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Penn State-Rutgers Game Notes

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PENN STATE vs. RUTGERS
 
Saturday, Nov. 11 | noon
Beaver Stadium | University Park, Pa.
 
GAME DAY INFO
TV: BTN

Radio: 93.7 FM | 1450 AM
Sirius/XM: 135/195

 

GAME DAY LINKS
 
Game Notes: Penn State | Rutgers
Statistics: Penn State | Rutgers
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Nov. 6, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State welcomes alumni and Servicemembers in its annual Homecoming game and Military Appreciation game Saturday at noon against Rutgers. It will be televised on BTN.

The Nittany Lions are looking to return to the win column after back-to-back heartbreaking losses on the road by a total of just four points. Penn State has won its last 12 games in Beaver Stadium and will be bolstered by a Homecoming crowd that has cheered the Lions on to 10 wins in the last 12 Homecoming games.

Penn State will also honor the nation's military during the Veterans Day contest, as more than 7,500 Servicemembers and their families will be in attendance thanks to the generosity of Penn State fans donating tickets for the Seats for Servicemembers program.

Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley is coming off a historic performance in which he became Penn State's career passing touchdown leader and threw for 381 yards, just three yards shy of his career high in a game, to become just the fourth Penn State quarterback to surpass 6,000 yards passing for a career. He leads the Big Ten with 2,452 passing yards this season.

Penn State faces a resurgent Rutgers team that has won three out of its last four games. At 3-3 in conference games, Rutgers is fifth in the Big Ten East Division, just one game behind Penn State and Michigan, which are tied for third at 4-2. The Scarlet Knights are fighting to win at least two out of their last three games for bowl eligibility.

Next week, the Nittany Lions host Nebraska for Senior Day in the home finale before concluding the regular season the following week at Maryland.

 

HEAD COACH CHRIS ASH

  • Chris Ash is in his second season as the 30th head coach in the 147-year history of Rutgers football.
  • Previously, Ash was an assistant coach at the collegiate level for nearly 20 years, spending the last five as a defensive coordinator at Power Five schools.
  • Most recently, he served at Ohio State (2014-15), helping the Buckeyes to a National Championship in his first season. In 2015, the Ohio State defense continued to make strides under Ash, ranking second in scoring defense nationally and ninth in total defense.
  • He served in the same role at Arkansas in 2013 and Wisconsin from 2011-12. Other coaching stops included Drake, Iowa State and San Diego State.
  • Ash was a two-time letterwinner at defensive back at Drake, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1996.

SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS

  • Rutgers is 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, earning wins in three of the last four.
  • With wins in three out of its last four Big Ten games, Rutgers is enjoying its best stretch in the conference and has matched its team high for Big Ten wins in a season. Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014.
  • Rutgers' Big Ten wins during the stretch have come against Illinois, Purdue and, most recently, Maryland. The lone loss was to then-No. 25 Michigan.
  • Rutgers sits fifth in the Big Ten East Division standings, one game behind Michigan and Penn State (4-2).
  • The Scarlet Knights are 1-2 on the road this season.
  • Rutgers ranks third in the Big Ten with 14 passes intercepted. Eight of the interceptions have come in Big Ten games.
  • Kiy Hester is one of just 12 players in FBS to return two or more interceptions for touchdowns. He has returned two of his three interceptions this season for touchdowns. 
  • The Scarlet Knights are the Big Ten leader in pass protection, yielding just 1.22 sacks per game.
  • Quarterback Giovanni Rescigno has started the last four games. He has completed 32-of-63 passes for 407 yards and two touchdowns in six appearances.

SUCCESS ON HOMECOMING

  • The Nittany Lions own a 70-22-5 record in 97 games in front of the alumni crowd since their 14-7 victory over Dartmouth in the first Homecoming game on Oct. 9, 1920.
  • Last season, the Nittany Lions defeated Maryland, 38-14, for their second-straight Homecoming win.
  • Penn State has won five out of its last six Homecoming tilts, defeating Rutgers (2016), Indiana (2015), Michigan (2013), Northwestern (2012) and Purdue (2011).
  • The Nittany Lions have claimed 10 of their last 12 contests in front of the alumni crowd.
  • This is the third time that Penn State will meet Rutgers in a Homecoming game. The Nittany Lions defeated the Scarlet Knights in 1987 (35-21) and 1991 (37-17) in Homecoming contests.

