|Follow PSU Football:||Follow @PennStateFball|
Aug. 27, 2007
Penn State opens its 121st campaign, hosting Florida International University in the first meeting between the schools.
The Nittany Lions are seeking their 100th victory in a season opener, owning an impressive 99- 19-2 (83.3) record in the first contest of the season, winning their last five and 14 of the last 16. The Nittany Lions are 41-7 in season openers under Joe Paterno and 107-12-1 in home openers overall. The game is being televised by the new Big Ten Network, with Mark Neely, former Minnesota coach Glen Mason and Marshall Harris calling the action.
NITTANY LIONS A BLEND OF YOUTH
It has been a productive and challenging eight months for the Nittany Lions since concluding the 2006 season with a strong 20-10 victory over Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
Paterno will field one of the youngest squad's in his legendary tenure this season, with only 12 seniors on the roster. Among the dozen seniors, there may be only five that earn a starting assignment against FIU, with middle linebacker Dan Connor potentially the only senior starter on defense.
The Nittany Lions have 15 returning starters, along with three players who have made starts during their careers. Eight starters are back on offense and six on defense, along with placekicker Kevin Kelly.
The Nittany Lions return 32 lettermen from last season - 15 on offense, 15 on defense and two specialists. The list grows to 33 with the addition of senior tailback Austin Scott, who lettered in 2005 but was redshirted last year.
121ST SEASON OF
Penn State enters its 121st season of intercollegiate football with a 780-343-42 record, tied for sixth nationally in all-time victories with Alabama.
TWENTY WINS LAST TWO SEASONS
The Nittany Lions have won 22 of their last 27 games overall, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season. Penn State is 20-5 the past two seasons and one of 13 teams with at least 20 wins in 2005 and '06. The Lions will bring a three-game winning streak into this season.
FIVE BOWL TEAMS
VISITING BEAVER STADIUM
The Nittany Lions have a blockbuster home schedule that includes five bowl teams from 2006: Notre Dame (Sugar), Iowa (Alamo), Wisconsin (Capital One), Ohio State (BCS Championship game) and Purdue (Champs Sports). Penn State will play a sixth bowl team when it visits Michigan (Rose) in the Sept. 22 Big Ten Conference opener. Three of the opponents played in Bowl Championship Series games last season. Penn State has played at least seven bowl teams from the previous season in four of the past six years (six in 2005 and `07). LIONS IN SEASON OPENERS
The Nittany Lions own an impressive 99-19-2 (83.3) record in season openers, winning their last five and 14 of the last 16. The Lions are 34-7 in season openers under Coach Joe Paterno and 107- 12-1 in home openers overall.
Penn State has won 47 of 58 (81.0) non-conference games overall since starting Big Ten play in 1993, including victories against Southern California (3), Tennessee (2), Texas, Miami, Fla., Florida State, Nebraska, Auburn, Texas A& M, Pittsburgh (3), Louisville (2), Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, Arizona, Texas Tech, Southern Miss (2), UCF (2) and South Florida. Upon conclusion of the Notre Dame series, the Nittany Lions will face Syracuse in 2008 and '09, Alabama in 2010 and '11 and Virginia in 2012 and '13.
LIONS VS. FLORIDA SCHOOLS
Penn State has previously played five schools from the state of Florida, posting an 11-9-1 record against UCF (2-0), South Florida (1-0), Miami (7- 6), Florida State (1-1-1) and Florida (0-2). The Nittany Lions have won their four meetings against teams from Florida, including a thrilling triple overtime win over Florida State in the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl. The last loss came to eventual national champion Miami in the 2001 season opener.
LIONS FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE
Penn State has had several prominent players from Florida in recent years and has a presence on two National Football League teams in the Sunshine State.
In the last 15 years, among the Floridians to matriculate to Happy Valley are: David Daniels (Sarasota), Jason Henderson (Satellite Beach), Tim Johnson (Sarasota), Rich McKenzie (Fort Lauderdale), Willie Smith (Fort Pierce), Michael Timpson (Miami), Greg Truitt (Sarasota) and John Wilson (Ormond Beach).
Two of Florida's NFL franchises have Nittany Lion alumni on their rosters: second-year cornerback Alan Zemaitis is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tight end Isaac Smolko is working to earn a roster spot with Jacksonville.
COACH Joe Paterno
In his 42nd season as head coach of the Nittany Lions and 58th year on the coaching staff, Joe Paterno stands second all-time in victories among major college coaches. A 1950 graduate of Brown University, Paterno brings a career record of 363- 121-3, a winning percentage of 74.8, into the new campaign.
This season, Paterno will break a tie with Amos Alonzo Stagg as the longest serving head coach at one school in major college football history. Stagg served as head coach at the University of Chicago for 41 years (1892-1932) during his 57-year tenure as a head coach.
Paterno has led the Nittany Lions to two national championships (1982 and '86) and five undefeated seasons (1968, '69, '73, '86 and '94).
Selected the AFCA National Coach of the Year and unprecedented five times, Paterno is the all-time leader in bowl wins with a record of 22-10-1.
