Nittany Lions Seek 7-0 Start at No. 24 Wisconsin
Oct. 10, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - Penn State plays its second consecutive Big Ten road game, visiting No. 24 Wisconsin on Saturday for a primetime collision.
Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m.. CT/8:00 p.m. at Camp Randall Stadium. ESPN, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com will air the clash.
The No. 6 Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0) are coming off a 20-6 win at Purdue. The Badgers (3-2, 0-2) lost to Ohio State, 20-17, in the final 70 seconds last week. Their two losses are by a combined five points. Penn State has won 37 of its past 46 games overall, the nation's sixth-best record over that span.
The Nittany Lions and Badgers are meeting for the 14th time. Wisconsin owns an 8-5 series advantage, including a 6-5 edge since Penn State began Big Ten competition in 1993. The teams first met in 1953. Since `93, the visiting team has won five of the 11 meetings. Penn State is 2-3 at Camp Randall Stadium in conference play, winning, 23-20, in 1996 and, 34-31, over the No. 19 Badgers in 2002. After this week's game, the teams are not scheduled to meet again until 2011.
Penn State will be playing its second Top 25 opponent in the last three weeks. The Lions defeated No. 22/21 Illinois, 38-24, in Beaver Stadium on Sept. 27. The Nittany Lions will be seeking their first road win over a Top 25 team since beating the No. 19 Badgers on Oct. 5, 2002. Since then, Penn State has lost its last 10 road games against ranked squads.
Penn State has won three of its last four games against ranked teams overall, beating No. 17 Tennesse in the 2007 Outback Bowl, No. 19/15 Wisconsin last season and Illinois last month, with the lone loss coming to No. 1 Ohio State in 2007.
Wisconsin again is among the nation's rushing leaders, ranking third in the Big Ten and No. 20 in the nation at 210.6 ypg. The Badgers are fourth in the conference in total (396.0 ypg) and scoring (28.8 ppg) offense. P.J. Hill is fourth in the conference and 23rd nationally at 102.4 ypg. John Clay has gained 260 yards on 39 carries (6.7) and has four touchdowns.
In his first year as the starting quarterback, senior Allan Evridge is 69 of 12 (56.6) for 899 yards, with five touchdowns and four interceptions. He is fifth in the Big Ten in passing efficiency. Sophomore WR David Gilreath is the leading receiver (14-167-1 TD), followed closely by Beckum (12-128-0),WR Kyle Jefferson (11-159-0) and TE Garrett Graham (11-154-3).
The Badgers are fourth in the Big Ten in total defense at 309.8 ypg and are allowing only 17.6 ppg, holding four opponents to 20 points or less.
The Nittany Lions again are ranked among the nation's Top 15 in the four primary categories, and sacks, ranking in the top two in all five categories in the Big Ten.
Penn State in NCAA/(Big Ten) Defensive Rankings: Rushing - 11th/(1st), 80.2 ypg; Pass Efficiency - 8th/(1st), 96.3 rating; Total - 8th/(1st), 250.3 ypg; Scoring - 9th/(2nd), 11.7 ppg; Sacks - 14th/(T 1st), 17 (2.8 spg)
Penn State is ranked in the Top 15 nationally in seven of the eight combined primary team offense and defensive categories and leads the Big Ten in six of the eight categories. The only Big Ten primary team categories the Nittany Lions are not leading are scoring defense (2nd, 11.7 ppg) and passing offense (2nd, 243.0 ypg).
The Nittany Lions are ranked in the Top 10 nationally in three offensive categories and lead the Big Ten in three of the four of the primary offensive categories. Penn State leads the conference and is No. 7 in scoring at 44.8 ppg. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten and are No. 9 in the nation in total offense with a 499.6 ypg average.
The Lions lead the conference and are No. 8 nationally in rushing at 256.6 ypg. Penn State's 21 rushing touchdowns are second-highest in the nation, trailing only Oregon (22). Penn State is third in the Big Ten and is No. 40 nationally in passing offense at 243.0 ypg.
The Nittany Lions aren't only one of the nation's most productive offensive units, they're also the nation's most balanced unit among the leaders. Penn State's seasonal rushing (256.6 ypg) and passing yardage (243.0 ypg) are just 13 yards a part through six games. The Nittany Lions are the only team in the nation averaging more than 250 rushing yards per game and more than 240 passing yards per game according to the Oct. 5 NCAA statistics.
Following the Wisconsin game, Penn State will host Michigan for Homecoming. Kickoff on Oct. 18 is set for 4:30 p.m. ET. ESPN or ESPN2 will televise the contest to a national audience. The Wolverines (2-3, 1-1) host Toledo on Saturday.