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VIDEO: Inside the Winning Locker Room at Wisconsin

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews | VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Postgame Interview


MADISON, Wis. - Celebrate with the Nittany Lions after knocking off No. 14 Wisconsin, 31-24, at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.



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GAME BLOG: Penn State at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on GoPSUsports.com from Penn State's final game of 2013 at Wisconsin inside Camp Randall Stadium.

Check back here throughout gameday for the all-new interactive blog coverage for 2013.

 

PHOTO BLOG: Penn State at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's Photo Blog from Penn State's final game of the 2013 season at Wisconsin.  Stay tuned for updated images from behind the scenes and during the game.

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VIDEO: Nittany Lions Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion football team enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at Pollock Commons following the final practice of the season on Thursday.

Take a look inside the Thanksgiving feast.




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Wisconsin Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Close Out Season

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Gameday Central | Game Notes | Wisconsin Scouting Report | Press Conference Roundup

VIDEO: Player Q&As | VIDEO: Nittany Lions Enjoy Thanksgiving Feast


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (6-5, 3-4) will conclude the 2013 season with a trip to No. 14 Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (TV-ESPN) inside Camp Randall Stadium.

9501375.jpegPenn State and Wisconsin will meet in the regular season finale for the third-straight year.  The two teams are not scheduled to meet again until the 2018 season after the conference begins its new East and West Division alignment in 2014.  Saturday's game marks Penn State's sixth contest against a team that is nationally ranked this season.

Junior running back Zach Zwinak gained 149 yards last week in Penn State's 23-20 overtime setback to Nebraska.  Zwinak heads into the season finale with three-straight 100-yard performances.  Allen Robinson's eight catches for 106 yards against the Huskers moved him into second on the career receiving chart with 169 receptions.  Robinson is 10 catches shy of Deon Butler's 179 grabs from 2005-'08.

Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg is among the Big Ten's top signal callers, ranking second in the conference in completions (210) and passing yards (237.8).  Hackenberg has eight 200-yard passing games this year, breaking the Penn State freshman record and ranks in the top five on the school season completions and yardage lists.

The Badgers enter the final week of the season on a six-game winning streak following a 20-7 road victory over Minnesota.  Wisconsin averages 297.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NCAA and second in the Big Ten.  The Badgers are 6-0 at home during the 2013 season.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for Penn State's final regular season matchup of 2013.


Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
9501372.jpeg1. November has been a strong month for Zach Zwinak during his Nittany Lion career.  In eight career games during the month, Zwinak has rushed for 1,062 yards.  In his last three outings, the Nittany Lion junior has 448 yards on the ground.  In addition to Zwinak, Bill Belton, who has 796 yards in 2013, is expected to return this weekend against Wisconsin.  Success on the ground against a talented Wisconsin defense will create opportunities for Hackenberg in the passing game.  The true freshman has connected with Robinson on 17 passing plays of 20 or more yards this season.

2. Since the second half of the Minnesota game, the Nittany Lion defense has played its best football of the 2013 season.  During that span of 10 quarters and one overtime period, the Nittany Lions have held opposing offenses to 30 total points.  Junior linebacker Mike Hull said this week that one of the biggest keys to the way Penn State has been playing on defense is communication.  The Lions have done a great job of communicating with one another in simple terms before the snap to ensure they are lined up in a good place to make plays.  Additionally, Penn State's defensive unit has played with great passion in recent weeks.  Look for that to continue on Saturday as seniors DaQuan Jones, Glenn Carson, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Malcolm Willis all line up for the final time in a Penn State uniform.

3. Against a Badger offense averaging 36.8 points per game in 2013, the Nittany Lions will be looking for a very quick start on the offensive side of the ball.  Efficient play from the offense, especially on third down and in the red zone, will play a big role in Penn State's success against the Badgers.  Wisconsin has out-scored its opponents 103-26 in the first quarter this season. 

What to Watch For - Wisconsin
1. Redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon and senior James White make up the top running back duo in the nation.  Gordon has rushed for 1,375 yards (8.2 ypc).  White has rushed for 1,281 yards (6.5 ypc).  Both players have at least one touchdown run of 80 or more yards.  As a team, Wisconsin has 36 rushing plays of 20 or more yards and 13 rushing touchdowns of 20 or more yards this season.  Simply put, Gordon and White are potential game-changing players every time they touch the ball.  Additionally, Wisconsin's offensive line is a superb unit.