He is one of only nine coaches in NCAA history (five in Division I-A) to win 300 games andreached the milestone faster than anyone (380 games). He also is the only Div. I-A head coach with 300 victories at one school. Paterno will be inducted into the National Football Foundation and College of Fame in December. His induction was postponed to this year due to injuries he sustained during the Penn State at Wisconsin game on November 4, 2006 that prevented him from traveling to the festivities.
FIU COACH MARIO CRISTOBAL
Mario Cristobal is in his first season as head coach of the Golden Panthers. He came to FIU after three years as an assistant coach at the University of Miami, his alma mater, coaching the offensive line in 2006. He also was an assistant coach at Rutgers from 2001-03. Cristobal was a first team All-Big East tackle for the Hurricanes and is a 1993 Miami graduate.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN PANTHERS
Florida International returns 17 starters and 45 letterwinners from last year's squad that lost five games by five points or fewer, including two by one point and one in seven overtimes, and finished with an 0-12 mark. The Golden Panthers return eight starters on offense, two on defense and both specialists.
In its third season as members of the Sun Belt Conference, FIU returns all five starters on the offensive line, running backs A'mod Ned and John Ellis and wide receiver Ashlyn Parker. Ned ran for 445 yards on 94 attempts (4.7 avg.) and two touchdowns last season, with 17 receptions for 141 yards. Running back Julian Reams ran for 325 yards on 104 carries, with three touchdowns, and made 10 catches. Parker earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt recognition after making 23 receptions for 231 yards last year.
The Golden Panthers return all four starters in the secondary and three from the defensive line. One of the defensive leaders should be cornerback Lionell Singleton, who was a second team all-conference selection in 2006. He made 38 tackles (23 solo), grabbed five interceptions, returned 13 kickoffs for a 28.7 average and had 14 punt returns for a 10.0 average. Cornerback Robert Mitchell made 45 tackles, with 4.5 tackles for loss, and had two interceptions and one fumble recovery. FIU does not have any players who are Pennsylvania natives but two members of the coaching staff are. Defensive coordinator Phil Galiano is from Philadelphia and graduated from Shippensburg University. Special teams coordinator Apollo Wright also is from Philadelphia and earned his degree from Cheyney University.
LIONS APPEAR ON BIG TEN
NETWORK ON DEBUT WEEKEND
The Penn State-Florida International contest is one of six football games being televised by the Big Ten Network during its opening weekend. The Network launches on Thursday in more than 16 million homes, including approximately 100 cable providers in the eight Big Ten states and all DirecTV subscribers (Ch. 220). D&E Communications in State College and Lewisburg is among the Pennsylvania cable companies airing the Big Ten Network on its expanded basic package.
A minimum of three Penn State football games will air on the Big Ten Network this season, including the Sept. 15 contest with Buffalo. At least one conference game also will be televised by the network and possibly more.
The Big Ten Network will air at least 35 Big Ten football games this season, with each school making at least two appearances. Three times this season, Tthe Big Ten Network will have the second choice among ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 on whichgame it will air. The network will have the No. 3 choice three times as well.
Most Big Ten Network football games will air at 12:00 p.m., with the remainder kicking off during the primetime window. ESPN/ABC have exclusive rights to air games during the 3:30 p.m. window. The Big Ten Network will televise 350-400 events during its inaugural year, including at least 35 football games, more than 125 men's basketball games, including 64 of the 99 intra-conference games, women's basketball and more than 170 Olympic sport events.
The Big Ten Network is a national television network, available to all cable and satellite providers nationwide, that will allow fans to see their home teams regardless of where they live. The network will air more than 600 hours of Penn State programming during its inaugural year. The vast majority of Penn State's 29 varsity sports will be featured on the Big Ten Network in 2007-08, in addition to at least 60 hours of institutional, nonathletic programming.
In additon to at least three Penn State football games, approximately 20 Nittany Lion basketball games will air on the Big Ten Network during the upcoming year, At least 15 of Penn State's conference men's basketball games will air on the network. The Lady Lion basketball team will make several appearances on the Big Ten Network,with the schedule to be announced. Penn State's field hockey, women's volleyball and men's and women's soccer teams will appear on the Big Ten Network this fall.
To get the Big Ten Network, fans should call 1- 866- WANT-B10 and record a message or be patched through to their cable operator and request that the network be a part of their expanded basic package.
"FOOTBALL EVE" TO LAUNCH SEASON
FRIDAY IN BEAVER STADIUM
Penn State will kick off the campaign with "Penn State Football Eve presented by Sheetz" on Friday, August 31. The fourth year event starts the new season with a festival-like atmosphere surrounding Beaver Stadium followed by a celebration inside the stadium with the team and Coach Joe Paterno.
The "night before" activities outside the stadium include a barbeque, festival food and fun along Curtain Road which will become a fan promenade at 6:00 p.m. Stadium gates A&B open at 7:00 p.m. for fans who wish to be seated early with a showing of 2006 football highlights. The program inside the stadium starts at 7:45 p.m. featuring the Blue Band, cheerleaders, dance team and videos. The seniors will be introduced and after Coach Paterno's address to the crowd a new stadium video will be unveiled.
