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Jan. 27, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., January 28, 2010 - During the 2009 season, Penn State was one of only three teams in the nation that finished in the top 15 of the six primary defensive statistical categories to continue the unit's tremendous success since the 2004 campaign.
From 2004-09, Penn State is one of only two defensive units that rank among the top five in the nation in rushing defense (3rd, 96.99 ypg), scoring defense (3rd, 15.1 ppg) and total defense (5th, 290.3 ypg). Ohio State is the only other team ranks in the top five in the three categories.
During the past six seasons, the Nittany Lions have held 50 of their 75 opponents (66.7 pct.) to 17 points or less, including 10 foes this past season and nine in 2008. Three of Penn State's five bowl opponents have scored 17 points or less, including most recent foe LSU, which lost to the Lions, 19-17, in the 2010 Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.
Over the past six years, Penn State has limited 42 of 75 opponents (56 pct.) to 100 rushing yards or fewer, with eight foes failing to do so in each of the past four seasons Among the teams failing to crack 100 rushing yards against the Nittany Lions were bowl foes LSU, USC, Tennessee and Florida State.
During the past six seasons, five members of the Nittany Lion defense have earned a total of seven first team All-America selections, including senior defensive tackle Jared Odrick (Lebanon) this past season. Odrick was the 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Year.
The Nittany Lions earned their second consecutive 11-2 campaign last fall, capped by the 2010 Capital One Bowl victory, their fourth bowl win in the past five seasons. Penn State was No. 8 in the final USA Today Coaches poll and No. 9 in the Associated Press survey, earning its 23rd final Top 10 ranking under Joe Paterno. The Lions won at least 11 games for the 15th time under the Hall of Fame coach.
Penn State is 51-13 (79.7) since the start of the 2005 season, tied for the nation's No. 7 winning percentage over that span. The Nittany Lions have won 53 of its last 66 games overall, dating to the final two contests of the 2004 season. The first game of the 66-game streak was a 22-18 win at Indiana, which featured a goal line stand by Penn State in the final two minutes.
The Nittany Lions return 13 starters for the 2010 season, (7 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 11 players that have starting experience. Penn State opens the season Sept. 4 vs. Youngstown State in Beaver Stadium and visits 2009 national champion Alabama on Sept. 11.
Nation's Top Defenses From 2004-09
(Cumulative averages over the six seasons)
1. Ohio State - 14.18 ppg
2. Virginia Tech - 14.25 ppg
3. Penn State - 15.1 ppg
4. Alabama - 15.6 ppg
5. USC - 15.97 ppg
1. Virginia Tech - 268.3 ypg
2. Alabama - 275.5 ypg
3. Ohio State - 279.8 ypg
4. LSU - 285.2 ypg
5. Penn State - 290.3 ypg
1. TCU - 85.71 ypg
2. Texas - 91.08 ypg
3. Penn State - 96.99 ypg
4. Ohio State - 97.55 ypg
5. BC - 99.08 ypg