2. On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Chris Borland is the heart and soul of the Wisconsin 3-4 defense.  The fifth-year senior leads the team in tackling with 92 stops.  In his last five full games (missed time due to injury), Borland has averaged 11.2 tackles and 1.3 tackles per loss.  Borland plays a central role on a Wisconsin defense that has allowed just 6.0 points per game in the six games contested at Camp Randall Stadium this season.

3. Although Wisconsin has 67 plays of 20 yards or more on offense, the Badger attack is a very efficient group led by sophomore quarterback Joel Stave.  Stave, who has thrown for 2,075 yards while completing 63 percent of his passes, is very good in the play-action game.  Senior wideout Jared Abbredaris is his favorite target in the passing game.  Abbredaris has made 61 receptions for 916 yards.  The Badgers are 45-for-51 in the red zone, including 34 touchdowns.

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The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions will put on the Blue and White for the final time in 2013 on Saturday.  While they were honored last week in Beaver Stadium, it will be a special day for the 17 Penn State seniors, who will take the field for the final time as a college athlete.  The Nittany Lions enter the game knowing they need to play mistake-free football on both sides of the ball.  The battle in the trenches will play a key role in deciding the outcome on Saturday.  Penn State has a great opportunity to play one of the top teams in the nation on the final regular season Saturday.  Tune in at 3:30 for the ESPN coverage with Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham on the call.



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VIDEO: Happy Thanksgiving from Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and Penn State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.

As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unrivaled support you give every team on campus.  Penn State's teams would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.

As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them throughout the athletic season.


2013 Opponent Preview - Wisconsin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Each week, GoPSUsports.com will preview the upcoming opponent on the Penn State schedule.  Here is a week 12 glance at the Wisconsin Badgers.

Gary Andersen is in his first year as head coach of the Badgers after replacing Bret Bielema, who left for Arkansas.  Andersen has a career mark of 39-33.

The Badgers are 9-2 this season and 6-1 in Big Ten play.  They are 6-0 at home. 

Last weekend, Wisconsin visited Minnesota, knocking off the Golden Gophers, 20-7.  Running back James White compiled 125 yards on 26 carries and a one-yard touchdown run.  Melvin Gordon added 12 carries for 69 yards.  Quarterback Joel Stave completed 16-of-26 passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception.  Receiver Jared Abbrederis caught a two-yard touchdown pass as part of his seven catch, 67-yard day.  Wisconsin totaled 324 yards of offense, including 197 on the ground.

For the second-straight week, Wisconsin defense did not give up an offensive touchdown.  Minnesota's only points of the game came on a pick-six.  The Badgers allowed only 185 yards and held the Gophers to 83 yards passing.  Linebacker Chris Borland led the defense with 12 tackles (eight solo) and forced a fumble.  Linebacker Brendan Kelly recorded three tackles for loss and two sacks.

Wisconsin is tied for second in the Big Ten and ranks 23rd among FBS schools in scoring offense, averaging 36.8 points per game.  The Badgers are also eighth in the nation in rushing offense, gaining 297.8 yards per game.  The passing attack is tenth in the Big Ten, averaging 191.5 yards.  The Badgers hold the ball for an average of 34:12 per game, good for fourth in the nation. 

The Badgers are led by the top running back tandem in the country.  Redshirt sophomore Melvin Gordon is tied for eighth in the nation with 1,375 yards.   He also has 12 rushing touchdowns.  The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Gordon averages 8.2 yards per carry.  Senior James White has rushed for 1,281 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also adding 258 receiving yards and two touchdowns.  Freshman Corey Clement has contributed 515 yards and seven touchdowns. 

With a combined 2,656 rushing yards, Gordon and White are 349 yards shy of breaking the NCAA's single-season record for rushing yards by two players on the same team.  They are the only running back duo in the country to each have 1,000 yards and average 100 yards per game.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joel Stave has completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,075 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

Stave will try to find receiver Jared Abbrederis and tight end Jacob Pedersen through the air.  The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Abbrederis has recorded 61 catches for 916 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 15 yards per catch.  The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Pedersen has 437 yards and three touchdowns on 32 receptions.

The Badgers employ a 3-4 scheme on defense.

In addition to having one of the top running offenses in the country, Wisconsin boasts one of the top rushing defenses, ranking seventh in the nation while allowing only 99.1 yards per game.  The Badgers give up only 278.5 total yards per game, good for sixth in the country.  The Badgers' pass defense is just as good, ranking ninth in the country, allowing only 179.4 yards per game.

