Recently in Football Category
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off the bye week, Penn State Football is set to return to Beaver Stadium, hosting No. 2 Ohio State Saturday.
Head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday to preview the upcoming Penn State White Out, while also giving an update on progress throughout the week off from competition.
Penn State (4-2, 2-1 East) and Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 East) will meet for the 32nd time in program history, squaring off under the lights at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Franklin opened his press conference noting that the Nittany Lions are rested both physically and emotionally after the bye week, but looking forward to the challenge as the Buckeyes head to Beaver Stadium for the 13th time in program history.
"We have been talking to them all week about preparing hard and working hard and then playing loose," Franklin said. "Do everything you possibly can all week long so you can go out and play loose, and you can go out and play confident and have fun and take advantage of one of the better environments in college football that will take place in Beaver Stadium on Saturday."
CJF: "We're looking for Beaver Stadium to be the most difficult environment in college football history on Saturday." #PSUwhiteout-- Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) October 18, 2016
With Ohio State presenting strength and talent at nearly every position on the field, Franklin also called on the support of Nittany Lion fans.
"We need everybody in the stadium screaming and hollering," Franklin said. "It's no different than the election; every vote matters. It's the same way in the stadium: every clap, every yell, every scream matters. It makes a difference."
For Franklin, keys to success against a challenging Ohio State team include limiting signature Buckeye explosive plays, while also continuing to remain disciplined in avoiding costly penalties. As always, Franklin stressed that the games Penn State has seen success in this year have all come in limiting turnovers and protecting the football.
"The margin of error against these types of teams is too small," Franklin said. "So you have to play well. That's what we plan on doing again on Saturday."
On the Quote Board -
- Not only did Franklin note that Penn State need to limit Ohio State explosive plays, but he also included how key the ability is in terms of success on the field. Penn State's seven plays for 50-plus yards on the year currently ranks 13th nationally according to cfbstats.com.
"I think last week, if you look at the Maryland game, we had 15 explosive plays on offense and our defense gave up four. So when you win the turnover battle and you win the explosive play battle, you've got a chance to be successful; and, like I mentioned before, keep the crowd involved."
- Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton on his first Penn State White Out experience.
"The very first White Out was when I was a freshman, like the redshirt year that I took, when Penn State played Michigan. We obviously know what happened that game. So that was probably my first one and that was probably the best one, the best college football game that I've ever been a part of and I've ever seen, live and up close and personal.
- Cornerback Grant Haley on the key to success against Ohio State.
"I think we need to make them a one-dimensional team. We obviously need to stop the run, the quarterback run especially, and also running backs back there, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel, just make them beat us through the air. If we can make them a one-dimensional team, it makes our chances of winning more successful."
- Haley also likened the Penn State White Out crowd to a 12th man on the field, noting that he can feel the ground shaking when the crowd is loudest.
"Just having some of the best fans in the country coming in and supporting you day-in and day-out, I think that just gives us pride playing for your university. Everything we do is just to make them proud."
- Franklin's thoughts on what the Penn State White Out embodies.
"I think the White Out exemplifies what this place is all about. It's about our community coming together, the fans, the professors, our alumni and our players and going into that stadium and having fun together and representing Penn State the right way. It's special. There's no doubt about it."
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Back from a bye week the Nittany Lions are set to return for a quintessential Penn State White Out under the lights, hosting No. 2 Ohio State at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
Penn State's White Out will be its ninth in program history encompassing the entire stadium, as the Nittany Lions have hosted a Penn State White Out among students or full stadium in each of the last 12 seasons. The Nittany Lions hosted their first student White Out Oct. 9, 2004 against Purdue, before going stadium wide for the first time against Notre Dame Sept. 8, 2007.
