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Monday Notebook: Belton's TD Run Makes History

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10518556.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior Bill Belton etched his place in Penn State history on Saturday when he raced 92 yards for a touchdown in the 13-7 victory at Indiana.

Belton's play was the longest rushing score by a Penn State player in school history. The touchdown equaled the longest offensive touchdown in program history.

Belton finished the day with a season-high 137 yards on 16 carries in Bloomington. The New Jersey native now has four 100-yard rushing games in school history.

"The line did a great job up front giving me a seam to get through," Belton said. "I was able to get through basically untouched...Don't get caught from behind was the only thing that was going through my mind. I was able to get to the end zone, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to score."

Belton's score was the fourth Penn State offensive play of 90 yards or more. The three longest offensive plays in school history are all 92 yards (two runs and one pass). Here is a look at the 10 longest plays in Penn State's offensive history (8 runs and 2 passes).

92 - Bill Belton (TD) at Indiana, 2014
92 - Blair Thomas (No TD) vs. Syracuse, 1986
92 - Bob Higgins pass from Bill Hess (TD) at Pittsburgh, 1919
90 - Bill Suter (TD) at Navy, 1894
87 - Bob Campbell (TD) vs. Syracuse, 1968
86 - Bob Riggle (TD) at West Virginia, 1964
86 - Jim Scott pass from Steve Joachim (TD) at Navy, 1971
84 - Chafie Fields (TD) vs. Texas, 1997 Fiesta Bowl
84 - Larry Johnson (TD) vs. Illinois, 2002
83 - Ki-Jana Carter (TD) vs. Oregon, 1995 Rose Bowl


Penn State hosts Temple in the final non-conference game of the season on Saturday at noon (ESPN2).


Lions Among Nation's Elite on Defense
After another stifling effort on the road at Indiana, Penn State's defense is one of just four units in America that ranks in the top 10 nationally in total, scoring and rushing defense (Alabama, Louisville and Wisconsin). Through nine games, the Nittany Lions have allowed 85.6 rushing yards per game, which leads the nation. Additionally, the Lions remain third nationally in total defense. Penn State opponents have accounted for 267.6 yards of total offense against the Lions this season. The Lions are ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (16.6 ppg).

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 second in the Big Ten in passing yards (2,038) and passing yards per game (245.1 ypg). The sophomore is leading the conference in completions per game (21.67).

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 11th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (7.1). He ranks 25th in the nation and third in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 84.6.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in tackles (11.0 per game). He is second in the Big Ten and 15th nationally in solo tackles per game at 6.2.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is third in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.11.

Early Look at the Owls
On the heels of a narrow loss to Memphis (16-13), Temple heads to Beaver Stadium this week with a 5-4 overall record. The Owls beat then-21st-ranked East Carolina (20-10) two weeks ago.

Among the nation's leaders in scoring defense (10th - 18.1 ppg), the Owls are led by a unit that has forced 25 turnovers in 2014 (7th in the nation). Temple has six defensive touchdowns in nine games, which ranks second in the nation. Additionally, the Owls have blocked four kicks this season.

Linebacker Tyler Matakevich leads the Owl defense with 83 tackles this season. He also has 5.5 TFL and has recovered two fumbles.

Temple is under the direction of second-year head coach and Penn State letterman Matt Rhule. Rhule, a State College native, was a member of the Nittany Lion program from 1994-'97.

Penn State and Temple will meet for 43rd time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 38-3-1 all-time against the Owls.

Extended Game Highlights from the Indiana Game



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Nittany Lion Defense Relentless on Third Down

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10516091.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's mantra is simple.

He wants the Nittany Lions to play with relentless pursuit and never-ending pressure.

Those two things could not be more evident than when Penn State opponents face a third down.

The Nittany Lions do not sit back and hope to prevent opposing offenses from moving the first down sticks. They attack, and they do it from all angles in a swarming fashion.

Penn State's stifling defense limited Indiana to 3-for-17 on third down during Saturday's 13-7 win in Bloomington. With Saturday's effort, the Nittany Lions are now ranked eighth in the nation in third down defense. Opponents are a combined 42-of-138 on third down (30 percent) in 2014.

