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Jan. 21, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Two-time All-American Dan Connor (Wallingford) has accepted an invitation to play in the 59th Under Armour Senior Bowl on Saturday, January 26.
Connor is playing for the North squad, which will be coached by Lane Kiffin and the staff of the Oakland Raiders. Kickoff is 4:00 p.m. ET at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
The NFL Network (Ch. 275 in Centre Region) will televise this week's Senior Bowl practices and game (www.nfl.com). Among the NFL Network's analysts is Ernie Accorsi, General Manager of the New York Giants from 1998-2006, and a former member of the Penn State Athletic Communications staff.
The 2007 Bednarik Award winner, Connor will be the 13th Nittany Lion to play in the Senior Bowl in the past five years. Last year, Penn State standouts Levi Brown, Tony Hunt and Paul Posluszny played in the game, with Hunt earning MVP honors. Former Nittany Lion All-American Larry Johnson was MVP of the 2003 Senior Bowl.
Connor led the Nittany Lion defense to top 15 national rankings in rushing (No. 7, 93.8 ypg), scoring (No. 7, 17.5 ppg) and total defense (No. 11, 308.2 ypg), as well as No. 2 in sacks (46) and No. 10 in tackles for losses (102). Penn State, Ohio State and USC were the only teams to finish in the top 15 in all five categories. Penn State's career tackles leader with 419, Connor and the Nittany Lion defense held seven teams to 17 points or less this past season, including a 24-17 win over Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Connor posted nine tackles vs. the Aggies to finish the 2007 season with 145 stops, the second-highest season mark in Penn State history behind All-American Greg Buttle's 165 in 1974. The former Strath Haven High School All-American also had one tackle for loss vs. Texas A&M and ended his career with 34, tied for the 12th best mark at Penn State with Posluszny. Connor was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week four times in his outstanding career.
Connor graduated in December.
Joe Paterno enters his 43rd season as head coach with 19 returning starters (9 defense, 8 offense, 2 specialists). During the 2008 campaign, the Nittany Lions will face eight teams that played in bowl games this past year, including five at home: Oregon State (Sept. 6), Illinois (Sept. 27), Michigan (Oct. 18-Homecoming), Indiana (Nov. 15) and Michigan State (Nov. 22).