SEATS FOR SERVICEMEMBERS

  • Active duty, guard and reserve military, veterans, and fallen and Gold Star families were able to apply online for complimentary-donated tickets to the Penn State--Rutgers game as part of the Seats for Servicemembers program at Penn State's Military Appreciation Week.
  • Approximately 7,500 Servicemembers will be in attendance.
  • In its sixth year, the program honors the commitment and sacrifices of veterans, families and loved ones by providing tickets at no cost to active and retired Servicemembers, as well as a complimentary pregame tailgate at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State supporters, alumni, and business donations have graciously made this possible.

MILLEN ON BTN BROADCAST TEAM

  • Former Penn State and NFL standout Matt Millen will be calling Saturday's meeting between the Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights.
  • Millen earned first-team All-America honors as a junior in 1978, helping the unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Nittany Lions earn a berth vs. Alabama in the dramatic 1979 Sugar Bowl for the national title. Millen was a team co-captain in 1979, but missed most of his senior year with an injury. He also helped Penn State earn the first of two consecutive 11-1 records in 1977, capped by a win in the Fiesta Bowl.
  • The Oakland Raiders selected Millen the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft to begin a 12-year career that would see him earn four Super Bowl rings. Millen played for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1980-88), San Francisco 49ers (1989-90) and Washington Redskins (1991). He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1988.
  • Millen began his broadcasting career in 1992, working NFL games for CBS and then FOX. The Lehigh Valley native left broadcasting in 2001 and was team president of the Detroit Lions for the next eight years. Millen returned to broadcast booth as a college football and NFL analyst with ESPN and the NFL Network in 2009. He joined FOX Sports and BTN in 2015. 

NITTANY LIONS FROM NEW JERSEY

PENN STATE-RUTGERS CONNECTIONS

  • Penn State senior S Marcus Allen and Rutgers sophomore DB Damon Hayes played together at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School.
  • Penn State freshman DE Damion Barber and Rutgers senior RB Robert Martin played together at Harrisburg High School.
  • Penn State juniors OL Ryan Bates and LB Jake Cooper and Rutgers freshman RB Raheem Blackshear played together at Archbishop Wood near Philadelphia.
  • Penn State junior DT Immanuel Iyke and Rutgers freshman LS Bill Taylor played together at Parsippany Hills in New Jersey.
  • Penn State freshman OL Robbie Martin and Rutgers redshirt sophomore P Gavin Haggerty and redshirt junior DL Kevin Wilkins played together at Saint Joseph Regional in New Jersey.
  • Penn State senior SN Kyle Vasey and Rutgers redshirt freshman LB Rashawn Battle played together at Wallenpuapack High School near Scranton.
  • Penn State freshman WR Justin Weller and Rutgers redshirt sophomore LB Austin Wilson played together at Wilson High School near Reading.
  • Penn State senior OL Chasz Wright and Rutgers junior DB Blessuan Austin, redshirt junior DL Eric Wiafe and redshirt freshman Elorm Lumor all attended Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y.
  • The brother of Penn State sophomore WR Juwan Johnson, George, played at Rutgers from 2006-09. A defensive lineman, George totaled 31.5 TFLs and 130 sacks, and now plays for the Detroit Lions.
  • Penn State head coach James Franklin and Rutgers cornerbacks coach Henry Baker worked together at Maryland (2001, 2008-09). Franklin served as the wide receivers coach (2000-04) and assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (2008-10) and recruiting coordinator and Baker served as a recruiting intern (2001) and defensive coach and special teams assistant (2008-09).
  • Penn State offensive line coach Matt Limegrover worked with Rutgers offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jerry Kill at Emporia State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Minnesota. Limegrover served as the offensive line coach, and Kill served as the head coach at Emporia State (1999-2000). Limegrover served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, and Kill served as the head coach at Southern Illinois (2001-07) and Northern Illinois (2008-10). At Minnesota, Limegrover served as the assistant head coach (2014-15), offensive coordinator and offensive line coach (2011-15), and Kill served as the head coach (2011-15).
  • Limegrover and Rutgers defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jay Niemann just missed each other at Northern Illinois. Limegrover departed as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach following the 2010 season. Niemann arrived in the 2011 season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
  • Penn State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead and Rutgers special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Vince Okruch just missed each other at Akron. Moorhead departed as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following the 2008 season. Okruch arrived as the linebackers coach in the 2009 season.

