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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

VIDEO: Akron Week Player Q&As - Sam Ficken & Jesse James

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with senior kicker Sam Ficken and junior Jesse James leading up to the Akron game.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Week Two Press Conference Roundup - Akron Week

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blog_presser_Akron.jpgJames Franklin Transcript - Sept. 2

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for the 2014 home-opener against Akron (Noon on ABC).

Head coach James Franklin previewed the week two matchup against the Zips on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room. Saturday will mark Franklin's first time leading the Nittany Lions onto the field in front of the Beaver Stadium faithful for a game.

"I think the first time you walk through the tunnel and you look out there and you feel the energy, probably arriving at the stadium and walking through the crowd with our new entrance that we are coming into the stadium and things like that," Franklin said. "I think those things, obviously, will have an effect. But after that, you don't really kind of think about it."

Franklin said the Nittany Lions are seeking to clean a few things up after watching the film of the UCF game, namely the turnover margin and number of penalties. He also spent some time on Tuesday discussing the running game and the areas of emphasis for the offensive line. While the group made good progress leading up to the UCF game, Franklin wants to see the group play with great consistency.

"I think for us, it's finishing. It's finishing blocks. It's making sure our communication, that we are all on the same page," said Franklin. "But more than anything, it's sustaining it; it's finishing. When you think you've blocked long enough, block longer to the echo of the whistle, those types of things. So we are going to work hard on them this week and we are going to continue to invest in the running game, and hopefully that will pay dividends on Saturday."

Another area Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions take a jump in this week is inside the red zone. Penn State went 5-for-5 on scoring chances inside the 20 against UCF, but only one of those scores was a touchdown. Fanklin wants to see the offense put seven points on the board when the Lions are in the red area.

Collectively, teams often make their biggest jump of the year from week one to week two. In his experience at previous stops during his career, Franklin said that normally that is the case. He is looking for the Lions to take a step forward this week.

"That's our goal; to make sure that we are improving collectively and we are improving individually and if you do that, then you'll like the results," said Franklin.

Saturday's game will mark the fifth time Akron will play at Penn State. The Lions are 4-0 against the Zips. The squads last met in 2009, which resulted in a 31-7 on-field victory for the Nittany Lions.

Terry Bowden is in his third season as head coach of Akron. Bowden is 7-18 at Akron, but the Zips have won five of their last six games.

Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Akron offense:

"They have got nine returning starters, and the guys that jump out to us are their running back, Jawon Chisholm, who is a Harrisburg High School kid; Zach Guiser is a wide receiver; and then their quarterback, Kyle Pohl, who threw for over 62 percent, four touchdowns and zero interceptions."

- Franklin on the UCF deffense:

"Chuck Amato, their defensive coordinator, he was the defensive coach at NC State and expecting big things from them. Six returning starters which we talked about. The guy that jumps out to us is their defensive end, No. 11, Nordly Capi, their speed guy off the edge."

- Franklin on the Akron special teams:

"On special teams, Jeff Bowden, obviously a very, very experienced coach is their special teams coordinator and No. 3, their kickoff return guy is a weapon for them."

- Comment on the play of defensive ends C.J. Olaniyan and Deion Barnes:

"Both guys both played well. You look at the pressures and the sacks and how many hits we were able to get on the quarterback from our d‑line, and our linebacker and the way we were able to stop the run, I think that's probably the thing because probably most impressed with those guys is how physical they were in the running game. Obviously you would always love to get more sacks and create more pressures. I thought they both did extremely well and we want to build on that and go from there."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Monday Notebook: B1G Honors to Kick Off Akron Week

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10268294.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the heels of a dramatic 26-24 victory over UCF to open the season in Ireland, the Nittany Lions are focused solely on one thing: Saturday's home-opener against Akron (Noon on ABC).

While the win over UCF is a big confidence boost heading into the remainder of the season, the only game on the schedule for the team is the one this week.

"The win means a lot to the team because it's something where we all had to come together, and we accomplished something as a group. It's a game to build on," said redshirt freshman offensive tackle Andrew Nelson.

