Nittany Lions Gather For Christmas Party
Dec. 25, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Penn State football team conducted its fourth California practice on Wednesday in preparation for its New Year,s Day clash with Southern California in the 95th Rose Bowl presented by Citi.
The team practiced in cool, wet weather, but the forecast for the week leading up to the highly-anticipated clash is for sunny and warmer conditions in the Southland.
On Wednesday night, the team gathered with the football coaches and staff and their families for the traditional Christmas party at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. In addition to dinner and dessert, the ballroom was divided into groups to sing the Twelve Days of Christmas, in addition to several other Christmas favorites.
Sue Paterno and senior tackle Gerald Cadogan organized the music. Cadogan was assisted by "Santa's Helpers," seniors Lydell Sargeant, Anthony Scirrotto and Derrick Williams, junior Daryll Clark, redshirt freshmen Shaine Thompson and Anthony Tortorelli and true freshman Andrew Radakovich.
Clark belted out a couple of verses of Silent Night to the delight of the audience and sophomore Ollie Ogbu later tried to one-up Clark with his own rendition of the same song.
Freshman defensive tackle Brandon Ware dressed up as Santa Claus to highlight the party, delivering presents to the children and one-liners to several members of the audience.
The squad has Christmas Day off and will resume practice on Friday. The Nittany Lions will visit Disneyland following practice, with several squad members participating in a 2:00 p.m. Welcome Ceremony in front of the castle.
Big Ten Champion Penn State (11-1) and Pac-10 Champion Southern California (11-1) will clash on New Year,s Day in ,,The Granddaddy of Them All. °/°° The contest will be played at the Rose Bowl Stadium (88,500) in Pasadena, Calif. The game will kick at 2:10 p.m. PT/5:10 p.m. ET and air on ESPN on ABC, ESPN Radio and the Penn State Sports Network.
Penn State is ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. Southern California is No. 4 in the Coaches poll and No. 5 in the AP poll.
The Nittany Lions and Trojans will be be meeting for the ninth time, with both sides having won four contests. The teams have met six times since 1990, with both teams winning two games on their home field and both winning once in the Kickoff Classic. The last meeting resulted in a 29-5 USC win in the 2000 Kickoff Classic in Giants Stadium.
Penn State and USC will be playing in a post-season game for the third time, the second in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans defeated the Lions, 14-3, in the 1923 Rose Bowl, the first played in the present facility. The game was the first of Penn State,s 40 bowl games. The other post-season clash came when the No. 7 Nittany Lions defeated the No. 8 Trojans, 26-10, in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 1982.
The Nittany Lions will be making their 35th bowl appearance under Coach Joe Paterno, who is the all-time leader in bowl appearances and victories (23).