Penn State White Out History
Oct. 9, 2004 vs. Purdue (student section)
Oct. 8, 2005 vs. Ohio State (student section)
Oct. 14, 2006 vs. Michigan (student section)
Sept. 8, 2007 vs. Notre Dame (full stadium)
Sept. 27, 2008 vs. Illinois (full stadium)
Sept. 26, 2009 vs. Iowa (full stadium)
Oct. 30, 2010 vs. Michigan (student section)
Sept. 10, 2011 vs. Alabama (full stadium)
Oct. 27, 2012 vs. Ohio State (full stadium)
Oct. 12, 2013 vs. Michigan (full stadium)
Oct. 25, 2014 vs. Ohio State (full stadium)
Nov. 21, 2015 vs. Michigan (full stadium)
Among the 12 annual outings, a few current Nittany Lions have also logged standout performances in Penn State White Out conditions within the last few years.
Saeed Blacknall's Touchdown Catches
Blacknall has grabbed each of his two career touchdown receptions in Penn State White Out games. Last year, he highlighted the Penn State White Out against Michigan (Nov. 21, 2015) with a 25-yard catch in the second quarter.
In 2014, he recorded a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to cut the Ohio State deficit to three, in a Penn State White Out game that resulted in a 31-24 Buckeye victory in double overtime.
Tyler Davis' Field Goals
Davis enters the week as one of five players in the FBS standings who remain perfect on the year in field goal percentage. Davis is also sitting atop the Big Ten Conference standings with 1.67 field goals per game. In his first Penn State White Out appearance last year, Davis set a career high with three field goals against Michigan, while also converting on his only extra point attempt. Since then, he has matched the career mark in Penn State's overtime win against Minnesota this year.
DaeSean Hamilton's Record Setting
Hamilton registered a record-breaking performance in his first ever Penn State White Out appearance. In the 2014 Penn State White Out game against Ohio State, he broke a Penn State game receptions record, as well as his own freshman receptions record with 14 catches for 126 yards against the Buckeyes. On the way to his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, he made three catches during the game-tying drive late in the game to force overtime.
A Look at Ohio State
Ohio State enters Saturday's matchup at 6-0 on the year, having also won each of its last 20 road games, which stands as the longest active streak nationally. Last week, the Buckeyes outscored then-No. 8 Wisconsin 24-7 in the second half to secure a 30-23 comeback win in overtime.
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have also won their last 13 night games. They enter Saturday's matchup with a 26-10 record when playing on the road with kickoff slated after 5 p.m. local time.
Meyer acknowledged the upcoming challenge for his Buckeyes though, as the Nittany Lions are undefeated in Beaver Stadium this season (4-0) and have won 10 of their last 11 at home.
"Wish they saved the White Outs for other games, but I guess they used it for our game," Meyer said. "It's one of the top five atmospheres, again, in college football."
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A leader. A fighter. An ambassador. All describe former Penn State Football student-athlete Adam Taliaferro, who has more than overcome tremendous odds to thrive after sustaining a career-ending spinal cord injury 16 years ago.
His courageous story doesn't simply involve a devastating injury and a miraculous recovery. Rather, where Taliaferro's story lives on, is within the lives of those he has been able to change in the years following his own life altering experience.
Flash back to September 1, 2001, when Taliaferro, who just 11 months prior had faced the unthinkable, led the Penn State team on to the field at Beaver Stadium in front of a record crowd of 109,313 joyous and emotional fans for the season opener against Miami (Fla.).
A moment that Taliaferro still finds hard to put into words and one his father, Andre, describes, as a moment where Adam's life had started anew.
The week of September 23, 2000 was similar to any other game week for the true freshman cornerback from Voorhees, New Jersey, as the Nittany Lions prepared to open their Big Ten Conference slate at Ohio State in a nationally televised contest on ABC.
Filled with excitement, Taliaferro was poised to play in one of the biggest games of his rookie career, playing in front of a packed crowd at Ohio Stadium.
"Any opportunity that I got to play was exciting, because for me, coming from South Jersey and playing in front of five or six thousand people and then playing in a place like Beaver Stadium or at The Horseshoe out in Columbus, I just remember a lot of excitement and enthusiasm," Taliaferro said.
