Oct. 11, 1999
Top 25 Polls
A QUICK LOOK AT THE MATCHUP. . .
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions square off at high noon in Happy Valley Saturday, Oct. 16 in front of an ABC television audlience and about 96,000 fans in Beaver Stadium. ABC’s Brent Musburger, Gary Danielson and Leslie Gudel will call the action in a game that, once again, features national implications. The Buckeyes are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten Conference and are coming off a much-needed and thrilling, 25-22, victory over No. 17 Purdue Saturday in Columbus. The Buckeyes held Drew Brees without a touchdown pass for the first time in his career as a starter. OSU also benefited from the special teams play of the year – so far – when end Brent Johnson blocked a game-tieing field goal attempt from 29-yards with 53 seconds showing on the clock. Penn State, in Joe Paterno’s 50th season on campus and 33rd as head coach, are the nation’s No. 2 team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls (and have been all season long) and are unbeaten at 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 31-7 win at Iowa to stretch their winning streak to eight games dating to last season.
. . .AND AT THE PLAYERS
Defensively, the Buckeyes feature All-America candidate Na’il Diggs (team-high 53 tackles with nine tackles-for-loss) at outside linebacker and two veterans in the secondary who could join Diggs with post season honors: cornerback, co-captain and National Football Foundation Scholarship nominee Ahmed Plummer (11 career interceptions and 27 career pass break-ups) and free safety Gary Berry (48 tackles). They will defend a Penn State offense led by quarterbacks Rashard Casey and Kevin Thompson, who rank 1-2 in the Big Ten in passing efficiency, big-play flanker Chafie Fields (has a 70-yard rush and 79-yard reception) and powerful and fast fullback Aaron Harris (hurt OSU in 1997 with 96 yards rushing, including a 51-yard touchdown romp). Offensively for the Buckeyes, sophomore quarterback Steve Bellisari, who has thrown for 980 yards and rushed for 243, will make his first road start. Talented junior receivers Ken-Yon Rambo (25 receptions, 21.4 yards per catch, five touchdowns) and Reggie Germany (26 receptions, 17.0 yards per catch) will face excellent coverage from a Nittany Lion secondary that boasts two top cornerbacks in seniors David Macklin and Anthony King. Tailback Michael Wiley, in Ohio State’s all-time Top 10 with 2,486 career rushing yards and 28 touchdowns, will be in the sights all day of two of college football’s best: junior linebacker LaVar Arrington and senior end Courtney Brown, both of whom are Lombardi Award semifinalists. INTENSE RANKINGS HEAT
It won’t happen this year, but the last three years both Ohio State and Penn State have come into this game unbeaten and ranked in the Top 10. The Buckeyes are ranked 17th by ESPN/USA Today and 18th by the Associated Press. Penn State is No. 2 in both polls. Since this rivalry was renewed in 1993, Ohio State entered the game unbeaten and ranked in the Top 10 five times. Penn State has come into the game unbeaten and in the Top 10 five times.
OHIO STATE vs. PENN STATE IN THE 1990s. . .
1999 No. 2 PSU (6-0) vs. No. 18 OSU (4-2)
1998 No. 1 OSU (3-0) vs. No. 7 PSU (3-0)
1997 No. 2 PSU (4-0) vs. No. 7 OSU (5-0)
1996 No. 3 OSU (3-0) vs. No. 4 PSU (5-0)
1995 No. 5 OSU (4-0) vs. No. 12 PSU (3-1)
1994 No. 1 PSU (6-0) vs. No. 21 OSU (6-2)
1993 No. 3 OSU (3-0) vs. No. 12 PSU (5-1)
SO FAR IN 1999
Ohio State and Penn State have one common opponent this season: Miami. The Buckeyes lost to the No. 12 Hurricanes, 23-12, in the Kickoff Classic Aug. 29. Penn State defeated Miami Sept. 18 in Miami, 27-23, on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Thompson to Chafie Fields with 1:47 remaining. Ohio State, a relatively young team with first-year starters at four defensive positions and at six offensive spots, followed its Kickoff Classic loss with wins over No. 13 UCLA (42-20), Ohio (40-16) and Cincinnati (34-20) before a jeckyl-and-hyde loss to Wisconsin, 42-17, Oct. 2 in Columbus. In that game OSU led 17-0 at one point, only to have the Badgers score 42 unanswered points, including 36 after intermission. The Buckeyes rebounded with its win over Purdue last week. Penn State has had its share of close encounters and romps on the way to its 6-0 mark. It has crushed No. 3 Arizona (41-7), Akron (70-24) and Indiana (45-24), won or held on in the final minutes vs. Pittsburgh (20-17) and Miami, and then eased by Iowa, 31-7, last week in Iowa City.