The evening will culminate with fireworks over Beaver Stadium. Admission and parking are free for "Penn State Football Eve presented by Sheetz." "Penn State Football Eve presented by Sheetz.," which launches the first weekend of the football season, attracted approximately 25,000 fans in each of its first two events. Last year's event was cancelled due to heavy rain. The Nittany Lions' season opener is against Florida International on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
"Football Eve" will be a part of the freshman "Welcome Week," with their orientation continuing in the stadium, where the freshman will gain an understanding of student traditions during the football games. FSN Pittsburgh will have a "Who Wants to be an Announcer?" station outside the All- Sports Museum for aspiring sports broadcasters. Kids games, a barbeque, festival food, surprises and an oldies band will all be part of the promenade along Curtain Road.
A trio of seniors have been elected captains of the 2007 Penn State football team. All-America linebacker Dan Connor, wide receiver Terrell Golden and quarterback Anthony Morelli were elected tri-captains by their teammates. Connor has been named a pre-season first team All-American by various publications and is a candidate for the Bednarik, Butkkus, Rotary Lombardi and Lott awards. Last season, he earned first team All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a second team Associated Press All-American. The former Strath Haven High School standout became the 13th linebacker to earn first team All- America honors at "Linebacker U" under Coach Joe Paterno. Connor has 274 career stops, 98 away from Paul Posluszny's school record and was the lone junior among the three finalists for the 2006 Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.
The lone senior among Penn State's talented and deep receiving corps, Golden has earned praise from his teammates as one of the squad's leaders since off-season workouts began in January. The recipient of the 2007 Red Worrell Award as the offense's most improved played in spring practice, Golden made six receptions for 120 yards last season. The former Lake Taylor High School standout has an impressive career 21.7 yards per catch average, with 18 catches for 390 yards and two touchdowns. During his first season as the Lions' starting signal-caller, Morelli led Penn State to wins in five of its last six games and broke the school season records for pass completions (208) and attempts (386). His 2,424 passing yards were third-highest on the school season list. The former Penn Hills High School All-American had 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions and posted the school's seventh-lowest season interception percentage. A candidate for the Davey O'Brien, Manning and Johnny Unitas awards, he ended the season with a very strong performance, going 14 of 25 for 197 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions, in directing the Outback Bowl win over Tennessee.
TRIO OF RETURNING
Among the returning starters are three players who earned All-America or All-Big Ten recognition in 2006: senior linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford), a first team All-American; junior cornerback Justin King (Pittsburgh), a second team All-Big Ten selection and junior safety Anthony Scirrotto (West Deptford, N.J.), who earned first team All-Big Ten accolades and was named to ESPN.com's All-Bowl Team.
Among the players who have changed positions since the end of last season: Brett Brackett (QB to WR); Gerald Cadogan (G to T); Tony Davis (CB toSaf); Larry Federoff (LB to FB); Mike Lucian (DT to G); Ross Muir (C to G); Brendan Perretta (WR to CB); Mark Rubin (WR to Saf); and John Shaw (T to G).
Several Nittany Lions have changed numbers since last season, including wide receiver Brett Brackett (83); wide receiver Kevin Cousins (9); cornerback Devin Fentress (20); safety Jason Ganter (42); cornerback Willie Harriott (6), tailback Rodney Kinlaw (20); safety Mark Rubin (9), placekicker Collin Wagner (36) and wideout Graham Zug (5).
SIX STARTERS RETURN
FROM TOP 15 DEFENSIVE UNIT
Six starters return from a defensive unit that was ranked in the Top 15 nationally in rushing (87.5 ypg, 7th), scoring (14.4 ppg, 9th), total defense (284.5 ypg, 15th) and pass efficiency defense (105.9 rating, 14th) and sacks (40, T-sixth) in 2006. The Nittany Lions were one of only four teams nationally ranked in the Top 15 in all five categories.
The Nittany Lions held 10 opponents to 17 or fewer points last season, including the last seven. Over the last seven games, the Lions allowed 65 points, an average of 9.28 per game. Over the last five games, the Lions allowed 36 points (7.2 avg.) with two shutouts.
Penn State held opponents to an average of 14.4 points per game last season, including limiting Tennessee to a season-low 10 points, significantly below its average of 29.3 ppg entering the game. Not including 21 points scored by opposing defenses, Penn State's defense gave up an average of 12.7 ppg.
LEGACY IN GOOD HANDS
Paul Posluszny, the two-time All-American and Bednarik Award winner, graduated last December as the Nittany Lions' career tackle leader (372). But, the "Linebacker U" legacy is in good hands with returning starters Dan Connor (Wallingford) and Sean Lee (Pittsburgh), who will lead what should again be one of the nation's top linebacker units.
Connor will likely move to middle linebacker this season, with redshirt junior Tyrell Sales (Butler) the leading candidate to fill the open OLB spot.