The Badgers have given up only 13.4 points per game, fifth among FBS schools.  In six games this year, Wisconsin has not allowed an offensive touchdown.  They have allowed a total of three touchdowns in six homes games this season. 

Borland, a redshirt senior, leads the defense with 92 tackles (56 solo).  Despite missing almost two games due to injury, Borland needs just eight tackles to post his third consecutive 100-tackle campaign.  He also has eight tackles for loss and four sacks.  Kelly has 6.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks.

Nose guard Warren Herring has six tackles for loss and four sacks.  Defensive end Pat Muldoon has 14 tackles, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. 

Cornerback Sojour Shelton leads the team with four interceptions.  Safety Dezmen Southward has 31 stops and an interception. 

Wisconsin leads the all-time series 9-7 on the field, but Penn State earned a 24-21 overtime win at Beaver Stadium last year.



With the season wrapping up this weekend, special thank you to student writer Paul Marboe for all of his
Contributions on the 2013 Opponent Previews each week throughout the season.

VIDEO: Wisconsin Week Player Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with freshman Christian Hackenberg and junior Mike Hull leading up to the season finale at Wisconsin.


Christian Hackenberg



Mike Hull



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Bill O'Brien Press Conference Roundup - Wisconsin Week

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Bill O'Brien Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien previewed Saturday's season finale at Wisconsin during his final weekly teleconference of the 2013 season on Tuesday afternoon.

With Penn State students on Thanksgiving holiday all week, the Nittany Lions have a unique game week schedule in the days leading up to the trip to Madison.

9498898.jpegPenn State conducted a walkthrough in shorts and shirts on Monday afternoon to kick off on-field preparation for the No. 14 Badgers.  O'Brien said the Monday walkthrough enabled the players to rest bumps and bruises after a physical game on Saturday.

Penn State will practice normally on Tuesday and Wednesday before a morning practice on Thursday.  The Lions will then enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in Pollock dining commons put on by Jim Hopey and the excellent training table staff.  With a schedule solely focused on football, the team has more time to receiving treatment in the training room and rest.  Additionally, the team loaded up in Blue Buses on Monday night for an evening at the movies where it saw "Thor".

"I think Thanksgiving week, not having classes, being able to sleep in a little bit, come over, get some treatments in the training room and then come back after practice and get another treatment," O'Brien said.  "I think that will help (guys get some rest).  And there's only one game left, so you should - our guys will be ready to go out there and lay it on the line, I know that."

The Badgers enter the weekend on a six-game winning streak.  Led by the nation's only pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Melvin Gordon (1,375) and James White (1,281), Wisconsin has tallied more than 500 offensive yards in six games this season.

"This is a big challenge," O'Brien said.  "They run the football very well.  They're very well‑coached.  They're physical, they're big.  Gary Anderson has done a good job coming in there and putting his style of play and putting his mark on that program right away.  Big challenge.  These are two good running backs."

Wisconsin has been equally as good on defense during the 2013 season, limiting its opponents to just three total touchdowns in six games at Camp Randall Stadium this fall.  The Badgers play a 3-4 defense, something O'Brien said on Tuesday requires a unique approach offensively in the gameplan.

"They play a 3-4 look, which is tough," O'Brien said.  "They have two good outside backers that set the edge really well, and then Borland, another guy on the inside.  There are actually three guys that play inside linebacker with Borland being the guy that plays in there all the time.  Borland is a really good player.  He's about six-feet tall, a 240-pound kid.  He's stout, he's tough, he's smart.  He's what you're looking for in a linebacker.  A lot like our guy, Glenn Carson, just a tough, tough dude."

O'Brien said that while the Nittany Lions have had their ups and downs in 2013, there have been a lot of positives to build on heading into the final week.

"I think the fact that we've been able to play a freshman quarterback in every game and he's stayed healthy, and I believe he's gotten better and better, I think that is a real positive," O'Brien said.  "I believe that for the most part we've run the ball pretty well on offense.  I think that's a positive."

The story has been the same on defense, and Penn State heads into Wisconsin after playing its best defensive football of the season in the last two-and-a-half games.  The Nittany Lion defense has allowed a total of 30 points in its last 10 quarters and one overtime.

"I believe our defense has improved every single week," O'Brien said.  "I think the last three weeks our defense has played well and a lot of younger players or guys that have years left here at Penn State have played a lot of football for us on defense."

