Penn State Finishes Regular Season by Hosting Maryland
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The regular season concludes Saturday for No. 15/14 Penn State, as it is set to honor 21 seniors taking the field at Beaver Stadium for the final time before its kickoff against Maryland. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
The Nittany Lions will be recognizing the winningest class since 2011 (38-14) and 2009 (40-12), as the current group of seniors is 37-14 over the last four seasons. The group has been particularly dominant at home with a 26-3 record entering the weekend.
Among the leaders of the class is senior quarterback Trace McSorley, who has been the starter in Penn State’s last 30 wins, setting a school record for starting quarterback victories. He is looking to guide Penn State to its ninth nine-win season in the last 14 years and improve on his 20-2 record at home as a starter.
Senior safety Nick Scott captains a defense that has yielded just 17 points and 503 yards total in its last two games. The unit leads the Big Ten in red zone defense (73.3 percent), sacks per game (3.45) and tackles for loss per game (7.7).
Sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos ranks second in the Big Ten in tackles for loss (1.5 per game) and is one of three Nittany Lion defensive linemen to rank in the top-10 in the Big Ten in sacks per game. Gross-Matos has made 33 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks in the last five weeks after making 17 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 2.0 sacks the first six weeks of the season.
The Nittany Lions face a Maryland team fighting for bowl eligibility at 5-6. The Terrapins, who own a win over Texas, nearly got their sixth win last week, but came up short in overtime against No. 10 Ohio State, 52-51, after just missing on a game-deciding two-point conversion attempt. Running back Anthony McFarland led Maryland, rushing for 298 yards and two touchdowns, and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
INTERIM HEAD COACH MATT CANADA
– Matt Canada, who was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2016 and served an integral role in conference championships at Northern Illinois and Wisconsin as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach is in his first season as the interim head coach at Maryland.
– Canada was hired as the Maryland offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach ahead of the 2018 season, but was named interim head coach on Aug. 11.
– In 2017, Canada served as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at LSU, and he served in the same role at Pitt in 2016 and NC State from 2013-15.
– In 2012, Canada was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin, helping lead the Badgers to a Big Ten championship and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl.
– Prior to joining the Wisconsin staff, Canada served stints at Northern Illinois, Indiana and Butler.
SCOUTING THE TERPS
– Maryland is 5-6 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play to rank fifth in the Big Ten East Division.
– The Terrapins have just one win in their last five games, but their last two games have been decided by just a combined three points. The Terps lost to Indiana by two points two weeks ago, and fell in overtime on a failed two-point conversion attempt last week against Ohio State, 52-51.
– Maryland is entering its second game this season with Tyrrell Pigrome as the starting quarterback, as Kasim Hill suffered a season-ending torn ACL injury during the Indiana game.
– Freshman running back Anthony McFarland ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 1,022 rushing yards this season and second in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation with 8.18 yards per carry. He rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in the Ohio State game.
– Maryland is tied with Utah State with an FBS-leading 18 interceptions this season. Linebacker Tre Watson leads the Big Ten and ranks tied for fourth in FBS with five. Defensive back Darnell Savage has four to rank in a four-way tie for second in the Big Ten.
– Watson also leads the Big Ten with 10.1 tackles per game.
SENIORS TO BE HONORED
– There are 21 Nittany Lion seniors that will take the field in Beaver Stadium for the final time Saturday.
– The 2018 seniors have been instrumental in the Nittany Lions earning a 37-14 record the past four years with four winning seasons, the 2016 Big Ten Championship, a Rose Bowl appearance, Penn State’s highest ranking since 1999 (No. 2), a Fiesta Bowl Championship and a fourth bowl appearance upcoming.
– The group ranks currently ranks as the winningest class since 2011 (38-14), and has an opportunity to be the winningest class since 2009 (40-12).
– The group includes some of head coach James Franklin’s first recruits.
– Those to be introduced in a pre-game ceremony and include: Mark Allen, Joe Arcangelo, Torrence Brown, Ryan Buchholz, Jake Cooper, Frank Di Leo, Donnell Dix, Koa Farmer, Sterling Jenkins, Trace McSorley, Amani Oruwariye, Nick Scott, Tyler Shoop, Charlie Shuman, Zach Simpson, Johnathan Thomas, DeAndre Thompkins, Kyle Vasey, Jason Vranic, Christopher Welde and Chasz Wright.
– The Nittany Lions have earned victories in 22 of their 28 Senior Day games since 1990.
PENN STATE IN THE RANKINGS
– Penn State is ranked No. 14 in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the Associated Press poll.
– Penn State’s 37-straight weeks in the AP Top 25 is the fifth-longest active streak in FBS and seventh-longest streak in Penn State history.
– In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Penn State is ranked No. 12.
– Penn State has been ranked in the last 13 CFP rankings, dating back to its first-ever appearance in the first poll of the 2016 season.
– Penn State clinched its 14th consecutive winning season. Only four other FBS teams have had a winning season each of the last 14 years (Oklahoma, Boise State, LSU, Wisconsin). Virginia Tech, USC and Florida State can also achieve the feat this season.