Asenior, Connor earned first team All-America accolades from The Sporting News and was one of three finalists for the 2006 Bednarik Award. Also a candidate for the Butkus, Rotary Lombardi and Lott awards this season, Connor was second on the squad and fifth in the Big Ten with 113 tackles, including nine tackles for losses, five sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He will enter the season with 274 career stops, 98 behind Posluszny's school record total.
A junior, Lee quickly emerged as an impact player last fall. He was third on the team with 90 tackles (12th in Big Ten) and had 8.0 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. He also grabbed an interception. Lee and Connor combined to force the fumble that Tony Davis returned 88 yards for the eventual game-winning score against Tennessee in the 2007 Outback Bowl.
TALENTED & EXPERIENCED SECONDARY
Three starters return in the secondary, a unit that improved throughout last season and was very productive. Junior safety Anthony Scirrotto (West Deptford, N.J.) led the Big Ten with six interceptions, was fourth on the team with 58 tackles (42 solo) and had eight pass break-ups. He earned first team All- Big Ten accolades and was named to ESPN.com's All-Bowl Team after making eight tackles, with an interception and two pass break-ups against Tennessee.
A junior cornerback, Justin King (Pittsemerged as one of the Big Ten's top cover corners and made 30 tackles, with an interception against Ohio State. He limited OSU's Ted Ginn, Jr. two two catches for 15 yards and kept Tennessee's Robert Meachem to four catches for 33 yards. Also a junior, cornerback Tony Davis (Warren, Ohio) made 42 tackles and was second in the Big Ten with 13 pass break-ups in his first season as a starter. Davis also returned two fumbles for touchdowns, including a game-winning 88- yard return in the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl. Junior Lydell Sargeant (Lompoc, Calif.) and sophomore A.J. Wallace (Waldorf, Md.) are battling for the vacant corner spot.
MORELLI LEADS EIGHT
RETURNING OFFENSIVE STARTERS
Senior quarterback Anthony Morelli (Pittsburgh) will lead eight returning starters for a talented and experience offense. The Nittany Lions must replace tailback Tony Hunt, who gained 3,320 career yards, two-time All-America tackle Levi Brown and guard Robert Price.
Last year, in his first season as the starter, the talented and strong-armed Morelli broke school season records for pass completions (208) and attempts (386), while his 2,424 yards were third-highest. He also posted the program's sixth-lowest season interception percentage (8 int. in 386 attempts). Morelli threw 11 touchdown passes and completed 54 percent of his passes.
SKILLED & EXPERIENCED RECEIVERS
The Nittany Lions should again have one of the nation's premier receiver units, a group which returns intact. In 2006, for the first time in program history, three different receivers caught 40 or more passes in a season. Juniors Deon Butler (48-637-2), Jordan Norwood (45-472-2) and Derrick Williams (40-440-1) are joined by senior tri-captain Terrell Golden (6-120-0).
Butler's 48 receptions last season were tied for sixth-highest in school season annals. He stands 12th all-time for career receiving yards at Penn State with 1,328 and 13th with 85 career receptions. Norwood is 14th on the school career receptions list with 77.
Sophomore tight Andrew Quarless (Uniondale, N.Y.), who started eight games, also returns after making 21 catches for 288 yards and two scores during his true freshman season.
TRIO OF STARTERS
RETURN ON O-LINE
The offensive line welcomes back four players with starting experience, three of whom are likely to be on the first unit against FIU.
Junior A.Q. Shipley (Coraopolis) started every game at center last season and will anchor the line Hewas on the field for 897 snaps last year, tops among all offensive players and fourth-highest on the squad. Senior John Shaw (Spring Grove) started the first 10 games at right tackle before being sidelined with an ankle injury. Shaw was shifted to guard during spring drills and is the probable starter at right guard. Junior Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio) started five of the first six games at left guard last year and is the top candidate at left tackle.
Junior Rich Ohrnberger (East Meadow, N.Y.) started the last nine games at right guard last season and is battling redshirt freshman Lou Eliades (Ocean, N.J.) for the starting assignment at left guard. Redshirt sophomore Dennis Landolt (Burlington, N.J.) is the top candidate at right tackle.
RETURNS AFTER RECORD SEASON
Junior placekicker Kevin Kelly (Langhorne) returns for his third season. His 22 field goals last year tied Matt Bahr's school single season record and his 34 field goals attempts surpassed the previous Penn State season mark of 33, set by Chris Bahr in 1975. Kelly was tied for the Big Ten scoring lead with 96 points.
SEVEN LIONS ARE GRADUATES
Five squad members have already earned their degrees. In May, tailback Rodney Kinlaw (Goose Creek, S.C.) and center Patrick Weber (Arnold) graduated. In August, a trio of Nittany Lions graduated: quarterback Paul Cianciolo (Charleston, S.C.), wide receiver Terrell Golden (Norfolk, Va.) and tight end Jordan Lyons (Atlanta, Ga.). Cianciolo and Lyons have junior eligibility this season.
PATERNO SECOND IN NCAA
DIVISION I-A CAREER WINS
Joe Paterno is second in all-time Division I-A victories, with a record of 363-121-3 (74.8) in his 42nd season as head coach.