On a routine play near the end of the matchup against the Buckeyes, Taliaferro recalls tilting his head down as he lunged toward Ohio State's Jerry Westbrooks to make a tackle he had made nearly 100 times in the past. He suffered a serious neck injury.
"I can remember the play, I can remember the position of him lying on the field and I can remember turning to the trainer, George Salvaterra, and saying, 'this is not a good situation,'" recalls Penn State's Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, who was among the first to run out on to the field after the impact of Taliaferro's tackle left him motionless on the field.
Unable to move his arm, Taliaferro's first thought was a broken arm. Unable to gather his legs to get up, his next thought was stinger, a nerve injury in the neck and shoulder area.
"I had heard from other guys that when you get stinger you lose sensation for a little bit and then it eventually comes back."
As team physicians and trainers asked Taliaferro a series of questions, he felt no pain as he correctly answered his name and location, while medical professionals worked swiftly to provide care that would give him the best chances for recovery.
"I just kind of laid there and they told me not to move and they took me off the field but the thought of being paralyzed never really went through my head while I was unable to move on the ground," Taliaferro said.
In the critical moments after sustaining his injury, Taliaferro was carefully transported to The Ohio State University Medical Center.
"I knew my mom (Addie) would be pretty upset and I knew my family was watching on TV, so I wanted to give a thumbs up," Taliaferro said. "As they were rolling me off the field and I could not move my hands and I remember thinking this could be kind of serious."
That's where it gets foggy for Taliaferro, though, as he remembers an x-ray before waking up and seeing the face of his father.
"I remember him saying to me, 'you've been injured but you're going to be ok,'" Taliaferro said.
After surgery the following Monday, Taliaferro knew from his family that his his injury was serious, but his family kept the initial prognosis from him -- a prognosis that included a less than five percent chance that Taliaferro would ever walk again.
"We wanted to give him every opportunity to get better," Andre said. "We didn't want him to have to deal with anything negative or anything that would suggest that he wouldn't get better."
"Since I didn't know any better, I just always went into it like I was going to walk out of it," Adam said.
Focused solely on a full recovery, Adam Taliaferro believed with all his heart from the very first day of his injury, that he was going to get better.
Four days after his injury, Adam was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, less than 20 miles from his home. Several days later, he was moved to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia to begin his arduous rehabilitation.
Little by little, Taliaferro had to re-learn everything movement-related, with his largest task in regaining the ability to walk on his own again.
"We would do six hours of therapy a day," Adam said. "My physical therapist became like my football coach and I just tried to go into every therapy session like I would go into football practice, where I had to just get a little bit better every day."
Along with the constant support from his family, Taliaferro also drew inspiration from his coaches, teammates and Penn State Football family and administration, who were regular visitors throughout his rehabilitation in Philadelphia and later, at home.
"They would come down every Thursday after practice and they would bring two or three players and I would see different guys," Taliaferro said. "It was exciting for me because as I was getting better, I would try every Thursday to show them that I was doing something new or that I was moving something new."
Spending weeks learning to move a single finger, Taliaferro celebrated every milestone along the way until major breakthrough presented a turning point.
Late one evening nearly two months into his rehabilitation, Taliaferro's nurse caught his toe moving and prompted him to attempt to move the toe again. Taliaferro successfully moved his toe on the next try, signaling hope.
Such a breakthrough called for a celebration, as Taliaferro's parents immediately returned to the hospital filled with joy, calling as many people as they could to share the promising news.
"We knew that from a medical perspective, once you wiggle a toe, you have about an 85 percent chance of walking so we were very encouraged at that point in time and literally within weeks he was on his feet," Sebastianelli said.
Having made significant progress in his recovery, Taliaferro incredibly walked out of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on crutches on January 6, 2001 and went home, where he continued his rehabilitation. He returned to State College for the 2001 fall semester, where he would continue to rehab with Nittany Lion athletic trainers and team physicians, who made him like his regular self again.
"Tom Bradley, who was our defensive coordinator and my position coach, made me a student assistant coach," Taliaferro said. "I was still at all the practices and all the meetings and I was concerned because I was no longer a football player, but the coaches, the staff and my teammates still made me feel like I was an integral part of the team."
On September 1, 2001, surrounded by not just those who had directly supported Taliaferro along the way, but the entire Penn State community, he walked, then skipped and jogged in leading the Nittany Lions through the Beaver Stadium gates and on to the field.
In the culmination of Taliaferro's relentless pursuit to defy the odds, he recalls the moment as one of the most exciting experiences of his life.
"It felt as though a mission had been completed," Andre Taliaferro said. "We knew that he wasn't going to play anymore, but the fact that he had recovered from an accident on the field and was told that he would never walk again, here he was and now he was going to start life anew."
By 2005, Taliaferro was crossing the stage on graduation day, having earned his undergraduate degree in labor and industrial relations. By 2008, he had earned his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and was off to a successful career with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In November 2015, he was elected to his first full two-year term as member of the New Jersey General Assembly after being appointed to the seat in 10 months earlier. Taliaferro and his wife, formerly Erin Mulshenock, a Penn State swimmer, also welcomed a new addition to their family with the birth of their son last year.
Sparked by the tremendous amount of financial support his family had received due to the severity of his injury and his rehabilitation, the Adam Taliaferro Foundation was also born in 2001.
The process of recovering from a severe spinal cord injury is a lifelong journey. One that Taliaferro not only embraces on a personal level daily, but one that he continues to support through his dedication to the Adam Taliaferro Foundation.
"Penn State and Penn Staters had raised a lot of money for me and my hometown had raised a lot of money for me and my lifetime care, but thankfully, I didn't need any of those funds so we came up with the idea that if I don't need it, there are plenty of people out there who do," Taliaferro said.
With the mission to help athletes who have suffered devastating spinal cord injuries, the Foundation provides emotional, financial and educational support to student-athletes who sustain spinal cord injuries in sanctioned team events throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Operating entirely through volunteer support, Taliaferro has been able to give back to those who gave so much to him along the way.
Among countless individuals he has been able to impact, Taliaferro recounts being especially proud to help a high school senior secure the financial support for a full-time nurse so she could attend college and fulfill her dream to earn a degree, just like Taliaferro.
"It's little things like that that where we just had a small piece in it, but here's a young lady who was able to get back to living her life and get an education although she was paralyzed because we were able to provide a full-time nurse for her while she was away at college."Back to living life is exactly where Taliaferro found himself and where he will continue to have an impact on those who embark on the same journey as he did.
By Mark Brumbaugh, Penn State Strategic Communications
Ask Malik Golden what his goals are for the remainder of the 2016 season; he only has one.
"Win, win, win, win, win, win, and then win some more. And after we win some more, win after that. All I want to do is win.
Ask him what his career plans are; he suggests having his own TV show and network.
"Kind of like Oprah, man. I'm trying to make some money, have my own TV show, like 'The Golden Show' or even my own network.
Clearly, Golden expects nothing less than success and there is no reason for him not to.
Originally a soccer player, the Hartford, Connecticut, native's football career began in seventh grade with the Newington Knights Pop Warner football team. Recruited by a friend, Golden joined the team and helped it win a National Championship in Arizona.
"The quarterback [of the team] was like, 'we could use some fast guys,' so I joined the football team and have been playing football ever since," Golden said.
Golden went on to have a decorated prep career, transferring to Cheshire Academy for his junior and senior seasons, where he developed into the second-ranked prospect in the state of Connecticut. An All-New England and all-conference player both seasons, Golden helped lead Cheshire to a pair of New England Preparatory School Athletic Council state titles. He was elected team captain as a senior and led the squad to an undefeated season.
Golden played both ways as a wide receiver and defensive back, totaling nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards in two seasons and hauling in seven interceptions as a senior.
Cheshire Academy is a boarding school about a half-hour from Golden's home and it provided him with more than just a great football experience.