In the six Big Ten games this season, the Lions have limited their opponents to 29-of-95 on third down (30.5 percent). That mark includes a combined 4-of-31 during the past two games (12.9 percent).

A number of factors contribute into Penn State's success on third down this season, but keeping opponents to third-and-long situations plays a big role in the team's ability to bring pressure from a variety of places, thus forcing offenses in to uncomfortable situations.

In Saturday's case, the Nittany Lions set out to limit Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, who came into the game as the nation's leading rusher at 162 yards per game. Coleman gained 71 yards on 20 carries (3.5 avg.), which broke a streak of 10-consecutive games of 100 yards or more.

"We just wanted to stay gap accountable to make sure everyone fit in the right spot on every single play," senior linebacker Mike Hull said. "They are the type of team that goes two yards, three yards and then (Coleman goes) 80 yards, so we knew that we just had to stay focused all game."

By limiting the Indiana ground attack, the Lions made the Hoosiers one-dimensional on third down. But it all started with the defense's ability to stay disciplined against a dynamic running back.

"He's a great back. He's a big kid with great speed, but it came down to everyone doing their job," junior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel said. "For us to hold him to 70 yards was great for us, and we are happy with the outcome."

Simply put, the Nittany Lions have been dominant on the defensive side of the ball, and the unit's confidence level seemingly grows every week.

"It's a lot of fun (playing on this defense)," senior safety Adrian Amos said. "It's always fun when you are good (laughter). We are playing well, and Coach Shoop makes the perfect play calls. And we are clicking this year."

Penn State's third down success is one of six statistical categories that the Lions rank in the top 10 nationally in. The list includes No. 1 in the nation against the run (85.6 ypg), No. 3 in the nation in total defense (267.6 ypg) and No. 6 in the nation in scoring defense (16.6 ppg).

Indiana's offense had the ball 15 times on Saturday. Penn State forced the Hoosiers to punt 11 times, tallied two interceptions, stopped IU on downs and held IU to a missed field goal (51 yards).

"The defensive line played great, and it starts up front with those guys and Mike Hull's unit making so many tackles," Amos said. "We've been playing really well, and it starts up front."

With nine games in the record books for 2014, the Nittany Lions focus towards the 10th game on the schedule. Penn State and Temple will collide in Beaver Stadium on Saturday at noon (BTN). While the opponent changes, the same relentless mindset remains the same on defense.



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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Nittany Lions moved to 5-4 on the season with a 13-7 victory on Saturday at Indiana. Bill Belton's 92-yard touchdown run and a stifling effort from the Penn State defense fueled the Lions past the Hoosiers in Memorial Stadium. Hear from several Nittany Lions following the victory here.




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VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head into the media room to hear from head coach James Franklin following Penn State's 13-7 victory at Indiana on Saturday.




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2014 Photo Blog - Penn State at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Penn State's matchup at Indiana.


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2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - 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. For the second-straight season, the Nittany Lions travel to Indiana.



Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Indiana
 



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2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Travel to Bloomington

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Game Blog - Penn State at Indiana

Game Notes | Gameday Central | Indiana Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Gattis Q&A | Player Q&A Video

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second consecutive season, Penn State (4-4, 1-4) will travel to Bloomington for a matchup against Indiana (3-5, 0-4) inside Memorial Stadium. Kick is slated for noon on Saturday with television coverage on BTN.

10505448.jpegThe Nittany Lions and Hoosiers have met 17 times since Penn State first began Big Ten play in 1993, with the Lions taking 16 of the 17 on-field contests. The two teams have met in each season since 2007, with Indiana scoring its first victory in the series last year.

Penn State returns to action following a narrow 20-19 setback to Maryland last week. Senior kicker Sam Ficken nailed all four of his field goal attempts against the Terrapins, including three kicks from 45 or more yards. Ficken is the only Penn State player to make three field goals from at 45 or more yards since at least 1982. He is ranked 10th in the nation in accuracy (85.9 percent), having connected on 17 of his 19 attempts in 2014. That mark includes going 5-for-5 in the fourth quarter this season.