Penn State's thrilling 29-27 comeback win over Ohio State on Oct. 27, 2001 was Paterno's 324th career victory, moving him past Paul "Bear" Bryant for the lead in career victories among major college coaches. Paterno earned his 324th win in his 421st career game during his 36th season as head coach.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden moved past Paterno for the lead among major college coaches on Oct. 25, 2003. Bowden has a 366-113- 4 record in his 42nd season as a head coach. Paterno is in fourth place in wins among coaches from all NCAAdivisions, trailing only John Gagliardi (443), the coach of Division III St. John's (Minn.), former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson (408) and Bowden (366).
With a winning percentage of 74.8, Paterno was in fifth place among active I-A coaches in winning percentage entering the season (minimum 10 years as a I-A head coach).
PATERNO ELECTED TO
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Joe Paterno's induction into the National Football Foundation and College of Fame was postponed until December due to injuries he sustained during the Penn State at Wisconsin game on November 4, 2006, which prevented him from traveling.
Paterno had been scheduled for induction into the College of Fame last December alongside Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and 13 players. Paterno and Bowden were honored at the Foundation's 2006 gala event with the NFF's Gold Medal, the organizations's highest honor, during a video tribute.
Paterno's College Football Hall of Fame induction will take place at the 50th Hall of Fame Awards dinner on December 4, 2007. He will become the 21st member of the Penn State football family to gain induction into the Hall, joining four former coaches and 16 players, seven of whom he coached.
The Gold Medal has been awarded annually since 1958 and recognizes an outstanding American who has demonstrated integrity and honesty, achieved significant career success and has reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football. Paterno and Bowden were the 49th and 50th recipients of the Gold Medal, which has been presented to seven U.S. Presidents, four U.S.
Generals, three U.S. Admirals, one U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 25 Corporate CEOs and Chairmen, John Wayne and Jackie Robinson.
IN GAMES ON SIDELINE
Joe Paterno ranks second all-time in games coached among major college coaches. The FIU game will be his 488th game as head coach. Amos Alonzo Stagg's 548 games top all major college coaches. He is followed by Paterno, Pop Warner and Bobby Bowden (482), Paul "Bear" Bryant (425) and Hayden Fry (420).
600-PLUS AND COUNTING
The FIU contest will be the 641st game Joe Paterno has coached in since joining the Nittany Lions' staff in 1950.
In his 58th season as a member of the Penn State staff, Paterno followed Rip Engle from Brown to Penn State after graduating in 1950 and was involved in 155 games as an assistant coach from 1950-65. He was promoted to head coach in 1966.
Paterno has missed just three games in his career. As an assistant coach, he missed the 1955 game at Army when his father, Angelo, died. As head coach in 1977, Joe and Sue Paterno's son, David, was involved in a serious trampoline accident the day before the Lions' game at Syracuse and Paterno did not attend the contest. Paterno missed the Nov. 11, 2006 game with Temple, which took place five days after he had surgery on his left leg, which was injured in a sideline collision at Wisconsin on Nov. 4.
Paterno's first game on the Penn State staff was Sept. 30, 1950, a 34-14 win vs. Georgetown. The Nittany Lions have earned a 467-169-7 record with Paterno on the staff, with their 73.2 winning percentage fourth-best nationally since 1950.
PATERNO LONGEVITY AMAZING
Since Joe Paterno became head coach in 1966, there have been 798 head coaching changes in Division I-A, an average of more than six changes per institution!
PATERNO AMONG ELITE GROUP
OF BIG TEN COACHES
The dean among active Big Ten coaches, Joe Paterno is one of just 12 coaches in Big Ten history to win at least 100 games at one institution. The Nittany Lions have a 116-54 overall record since starting play in the Big Ten in 1993.
|Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago||243|
|Woody Hayes, Ohio State||205|
|Bo Schembechler, Michigan||194|
|Fielding Yost, Michigan||165|
|Hayden Fry, Iowa||143|
|Henry Williams, Minnesota||136|
|Robert Zuppke, Illinois||131|
|Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin||118|
|John Cooper, Ohio State||111|
|Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State||109|
|Joe Paterno, Penn State||116 (active)|
|Lloyd Carr, Michigan||113 (active)|
Joe Paterno has led Penn State to seven unbeaten, untied regular seasons since becoming head coach in 1966, the most of any team in the nation. The Nittany Lions have earned five unbeaten, untied seasons under Paterno (1968, `69, `73, `86, `94), with two teams (1978, `85) losing in national championship bowl games.
PENN STATE - 7
Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Ohio State - 6
Alabama, Oklahoma - 5
TOUGH IN TIGHT GAMES
Penn State is 95-48-3 under Joe Paterno in games decided by seven points or less, winning of 33 of 51 since starting Big Ten play in 1993.
BIG TEN LEADER IN BOWL GAMES
Penn State leads all Big Ten schools in bowl wins, appearances and winning percentage. The Nittany Lions have a 25-12-2 record in bowl games and their winning percentage of 66.7 leads the nation among schools with a minimum of 10 bowl wins. Penn State is third nationally in bowl wins, while its 39 bowl appearances are eighth-best.
