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VIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&As

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


Carl Nassib

Chris Godwin




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Monday Notebook: Lions Focused on Maryland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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





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

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




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2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Ohio State

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

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Ohio State
 

2015 Photo Blog - Penn State at Ohio State

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

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2015 Gameday - Nittany Lions Travel to Ohio State for Primetime Game

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

Coach Franklin Wednesday | Coach Donovan Q&A | Notebook | Lions in NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State will hit the road for the first time in Big Ten play on Saturday with a primetime, nationally-televised matchup against No. 1 Ohio State.

Following five-straight wins at home, the Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-0) will collide with the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0) during an 8 p.m. kick in Ohio Stadium. The game will air live on ABC.

11404467.jpeg"We are really excited about the opportunity," head coach James Franklin. "It will be a tremendous challenge, but we are excited about it. This type of game is why people come to Penn State. It will be a great atmosphere, and we are looking forward to it."

Penn State's defense again turned in a dominant performance last week, limiting Indiana to just one score in a 29-7 victory over the Hoosiers. After yielding just three points to Rutgers and one score to Indiana, the Nittany Lions equaled the fewest number of points (10) in a two-game span in Big Ten play since they joined the conference in 1993.

Senior defensive end Carl Nassib leads the nation in sacks (10.0) and forced fumbles (5) through the first six games of the season. As a unit, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 10 in the nation in total defense by allowing just 275.7 yards per game in 2015.


Offensively, junior Christian Hackenberg accounted for four touchdowns against Indiana, including a pair of 39-yard passing scores and two rushing scores. Following his 17th 200-yard game, Hackenberg is now just one of two Penn State players with 7,000 career yards. Sophomore Chris Godwin leads the Nittany Lion receivers with 27 receptions for 390 yards.

The defending national champion Buckeyes bring a 19-game winning streak into the primetime clash. Ohio State defeated Maryland, 49-28, last week to claim a 2-0 record in Big Ten play. The top rated offense in the conference enters the week averaging 36.8 points and 460.0 yards per contest. In addition to knocking off Maryland, the Buckeyes also defeated Indiana (34-27) in Big Ten play, in addition to Virginia Tech (42-24), Hawaii (38-0), Northern Illinois (20-13) and Western Michigan (38-12) during the non-conference slate.

In a series that dates back to 1912, Penn State and Ohio State will be meeting for the 31st time on Saturday night. The two teams met eight times before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993. Since then, Penn State and Ohio State have met annually. The Lions are 2-2 in their last four games in Columbus, with wins coming in 2008 and 2011. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 17-13.


Penn State will finish off its string of back-to-back road games next week when it travels to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to face Maryland on Oct. 24. The Lions return home to Beaver Stadium on Oct. 31 for a matchup against Illinois.

Welcome to the gameday preview for week seven - Penn State at Ohio State.

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Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Penn State's ability to manage games during the five-game winning streak has been a huge boost. The Nittany Lions are among the nation's leaders in fewest turnovers and rank No. 8 nationally in turnover margin. Penn State played very good complementary football last week against Indiana, with big plays on offense coming after good possessions on defense. The Lions will need another masterful performance in game management against the top-ranked Buckeyes. Keeping mistakes to a minimum, avoiding to allow big plays on special teams and defense and keeping Ohio State from having short fields will all play a factor in deciding the outcome. Additionally, when the Lions have opportunities to make big plays, they need to capitalize.


11404511.jpeg2. A number of factors play into Penn State being ranked in the top 10 in total defense through the first six games, none being more important than dominant play in the trenches from the Nittany Lion defensive line. The Lions will face their biggest challenge to date up front in trying to limit the big-play capabilities from Ohio State quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T Barrett, along with dynamic running back Ezekiel Elliott. Limiting Ohio State's big plays starts with the play of Austin Johnson, Carl Nassib, Garrett Sickels and Anthony Zettel up front. Additionally, the Lions have stressed the importance of sound tackling in the open field.

3. It has been a youth movement on the Nittany Lion offense in 2015, with true freshmen accounting for more than 35 percent of Penn State's 17 offensive touchdowns this season. Additionally, true or redshirt freshmen have scored nine of the 17 total touchdowns. The list of freshmen who have visited the end zone includes Saquon Barkley (4), Brandon Polk (2), Nick Scott (1), DeAndre Thompkins (1) and Mark Allen (1). Hackenberg and Akeel Lynch, both juniors, are the only two non-underclassmen who have scored touchdowns for the Nittany Lions in 2015. In all, 22 freshmen have played for the Nittany Lions on offense, defense and special teams, including five true and 17 redshirt.