"It means we got off to a good start, but we now focused on Akron," junior defensive end Deion Barnes said.

After practicing on Sunday, Monday is an off day for the players. The team will get back to work on Tuesday, which is also media day for Akron week.

Ficken, Hamilton Headline Big Ten Awards
The Nittany Lions received good news on Monday with the Big Ten's announcement that Sam Ficken (Special Teams) and DaeSean Hamilton (Co-Freshman) were named players of the week for their efforts against UCF on Saturday.

Ficken converted a career-high four field goals (4-for-4), including a 36-yard game-winner to lift the Nittany Lions past UCF. Monday's honor marked the third time Ficken has been selected Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.

Hamilton made an immediate impact in his first outing as a Nittany Lion. The redshirt freshman re-wrote the record book for Nittany Lion rookies with his 11 catches for 165 yards against UCF. Hamilton took a workmanlike approach to the offseason while building a rapport with Christian Hackenberg. The duo got off to a spectacular start across the pond.

"I was just hoping to go out there and make the plays that were coming to me," Hamilton said. "And then after the first catch, I just started to get into a groove.

Hackenberg Stands Alone in 400 Club
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg is the only player in Penn State Football's illustrious 128-year history to reach 400 passing yards in a game. Hackenberg finished 32-of-47 for 454 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Nittany Lion sophomore connected with seven different receivers in the victory, including three players who had seven or more catches. Zack Mills previously owned the game passing record mark with 399 yards against Iowa in 2002.

Final Numbers

Take a look through some standout numbers from the season-opener against UCF.

3,332 - The Nittany Lions tangled with UCF 3,332 miles away from Beaver Stadium, marking the furthest distance Penn State has ever played a game on the road.

454 - Christian Hackenberg set a school record with 454 passing yards in the victory over UCF.

338 - Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton combined for 338 receiving yards on Saturday. Each player topped 150 receiving yards, which marked the first time in program history that two players tallied 150 receiving yards or more.

94 - Penn State now has 94 victories in season-openers. The Lions are 94-20-2 all-time in the first game of the season.

18 - Placekicker Sam Ficken noted after the game that he had to play the wind on the final field goal inside Croke Park. The wind speed during the game in Dublin on Saturday was 18 mph.

11 - There were 11 players who saw the field for the first time as a Penn State player on Saturday. The list included six redshirt freshmen and five true freshmen.

7 - Junior tight end Jesse James tallied a career-high seven receptions against UCF.

6.8 - The Penn State offense averaged 6.8 yards per play in the season-opener.

5 - Five days remain until the Nittany Lions meet Akron in Beaver Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference In Ireland - vs. UCF

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VIDEO: Player Interviews

DUBLIN, Ireland - Head into the media room following a thrilling 26-24 victory over UCF in the Croke Park Classic to hear from head coach James Franklin, quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive tackle Anthony Zettel.

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews from Ireland

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VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference

DUBLIN, Ireland - Hear from several Nittany Lions following Penn State's thrilling 26-24 victory over UCF in the Croke Park Classic.

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Lions' Will to Win Shines on Final Drive in Ireland

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irelandblog_story_drive.jpgVIDEO: Postgame Press Conference | VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews

DUBLIN, Ireland - It was almost as if a sense of calm came over the Penn State sideline on the pitch in Croke Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon when UCF capped off a 75-yard drive with a go-ahead touchdown as the clock read 1:13 to play.

Down 24-23, Christian Hackenberg trotted onto the field with three timeouts in his pocket knowing he need to get the ball into field goal range or the game was over. While he is just a sophomore, Hackenberg has the poise of a senior and was no stranger to the stakes.

"We were excited. This team has been there before," Hackenberg said. "Even though we are young, we knew what we could do. Geno (Lewis) made a big play. Bill (Belton) made a fantastic play to get out of bounds. It's just one of those things where guys stepped up."

From top to bottom, the offensive unit never doubted how the game was going to end. That says a lot about the leadership in the huddle on an offense that had five players starting in their first game on Saturday.