STRONG AGAINST BIG TEN
Penn State is playing its 15th season as members of the Big Ten Conference this fall. Since 1993, the Nittany Lions are 69-43 in conferencecontests, trailing only Ohio State and Michigan. Penn State is 116-54 (68.2) overall, trailing only Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin.
BIG TEN NO PLAYS
Penn State will meet Indiana and Iowa this season for the first time since 2004, while Minnesota and Northwestern rotate off the Nittany Lions' schedule for the next two years.
LIONS OWN NATION'S FOURTH-BEST
MARK SINCE 1950
It should come as no surprise that Penn State has the nation's fourth-best record since Joe Paterno joined the coaching staff in 1950. Oklahoma is the leader with a 488-154-12 (75.5) mark, followed by Ohio State (465-147-15, 75.3), Nebraska (483-173-9, 73.3), Penn State (467-169-7, 73.2) and Michigan (450-170-13, 72.1).
BADGERS ARE HOMECOMING FOE
Wisconsin will provide the opposition for Penn State's 88th Homecoming game on Oct. 13 (3:30 p.m.). The Lions have an impressive 62-20-5 record in front of the alumni audience, winning 36 of 41 Homecoming tilts under Joe Paterno.
HOME SCHEDULE SOLD OUT; RECORD
93,500 SEASON TICKETS SOLD
Unprecedented demand for Penn State season tickets resulted in a complete sellout for the 2007 Nittany Lion football campaign.
With a record total of more than 93,500 season tickets accounted for and student and Nittany Lion Club ticket sales hitting record high numbers in record times, Penn State fans have assured that Beaver Stadium will again host some of the largest football crowds in the nation this fall.
The excitement for the 2007 football season pushed Penn State season tickets beyond 90,000 for the second consecutive year in Beaver Stadium, which has a capacity of 107,282, second-largest in the nation. Penn State students sold out their 21,000-plus season tickets in a record 59 minutes in June.
Bud Meredith, Director of Ticket Operations, reported in July that an all-time high of 99 percent of last year's season ticket holders renewed their seats for the 2007 season.
Fewer than 100 club seats remain for the 2007 season, with more than 100 having been sold since June. For information on club seats, interested fans can call Bob White at 1-800-NITTANY (1-800- 648-8269).
The anticipation of the upcoming season has also resulted in a strong demand for tickets to the Nittany Lions' five away games. Penn State's allotment for the Sept. 22 clash at Michigan is sold out. A limited number of tickets remain for three of Penn State's Big Ten away games -- Illinois (Sept. 29), Indiana (Oct. 20) and Michigan State (Nov. 17).
Penn State's allotment for the Nov. 10 contest against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field is sold out.
Tickets for the three available away games are on sale at: www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics. Orders also can be placed by calling 814-865-5555 or 800-863-3336 weekdays from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
In July, Joe Battista, Executive Director of the Nittany Lion Club, reported that the NLC addedmore than 2,200 new members during the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2007. The Nittany Lion Club had a record high of 22, 818 members at the end of fiscal 2007. There were 18,373 NLC members at the end of fiscal 2005, an increase of 20 percent over the last two years.
Season ticket requests for new members, and additional seats requested by 2006-07 members, exceeded tickets available by approximately 6,000 for the 2007 football season.
PENN STATE FOOTBALL WEEKEND:
" GREATEST SHOW IN COLLEGE
A Penn State home football weekend topped the list of Sports Illustrated on Campus magazine's "102 More Things To Do Before Graduation," and Nittany Lion football coach Joe Paterno was on the cover of the October 27, 2005 issue.
SI on Campus not only named Penn State the nation's top college football gameday location, but called Penn State home football games, "The Greatest Show In College Sports."
The honor was the second during 2005 for Penn State's loyal and enthusiastic fans. In voting conducted by SI.com, Penn State was selected the nation's premier college or professional football tailgating venue. Penn State defeated Texas, Washington and LSU to win the collegiate title and defeated the Buffalo Bills to capture the overall distinction as the nation's top tailgating location.
Penn State has one of the nation's most energetic and dedicated fan bases, with fans starting to arrive in their recreational vehicles as early as Thursday morning for home games. Beaver Stadium's capacity of 107,282 is the nation's second- largest and Penn State has been ranked in the top four in attendance in the nation for each of the past 15 years. A raucous crowd of 109,839 filled the stadium for the Nittany Lions' 17-10 win over Ohio State last year, including more than 20,000 students dressed in white in order to "White Out" Ohio State. Penn State had three of its four largest crowds in Beaver Stadium history in 2005, topped by 109,865 for Wisconsin on Senior Day.
Six days prior to the Ohio State and Wisconsin clashes, Penn State students began camping out just outside the stadium for the best seats for nationally televised contests. "Paternoville" grew to more than 130 tents by gameday.