HEARTBREAKERS

  • Four of Penn State's last five losses, dating back to the 2016 season (2017: Michigan State, 27-24; Ohio State, 39-38. 2016: USC, 52-49; Pitt 42-39) have been decided by three points or less.
  • Penn State's last three losses (2017: Michigan State, 27-24; Ohio State, 39-38. 2016: USC, 52-49) have been decided by three points or less for a combined margin of seven points, the smallest margin of defeat in three-straight losses in program history.
  • The losses to USC and Michigan State came on field goals as time expired, while Ohio State took the lead with 1:48 remaining.
  • Penn State's two losses this season (Michigan State, 27-24; Ohio State, 39-38) have been decided by a combined margin of four points, which is the smallest amongst two-loss teams in FBS and tied for the third smallest amongst all FBS teams.
  • Amongst the 17 two-loss teams in FBS, Auburn is the only other team to have both of their losses come by single-digits (8 pts and 4 pts).
  • Amongst the eight one-loss teams in FBS, five lost by more than four points. Notre Dame (1 pt), Clemson (3 pts) and South Florida (4 pts) are the only teams in FBS with total margin of defeats of four points or less.
  • Of the 540 minutes played this season, Penn State has only trailed for 15 minutes, 50 seconds.
  • Penn State last lost a game by more than three points on Sept. 24, 2016 at Michigan (49-10).

STIFF COMPETITION

  • In terms of opponent winning percentage, Penn State has played the toughest schedule among the CFP Top 25 teams this season with its opponents combining for a 50-30 record (.625). (From Coaches by the Numbers)
  • Penn State played three ranked opponents (No. 19 Michigan, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 24 Michigan State) in a row for the first time since facing four consecutive ranked opponents in 2004 (No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 20 Minnesota, No. 9 Purdue, No. 25 Iowa).

IN THE RANKINGS

  • Penn State was ranked No. 7 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings and is ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 13 in the Amway Coaches Poll.
  • Penn State's streak of 19-straight weeks in the AP Top 25 is the eighth-longest active streak in FBS.

AP Poll statistics are since 1936; according to CollegePollArchive.com

STREAKING

Penn State has won its last 12 games at home to tie for its 11th-longest home winning streak all-time. It is the longest streak since also winning 12-straight home games from 1997-99, and the tied for the longest home winning streak in the its Big Ten era.
Penn State has forced at least one turnover in 10-straight games dating back to the 2017 Rose Bowl, its longest streak since forcing a turnover in 10-straight games in the 2011 season.
QB Trace McSorley has thrown a touchdown pass in 24 consecutive games, dating to the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl, extending his school record. It is the second-longest active streak in FBS behind Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield (33).
TE Mike Gesicki has recorded a reception in his last 23 games, dating back to the 2016 season opener.
RB Saquon Barkley's streak of scoring a touchdown in 15 consecutive games ended at Michigan State. It was the longest active streak in FBS and a school record. He broke the record of 14-straight games held previously by Curtis Enis (1996-97).

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Penn State is one win shy of 125 Big Ten wins.
  • RB Saquon Barkley is 30 yards shy of becoming the second Lion to total 5,000 career all-purpose yards.
  • Barkley is 16 points from 100 for the season, which would make him just the second Nittany Lion (Kevin Kelly) to have two or more 100-point seasons.
  • Barkley is 136 yards shy of his third 1,000-yard rushing season.
  • QB Trace McSorley is 36 yards shy of becoming the third Penn State player to total 7,000 career total offense yards.
  • McSorley is 548 yards shy of posting the fourth 3,000-yard passing season in Penn State history and the first to do it twice.
  • WRs Saeed Blacknall and DeAndre Thompkins are both closing in on 1,000 receiving yards for their careers. Blacknall (921) needs 79 more yards, while Thompkins (814) needs 186.

MILESTONES ACHIEVED

  • QB Trace McSorley became the first Penn State quarterback to throw 50 career touchdown passes, surpassing the Penn State record of 48 (Christian Hackenberg; 2013-15) at Michigan State. 
  • McSorley became the fourth player in program history to surpass 6,000 career passing yards, joining  Hackenberg, Zack Mills and Matt McGloin, with 381 yards passing at Michigan State.
  • McSorley surpassed the 2,000-yard season passing plateau against Ohio State, becoming the 20th player in program history to have a 2,000-yard passing season.
  • Also at Ohio State, McSorley became seventh Nittany Lion to reach 400 career completions.
  • McSorley became the fifth Nittany Lion with 6,000 career yards of total offense with 358 yards of total offense against Michigan.
  • RB Saquon Barkley became the first Penn State running back to total 500 yards receiving in a season by adding 33 yards at Michigan State.
  • With 172 all-purpose yards against Ohio State, Barkley surpassed the 1,500-yard mark for the season. It is the 12th time in program history a player has reached the 1,500-yard mark and he is the third player to do it twice.
  • Barkley is the first Penn State player and fourth Big Ten player with 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his career, surpassing 1,000 receiving yards against Michigan. Barkley is the 30th Nittany Lion with at least 1,000 receiving yards.
  • With three touchdowns, Barkley became the sixth Nittany Lion overall and first non-placekicker to surpass 252 points in career. 
  • Barkley surged past 3,000 career rushing yards and 4,000 career all-purpose yards at Iowa. He is the seventh and ninth Nittany Lion all-time to accomplish the respective feats.
  • S Marcus Allen reached 300 career tackles at Ohio State.
  • TE Mike Gesicki surpassed 100 career receptions at Ohio State, becoming the first tight end at Penn State to achieve the feat.
  • Gesicki surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards against Pitt, making him the 29th player to achieve the feat at Penn State.
  • K Tyler Davis converted his 100th career extra point at Northwestern.
  • Head coach James Franklin earned his 50th career victory with the Nittany Lions' season opening win.
  • With 74 receiving yards against Akron, DaeSean Hamilton surpassed 2,000 yards for his career.
  • Jason Cabinda surpassed 200 career tackles for his career with three against Akron.

WINNING WAYS

  • Penn State is one of six teams that has had a winning season the last 13 consecutive years, with only Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, USC and Boise State also achieving the feat. Florida State and LSU can also do the same this season.
  • Penn State is 16-3 in its last 19 games, the best span since going 20-0 from 1993-95.
  • Penn State started a season 7-0 for the first time since 2008, when the team started 9-0.
  • Penn State's 4-0 start in Big Ten play marked the first such start since 2011, when Penn State began 5-0. 
  • Penn State's victory over No. 19 Michigan as the No. 2-ranked team was its first as a top-five team over a ranked opponent since winning 13-6 at No. 10 Ohio State in 2008 as the No. 3-ranked team.

WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE

  • Penn State's plus-12 turnover margin is tied for fifth in FBS with Notre Dame and FSU. 
  • Penn State's 21 takeaways rank tied for seventh with Bowling Green and USF. Utah, Wyoming and Florida Atlantic lead FBS with 24 takeaways.
  • Penn State has forced 21 turnovers in the first nine games, which is the most turnovers forced in a nine-game span since 1993 (27 TOs).
  • Penn State has forced at least one turnover in 10-straight games dating back to the 2017 Rose Bowl, its longest streak since forcing a turnover in 10-straight games in the 2011 season.