"We all believed in each other," redshirt freshman Andrew Nelson said. "We all knew that the person next to you had your back. We had repped it in practice, and we were confident in what we were going to do."

"Whenever he is out there, everyone has the most confidence in him," senior Mike Hull said. "When he is in a two-minute situation at the end of a game, we know he is going to get the job done."

The final drive began at the Penn State 26-yard line. Hackenberg connected with Geno Lewis for a seven-yard gain. Following a third-down incompletion, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year made a quick decision to scramble for a do-or-die first down on fourth-and-three.

"I knew it was fourth down and if I was going to go, I had to go," Hackenberg said. "I just tried to get as much as I could."

One play later, Hackenberg shoveled a pass to Bill Belton, who raced 13 yards to the UCF 46. Lewis and Hackenberg connected for completions of nine and 18 yards, respectively, on the next two plays.

"It's just like it was last year, we practice it so much, and the coaches do such a great job of putting us in situations (on the practice field)," Hackenberg said. "I think today, guys went out and they wanted it. Guys made plays."

The final reception to Lewis led to a Nittany Lion timeout with three seconds on the clock.

Ficken trotted onto the field with the kicking unit, and the rest will live in Penn State and Croke Park lore.

"It wasn't a really difficult kick. The wind was blowing right to left," Ficken said. "I asked them to get the ball to the right side of the field so that I could play the wind a little better. The snap was good. The hold was good. Honestly, I didn't hit it great, but it went through and that's all that matters."

As the 36-yard kick sailed inside the right upright to give Penn State a 26-24 victory, the Lions stormed the field to chase after Ficken, who made a victory lap in front of the more than 15,000 Penn State fans who flew across the pond to see the game. The field goal made it a storybook ending for head coach James Franklin's first win as Penn State head coach.

"That guy has had as consistent of a spring and summer as anyone on our team," Franklin said. "I'm just happy for him...He's a perfect example of people in life and in this program that if you stay positive, persevere and keep working, good things will happen."

After landing in Pittsburgh on Saturday night around 11 p.m. ET and a bus ride to State College, the team will get some rest before getting right back to work on Sunday in preparation for Saturday's home opener against Akron.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. UCF

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DUBLIN, Ireland - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' season-opener across the pond in Dublin.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. UCF

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DUBLIN, Ireland - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. We kick things off today with coverage from the season-opener inside Croke Park against UCF in Ireland.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. UCF

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Nittany Lions Greeted By Huge Crowd in Dublin on Friday

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irelandblog_18.jpgLIVE GAME BLOG

Gameday Preview | Photo Gallery |  Ireland Day I Coverage | Ireland Day II Coverage

DUBLIN, Ireland - Approximately 10,000 boisterous Penn State fans filled every inch of the cobblestones on Essex Street East in Dublin on Friday afternoon to give the Nittany Lions a warm welcome across the pond.

The crowd began forming around the pep rally stage more than an hour prior to the start of the scheduled event. The Blue and White supporters surrounded the stage from street level to the rooftops. The Nittany Lion, Blue Band, cheerleaders and Lionettes performed before a host of speakers addressed the crowd.

"Penn State nation has descended on Dublin," said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour.

"You guys take road trip to a new level," said Hall of Fame and Nittany Lion great Jack Ham.

Approximately 20 members of the 2014 squad walked onto the small stage to say hello to the fans in attendance. Juniors Ben Kline and Matt Zanellato spoke to electric crowd.

"We came here to get an unbelievable education and play in front of the best fans in the world. This is what we are talking about," said junior Matt Zanellato.

The Nittany Lions held a walkthrough at UCD on Friday morning before having lunch inside Trinity College. From there, the team filled three double-decker buses for a narrated tour through the city. On seemingly every city corner during the bus tour, the players exchanged "We Are" chants with Penn State fans. Nittany Nation traveled in great numbers to Dublin for the Croke Park Classic.

The support across the pond on Friday was tremendous as the season-opener approaches.

Take a look at some snapshots from Friday's festivities in Dublin.


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony