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Jan. 10, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; January 11, 2013 - A pair of Penn State's All-Big Ten honorees - linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) and center Matt Stankiewitch (Orwigsburg) have accepted invitations to play in the 88th East-West Shrine Game. The contest is Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m. in St. Petersburg, Fla. NFL Network will televise.
The selection of Hodges and Stankiewitch raises the number of Nittany Lions playing in post-season games to seven.
Hodges and Stankiewitch helped Coach Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions earn an 8-4 overall record, with a 6-2 Big Ten mark, finishing second in the Leaders Division. The duo helped Penn State lead the Big Ten in total offense (437.0 ypg) in conference games and allow 17 points or less in six contests.
A starter in all 25 games the past two years, Hodges was No. 4 in the Big Ten with 109 tackles. A semifinalist for the 2012 Butkus Award and a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, he led the team with seven pass breakups and was tied for second on the squad with two interceptions. He also ranked third with 8.5 tackles for loss, while adding one forced fumble and one sack.
Hodges was an instrumental part of a Nittany Lion defense that ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 16 nationally in scoring defense at 19.1 ppg. The Nittany Lions also led the Big Ten and were tied for No. 4 in NCAA Red Zone defense (.64) and ranked No. 23 nationally in rushing defense (128.4 ypg).
Hodges was selected the New Jersey Division I College Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Southern New Jersey and the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club of South Jersey.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, BTN.com and ESPN.com, Stankiewitch started all 25 games the past two seasons. He was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense (437.0 ypg) in conference games and rank second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and second in pass offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes. Stankiewitch helped Penn State gain more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe in four years.
One of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, Stankiewitch helped McGloin break nine Penn State season and career passing records, Allen Robinson break the school season receptions mark (77) and Zach Zwinak to rush for 1,000 yards this season, gaining 100 yards or more in six Big Ten games.
Penn State tackle Mike Farrell (Pittsburgh) will begin the Nittany Lions in post-season action on Jan. 11 at the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game in Tucson. The contest kicks at 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET on ESPN3 (webstream).
Defensive end Sean Stanley (Rockville, Md.) and running back Michael Zordich are scheduled to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 19. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton) is playing in the 64th Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 and quarterback Matt McGloin (Scranton) is set to play in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge on Feb. 2. Additional Nittany Lions may receive post-season invitations.
Led by first-year coach O'Brien, the ESPN and Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year, the Nittany Lions won eight of their final 10 games, with the only losses coming against Big Ten division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. In the season finale, the Nittany Lions beat eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin, 24-21, in overtime.
Season tickets are available for the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium next fall.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.GoPSUsports.com or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
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