What to Watch For - Ohio State
1. Cardale Jones has started each of Ohio State's six games, throwing for 1,158 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound quarterback is 9-0 as the starter for the Buckeyes. Jones has a big arm, but can hurt a defense with his feet, as well. Fellow quarterback J.T. Barrett's role within the offense expanded last week with a red zone package against Maryland. Barrett visited the end zone three times on rushing plays in the victory over the Terps. Both quarterbacks will again play, and each brings a unique skillset to the field. Wide receiver Michael Thomas has caught a pass in 22 consecutive games and leads the team with 27 catches for 399 yards. Two-time Big Ten MVP Braxton Miller will also play a central role in the Ohio State offense at the H-back/receiver position.

2. Arguably, no player in college football has more big-play ability than running back Ezekiel Elliott. The 225-pound back has reached 100 yards in 11 consecutive games. Elliott is second in the Big Ten and No. 8 nationally with 139.2 rushing yards per game. In his 10 rushing touchdowns this season, Elliott has averaged 33.1 yards per touchdown run.

3. Junior defensive end Joey Bosa headlines the Ohio State defense. Bosa is second among active players nationally with 22.5 career sacks in 34 career games. He has 6.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in five games this season. Fellow defensive end Tyquan Lewis leads the Big Ten with 6.0 tackles for loss in conference games this season. The linebacker tandem of Raekwon McMillan and Joshua Perry lead the Buckeyes in tackling with 62 and 52 stops, respectively.


The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes are no strangers to night games against one another. Saturday's collision under the lights in The Horseshoe will be the seventh primetime matchup between the two schools since 2005. The Lions will be playing in their second night game of the season, marking the eighth time since 2000 that Penn State has played at least two night games in the same season. The Lions own a 20-11 record in road night games and a 42-28 mark in games under the lights all-time.

The Nittany Lions are off to a 2-0 start in Big Ten play following last week's win over Indiana. The Lions last started 2-0 in conference play during the 2012 season when they started 3-0. Penn State's five-game winning streak is the first since 2012 and only the fourth since 2000. ABC's live coverage of the Ohio State game begins at 8 p.m. with kickoff slated for 8:12 p.m. Chris Fowler (Play-by-Play), Kirk Herbstreit (Analyst) and Heather Cox (Sideline) will call the game.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

New Sod Installation Underway in Beaver Stadium

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IMG_8473.JPGUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the Nittany Lions return home to face Illinois on Oct. 31, they will take the field on a new playing surface inside Beaver Stadium.

Crews began working on Tuesday morning to remove the sod, which has been in the stadium since October of 2005, before installing a new Kentucky bluegrass surface on Thursday.

Originally planted on a sod farm in 2004, the previous surface was installed during the days leading up to the epic primetime clash between Penn State and Ohio State on Oct. 8, 2005.

With three full weeks between home games, Athletic Fields Supervisor Herb Combs and the Beaver Stadium grounds crew took the opportunity to re-sod the field in order to create the best playing surface moving into the future.

"The age of our playing surface, the intense nature of five straight football games, the weather we endured, and the high standard we hold ourselves to combined to bring about this decision in order to continue providing the most stable playing surface possible," Combs said. "The new sod will be better than the previous playing surface for the next two games and into 2016."

 
After the previous sod was removed on Tuesday, crews spent Wednesday prepping for the new surface by re-establishing the grade and adding sand level off some low spots on the field. Half of the sod will be installed on Thursday and half will be placed in Beaver Stadium on Friday.

Approximately 70,000 square feet of sod will be used to complete the stadium playing surface and the nursery on campus. The nursery is used for general field maintenance across the numerous grass playing surfaces on campus. Combs traveled to Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Hammonton, N.J., to pick out the sod that will be placed in Beaver Stadium. Tuckahoe Turf Farms supplies several NFL organizations with sod, including the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The sod is ordered as thick as the turf farm can cut it at 1-3/4-inch of soil. It will arrive at Beaver Stadium via trucks in pieces that are four feet wide and 30 feet long. A special machine is used to mesh the pieces together as they are added to the surface.

The four-day process is scheduled for completion by Friday evening. The grounds crew will begin maintenance on the new surface on Monday with application of a coat of topdressing. Combs said the crew will then begin mowing and re-painting the playing field.