FAST STARTS

  • According to Coaches by the Numbers, Penn State ranks tied for 12th in FBS in first-half scoring (22.11 avg) and first in first-quarter scoring (13.11 avg).
  • Penn State has outscored opponents 118-10 in the first quarter this season and was the last FBS team to allow an opening-quarter score (at Ohio State, Week 9). Penn State has scored in the first quarter in all nine games this season and has scored 14 points or more in all but two games (at Iowa & at Northwestern). 
  • At Ohio State, Penn State scored two touchdowns in the first 3:24, Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff 97 yards, and then Manny Bowen forced a fumble on Ohio State's third play from scrimmage that was recovered by Koa Farmer, setting up a short touchdown drive. 
  • Against Michigan, Penn State scored touchdowns 4:07 apart in the first quarter, which was the fastest back-to-back scores on offense since the third quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl (1:01).
  • The Nittany Lions scored 28 points in a first quarter against Indiana, marking the first time Penn State scored 28 or more points in the first quarter since 2005 at Illinois (28 points).
  • Penn State has scored exactly 14 points in the opening stanza its last three consecutive games (at Michigan State; at Ohio State; vs. Michigan).
  • In the first three games of 2017, Penn State scored 14 points in the opening stanza of three consecutive games for the first time since 2008 (14 vs. Coastal Carolina; 14 vs. Oregon State; 21 at Syracuse).
  • Against both Akron and Georgia State teams, Penn State scored 35 points in the first half. Before this season, the Nittany Lions had not scored as many in the first half of a game since scoring 38 against Eastern Illinois on the way to a 52-3 victory in 2009. The last time that the Nittany Lions scored 35 in a first half against an FBS team was in 2008 at Syracuse, a game that Penn State won 55-13. 

B1G leading passer

  • QB Trace McSorley is among Big Ten passing leaders in multiple categories for a second consecutive season.
  • McSorley leads the Big Ten (23rd FBS) with 272.4 passing yards per game and 2,452 total passing yards (20th FBS).
  • McSorley's 64.2 completion percentage is fifth in the Big Ten (28th FBS).
  • McSorley is averaging 306.3 yards of total offense per game to rank second in the Big Ten (16th FBS).
  • McSorley's 19 passing touchdowns rank third in the Big Ten (19th FBS). 
  • Responsible for 18.0 points per game, McSorley ranks second in the Big Ten (11th FBS). 
  • McSorley's passing efficiency of 149.6 ranks third (21st FBS).
  • McSorley is among the most efficient active quarterbacks in FBS, as his career efficiency rating of 151.1 ranks 12th overall and second among Big Ten passers.
  • Averaging 7.07 yards of total offense per play for his career, McSorley leads the Big Ten and ranks 11th in FBS among active quarterbacks.
  • McSorley's 65 career touchdowns responsible for rank 19th in FBS and second in the Big Ten, and his 50 touchdown passes rank 25th in FBS and second in the Big Ten.
  • McSorley is averaging 208.4 yards passing per game for his career to rank second in the Big Ten and 26th in FBS.
  • McSorley's career completion percentage of .600 ranks second in the Big Ten and 24th in FBS.

TOSSING TOUCHDOWNS

  • QB Trace McSorley has the second-longest active touchdown passes streak in FBS, throwing three against Michigan State to extend the streak to 24.
  • His 19 touchdown passes on the season rank third in the Big Ten and 19th in FBS.
  • Responsible for 18.0 points per game, McSorley ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in FBS. 
  • McSorley had his 15th career multi-passing touchdown game at Michigan State (1 in 2015, 8 in 2016, 6 in 2017).
  • McSorley threw four TD passes against Georgia State, marking the fourth time he has had at least four touchdown passes in a game and the sixth time he has had at least three touchdown passes in his career.

PROLIFIC PASSING AT MICHIGAN STATE

  • Penn State had two 100-yard receivers -- DaeSean Hamilton (112) and DeAndre Thompkins (102) -- for the first time since the 2016 Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin (Saeed Blacknall, 155 & Hamilton, 118).
  • Penn State surpassed 400 passing yards (381; Trace McSorley & 20; Saquon Barkley) for the first time since the Croke Park Classic against UCF in 2014 when Christian Hackenberg threw for 454 yards.
  • McSorley threw for 381 yards, the fifth-most yards in a game by a Penn State quarterback and the second most in his career (384, 2016 Big Ten Championship vs. Wisconsin).
  • Thompkins caught his third career touchdown at the end of the third quarter on a 70-yard pass from McSorley, which tied his career long (2016; Maryland).
  • Thompkins finished with a career-high 102 yards on four catches, marking his first career 100-yard game. 