Penn State's defense again turned in a stellar performance against Maryland last week. The Lions are ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run (77.1 ypg).  Additionally, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense (273.4 ypg). Penn State is No. 9 in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game. Senior linebacker Mike Hull is ranked seventh in the nation with 11.5 tackles per game.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 254.8 passing yards per game. Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in completions per game at 22.88. He is just seven yards shy of becoming the eighth Penn State quarterback with 5,000 career passing yards.

Indiana dropped to 3-5 overall last week with a 34-10 setback at Michigan. The Hoosiers are led by one of the nation's most dynamic rushers in junior Tevin Coleman. Coleman is leading the nation in rushing yards per game at 162.5 yards per contest. Indiana is averaging 274.5 rushing yards per game.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week nine matchup against Indiana.

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Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10505410.jpeg1. Junior defensive end Deion Barnes is putting together a superb season for the Nittany Lion defense in 2014. The Philadelphia native is third on the team in tackles with 34 stops. Barnes is leading the squad in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (6.0). Above all, it is Barnes' work ethic that is separating him from most guys in the conference. Head coach James Franklin used clips of Barnes' relentless pursuit during a team meeting this week to illustrate the way he wants to see each player on the team compete. His numbers speak for themselves, but Barnes has been a tremendously disruptive player on a unit that is ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense.

2. With the season-ending injury to Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch has embraced the opportunity to work alongside senior Bill Belton. Lynch has prepared for an increased role since he arrived on campus. Looking to become a complete back, Lynch has said that he is continuously working on all facets of his game. He carried the ball a career-high 21 times last week during his first career start against Maryland. With each passing week, keep an eye on Lynch as he continues to get more confident in an increased role on the Penn State offense.

3. Thanks to a red-hot start to the 2014 season, senior placekicker Sam Ficken is joining elite company in the Penn State record book. Ficken is third in the nation in field goals made per game at 2.13 per contest. With 17 made kicks (17-for-19) this season, Ficken now has 47 career makes. He is third on the all-time field goals made list, with Craig Fayak sitting second at 50 made kicks. On the scoring chart, Ficken has accounted for 239 points, which is sixth on the all-time Penn State list. Ficken has made nine-straight kicks in 2014.

What to Watch For - Indiana
10505381.jpeg1. Tevin Coleman's list of accolades in 2014 is impressive. In addition to leading the nation in rushing yards per game (162.5), Coleman is first nationally in yards per carry (8.02) and first in yards from scrimmage per game (180.0). The junior has reached 100 yards in 10-straight games, the longest streak in the nation. A semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, Coleman has game-changing speed with the ball in his hands. He has accounted for 15 plays of 20 or more yards, including six touchdowns. An explosive player, Coleman leads the nation in career touchdown runs of 30 yards or more (6) and 40 yards or more (5).

2. The trio of sophomore safety Antonio Allen, sophomore linebacker T.J. Simmons and senior cornerback Tim Bennett top the Indiana defense in tackles. Allen has made 46 stops from the free safety position. Simmons has 45 hits and 2.5 TFL from the middle linebacker position. Bennett has made 44 tackles, and he also ranks fourth in the Big Ten with nine pass breakups. The Hoosier defense has allowed 446.0 yards per game in 2014.

3. Senior wide receiver Shane Wynn is the lone Hoosier in school history and one of only eight active players with receiving, rushing, punt return and kick return touchdowns in his career. Wynn is leading Indiana with 29 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns this season. The speedy senior is the team's top return threat. He is averaging 22.2 yards per touch on kick returns this season.

The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions are set to play Indiana for the 18th time on Saturday afternoon. The Penn State-Indiana series is one that dates back to the first year the Nittany Lions were members of the Big Ten in 1993. Since 1993, the Lions have played Ohio State in every season. Outside of the Buckeyes, Indiana will tie Michigan State as the next opponent on the list that Penn State has played the most during its time in the conference.  Saturday' will mark Penn State's seventh trip to Memorial Stadium. The Nittany Lions also collided in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in 2000 and FedEx Field in 2010. Penn State has hosted Indiana eight times. Now members of the Big Ten East Division, the two schools will play annually. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 on Saturday with Eric Collins, Chuck Long and Lisa Byington on the BTN broadcast.


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Indiana Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Josh Gattis

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10504945.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State offensive recruiting coordinator, assistant special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions travel to Indiana on Saturday at noon (BTN). Take a look at a Q&A with Gattis.

Q: You started the season with a really young group of receivers. Can you talk about how they have developed this season?
Gattis:
"I think they have done a really good job kind of developing themselves and understanding how we want them to play. They have stepped up and made some critical plays at times, but I think as the games continue to grow on, I think we will continue to grow. I don't think we are quite where we need to be. We are heading in the right direction. I'm really proud of the guys developing their confidence and stepping up and making plays. We are a very, very young group. I'm really excited about the future and the direction we are headed in to. I really feel like we are going to get better as opportunities continue to present themselves."

Q: What's the mindset of the group through eight games this season and how the unit is progressing?
Gattis:
"I don't think there is any frustration. I think the kids are developing the right way. If you start off hot (like we did), people are going to try and gameplan against you and show different things to keep the plays in front of them. I think we still have one of the best passing offenses in the Big Ten. We've got DaeSean Hamilton who is in the top three in the Big Ten in receiving. He leads all freshmen in the country in catches and receiving yards. I don't think there is any frustration. The guys are continuing to develop. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in other ways. Teams have done some things differently. But I think we have continued to take steps forward each week. Each game is different depending on what teams are doing. But we need to continue to develop as an offense. We are such a young unit that each week is something new, and we have to continue to gain confidence to move forward."

Q: Are you pleased with how the group has continued to maintain its confidence level during the past few weeks?
Gattis:
"One thing about these kids is that they want to win as bad as anybody else wants to win. I think a lot of people need to understand that. They want to win as bad as these coaches want to win and as bad as the fans want to win. It has weighed heavily on our kids these past couple weeks. But they continue to show up each day and work hard and continue to improve. We continue to focus on being the best that we can be and continue to work on the areas that need to be worked on. But our kids have handled it with the utmost respect."

Q: What is the next step for the young freshmen Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin as they progress into bigger roles?
Gattis:
"I think those guys are really progressing. I'm really happy about Saeed and Chris. Those guys are playing really good ball. They are making some plays out there. It's hard sometimes when you have a bunch of guys rotating in. Some of the opportunities they aren't in for, they can't make. But as far as their attempts, their completions and their targets, I've really been pleased with how they are playing as they continue to develop. This is a young group. DaeSean still has room to develop, but he has been playing really good football. Geno (Lewis) is a young player who is playing good football, but he still has a lot more room to grow. I think as a group, we have to continue to find ways to get those guys more active as far as Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin. We need to continue to get those guys more and more reps."

Q: Blocking is such an important part of a receiver's job. Can you talk about the way your unit has blocked this season?
Gattis:
"I think blocking is just an unselfish thing. There is really no way to coach it. You have to have it deep down on the inside. I've been pleased so far with our blocking. We've changed some things up as far as blocking on the perimeter. Our receivers have been very, very active as far as blocking on the perimeter in our screen game. We are going to get them more active in our run game. I think it's an unselfish mentality that you've got to develop as an offense. Our guys truly know, we say it all the time, 'no block, no rock,' so in order for us to get the ball we have to be unselfish and block for others. And that's how we create explosive plays, not only in the pass game but the run game."

Q: What type of challenges do you think the Indiana secondary will pose on Saturday?
Gattis:
"Whenever you play a team that is, kind of like last week, that is a three-man rush team on a 3-4, some of the challenges would be that they drop eight men into coverage. They have an extra defender, whether that's in deep coverage or underneath. So, I think that is always a challenge when you are going against a 3-4 team is that they are going to drop eight. They have a little bit of history with us. Their defensive coordinator is a good friend of mine that I've known over time that was the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest. They are going to be ready. They are a well-coached team. They have good players in their secondary with a lot of starts. They are going to try and challenge us. And we are going to be prepared."



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VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Indiana 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 travel to Indiana on Saturday at noon (BTN).

2014 Opponent Previews - Indiana

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10502219.jpegIndiana | Memorial Stadium | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State travels to Bloomington on Saturday to take on the Hoosiers. Get to know Indiana in this week's scouting report.

The Hoosiers are led by fourth-year head coach Kevin Wilson, who is 13-30 in his career at IU. Indiana went 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten in 2013.  They returned 59 lettermen and 18 starters from a year ago.