NUMEROUS LIONS HAVE FAMILY
TIES TO PENN STATE FOOTBALL
Thirteen members of the 2007 squad have ties to current or former Nittany Lion football team players and coaches:
- True freshman wide receiver Tyler Ahrenhold's
father, Frank, lettered from 1969-71 as a wideout;
- Junior quarterback Paul Cianciolo is the younger brother of Joe Cianciolo, who was a senior linebacker on the 2006 squad;
- Fifth-year senior safety Jason Ganter is the son of Fran Ganter, who is in his fourth year as Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration after 37 years as a Penn State player and assistant coach. Jason's older brother, Chris, was a quarterback for the Nittany Lions (2001-04) and an uncle, Jimmy Cefalo was a standout wide receiver from 1974-77;
- Junior cornerback Justin King's stepfather, Terry Smith, was a Penn State letterman at wide receiver from 1988-91 and ranks sixth in school career receptions; - Fifth-year senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw is a nephew of former All-America defensive end Courtney Brown (1996-99);
- Redshirt sophomore wideout Patrick Mauti's father, Rich, was a letterman for the Nittany Lions in 1975 and `76;
- Junior wideout Jordan Norwood's father, Brian, is in his seventh season as the Nittany Lions' safeties coach;
- Fifth-year senior guard John Shaw's older brother, Jim, was a senior defensive end on the 2006 squad;
- Redshirt sophomore tight end Mickey Shuler is the son of former Nittany Lion standout TE Mickey Shuler, a letterman from 1975-77 and a 14-year NFL player;
- True freshman linebacker Nathan Stupar's father, Steve, played tackle for the Nittany Lions, earning a letter in 1979. The younger Stupar also has three uncles that played for and lettered at Penn State: Ron (1975-77), Doug (1976-78) and Jeff Hostetler (1980).
- Redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Suhey and true freshman tailback Joe Suhey are members of the one the most prominent families in Penn State football history. Their great grandfather, Bob Higgins, was Penn State's second All-American, in 1915, and earned All-America honors again in 1919. He served as head coach of the Nittany Lions from 1930-48. Their grandfather, Steve Suhey, was a letterman in 1942 and again in 1946-47, earning All- America honors his senior season. He married one of Bob Higgins' daughters, Ginger. Three of their sons, Paul (Kevin's father), Larry and Matt (Joe's father) played for Penn State in the 1970's;
- True freshman offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski's father, Leo, was a standout defensive lineman for the Lions, earning letters from 1979-81. Stefen's uncle, Steve Wisniewski, was a two-time first team All-America guard during his outstanding Penn State career (1985-88).
PATERNO HAS COACHED 22
Including eight current squad members, Joe Paterno has coached a total of 22 father-son combinations during his 42 seasons as head coach at Penn State. Some of the combinations include more than one son:
Current (years lettered):
Frank Ahrenhold (1969-71)/Tyler Ahrenhold
(member of 2007 team)
Fran Ganter (1968-70)/ Chris (2002-04) and Jason Ganter (2005-present)
Rich Mauti (1975-76)/ Patrick Mauti (member of 2005-07 teams)
Mickey Shuler (1975-77)/ Mickey Shuler (member of 2005-07 teams)
Terry Smith, stepfather (1988-91)/ Justin King ( 2005- present)
Steve Stupar (1979)/Nathan Stupar (member of 2007 team)
Paul Suhey (1975-78)/ Kevin Suhey (member of 2006- present)
Leo Wisniewski (1979-81)/Stefen Wisniewski (member of 2007 team)
Past (years lettered):
Rich Buzin (1966-67)/ Mike Buzin (1996, `98);
Bob Campbell, stepfather (1966-68)/RyanMike Guman (1976-79)/ Andrew Guman (2001- 2004);
Kevin Hart (1976)/ Mike Hart (member of 2004- 06 teams)
Pete Johnson (1967-69)/ Tim Johnson (2003);
Dave Joyner (1969-71)/ Andy (played 1993-94) and Matt Joyner (1996-98);
John Kulka (1966-68)/ Todd Kulka (1995);
Ed Lenda (1965-66)/ Tyler Lenda (1999-2002);
Charlie Pittman (1967-69)/ Tony Pittman (1992- 94);
Bob Rickenbach (1970-72)/ Eric Rickenbach (2000, `02);
Jerry Sandusky (1963-66)/ E.J. (1991-92) & Jon Sandusky (1998-99);
Victor Surma (1968-70)/ Vic Surma (played 2002- 05);
Tom Williams (1973-74)/ Tom (2001) and Casey Williams (2002-03);
Tom Wise (1978-80)/ Brent Wise (played 2003- 05).
Penn State had three ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans in Paul Posluszny, Tim Shaw and Nolan McCready in 2006, with Posluszny being selected the Academic All- American of the Year, as well as a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete. Several Nittany Lions should be under consideration for Academic All-America honors again this fall, including tackle Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio), who earned Academic All- District accolades in 2006. Linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh), wide receiver Jordan Norwood (State College) and safety Mark Rubin (Amherst, N.Y.) also should be candidates.
