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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State football team, led by new head coach James Franklin, resumes on-field preparations for its 128th season on Monday, August 4 when it hits the practice field for the start of training camp. The team will report for pre-season camp on Sunday.
Franklin's squad returns 15 starters and 41 letterwinners and opens the campaign Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland. UCF is the first of three Penn State opponents this season who finished in the Top 10 last year, including home opponents Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.) and Michigan State (Nov. 29).
"I am really excited to get started on Monday," Franklin stated. "I am excited about what's going on at Penn State, our process and our program. Our guys have had a great summer. They're excited to get started. It's time to get to work."
In addition to the first day of practice, the Penn State coaches and players also will meet with the media on Monday for the team's pre-season Media Day.
Twenty-three players with starting experience return for the Nittany Lions, who ended last season with a 31-24 win at Wisconsin to finish 7-5. Franklin and the coaching staff will schedule the initial two weeks of the 29 allotted practices around the last eight days of classes and final exams for Penn State's second summer academic session. Final exams are Aug.15, six days the team can practice in full pads.
A maximum of 105 players at NCAA colleges and universities are permitted to participate in football training camp. Additional players can begin practice with the team on the first day of classes for the fall semester (August 25 at Penn State).
The Nittany Lions return 15 letterwinners on offense, including seven starters, and have two additional players with starting experience. Among the returnees are quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.), the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and tight end Jesse James (Glassport) and tackle Donovan Smith (Owings Mills, Md.), both of whom earned pre-season first-team All-Big Ten recognition.
The Penn State defense returns 23 letterwinners and seven starters, as well as six more players with starting experience. Among the returnees are safety Adrian Amos, who has started a team-high 25 games, and linebacker Mike Hull (Canonsburg) and cornerback Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.), both of whom earned pre-season first-team All-Big Ten accolades. Also returning is senior defensive end Brad Bars (Nashville), who missed the 2013 season with an injury.
Senior placekicker Sam Ficken, who made a school record 15 consecutive field goals in 2012-13, also returns.
Penn State has pre-season candidates for eight individual awards thus far entering the 2014 season: Hackenberg (Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards), Hull (Butkus Award), Lucas (Bednarik and Thorpe Awards), Smith (Outland Trophy), RB Bill Belton (Doak Walker Award), TE Kyle Carter (John Mackey Award), TE Jesse James (John Mackey Award) and RB Zach Zwinak (Doak Walker Award).
The 2014 campaign will mark the inaugural season of the Big Ten Conference's East and West Divisions. The Nittany Lions are the in East and will annually play division rivals Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Rutgers. Big Ten teams will play eight conference games in this year and in 2015 and move to nine conference games starting in 2016.
Franklin was named Penn State's 16th head football coach on January 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in Vanderbilt history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and set or tied 23 school records.
More than 5,000 new Penn State football season tickets have been sold for the 2014 campaign. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the upcoming season.
Alumni and fans are able to purchase Penn State football season tickets and make their Nittany Lion Club donation online at GoPSUsports.com/seasontickets, while choosing their own seats by utilizing Virtual Venue. New season tickets also are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
A new Penn State football partial season ticket plan is now on sale for the Akron, Ohio State, Maryland and Michigan State games and represents a nearly five percent savings from the single game prices. The partial season ticket plans are available only by calling 1-800-NITTANY.
Alumni and fans also are able to choose their own football single game seats online by utilizing the Ticketmaster Interactive Seat Map. Single game tickets are available at www.PSUnrivaled.com, by calling 1-800-NITTANY or visiting the Bryce Jordan Center Box Office.
Public single game tickets are not available for the Oct. 25 primetime clash with Ohio State, which is a Penn State White Out game. Single game tickets for the 8 p.m. contest vs. the Buckeyes are available exclusively to Nittany Lion Club members via the NLC member sale or with the purchase of new season or partial season ticket plans.
The Recent Graduate ticket program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation). More than 700 Recent Graduate program season tickets have been sold. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Penn State returns 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist) for the upcoming season and will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6, 12 p.m.), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.
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