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Sept. 8, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the primary catalysts in Penn State's s 45-14 thumping of Oregon State on Saturday has earned his first Big Ten Player of the Week recognition.
Sophomore tailback Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.) was honored by the conference after rushing for a career-high 141 yards on just 17 carries (8.3) and scoring three touchdowns in the convincing win over the Beavers. Royster shares the honor with Michigan State running back Javon Ringer and Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber.
Tailback Tony Hunt (Nov. 2006 vs Temple) was Penn State's last Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honoree.
Royster eclipsed his previous high of 126 yards vs. Purdue last season. He opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run and his 28-yard TD burst around the left side made it 21-0 seconds into the second quarter. He then zipped 34 yards to set-up a four-yard scoring run out three minutes later to push the lead to 28-0.
The former Westfield High School standout became the first player under Joe Paterno to have six rushing touchdowns in his first two games. Lydell Mitchell had five rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in the first two games of the 1971 season (five vs. Navy, one vs. Iowa).
Royster is the first Nittany Lion with a combined six touchdowns in consecutive games since Larry Johnson ran for eight touchdowns (4 in each game) vs. Indiana and Michigan State in the final two regular season games in 2002.
For the season, Royster has gained 205 yards on 25 carries (8.2), with six touchdowns. He is tied for second in the nation in scoring and is 26th in rushing at 102.5 ypg, despite leaving each of the first two games in the third quarter.
The No. 17 Nittany Lions visit Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the first meeting between the old rivals since 1990. The game will air on ABC and on ESPN GamePlan as well as the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.
Penn State's ticket allotment for the Syracuse game is sold out, but other tickets remain and can purchased at: http://www.suathletics.com/tickets.asp.