The game will be broadcast around Ohio on the 71-station Ohio State Radio Network with Sports Radio 1460 (AM) The Fan the flagship station. Calling the action and in his second year as play-by-play announcer is Paul Keels. He is assisted in the broadcast booth by third-year analyst Jim Lachey. Jim Karsatos, in his 11th season on the team, provides sideline commentary.
OHIO STATE vs. PENN STATE HISTORY
Ohio State and Penn State are meeting for the 15th time in a series that started in 1912 but didn’t get cranked up until Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993. Penn State leads the all-time series, eight wins to six, but Ohio State has won four of the last six games (all since 1993). This is the seventh meeting since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten and it marks the seventh-consecutive time that one of the teams has been ranked among the nation’s Top 5. Twice since 1993 the game has featured the No. 1 team in the nation: in 1994 Penn State was No. 1 and handed OSU a 63-14 loss, and last year Ohio State came into the game No. 1 and defeated PSU at Ohio Stadium, 28-9.
BUCKEYES/NITTANY LIONS NOTEBOOK. . .
• The home team has won five of the six meetings since 1993. Between 1912 and 1978, the home team won just once in the seven games.
• Ohio State’s 28-25 win in 1995 at Beaver Stadium is the only win for the visiting team since 1978.
• Penn State’s 19-0 win over Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in 1978 represents the Buckeyes’ last home-opening loss.
•Coach John Cooper is 4-2 all-time vs. Penn State while Joe Paterno is 4-6 all- time vs. Ohio State.
• Only Alabama, with eight wins in 12 games, has more wins over a Joe Paterno – coached team than Ohio State’s six.
•Ohio State is 4-5 vs. Penn State in Columbus (3-5 at Ohio Stadium), 2-2 in State College and 0-1 on neutral ground (a 31-19 win for Penn State in the 1980 Fiesta Bowl).
TWO THRILLERS AT BEAVER STADIUM
The last two games at Beaver Stadium between Ohio State and Penn State have been thrilling, come-from-behind games. Ohio State won at Beaver Stadium in 1995, 28-25, on a touchdown with 1:42 to play by Eddie George. OSU had trailed 10-0 at one point in the contest, went up 21-10, but trailed 25-21 late in the game. Penn State, up 10-0 early but down 27-17 late in the third quarter, won the 1997 game, 31-27, with the winning score a 26-yard run by Curtis Enis with just over 10 minutes remaining. The Buckeyes had the ball three times after that score, but the Nittany Lion defense held firm on all three possessions. In the 1995 game, Penn State was stopped on its final three offensive possessions by the Ohio State defense, twice on three-and-outs.
SPECTACULAR PLAYS AND BIG DAYS
The series between Ohio State and Penn State has featured some marvelous accomplishments on the field. Bobby Hoying passed for 354 yards and Terry Glenn had nine receptions for 175 yards and two scores in the ’95 OSU win. The ’97 game was full of spectacular performances: Joe Germaine led a record 459-yard passing day for OSU by completing 29-of-43 for 378 yards (the second-highest individual passing day for a Buckeye), David Boston caught a school-record 14 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, Dee Miller grabbed eight passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, PSU’s Curtis Enis rushed for 211 yards and the winning score. Penn State torched Ohio State for 572 total yards in 1994, the second-highest yardage figure ever allowed by an Ohio State defense. Kerry Collins was 19-of-23 for 265 yards and two touchdowns and Ki-Jana Carter sparkled with four touchdowns. Ohio State rolled to 565 yards of offense in the ’96 game, including 350 rushing yards.
NO MORE COMFORTS OF HOME
The Buckeyes are playing their first road game of the year this season, excluding a neutral field game with Miami at the Kickoff Classic. The schedule had been kind to Ohio State up until now, with five consecutive home games that drew an average sold-out crowd of 93,770 fans. Ohio State will play four of its final six games on the road with consecutive road games at Penn State and 4-1 Minnesota up next and road wars with Top 10 teams Michigan State (6-0) and Michigan (5-1) looming.