During Paterno's tenure, Penn State has had 35 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® (26 first team). Penn State ranks fourth among all Division I-A institutions in Academic All- America® football honorees.
ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA LEADERS
Penn State ranks fourth nationally among the top schools in all-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Football selections as selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (I-A schools only):
PENN STATE UPLIFTING ATHETES' "LIFT
FOR LIFE" RAISES RECORD $75,000
FOR KIDNEY CANCER ASSOCIATION
Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes' Fifth annual "Lift For Life" was a tremendous success, raising this year's contributions for the Kidney Cancer Association to a record total in excess of $75,000 to date.
Eighty-four Nittany Lion football student-athletes tested their strength and endurance on July 13 in an 11-event strength and conditioning challenge in front of a record total of more than 3,000 fans, friends and family in Holuba Hall.
With the record-setting total, more than $225,000 has been raised since 2003 by members of the Penn State football team to aid in the fight against the disease. More than 30,000 Americans are afflicted with kidney cancer each year. Several kidney cancer patients from across the country were able to connect with one another and the Kidney Cancer Association at the event. Twenty-two four-person teams competed in 11 events designed to test mental and physical toughness. ). The exercises for the competitors ranged from the bench press to carrying 100-lb. plates to the giant tire flip.
The winning team was comprised of wide receiver Brett Brackett (Lawrenceville, N.J.), safety Jason Ganter (State College), quarterback Kevin Suhey (State College) and safety Mark Rubin (Amherst, N.Y.).
Second place was secured by the team of defensive end Josh Gaines (Fort Wayne, Ind.), linebacker Tyrell Sales (Butler), tailback Austin Scott (Allentown) and center A.Q. Shipley (Coraopolis). The third place team was comprised of linebacker Navorro Bowman (District Heights, Md.), defensive end Aaron Maybin (Ellicott City, Md.), cornerback A.J. Wallace (Waldorf, Md.) and wide receiver Derrick Williams (Greenbelt, Md.)
The Nittany Lion football team organized all aspects of the event, with Brackett, Ganter and Suhey primarily heading the effort, along with other current squad members, former Nittany Lion and event co-founder Scott Shirley and Deloris Brobeck.
For more information about the Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes, "Lift for Life," or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit http://www.pennstate.upliftingathletes.org or contact Brobeck at 814-865-1946 during business hours.
LIONS FACE SERIES OF CHALLENGING
The Nittany Lions are facing an impressive lineup of intersectional opponents throughout this decade. Among the Nittany Lions' non-conference opponents this decade: Miami, Fla. (2001), Southern Miss (2001), Virginia (2001-02), Nebraska (2002-03), Boston College (2003-04), Notre Dame (2006-07) and Syracuse (2008-09).
The 2004-05 series with Alabama was postponed at the Crimson Tide's request to 2010 and `11 seasons. Penn State and Virginia are scheduled to play again in 2012 and `13.
SECURITY MEASURES REMAIN IN
EFFECT FOR THIS SEASON
Several additional security measures implemented in and around Beaver Stadium during the 2001 season will continue to be in effect this season:
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has
granted a request for airspace restriction around
Beaver Stadium for every home game. Activities are
restricted to a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter.
- An increased number of security and stadium personnel;
- Prohibiting fans from bringing large purses, bags and backpacks to the stadium. Any items brought into the stadium are subject to inspection;
- Ticket holders will not be permitted to leave the stadium and later re-enter.
University officials also are asking fans for their cooperation and understanding when traveling to and parking for all home games. Fans should anticipate needing extra time to enter the stadium gates:
- Fans are strongly encouraged to follow traffic instructions and park where instructed; vehicles risk being towed if they are in unassigned areas;
- Fans are encouraged to take the appropriate route to the stadium based on your parking pass;
- All Club Seat patrons with reserved parking are encouraged to access the parking lot via Porter Road off of Route 26/College Avenue, which can be accessed via the U.S. 322 Bypass.Fans also are encouraged to ride the CATAshuttle bus from downtown State College and selected hotels to and from the game. The shuttle bus drop-off and pick-up location is at the corner of Curtin Road and University Drive, two blocks from Beaver Stadium.
REUNION OF `82 TITLE TEAM
SET FOR NOTRE DAME GAME
Penn State's 1982 National Championship team will be honored at the Notre Dame game on Sept. 8. The Nittany Lions posted an 11-1 record, defeating No. 1 Georgia, 27-23, in the 1983 Sugar Bowl to capture Penn State's first national title.
Game 2: vs. Notre Dame; Sept. 8, 6:00 p.m. EDT in Beaver Stadium
Tickets: sold out
Radio/ TV: The game will air on the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com and will be televised by ESPN to a national audience.
Series: The Nittany Lions and Fighting Irish will be playing in Happy Valley for the first time since 1991. Notre Dame won last year in South Bend to take a 9-8-1 series lead.
Penn State enters its 121st season of intercollegiate football with a 780-343-42 record, tied for sixth nationally in all-time victories with Alabama...The Nittany Lions have a 223-56 record (79.9) in BeaverStadium since the facility was erected in 1960.