"I lived [at Cheshire], so I had a roommate from Beijing my first year, and my second year, my roommate from Manhattan, so it kind of diversified me a little bit," Golden said. "It was cool. I actually enjoyed it a lot.
"At my public school, I would have graduated with four or five hundred people. At Cheshire, I probably graduated with 50 or 60."
The big school experience awaited Golden though, as Penn State became interested in his talents on the recruiting trail. Golden came to Happy Valley for a camp, and Joe Paterno offered him a scholarship the next day.
Golden committed in August 2011 and is one of the last remaining Nittany Lion to have verbally committed to Paterno. However, tumult would hit Penn State later that year and with no coach in place, Golden reconsidered his options.
"I reopened my recruitment, but then came back and fell in love with Penn State again," Golden said. "It was crazy, especially for being a young kid, but it helped me grow a lot. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm really glad to be here."
Golden redshirted during the 2012 season as a wide receiver but was moved to safety the following year and saw most of his action on special teams. While he worked for a larger role, he had exceptional mentors in Adrian Amos and Jordan Lucas, who are both currently suiting up in the NFL.
"I started here as a receiver and when they switched me to safety, I felt like I was finally getting my niche at receiver. I had to relearn the safety position again and that took me awhile," Golden said. "Then when [defensive coordinator and safeties coach Bob] Shoop came, I learned how to watch film and scout opponents. Now, [current safeties coach Tim] Banks has really sharpened my technique, so it has been cool learning from all of those guys."
With strong competition at his position, it was hard for Golden to see playing time as a redshirt freshman and sophomore but as a junior he saw more regular action and drew four starts. His first career interception sealed a narrow victory over Maryland.
"[College football] is difficult, because everyone's a star in high school," Golden said. "When you're young and you see other young guys have success, you're happy for them, but it hurts you a little bit not to play as much. But everything happens for a reason. You can't compare someone's chapter five to your chapter 10, so I knew I would get on the field eventually."
Golden's senior year has been his time to shine in a starting role at safety and as one of the leading tacklers on the team. However, he is embracing the role of being a mentor, too.
"I enjoy helping the young guys learn," Golden said. "Of course it is always good to be a starter, but when you see young guys like Nick Scott and Ayron Monroe come along and get better each day, and they look up to me for advice, that's where I get the most satisfaction."
Penn State Football is about much more than football though, and Golden has taken full advantage of the university's resources. In December 2015, he graduated with a degree in telecommunications but he is adding a second degree in broadcast journalism and hoping to complete a minor in business too.
Over the most recent summer, he gained valuable work experience interning at a local radio station.
"I was on the air a little bit, so if you think you heard my smooth voice, that was definitely me," Golden said with a smile. "I cut music, copied music, got it on the air, checked the stream and went to local broadcasts and talked to people. It was a pretty good experience. It kind of made me realize I want to be in TV and not radio though.
"Hopefully, when I'm done playing football, I can have my own TV show."
So while The Golden Show is in its final season at Penn State, the final episodes are shaping up to be the best yet.
And if Golden's track record so far is any indication, this is certainly not the series finale.
"It's a little bit of both. We have to get healthy, we've lost seven linebackers this year so we have to get healthy. Hopefully we're able to get some guys back but it's a little bit of both. We're going to spend time on Ohio State as well, breaking those guys down and getting comfortable with those guys and getting some stuff in practice to get a head start. It's probably equal parts both."
Have you been able to give any thought to how you're going to line up
at tackle against Ohio State with Andrew Nelson out?
"We're going to work through that this week. We have some different combinations there. Obviously we have [Brendan] Mahon, we have Paris [Palmer] and we have Will Fries. So those are the three guys that we're kind of looking at to see how we're going to fill that gameday responsibility. We're really kind of on the entry level. Paris actually went in and played pretty well. Chaz [Wright] is a guy who's starting to show some things that we're excited about and then Will Fries is a guy who we are excited about his future."
Have you been able to step back and wrap your mind around what your
kicker [Tyler Davis] has done to date, considering how new he is to kicking in
a football game?