HAMILTON HAULING IT IN

  • WR DaeSean Hamilton is Penn State's all-time receptions leader with 197 for his career.
  • Hamilton's career receptions total of 197 ranks ninth amongst active FBS players, while his receptions per game average (4.02) ranks 24th. He leads the Big Ten in both categories.
  • Hamilton is in third place on Penn State's career receiving yardage chart with 2,591 career receiving yards. He trails Deon Butler (2,771; 2005-08) for second.
  • Hamilton's career receiving yardage total of 2,591 ranks 10th among active FBS players, while his receiving yards per game average of 52.9 yards per game is 20th. He leads the Big Ten in both categories.
  • With a touchdown at Michigan State, Hamilton moved into a tie for eighth place on Penn State's career receiving touchdowns list with current assistant coach Terry Smith (15; 1988-91) and Joe Jurevicius (15; 1994-97).
  • Against Michigan State, Hamilton posted his eighth career 100-yard effort to move into a tie with Bryant Johnson (1999-2002) for eighth place on Penn State's career list. It is his third 100-yard game of the season.
  • Hamilton is the ninth player in program history with 2,000 career receiving yards.
  • Hamilton had a career-high three touchdown receptions against Indiana. He previously had one touchdown reception on 10 occasions. The three scoring grabs were the most by a Nittany Lion since Allen Robinson had three, also against Indiana, in 2012.
  • In addition to the three touchdowns against Indiana, Hamilton had 122 yards receiving. The performance earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and PFF National Team of the Week accolades.

TOP CATCHING DUOS AND TRIOS

  • DaeSean Hamilton (197) and Mike Gesicki (110) rank eighth in FBS and tops in the Big Ten among active receiving duos with 307 combined catches.
  • They are the third duo/trio to accomplish the feat at PSU, joining Deon Butler (179), Derrick Williams (161) and Jordan Norwood (158), who totaled 498 career receptions (2005-08), and Hamilton (161) and Chris Godwin (154), who totaled 315 receptions (2014-16).
  • Hamilton owns Penn State's all-time receptions record, while Gesicki owns its tight end receptions record.
  • Saquon Barkley (1,067), Gesicki (1,292) and Hamilton (2,591) are the second RB/WR/TE trio to each have 1,000 career receiving yards in Big Ten history (Purdue, 1982-85: WR Steve Griffin, 2,234 yards; RB Rodney Carter, 1,814 yards; TE Marty Scott, 1,247 yards).
  • Current Big Ten member Rutgers accomplished the feat (2002, 03-06) as a member of the Big East with TE Clark Harris, 2,015 yards; RB Brian Leonard, 1,868 yards and WR Shawn Tucker, 1,559 yards.
  • Barkley owns the Penn State running backs record for career receiving yards.

EVERY GAME GESICKI

  • TE Mike Gesicki became Penn State's all-time tight end receptions leader with five receptions at Iowa. He broke the record of 87 set by Andrew Quarless (2006-09) and now has 110 career receptions. The total ranks 11th overall in program history with Bryant Johnson (110; 1999-2002). He moved up four positions with his effort against Michigan State.
  • Gesicki's eight catches and 89 yards receiving at Michigan State were both career highs, passing his previous marks of six and 88, respectively.
  • With 1,292 career receiving yards, Gesicki moved into 19th place in program history, passing David Daniels (1,222; 1988-90) and Scott Fitzkee (1,263; 1975-78).
  • Gesicki was named to the Sports Illustrated Midseason All-America first team.
  • Gesicki holds the team's longest active receptions streak at 23 games, dating to the 2016 season opener. It ranks tied for the 23rd-longest active streak in FBS.
  • Gesicki entered 2017 with six career touchdowns over three seasons, but caught a career-high two in each of the first two games this season to move within one of the Penn State record for career touchdown catches by a tight end - 11 by Jesse James and within one of equaling the season record in the same category again. Gesicki tied the record of five shared by James and two others last season.
  • His four receiving touchdowns rank tied for 12th in the Big Ten.