Kick is slated for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN inside Camp Randall Stadium.


Press Conference Notes:
- Injury Update - Coach O'Brien said Von Walker (concussion), Bill Belton (shoulder) and Zach Zwinak (shoulder) are all on track to play in the Wisconsin game.  Adrian Amos has a foot sprain, but is also expected to be ready for Saturday's game.

- Coach O'Brien on C.J. Olaniyan:
"C.J.'s made a lot of improvement.  He made a lot of improvement in the weight room.  He really worked hard in the off-season in the weight room.  He got in better condition.  He's doing better in school.  It all kind of goes together.  He's "grown up," and he's played some good football for us.  He had a strip sack on Saturday night.  He caused a fumble against Minnesota.  He's a long guy.  He's got long arms and he's an instinctive player and a tough kid.  He'll continue to get better."

- O'Brien talking about the season Zach Zwinak has put together (874 yards and 12 touchdowns):
"Zach's had a good year.  He's a mentally tough kid... Tough kid, tough runner, mentally tough kid, really enjoy coaching him.  I think he's -- he and I have had a lot of talks about ball security and we just try not to get all over him about it every single second of the day.  We just say, look, it's important for you to hold the ball the proper way and all these things.  And remind him of those things, and he's taken it to heart, and knock on wood, he's done a good job in the last three games and he needs to do a good job on Saturday."



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Monday Notebook: Zwinak Finishing Strong in November

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Zach Zwinak loves playing power football, and with the temperatures colder and weather conditions unpredictable, the month of November is made for downhill running back.

9495034.jpegThe junior has been superb for the Nittany Lions during the past three weeks, rushing for a combined 448 yards.  For the season, Zwinak has rushed for 874 yards heading into this week's season finale at Wisconsin.  Averaging 4.6 yards per carry, Zwinak has scored 12 rushing touchdowns in 2013.

During the past two seasons, Zwinak has been dominant in November.  In 2012, the Frederick, Md., native rushed for 589 yards in the final month of the season.  Adding in this season's total thus far (473 yds), Zwinak has rushed for 1,062 yards in eight November games during the past two seasons.

Penn State and Wisconsin are slated for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) kick on ESPN in Camp Randall Stadium.

- Robinson in Nation's Top Five; Nittany Lions in the Stat Rankings
Junior Allen Robinson has put together one of the finest seasons from a Penn State receiver in program history.  Ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in receiving yards at 1,310, Robinson recorded a school record seven 100-yard receiving game of the season on Saturday against Nebraska.  The Michigan native ranks No. 5 in receiving yards per game at 119.1.  He is No. 8 in receptions per game at 8.1.  Robinson now has 89 receptions in 2013.  He is leading the Big Ten in receptions per game, receiving yardage per game and receiving yards.  Freshman Christian Hackenberg is second in the Big Ten in passing at 237.8 yards per game.  Sophomore Jordan Lucas is ranked No. 12 in the NCAA in passes defended with 15.

- Hackenberg Named Big Ten Co-Freshman of Week
For the fourth time this season, Christian Hackenberg earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week recognition.  Hackenberg threw two touchdown passes and scored a rushing touchdown in Penn State's 23-20 overtime setback to Nebraska on Saturday.  For the season, Hackenberg has eight 200-yard passing games.  He is 210-for-362 for 2,616 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season.  His 210 completions rank fourth at Penn State in a season.

- Wisconsin Results

With BCS at-large hopes on the line, Wisconsin (9-2) welcomes the Nittany Lions to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.  The Badgers enter the final week of the regular season on a six-game winning streak.  Wisconsin tallied a 20-7 victory over Minnesota on the road last week.  Aside from a 31-24 road loss to No. 3 Ohio State, Wisconsin is 6-1 in conference play.  Wisconsin is among the nation's leaders in rushing offense at 297.8 yards per game.  Melvin Gordon and (1,375) and James White (1,281) are two of the nation's top 12 rushers.

Additionally, the Badgers are ranked sixth in the nation in total defense (278.5 ypg), seventh in rushing defense (99.1 ypg) and fifth in scoring defense (13.4 ppg).  In six games this season, Wisconsin has held the opposing offense out of the end zone.  Redshirt sophomore Joel Stave has thrown for 2,075 yards (170-270) with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.  Senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis has 61 receptions for 916 yards and seven touchdowns.  Wisconsin ranks No. 4 in the nation in time of possession at 34:11 per game.



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