Indiana fell to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten last Saturday, losing 34-10 at Michigan. The Hoosiers gained 191 yards on offense, rushing for 167 yards.  Freshman quarterback Zander Diamont completed five of his eight passes for 24 yards.  He also rushed for 49 yards on seven attempts.  Running back Tevin Coleman continued a strong season, gaining 108 yards on 27 carries.  D'Angelo Roberts rushed for 19 yards, including a three-yard touchdown. Shane Wynn caught two passes for 12 yards.

The Hoosiers allowed 404 yards against Michigan, including 184 rushing.  Safety Antonio Allen led the defense with 10 tackles, six solo, and also added 0.5 TFL and a pass breakup. Fellow safety Mark Murphy recorded seven stops, while linebacker David Cooper had six tackles, including one for loss. Chase Dutra intercepted a pass, returning it 39 yards.

Indiana ranks eighth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 27.6 points per game. They also average 426.6 total yards, ranking fifth.  The Hoosiers average 274.5 yards rushing and 152.1 yards passing, ranking third and 12th in the conference, respectively.

Diamont will make his third start of the season at quarterback after junior Nate Sudfeld suffered a shoulder injury.  Diamont has completed 10 of his 23 pass attempts for 35 yards. He has yet to throw a touchdown or an interception, but he has rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown.

A good blend of size and speed, Coleman is third in FBS in total rushing yards with 1,300 yards and first in rushing yards per game (162.5). He averages 8.0 yards per carry and has 11 touchdowns.  The 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior has rushed for 100 yards in 10 straight games, dating back to last year.  Coleman also has 17 catches for 140 yards.  Roberts has contributed 435 yards and six touchdowns.

The Hoosier receivers are led by 5-foot-7 speedster Shane Wynn. The senior has 436 yards and two scores on 29 receptions, averaging 15 yards per catch.  Wynn also has a 75-yard rushing touchdown.  Nick Stoner has 18 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown. Freshman J-Shun Harris II has 18 receptions for 139 yards and two scores.

The Indiana offensive line has combined for 109 career starts and includes a redshirt senior, two redshirt juniors, a junior and a redshirt sophomore. Guard Dan Feeney and tackle Jason Spriggs were each projected third team All-Big Ten in the preseason by Phil Steele.

Indiana has allowed 34.8 points and 445.4 total yards per game, ranking 13th in the Big Ten in both categories.  They have given up 170.6 yards rushing, ranking 10th, and 274.8 yards passing, ranking 14th.

Nick Mangieri, playing the "Bandit" position on the Hoosiers' defensive line, has 27 tackles, 15 solo, two sacks and an interception.  Defensive end Bobby Richardson has 20 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks, while tackle Nate Hoff has five tackles for loss and two sacks. 

Middle linebacker T.J. Simmons leads his position group with 45 tackles, including 25 solo. He also has 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. Outside linebacker David Cooper has recorded 41 tackles, 21 solo and two for loss. Forisse Hardin, an outside linebacker, has 35 stops, including 3.5 for loss and a sack.

Allen leads the team with 46 tackles, including 26 solo, and 1.5 for loss. Cornerback Tim Bennett, has made 44 stops and broken up nine passes.  Fellow cornerback Michael Hunter has 28 tackles, three for loss, and two pass break-ups.  Murphy has 34 tackles and an interception, while Dutra has two picks.

Kicker Griffin Oakes has connected on five of his seven attempts, with a long of 58 yards.  Punter Erich Toth averages nearly 41 yards per kick, placing 12 inside the 20-yard-line. Wynn handles the kick and punt return duties. He averages 22 yards per kick return, with a long return of 35 yards.

Penn State leads the all-time series 16-1, on the field. Indiana won 44-24 last year in Bloomington.


What Kevin Wilson is saying about Penn State:

"[Christian] Hackenberg is one of the better players in our conference. He throws the ball quite a bit. They do some stuff that starts with the quarterback and getting the ball down the field to some young receivers that are very, very good."

"Strength of their team is a very, very strong defense, I think first in our league and the country in run defense."

"Penn State is very solid up front. Their one inside player, [Anthony] Zettel is tremendously active. He's a great player."


Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer Paul Marboe.