LIMITED ACCESS

  • Penn State is seventh in the nation and second in the Big Ten in scoring defense, averaging 14.8 points allowed per game.
  • Penn State has allowed 10.6 points per game fewer in 2017 than it did in all of 2016 (25.4).
  • Penn State owns a pair of shutout victories and has allowed more than 20 points in a game just twice.
  • The Nittany Lions nearly earned their third shutout of the season at Northwestern, but the Wildcats scored in the final two minutes of the game, snapping a five-quarter shutout streak that started in the second half of the Indiana game.
  • Penn State has shutout opponents in at least one half in five games this season (Akron, Georgia State, Indiana, Northwestern, Michigan).
  • Penn State has been particularly strong at the start of games, ranking as the last team to give up a first-quarter point (Week 9). The Lions allowed a touchdown in the first quarter at Michigan State for the first time this season.
  • Penn State ranks 10th in FBS in first-half scoring defense, allowing just 7.56 points per game, and tied for 11th in second-half scoring (7.22 avg). The Lions are nearly as strong in the third quarter as they are in the first, ranking third in scoring defense (1.44 avg). (Coaches by the Numbers)
  • Penn State has recorded two shutouts in a single season for the first time since notching two in 2007 (59-0 over FIU; 31-0 vs. Indiana).
  • The 14 points allowed by Penn State in the first three games were the fewest in any three-game stretch since allowing 13 in a three-game stretch in the middle of the 2009 season (52- 3 vs. Eastern Illinois; 20-0 vs. Minnesota; 35-10 at Michigan).
  • The 14 points allowed by PSU in the first three games were the fewest allowed in the opening three games of the season since giving up only 14 points in the first four games of the 1996 season (24-7 vs. USC; 24-7 vs. Louisville; 49-0 vs. Northern Illinois; 41-0 vs. Temple).
  • The shutout by Penn State of Akron marked the first shutout by the Nittany Lions in a season opener since a 59-0 win against FIU in 2007. The shutout was the first at home for Penn State since a 39-0 shutout of Illinois in 2015.
  • This is the third-straight year that PSU has shut out an opponent (39-0 vs. Illinois in 2015; 39-0 at Rutgers in 2016; 52-0 vs. Akron in 2017). It is the longest such streak since a three-year stretch from 1989-91 (17-0 at Rutgers in 1989; 28-0 vs. Rutgers and 9-0 at Alabama in 1990; and 81-0 vs. Cincinnati in 1991).

SENIOR STOPPERS

  • LB Jason Cabinda leads Penn State with 63 tackles this season, while classmate S Marcus Allen is second with 59. Both are Lott IMPACT Award quarterfinalists.
  • With 10 tackles against Ohio State, Allen reached the 300-tackle mark for his career. It was Allen's ninth career double-digit tackle outing and second this season.
  • With 305 career tackles, Allen is in sixth place on Penn State's career chart.
  • Cabinda upped his career total to 261 tackles at Michigan State, which is tied for 12th in program history with Glenn Carson (261; 20-13).
  • Senior S Troy Apke has matched his career high of eight tackles in each of the past two games (Ohio State and Michigan State). He ranks fourth on the team with a career-high 44 tackles this season.