YOUNG BUCKS HAVE HAD TO BATTLE
Ohio State has battled slow starts, bad halves and turnovers at various times this season. OSU has trailed in every game, including 10-0 to UCLA and 17-3 to Cincinnati. The Buckeyes never rebounded after losing its 17-0 lead to Wisconsin, but they are coming off the best overall performance of the season in the come-from-behind win over Purdue.
DRENCHED IN VICTORY
One week after a stunning home loss to Wisconsin, the Buckeyes pieced together a 25-22 win over No. 17 Purdue that kept OSU from starting 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1992. A total team effort by the Buckeyes that included offensive, defensive and special team “big” plays was the foundation for a game that certainly wasn’t pretty, played in a steady rain that started two hours before kickoff and never stopped. The Buckeyes’ offense made just enough plays – a Derek Combs 5-yard touchdown run on the team’s first possession, bombs from Steve Bellisari to Ken-Yon Rambo (44 yards) and Reggie Germany (42 yards) that set up 10 OSU points, a heart-stopping, two-fumble, 76-yard fourth-quarter drive for the winning touchdown capped by Jonathan Wells’ 2-yard run – to win. And offset two interceptions and a lost fumble that led to 16 Purdue points. Defensively, the game plan was to stop Drew Brees, and the Buckeyes did, limiting him to 115 yards below his average and denying him a touchdown pass for the first time in his 19 games as a starter. He did catch a TD pass, from receiver Vinny Sutherland on a trick play, and he demanded enough attention that tailback Montrell Lowe was able to scoot for 153 yards and the touchdown that gave the Boilermakers a 22-17 lead with 13:42 left to play.
| RB Derek Combs opened the
scoring against Purdue with his
third touchdown of the season
SPECIAL TEAMS & FANCY FOOTWORK
The OSU special teams came up with influential plays to start andend the game, and in between there was the solid footwork ofkicker/punter Dan Stultz. Percy King opened the game by levelingLarry Shyne on the opening kickoff, forcing a fumble that GaryBerry recovered at the 30. Seven plays later, Derek Combs scoredgiving OSU its first touchdown this season on its first possession.Stultz, who is handling all the kicking responsibilities for thefirst time in his OSU career, averaged a career-best 43.8 yards perpunt, kicked his longest field goal in the last 12 games– 45 yards – and was two-for-two on extrapoints…on a day that footing was shaky at best and oftentreacherous. He slipped on his first attempt of the game, a33-yarder that hit the goal post and was no good. It snapped astring of five-consecutive made field goals for Stultz.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EH!
Two days before his country’s Thanksgiving Day (Monday, Oct. 11), Canadian defensive end Brent Johnson made one of the biggest plays of his career when he blocked Travis Dorsch’s game-tieing, 29-yard field goal attempt with 56 seconds left to play. The ever-so-humble Johnson said he didn’t know how it happened but he “had a feeling that if it wasn’t me it would have been somebody else [blocking the kick].” Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier than Americans because their harvest is earlier.
FANCY FOOTWORK II
First-year punt returner Nate Clements returned two punts 30 yards against Purdue and he would have scored on one punt return…until he smacked full speed into teammate Duane Crooks, who was having difficulty navigating on the rain-slicked grass. The Buckeyes ended up scoring a touchdown later in that same drive.
Two key plays not found in the stats of the OSU/Purdue game were offensive fumble recoveries by tackle Henry Fleming and fullback Jamar Martin during OSU’s final touchdown drive of the game that totalled 13 plays and covered 76 yards.
OSU’s DBs STAND OUT vs. BREES
The Ohio State secondary, in a nickle formation for most of the game, had a fine afternoon against Drew Brees, limiting him to no touchdown passes and to his second-fewest yards – 205 – as a starter. Nate Clements had five tackles, including one tackle-for-loss, and a team season-high three pass break-ups, part of eight pass break-ups on the day. Donnie Nickey had his second-consecutive double-figure tackling game as he led the team with 11. Gary Berry had six tackles and a pass break-up in addition to his first-quarter fumble recovery. Ahmed Plummer had five tackles and a pass break-up. And David Mitchell, making his first-ever start, had a team-best seven solo tackles.
Tight end Kevin Houser helped spring Steve Bellisari on his crucial fourth-down quarterback sneak by holding his block and driving his man until Bellisari had completed an extra-effort, 9-yard rush that gave OSU a first down at the Purdue 7-yard line.