"It's going to be like one magic carpet in the sense that it is going to knit together, and it's going to be stable," Combs said. "And it will provide the same surface everyone is accustomed to seeing."

The grounds crew spent countless hours working on the playing surface to ensure it was one of the best in the nation throughout a rigorous five-week span of home games. And despite three gamedays with measurable rain, the field remained consistent from start to finish during the first stretch of five-straight home games in Beaver Stadium history.

"The field conditions have been really good," said head coach James Franklin. "Overall, they have been very good. We are fortunate to be in Beaver Stadium and playing on this type of surface. Our grounds crew and turf management program do an unbelievable job."

The installation of new sod will provide consistent conditions for the final two home games of 2015 and into the future.

"Ultimately, this should be the best playing surface we can provide at this time of the year," said Combs. "We are going to have a field that is brand new."


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Ohio State Week Q&A - John Donovan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions head on the road for the first time in Big Ten play on Saturday with a primetime matchup against No. 1 Ohio State.

Leading up to the clash against the Buckeyes, offensive coordinator and tight ends coach John Donovan talked with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Take a look at a Q&A with Coach Donovan.

Q: What couple of areas would you like to see the offense take a step forward in as you enter the second half of the season?

Donovan: "It's a long season. A lot of things happen. We are playing well enough to win a few games in a row here. And we are just worried about this one right here. We need to play well this week. We can't worry about anything else going forward. We have a heck of a challenge on the road against a great defense. It should be a great environment. We need to play sharp. We need to play with poise. We need to be fundamentally sound. That's what we are looking for."

Q: What can you do to help the third down conversion percentage?

Donovan: "I think the biggest thing there is too many third and longs. You have to stay out of those. We need to get ourselves in more third downs that are easier to get. Not too many people (across the country) convert third and longs. We've probably had a couple too many of them, and we need to stay out of those to give ourselves a better chance to convert them."

Q: When Saquon Barkley has been on the field, he has been a very productive player. Are you surprised at the type of impact he's had so quickly?
Donovan: "He's a talented kid. He works at it. It's very important to him. He's very mature, especially for a true freshman. You're always a little surprised when a true freshman can come in and make a big impact, so it's been a nice addition (for the offense)."

Q: What is this week like in terms of getting prepared for the environment that you will step into on Saturday night after playing so many games at home?
Donovan: "It's definitely a little concern because you have the advantages of playing at home. We've got to be great with our communication. We've got to be great with our poise. We've got to be great with our non-verbal communication. We've practiced this week (with noise). We've done it a lot during the offseason. It's been a fairly smooth transition this week."

Q: What makes the Ohio State defense unique?

Donovan: "Everybody's got their own system. They've got very good players, but they've got a very good system. They are fundamentally sound. They are well coached. They don't leave a lot of guys open in coverage. They've got all their gaps covered in the run game. That's the challenge. Not only do they have talent, they are fundamentally sound and they are coached up well. We've got a heck of a challenge this weekend. If we play the way we can and we are locked in, that's all we can ask for."

Q: The turnover numbers have been way down this season. How much of that is how hard the players have worked on that area?

Donovan: "If you can protect the football and get big plays, that's a good formula for success. We talk to them about it all the time. You have to be able to protect the ball. We do drills every day on it. That's the quickest way to get yourself beat. If we can just continue to do that, we will give ourselves a chance every week."

Q: What is the challenge for the wide receivers this week against some pretty physical cornerbacks from Ohio State?

Donovan: "They are physical. They are going to get up and press you. You have got to win your one-on-one battle this week. That's a theme on the outside. The corner is going to be in their face all game long. You know what you're going to get. You are going to have to win at the line of scrimmage. You are going to have to win down the field. You are going to have to make the contested catches. That's going to be key for them and for us in order to make plays, be successful and move the ball. I know they are looking forward to it. They've got a heck of a challenge. They are excited about it. I can't wait to see what happens."

Q: What's the challenge of stopping Joey Bosa?

Donovan: "He's good. He is really good. They do a good job of moving him around so it's hard to get a read on where he is going to be. If a guy is always in one spot, you have an idea, but they have moved him around. You definitely have to be aware of where he is. He has made a lot plays for them. It's going to be a challenge, just like it is for the receivers, it's going to be a challenge for our line, our backs, our tight ends; everybody that has to go up against him. He's a great player."



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VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Ohio State Week

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

The Nittany Lions travel to Ohio State on Saturday at 8 p.m. for the first road game of the 2015 season. Take a look at the practice update from Ohio State week.




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