AIR INTERCEPTS

  • With 10 interceptions, Penn State ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 29th in FBS.
  • CB Amani Oruwariye grabbed his fourth interception of the season and fifth of his career at Michigan State.
  • Oruwariye leads the Big Ten and ranks second in FBS with 0.6 interceptions per game.
  • Oruwariye is the second Penn State DB to have interceptions in back-to-back games (Indiana and Northwestern) this season, joining Grant Haley (Pitt and Georgia State). 
  • Haley was the first PSU player with interceptions in back-to-back games since Anthony Zettel in 2014 (at Michigan and vs. Ohio State).
  • Haley wan named a midseason All-American by The All-American and USA Today.
  • CB Christian Campbell grabbed his third career interception and first of the season at Northwestern with a pick to end the opening half. It was his first INT since the Purdue game in 2016.
  • Penn State recorded three interceptions against Georgia State for its most since grabbing three at Maryland in 2015.
  • S Marcus Allen and CB Tariq Castro-Fields both tallied their first career interceptions in the win over Georgia State. Allen returned his pick 50 yards.
  • Penn State picked off two passes against Pitt. Haley intercepted a first-quarter pass at the 50 and returned it 42 yards to the Pitt 8, setting up a one play touchdown drive, while S Troy Apke intercepted a pass in the second quarter. Ironically enough, both DBs had parents that attended Pitt.
  • Haley's 42-yard interception return was a career long, besting his 30-yard return vs. Temple in 2014.

KNOCK IT DOWN

  • The Penn State defense had 10 pass breakups at Michigan State, marking the first time since at least 1999 that Penn State has posted double-digit pass breakups twice in the same season. The Nittany Lions previously made 10 pass breakups at Northwestern, which was its most PBUs in a game for the Lions since having 10 against Kent State in 2013.
  • The 10 pass breakups are tied for the fourth-most in a game for the Nittany Lions since 2000 (16, Purdue in 2000; 14, Michigan State in 2006; 11, Indiana in 2011; 10, UCF in 2004; 10, Kent State in 2013).
  • In the Michigan State game, CB Amani Oruwariye had a career-high four pass breakups to go along with an interception, while true freshman CB Tariq Castro-Fields made his first three career pass breakups. Oruwariye's previous career high was just one breakup and he had three all season entering the game.
  • Oruwariye now leads the team with 1.6 passes defended, which also ranks third in the Big Ten and sixth in FBS.
  • CB Christian Campbell leads the team with 10 pass breakups on the season. He has recorded a pass breakup in all but one game this season (Ohio State).
  • Combined with one interception, Campbell ranks 29th in FBS and fifth in the Big Ten with 1.2 passes defended per game.
  • CB Grant Haley had a career-high three pass breakups at Northwestern, topping his previous high of two, which he had accomplished three times, most recently at the Rose Bowl.

STOPS BEHIND THE LINE

  • Penn State ranks 12th in FBS and third in the Big Ten in tackles for loss with an average of 7.7.
  • A total of 27 different Nittany Lions have at least assisted on a stop in the back field.
  • DEs Shareef Miller (8.0) and Shaka Toney (6.5) lead the team in tackles for loss.
  • Penn State totaled 14 TFLs against Akron in the season opener, the most by Penn State since recording 15 at Temple in 2015, and followed with nine against Pitt, 11 against Georgia State and seven at Iowa.

DAVIS KICKING IT

  • K Tyler Davis has converted all 44 of his extra point attempts this season to rank tied for ninth nationally and second in the Big Ten.
  • Davis has made the most point after attempts without a career miss in Penn State history, successfully converting 117 straight. Only two others, Herb Menhardt (54-for-54; 1978-80) and Collin Wagner (83-for-83; 2007-10), have had perfect percentages (minimum 50 attempts).
  • Davis is one of six active kickers in FBS with at least 100 extra points without a career miss.
  • Davis is two extra point conversions shy of the Penn State record of 119 consecutive extra point conversions held by Brett Conway (1994-96). 
  • Davis is Penn State's career record holder for field goal accuracy. Davis has converted 38-of-47 field goal attempts for an 80.9 percent success rate. Nick Gancitano (1981-83) was the previous record holder with a 77.6 percent success rate (38-of-49).
  • Davis moved into ninth place on the career field goals list at Michigan State, tying Nick Gancitano (38; 1981-84) for the position.
  • Also at Michigan State, Davis moved into ninth place on Penn State's career scoring list, passing Curtis Enis (230; 1995-97) with six points to total 231 points.
  • Davis booted a career-long 47-yard field goal in the third quarter against Akron. His previous best was a 42-yard kick against Illinois in 2015.
  • Davis is handling kickoff duties full-time this season for the first time in his career.

 

 

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