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Jan. 29, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tailback Rodney Kinlaw has accepted an invitation to play in the Second Texas vs. The Nation Challenge. Collegians from Texas that were seniors in 2007 will play an all-star team from the rest of the nation, including Penn State's Kinlaw.
The contest will be played at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas and kick off at 3:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 2. CSTV will televise the game. Former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan will coach The Nation's team.
One of the best and most important stories of the Nittany Lions' 2007 season was the emergence of fifth-year senior Kinlaw as a productive and durable ball carrier. He recorded his first career 100-yard game with 129 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo in the third game of the season. He earned his first start at Illinois, the fifth game, and went on to become the 11th Nittany Lion to rush for 1,000 yards in season, despite starting only nine contests.
Kinlaw amassed 1,329 yards, the ninth-highest total in school season history. Kinlaw averaged a superb 5.5 yards on his 243 attempts. He averaged 102.2 yards per game, scored 10 rushing touchdowns and had six 100-yard rushing games. Winner of the team's Robert B. Mitinger Award for exhibiting "courage, character and social responsibility," he also was fifth on the team with 21 receptions for 128 yards.
Kinlaw punctuated his outstanding senior season in his final game, delivering another superb performance to earn Valero Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP honors. He posted his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, carrying the ball 21 times for 143 yards (6.8) in the 24-17 win over Texas A&M. The Goose Creek, S.C. product had 90 yards on 13 carries in the first half, finishing the season with three consecutive 100-yard efforts, to spark Penn State's season-high 270 rushing yards. Kinlaw became the 13th Nittany Lion to rush for at least 100 yards in a bowl game, earning the seventh-best rushing total.
The former Stratford High School All-American was named ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game after rushing for career-high 168 yards on 28 carries (6.0) and two scores (12 and 23 yards) in the 27-7 win over Iowa. Kinlaw eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season by rushing for a career-high tying 168 yards on 27 carries at Temple. He had runs of 32, 28, 16 and 15 yards, in addition to 10-yard TD burst. The nephew of former Nittany Lion All-American Courtney Brown also made a career-high five catches for 27 yards, giving him a personal best 195 all-purpose yards.
Kinlaw earned his degree last May in labor and industrial relations and is working on a second degree, in sociology.
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).