"He has done a great job. We've been very pleased with him. He did the same thing last year. He didn't miss a field goal or a PAT last year and we talked about that last year, that coming into the season, he probably didn't get enough of the credit that he deserved internally or externally. So I've been very pleased with him I think we've done a very good job of putting him in position to be successful. I think he has really showed his value. He has really showed he is one of the better kickers in the conference, if not in the country and I've been very, very pleased with him.
What has Joe Moorhead brought to your offense and what has he meant to
"I think the biggest thing to be honest with you is leadership. I think the fact that he has been a head coach, he really understands the motivational aspect of it. We talked about this at the beginning of the year, with the personnel that we have, one of the reasons I hired him was that I thought he really fit our personnel well. We still have a developing offensive line that has dramatically improved compared to our first two years from a numbers perspective and from a development perspective. The mobility that we have at the quarterback position with two quarterbacks in Trace [McSorley] and Tommy [Stevens]. I feel like we have depth and talent at wide receiver and at running back. Mike Gesicki is coming on at tight end. It's just a combination of what he did that I thought fit our personnel well and I think the biggest thing is leadership on that side of the ball and having fun and running with it."
How is he showing you that leadership?
"It's being on that side of the ball. Brent Pry being the head coach of the defense and Joe being the head coach of the offense - how he runs leading and how he installs plays. His energy, his enthusiasm that he has at practice every day, like Brent has been doing on the defensive side of the ball. Like what Coach Huff is doing with the special teams. His energy, enthusiasm and his leadership style. Just taking advantage of the personnel that we have and putting them in position to be successful."
I know that getting players back and healthy is a priority but how do
you go about getting your guys extra rest this week?
"It's not really like something that's just this week. A number of these players have been out for a number of weeks now so the longer they are out, the more likely they are to come back at some point. Our practices are going to be a little bit different, we are going to do a lot less pounding on them this week and we're going get the young guys a little more involved this week as well. It's a little bit different, you don't have to go out there this week and feel like you don't have enough hours in the day or minutes at practice to get them ready for the game on Saturday. It's a sprint, when you have a game on Saturday, you are sprinting as players and coaches to get everything in to make sure they are ready for the game on Saturday. Physically and mentality ready and peaking at the right time. When it's a bye week, you have the time to focus on our fundamentals and technique. We're going to get the young guys involved a little bit more in practice than they typically have been. Like you mentioned, they have a week of treatment so hopefully that will put you in position to get back for a normal game week."
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football enters its 2016 bye week at 4-2 on the year, after taking down Maryland in front of a Homecoming crowd Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
The bye week comes at a good time for the Nittany Lions, who have battled injuries across the board throughout the first six weeks of the season.
"We need this time off," head coach James Franklin said. "Some of our injuries, they're not going to heal in a week, but some will."
The Nittany Lions will have plenty of time to heal during the bye week, that comes on the strength of a dominant 38-14 win against the Terrapins. Penn State put up more than 30 points for the fourth time this season and the first time since 2013. The Nittany Lions are averaging 30.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten standings, helped out by a standout showing from quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley last week.
McSorley, who went 10-for-19 against the Terps, threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He's currently ranked second in the league standings with 1,436 passing yards. Barkley, who rushed for 202 yards and one touchdown, enters the off week atop the Big Ten standings with 582 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on the year. He also earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors, marking the first time the Nittany Lions have earned the honor since Bill Belton in 2013.
A few more bright spots from the Maryland win ...
Allen and Sanders Boost Run Game
While it's obvious Penn State's run game success against Maryland wasn't a solo effort, Nittany Lion running backs sophomore Mark Allen and true freshman Miles Sanders each found success in the rotation. Allen logged his most productive performance of the season, totaling a season-high seven carries for 31 yards. Having entered the game in the second quarter, three of his attempts set up a new set of downs for the Nittany Lions, including a career-long 17 yard carry in the final drive of the game.
Sanders has continued to show growth for the Nittany Lions as a kick returner, tying a career-high mark with three returns against the Terps. He totaled 50 yards on the three returns, including one for 23 yards in the second quarter. Sanders closed out the day with a 25-yard carry on his first and only rushing attempt of the game in the fourth quarter, scoring his first career touchdown.
Running back Saquon Barkley had all positive things to say following Sanders' first-career touchdown.
"I'm so happy that he was able to get in the end zone," Barkley said. "When I saw him score I gave him a big hug I was so proud of him. He's been going through a little adversity this year, but he stepped up big and got in the end zone today."
Check out Sanders' thoughts on the touchdown and his progress this season below.
Smith Picks Off Hills
Ever since junior linebacker Brandon Smith moved into the linebacker rotation, he has made an impact. In his debut against Temple, he logged eight tackles and helped limit the Owls to just 38 rushing yards. Smith blew past his career high against Maryland, leading the team with 14 tackles, combining with linebacker Koa Farmer for a tackle for loss in the third quarter. Maryland also entered Saturday's matchup averaging 300 rushing yards per game, as Smith helped the Nittany Lions once again, holding the Terps to 170 yards on the ground, including 84 in the first half.
Smith also highlighted his career day with his first career interception, picking off Maryland quarterback Perry Hills on the Terrapins 45-yard line on fourth and-1. He earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, marking the second straight week the Nittany Lions have earned the award. Smith's weekly honor also marks the first time Penn State has claimed back-to-back Defensive Player of the Week nods since earning three consecutive in 2012.
Smith talks about his first career interception and how he has grown in his new leadership role.
Farmer's Career Day
Two weeks ago Franklin announced that sophomore Koa Farmer would make the move from safety to linebacker for the Nittany Lions due to the injuries among the linebacker unit. Settling in to his new role at linebacker, Farmer sacked Maryland quarterback Perry Hills for a loss of five yards, while also forcing his first career fumble, which was quickly recovered by Torrence Brown. On the day, Farmer finished with five tackles in addition to the sack and forced fumble and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Penn State TFL Totals
In total, Penn State matched a season high with 10.0 tackles for loss against Maryland, the most since the Nittany Lions had 10.0 against Kent State in the season opener. The Nittany Lions also added four sacks, which stands as the second-highest total since registering seven against Kent State in week one. With at least 9.0 tackles for loss in all but one game this season, Penn State's averaging 8.7 tackles for loss on the year, which ranks second in the conference and ninth nationally in the FBS standings.
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday at Beaver Stadium, more than 100,000 fans got to see a glimpse of something they've not yet seen in full force from the Nittany Lions this year.
Week over week, we've seen a deep group of wide receivers along with tight end Mike Gesicki dazzle with long yardage pass plays worthy of the highlight reel.
That hasn't been enough for Penn State head coach James Franklin though, who has opened nearly all of his Tuesday press conferences this year stressing that the Nittany Lions need open games faster and figure out a way to establish the run game.
The pieces to that puzzle finally started to fall together for the Nittany Lions, as they finished off a 38-14 win against Maryland with 524 yards of total offense, the highest total in a game under Franklin.
Among the impressive total, Penn State posted 372 yards on the ground against the Terrapins, which stands as the fourth-most rushing yards in a game in the last 20 years for the Nittany Lions and the third-highest total in a conference matchup in program history.
It all started on the very first drive though, as quarterback Trace McSorley connected with wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton for 21 yards, igniting an early spark for the Nittany Lions.
Two plays later it was McSorley, who faked to Barkley before taking off for a 17-yard carry. It was Barkley next, who patiently located a gap in the Maryland defense before rushing 20 yards to put the Nittany Lions in scoring position at the Maryland 6-yard line. On second and goal, McSorley found Gesicki for a 5-yard touchdown pass that gave the Nittany Lions their first touchdown on an opening drive since 2014 (at Illinois).
"Our offense starting fast was definitely something that was emphasized all week and pretty much all season," Gesicki said. "For us to come out on that first drive and get the touchdown, it's big for our offense and big for our team. That propelled us in the right direction."
The right direction is certainly where the Nittany Lions were headed as McSorley's deceptive mobility and Barkley's dynamic cuts and runs kept the Terrapin defense guessing for the rest of the afternoon.
Among six total plays of at least 20 yards in the first half (passing or rushing), Barkley had the 20-yard haul in the first quarter before closing out the final minute of the opening half with a pair of carries that totaled 70 yards, including a 45-yard rushing touchdown with 15 seconds to play. McSorley also had one carry for 25 yards in the second quarter.
McSorley, who also entered the matchup atop the Big Ten standings in passing yards, finished with a career-high 81 rushing yards on 18 attempts, marking the most for a Nittany Lion quarterback since Daryll Clark had 83 against Illinois in 2009.
"Moving forward, I thought it was a major factor in the game, that's a good defense and that's a good team," Franklin said postgame speaking to the increased mobility from McSorley, not only against the Terps but across the last two weeks.
"I think it really helped us. I do think it helped Saquon and I do think it continues to help our offensive line out in protection with some of the play action things that we're doing as well."
Barkley closed out the day with his first 200-yard rushing game and seventh career 100-yard effort with 202 yards on the ground. Accounting for well over half of Penn State's total rushing yards, he logged the most yards since Larry Johnson put up 279 yards against Michigan State in 2002.
When all was said and done at the end of the game, Barkley and McSorley preferred to give credit elsewhere, as the two assessed their performances largely as supporting roles in the run game success.
While Franklin was quick to give credit to both Barkley and McSorley, the key to the win was also as simple as what he has been preaching to the team all week - what's happening up front.
Just the 15th different Nittany Lion in program history to record a 200-yard rushing performance, Barkley walked in to the media room postgame noting that he didn't do anything spectacular or make any crazy plays. Rather, it was the Nittany Lions' front five that put on the unbelievable show.
"Two hundred yards today, if that is my season high that's all credit to the o-line," Barkley said. "They played with passion, they played tough and physical."
Answering his final question before exiting the media room at on the year 4-2 heading into a bye week, Franklin summed it all up.
"We're sustaining blocks and getting hat on hat," Franklin said. "When you're able to do that, you're going to have a successful offense no matter how you run it."
"Everyone thinks this offense is like a magic wand. If you're good up front, you have the chance to be successful and that's the difference - we're getting better on the offensive line."
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley talks offense and the Maryland win postgame.
MOST RECENT POSTS
- Perseverance Pays Off in Big Ten Championship Win
- VIDEO: Postgame James Franklin & Players - Wisconsin
- 2016 Gameday Live - No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin
- Balanced Lions Silence Blackbirds
- Big Ten Championship Game Content Central
- 2016 Gameday - Lions, Badgers Set for B1G Championship
- Tim Banks Q&A - Wisconsin (B1G Championship)
- Barkley Collects Big Ten Postseason Honors
- VIDEO: Highlighting Penn State's All-Big Ten Offensive Selections
- Add category (6)
- All-Sports Blog (5557)
- Baseball (165)
- Coaches Caravan (51)
- Cross Country (73)
- European Tour 2012 (14)
- Fencing (8)
- Field Hockey (127)
- Football (1716)
- Men's Basketball (575)
- Men's Basketball 2013 European Tour (16)
- Men's golf (1)
- Men's Gymnastics (81)
- Men's Hockey (387)
- Men's Lacrosse (164)
- Men's Soccer (135)
- Men's Volleyball (138)
- PSU Road Warriors (16)
- Softball (90)
- Swimming & Diving (102)
- Track & Field (106)
- Women's Basketball (499)
- Women's Golf (1)
- Women's Gymnastics (109)
- Women's Hockey (168)
- Women's Lacrosse (126)
- Women's Soccer (244)
- Women's Soccer Player Blog (44)
- Women's Volleyball (361)
- Wrestling (392)