SANDERS’ 1st RECEPTION IS A TD
OSU utilized two tight ends for much of the Purdue game, but it wasn’t the norm of Steve Wisniewski and Kevin Houser. Wisniewski left the game in the first half with a concussion, so red-shirt freshman Darnell Sanders stepped in. He was able to break free and haul in a seven-yard touchdown reception from Michael Wiley midway in the third quarter that gave OSU a 14-13 lead. It was the first collegiate reception for the former high school quarterback.
| OSU’s rushing attack has been
lead by QB Steve Bellisari the
last two weeks
LEADER OF THE PACK
Quarterback Steve Bellisari is 3-1 as a starting quarterback. Heopened the season as the back-up to Austin Moherman, but took overthe starting position following an 11-for-16, 159-yard,two-touchdown performance in the comeback win over UCLA. He hasthrown for 980 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions,including 243 yards vs. Ohio U., and he has been hurting teams withhis running ability as well. He is second on the squad with 243rushing yards and he averages 5.0 yards per carry. He rushed for 96yards, including a 68-yard rush on the second-to-last play of thegame, vs. Purdue. This comes one week after leading the team with52 yards against Wisconsin.
A QB FIRST SINCE 1979
Prior to Steve Bellisari the last two weeks, the last OSU quarterback to lead the team in rushing in consecutive games was Art Schlichter in 1979. He had 91 yards vs. Syracuse Sept. 8 and 86 yards vs. Minnesota Sept. 15. The last OSU quarterback to rush for 100 yards: Rod Gerald at Iowa Oct. 15, 1977 (100 yards).
WILEY IN OSU ALL-TIME TOP 10
Michael Wiley has rushed into Ohio State’s prestigious Top 10 list for career yards gained. He passed 1955 Heisman Trophy winner Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, who rushed for 2,466 yards during his career, in the Purdue game and he now has 2,486 career yards. Wiley already is ninth at Ohio State with 3,589 all-purpose yards.
WILEY THE PASSER
Michael Wiley threw his second career touchdown pass in the Purdue game, a seven-yarder to Darnell Sanders. He also has thrown a touchdown pass to Steve Wisniewski (in 1997 vs. Indiana). Wiley the passer is now 8-of-9 for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
JUST DIGGS THIS
Na’il Diggs, all-Big Ten last year as a sophomore and a preseason All-American this year, leads the Buckeyes with 53 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss and three sacks. He is ninth in Big Ten in tackles, 10th in TFLs and tied for third with two fumbles forced. He has 161 career tackles and 33 tackles-for-loss to rank seventh at Ohio State. His 14 quarterback sacks are tied for sixth.
REGGIE & RAMBO’s RECEPTIONS
Split end Reggie Germany and flanker Ken-Yon Rambo continue to stand out on the receiving end of Steve Bellisari’s bullets. Germany caught his first touchdown of the year against Wisconsin, a 40-yard sensational catch he pulled from his defender. It was part of a three-catch, 81-yard day. He pulled in another spectacular reception against Purdue, a 42-yarder with a receiver draped all over him. He leads the Buckeyes with 26 catches (for 443 yards). Rambo, who had three receptions for 61 yards including a 44-yarder against Purdue, leads OSU and is second in the Big Ten with 534 yards (89.0 per game) off 25 catches. Rambo has five catches this season for over 40 yards, including a school-record three 50-plus-yard catches in the Cincinnati game. Both players have five career touchdown catches with all five of Rambo’s coming this year.
RAMBO – 2nd IN ALL-PURPOSE YARDS
Ken-Yon Rambo’s 877 all-purpose yards lead the Big Ten and his 146.2 yards per game average is second in the conference and 19th nationally.
Ohio State utilized three tailbacks against Purdue, with Derek Combs making his first career start. He scored the Buckeyes’ first touchdown on a five-yard run, side-stepping two opponents in the process. Michael Wiley gained 67 yards rushing, with a long of 28 and he caught two passes, including a long of 23, in relief. He also threw a touchdown pass to Darnell Sanders. Jonathan Wells, getting over an ankle sprain that caused him to miss three games, scored the game-winning touchdown from 2-yards out. The reason for playing three tailbacks? Ball control. OSU tailbacks have lost six fumbles this season.
COTTON, BENTLEY MAKE FIRST STARTS
In addition to cornerback David Mitchell and tailback Derek Combs, defensive end James Cotton, the only junior college player on OSU’s roster, and sophomore left guard LeCharles Bentley each made their first career starts against Purdue. Cotton was extremely active with six tackles and a batted-down pass.
