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Jan. 17, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - A pair of Penn State's All-Big Ten performers, Ollie Ogbu (Staten Island) and Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.), have accepted invitations to play in the 86th East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, January 22.
The contest will be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., the site of Penn State's win over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl. The East-West Shrine Game will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET and be televised by NFL Network (Comcast Ch. 180, 275 and 860 in State College).
Additional 2010 Nittany Lion seniors are likely to play in other all-star games, which will be announced later this month.
Former NFL head coaches Dan Reeves (East) and Wade Phillips (West) will lead the all-star squads. The teams begin practice today and conclude on Thursday.
Ogbu, Royster and all the East-West Shrine players kicked off game week on Sunday by visiting Tampa's Shriners Hospital for Children. Every year since the game's inception in 1925, the East-West Shrine Game has been played to raise funds for the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international health care system dedicated to providing expert specialty care without financial obligation to patients or their families.
A three-year starter at defensive tackle, Ogbu was a 2010 second-team All-Big Ten selection. A co-captain, he was tied for second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss (minus-19 yards) and recorded 48 tackles. The former Milford Academy standout made a career-high seven tackles on Senior Day vs. Michigan State and recorded 2.0 TFL against Iowa and Northwestern this past season.
A three-time all-conference honoree, Royster became Penn State's career rushing yardage leader during the 2010 campaign, finishing with 3,932 yards. The previous mark was 3,398 yards by Curt Warner (1979-82). A three-year starter, Royster gained 98 yards against Florida in the 2011 Outback Bowl to become the first Nittany Lion with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, gaining 1,014 yards and six touchdowns, along with 25 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown this past season.
The former Westfield High School standout posted 15 career 100-yard rushing games, topped by 187 yards vs. Temple this season, and the Nittany Lions were 15-0 when he cracked the century mark. Royster scored 29 career rushing touchdowns, with both marks tied for fifth in school history.
The Nittany Lions are 58-19 (75.3) since the start of the 2005 season, tied with Oregon for the nation's No. 12 winning percentages over the past six years. Led by Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, Penn State has won 60 of its last 79 games overall, dating to the final two contests of the 2004 season.
Penn State returns 16 starters for the 2011 season, (7 offense, 8 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 17 players that have starting experience. The Nittany Lions open their 125th campaign Sept. 3 vs. Indiana State in Beaver Stadium and Alabama visits Happy Valley on Sept. 10 for the first time since 1989.
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