 5-foot-6 receiver, caught 39 receptions for 407 yards and two touchdowns.  Smith, 6-foot, and Traylor-Bennett, 6-foot-3, will also be top targets for Pohl.

The Zip offensive line includes two seniors and three juniors.

Akron ranked 73rd in scoring defense in the FBS and 59th in total defense in 2013. 

Defensive end Nordly Capi and nose guard Cody Grice were named Second Team All-MAC in the preseason by Phil Steele, while tackle Se'Von Pittman was selected for the Third Team.  Capi recorded 31 tackles, 4.5 for loss and two sacks in 2013, while Grice had 32 stops, 7.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.  Pittman, a sophomore, transferred from Ohio State.

Akron fields a stout linebacking corps, with four returning that all placed among their top six tacklers last year.  Jatavis Brown, a junior, led the team with 107 stops, 57 solo and 6.5 for loss.  He also had two sacks and two forced fumbles.  March, a senior, added 80 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and three interceptions.  Mizell made 7.5 stops for loss in 2013, while Dylan Evans had six.

The Zips start a pair of seniors and a pair of juniors in the secondary, with corner Bryce Cheek and safety Johnny Robinson having starting experience.  Robinson picked off two passes and broke up two in 2013.

Kicker Robert Stein, a junior, converted on 9-of-16 attempts with a long of 51 yards last year, while junior punter Zach Paul averaged 43 yards per punt last year. Freshman Tom O'Leary is listed atop the depth chart at kicker for the Zips.

Penn State is 4-0 on the field all-time against Akron.  The schools last met in 2009, when the Nittany Lions earned a 31-7 on-field win.

What Terry Bowden is saying about Penn State:

"We're excited to be going to Penn State and be playing such a great football program. (James Franklin) is one of the outstanding coaches in America and his staff. They're a great program and it's a great opportunity for us and our players to go into a great venue."

"(Hackenberg) has a rifle arm. He's got explosive abilities and can make big plays. If you give him enough time to throw the football, he's going to rip you apart. We'll have to really have a great plan to slow him down a little."

 2014 Opponent Previews compiled by Student Writer Paul Marboe.

Future Football Schedules Set

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With Wednesday's announcement that Army will complete the 2015 football schedule, the next three seasons of games are now set. Take a closer look at the future Penn State Football schedules.


Date                 Opponent

Sept. 5             at Temple

Sept. 12           BUFFALO

Sept. 19           RUTGERS *

Sept. 26           SAN DIEGO STATE

Oct. 3              ARMY

Oct. 10            INDIANA *

Oct. 17            at Ohio State *

Oct. 24            at Maryland * (M&T Bank Stadium; Baltimore)

Oct. 31            ILLINOIS *

Nov. 7              at Northwestern *

Nov. 21            MICHIGAN *

Nov. 28            at Michigan State *

Dec. 5              Big Ten Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis)



Date                 Opponent

Sept. 3             KENT STATE

Sept. 10           at Pittsburgh

Sept. 17           TEMPLE

Oct. 1              MINNESOTA

Oct. 8              MARYLAND

Oct. 15            at Michigan

Oct. 22            OHIO STATE

Oct. 29            at Purdue

Nov. 5              IOWA

Nov. 12            at Indiana

Nov. 19            at Rutgers

Nov. 26            MICHIGAN STATE

Dec. 3              Big Ten Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis)



Date                 Opponent

Sept. 2             AKRON

Sept. 9             PITTSBURGH

Sept. 16           GEORGIA STATE

Sept. 30           INDIANA

Oct. 7              at Northwestern

Oct. 14            at Iowa

Oct. 21            MICHIGAN

Oct. 28            at Ohio State

Nov. 4              at Michigan State

Nov. 11            RUTGERS

Nov. 18            NEBRASKA

Nov. 25            at Maryland

Dec. 2              Big Ten Championship Game (Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis) 

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony