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Nov. 11, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - For the second time this season, Penn State senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor has been selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
Connor tied his career-high with 18 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, to lead Penn State to a 31-0 win at Temple on Saturday. Playing near his hometown of Wallingford, Pa., Connor made 11 solo stops and had 10 tackles in the first quarter to set the tone for another superb defensive performance. He posted his 19th career double figure tackle game.
The Big Ten honor is the fourth of Connor's career. He shares this week's recognition with Wisconsin's Matt Shaughnessy.
A Penn State player has been selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week five times this season, including the past two weeks. Connor, who previously was honored by the conference after the Notre Dame game, is joined by junior linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh), who was selected after FIU and Purdue, and sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who was selected after the Lions' win at Indiana.
Connor also was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of Week this week for the second time this season. He is the first defensive player to earn accolades more than once in the same season from the Walter Camp Football Foundation during the four years the organization has sponsored the program. Connor previously was honored Sept. 9 after recording 12 tackles, with 2.5 TFL and a sack in Penn State's 31-10 win over Notre Dame.
One of three finalists for the Butkus Award, Connor led a Penn State defense vs. Temple that recorded its second shut out this season and fourth shut out in the past 17 games. Over the past 17 games, 12 Nittany Lion opponents have been shut out, held to field goals or only one offensive touchdown.
The Nittany Lions held Temple to four rushing yards on 23 carries, recording four sacks, and limited Temple to 3 of 14 on third down conversions. In the second half, Penn State permitted only 48 total yards and forced four punts, including three 3-and-outs.
Connor leads Big Ten with 123 tackles (63 solo). He has 13.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks for minus-50 yards, one interception, one fumble recovery and six pass break-ups. The former Strath Haven High School All-American is ninth in the nation in tackles and sixth in the conference in minus-yardage plays.
Connor is "Linebacker U's" all-time tackle leader with 397. His 123 stops this season rank No. 7 on the Penn State season list with two games to play.
In addition to being a finalist for the Butkus Award, Connor also is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player. He also was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and is a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy.
Coach Joe Paterno's No. 22 Nittany Lions (8-3, 4-3) conclude the regular season Saturday at Michigan State (6-5, 2-5). Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET in the battle for the Land Grant Trophy. The game will air regionally on ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. Markets not receiving the game on their ABC affiliate will receive it on ESPN.