TURNOVERS and TIME
Ohio State has committed 18 turnovers and is maintaining control of the ball about 27 minutes per game this season. OSU’s opponents have committed just 12 turnovers and are holding onto the ball for about 33 minutes per game. OSU has trailed in time of possession by about 10 minutes in each of the last four games. OSU has committed three or more turnovers in five of its six games. Opponents have scored 43 points off those turnovers. The Buckeyes have scored 33 points off their opponents’ turnovers.
SCARLET & GRAY GOOD STUFF. . .
Brent Johnson and Percy King were named OSU’s special teams Players of the Week. Kevin Houser was offensive lineman of the week. The entire defense was cited for its play against Purdue and scout team honors went to Scott McMullen, Jason Bond and David Thompson. No offensive award was given this week. . Dan Stultz has passed running backs coach Tim Spencer and Hopalong Cassady and has moved into eighth-place on the all-time OSU scoring list with 226 points. . .The Buckeyes have converted on 89 percent of their 27 trips inside the red zone with 18 touchdowns and six field goals. . .Ahmed Plummer, Ben Gilbert and Tyson Walter lead the team with 31 starts and 31-consecutive starts.
THE OHIO STADIUM RENOVATION
Ohio Stadium is in the midst of a three-year, $187 million renovation that will improve aisle widths, seating for the disabled, escalator and elevator services, as well as increase seating capacity to about 97,000 fans. This project, which will be completed in time for the 2001 football season, is the first extensive renovation of Ohio Stadium since it was built in 1922. Last summer construction crews removed the track that surrounded the field for 77 years and completed one of the most crucial aspects of the project: the building of a slurry wall of impermeable concrete around the field, two-to-three feet wide and from ground level to bedrock (approximately 40 feet). East and west side foundations also were built, and demolition began inside of the west side. Following this season, new east-side C Deck stands will be built, the field will be lowered 14-feet-6-inches with new A Level seats to the field, construction will begin on the west side B Deck Suites, the south stands will be permanently built and a new 175-foot high scoreboard (the current scoreboard is 100 feet high) will be constructed behind the south stands.
OHIO STADIUM HISTORY
Ohio State is playing its home games in grand Ohio Stadium, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, for the 78th season. The team has an all-time record of 325-96-20 at Ohio Stadium.
87th BIG TEN CAMPAIGN FOR OHIO STATE
The 1999 season marks the 87th season of Big Ten Conference football for the Buckeyes, who joined the Western Conference in 1913. The Buckeyes have an all-time Big Ten record of 388-145-24 and have won or shared 28 Big Ten titles, second-most in conference history.
BUCKEYES – BEST OF BIG TEN’S BEST
Ohio State has the Big Ten Conference’s best conference record (40-9-1) and the most conference championships (3) since Penn State joined the conference in 1993. Ohio State has won 80.6 percent of its Big Ten games since 1993. Penn State (38-12 with one Big Ten title) has won 77 percent of its games and Michigan (38-13 with two championships) has won 76.0 percent of its games.
COOPER – AMONG BIG TEN’S BEST AS WELL
John Cooper’s all-time Big Ten Conference winning percentage of 71.9 percent is the fifth-best winning percentage in Big Ten history. Cooper, who is 63-23-4 in Big Ten games, trails only the legendary likes of Bo Schembechler, Fielding Yost, Woody Hayes and Fritz Crisler.
ALREADY HONORS CANDIDATES
Ohio State, which has had players win 23 major athletic awards and 17 win National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarships – the most of any school – has at least three more players who will be in the running for such honors in 1999. Linebacker Na’il Diggs, a preseason All-American, is on the initial “watch list” for the Butkus Award. Senior tailback Michael Wiley, coming off a 1,235-yard rushing year in his first year as a starter, is a Doak Walker Running Back Award nominee. And senior cornerback Ahmed Plummer, another preseason All-American and called the best cover cornerback in the country by OSU secondary coach Jon Tenuta, is on the initial Thorpe Award watch list. He also is Ohio State’s nominee for a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarship.
LOTS TO REPLACE FROM 1998
The 1999 Buckeyes will be chasing a fifth-consecutive 10-win-or-more season and the sixth in the last seven years. The Buckeyes are replacing 10 starters from last year, including seven who were selected in the 1999 NFL Draft. Included in the group are four All-Americans – CB Antoine Winfield, SS Damon Moore, SE David Boston and LG Rob Murphy – record-setting quarterback Joe Germaine, flanker Dee Miller, Butkus Award winner Andy Katzenmoyer and punter Brent Bartholomew.
Ohio State has had 44 players drafted into the NFL in the John Cooper era, including 15 in the first round. The list:
1999 Draft SE David Boston 1st Arizona CB Antoine Winfield 1st Buffalo LB Andy Katzenmoyer 1st New England TB Joe Montgomery 2nd New York Giants QB Joe Germaine 4th St. Louis SS Damon Moore 4th Philadelphia P Brent Bartholomew 6th Miami FL Dee Miller 6th Green Bay
1997 Draft OT Orlando Pace 1st St. Louis CB Shawn Springs 1st Seattle FS Rob Kelley 2nd New Orleans CB Ty Howard 3rd Arizona DE Mike Vrabel 3rd Pittsburgh FB Nicky Sualua 4th Dallas DE Matt Finkes 6th Carolina
1996 Draft FL Terry Glenn 1st New England TE Ricky Dudley 1st Oakland TB Eddie George 1st Houston QB Bobby Hoying 3rd Philadelphia
1995 Draft SE Joey Galloway 1st Seattle OT Korey Stringer 1st Minnesota LB Craig Powell 1st Cleveland FL Chris Sanders 3rd Houston CB Marlon Kerner 3rd Buffalo LB Lorenzo Styles 3rd Atlanta LB Preston Harrison 3rd San Diego CB Tito Paul 5th Arizona
1994 Draft DT Dan Wilkinson 1st Cincinnati FB Jeff Cothran 3rd Cincinnati TB Raymont Harris 4th Chicago OT Jason Winrow 6th New York Jets TB Butler By’note’ 7th Denver
1993 Draft TB Robert Smith 1st Minnesota SS Roger Harper 2nd Atlanta FL Brian Stablein 8th Denver
1992 Draft DE Alonzo Spellman 1st Chicago TB Scottie Graham 7th Pittsburgh QB Kent Graham 8th Arizona
1991 Draft CB Vinnie Clark 1st Green Bay SE Jeff Graham 2nd Pittsburgh FL Bobby Olive 11th Kansas City
1990 Draft OG Jeff Davidson 5th Denver OT Joe Staysniak 7th San Diego OT Tim Moxley 9th Washington
PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
he Nittany Lions carry a perfect 6-0 record but now face the challenge of Ohio State in their quest for a Big Ten Championship and a possible national championship.
THE LAST MEETING WITH PENN STATE
The Ohio State defense was stellar in the last meeting between the two school as OSU won, 28-9. The “Silver Bullets” held the Nittany Lions to zero or negative yardage on 34 of 59 plays. PSU finished with 181 total yards and just 79 yards rushing. OSU flanker Dee Miller had a stellar six catches for 108 yards. For the third-consecutive year, each team came into the game unbeaten and ranked in the Top 10.
THE NITTANY LIONS LAST WEEK
The Nittany Lions had 500 yards of total offense but their 31-7 win over Iowa was closer than it looked. At one point early in the third quarter, PSU led 14-7. But a 47-yard touchdown run by Eric McCoo gave the Nittany Lions much needed breathing room.
PENN STATE – LINEBACKER “U”
Penn State may have the best trio of linebackers in the country. Senior Brandon Short leads the team with 43 tackles and is the unquestioned leader of the defense. Junior LaVar Arrington has 27 stops and seven tackles-for-loss. Senior Mac Morrison also has 27 tackles. They are in their second season as a group and set the tone for a solid defense.
PENN STATE’S SACK MAN
Senior defensive end Courtney Brown is putting together an impressive season. The preseason All-American leads the Nittany Lions with seven sacks for minus 43-yards. Brown also is second in the conference with 13 tackles-for-loss for a minus 63-yards.
SPREADING THE WEALTH IN HAPPY VALLEY
Five different Nittany Lions have double-digit receptions this season. Chafie Fields leads the team with 20 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Eddie Drummond is second with 13 catches for 255 yards. Running backs Eric McCoo and Aaron Harris have 10 catches each. Tight end John Gilmore has 10 catches for 120 yards.
PATERNO’S TWO QUARTERBACKS
Penn State has gone to the two quarterback system this season. Kevin Thompson leads the team with 894-yards passing and carries a 59.3 completion percentage. Casey has a higher completion percentage (67.3) and the two have each thrown five touchdowns.