– Over those 14 consecutive winning seasons, Penn State has totaled at least eight wins in 10 seasons, including the last three seasons.
– Head coach James Franklin has guided his teams to a winning record each of the last seven seasons (2 at Vanderbilt, 5 at Penn State).
– Penn State is 28-6 in its last 34 games, the best span since going 28-6 from the end of the 1996 season to the first nine games of 1999.
– Penn State is 30-8 over the past three seasons (2016-18), for the ninth-best record in FBS.
– Dating back to 2015, Penn State has won 24 of its last 27 home games.
– Penn State’s 44 wins over the last five years (2014-18) rank tied for 16th in FBS and third in the Big Ten (Ohio State, 59; Wisconsin, 52).
– Penn State’s 86 wins over the last 10 years (2009-18) rank tied for 17th in FBS and fourth in the Big Ten (Wisconsin, 101; Ohio State, 100; Michigan State, 90).
– Penn State’s 130 wins over the last 15 years rank tied for 16th in FBS and third in the Big Ten (Ohio State, 151; Wisconsin, 148).
MCSORLEY, GILLIKIN NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
– Junior P Blake Gillikin and senior QB Trace McSorley were named CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field.
– Gillikin collects all-district accolades for the second-straight season.
– The pair is now on the ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-America.
– Gillikin has a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA as a kinesiology major. He received the President’s Award for freshmen in 2016 and was presented with The Evan Pugh Scholar Award, given to those juniors and seniors who are in the upper 0.5 percent of their respective classes, in May 2018. Gillikin is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
– McSorley graduated in May with a 3.31 grade-point average (GPA) in accounting. He is working toward his second undergraduate degree in journalism. He is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He spent the summer of 2017 interning for Merrill Lynch and Bank of America in State College.
– Trace McSorley is 79 yards shy of the PSU career QB rushing record of 1,637 yards held by Michael Robinson (2002-05) … 147 yards shy of the PSU career QB season record of 806 held by Michael Robinson (2005) … 9 completions shy of 700 career completions … 341 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards this season.
– Juwan Johnson is 23 receptions shy of 100 career receptions.
– Tommy Stevens is 29 yards shy of 500 career rushing yards.
– Redshirt freshman WR KJ Hamler has a reception in all 11 games of his career.
– True freshman TE Pat Freiermuth has a reception in his last 10 games.
– Penn State has won its last 10 games against schools located within 250 miles of State College.
– Penn State has won its last 10 games against Big Ten West Division opponents.
– Penn State ranks tied for 24th in FBS and second in the Big Ten behind Iowa (4.91) averaging 4.27 three-and-outs per game.
– Penn State leads the Big Ten and ranks 12th in FBS in red zone defense, only yielding scores on 73.2 percent of opponents’ trips inside the 20.
– Penn State ranks fifth in FBS in scoring percentage (21.66).
– Penn State’s 1.18 points per possession ranks tied for 12th in FBS and third in the Big Ten behind Michigan and Michigan State. (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
– Penn State’s 1.15 points per possession over the last two years is fourth in FBS. (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
– PSU has limited opponent big plays, ranking 12th in big play percentage (9.78) and third in big play pass percentage (10.32). (Per Coaches by the Numbers)
– Penn State held Wisconsin to just 12 first downs, the fewest allowed by the Nittany Lions since giving up 11 last year at Maryland.
– Penn State held Wisconsin to just 10 points, its fewest points scored since a 14-7 Michigan loss in 2016.
– Penn State held Wisconsin to just 269 yards of total offense, 178.2 yards below the Badgers’ previous season average of 447.2. This included holding the Badgers’ running game to 209 yards, which was 64 yards below their previous average of 273 per game.
– The Penn State defense owns three second half shutouts this season: at Pitt, Kent State and Iowa.
– Indiana ran 100 offensive plays against the Nittany Lions, the most by a Penn State opponent in program history, but was held to 1.75 points per possession.
– Penn State was the first team to hold Ohio State under 100 yards of offense in a half since Oklahoma did it last year in the first half of their 2017 meeting.
– Penn State allowed just 221 total yards to Kent State, the fewest since allowing 200 vs. Rutgers in 2017.
– Penn State held Pitt to just six points, marking the fewest points allowed by Penn State since holding Maryland to three in the 2017 regular season finale.
NO FLY ZONE
– Penn State has 13 interceptions on the season, the most since collecting 16 picks in the 2014 season.
– At Rutgers, Penn State held its opponent to 60 or less passing yards for the third time (Pittsburgh, 55; Wisconsin, 60; Rutgers, 46) this season. This is the first time since 1976 (Ohio State, Iowa, Kentucky) that Penn State has accomplished this feat.
– Penn State held opponents to back-to-back games with 60 or fewer passing yards for the first time since 1976.
– Penn State is one of 15 teams (16 occasions) since 2000 to have three games in which it held its opponent to 60 passing yards or less (Alabama, 2017; Air Force, 2018; Army, 2006 & 2007; Boise State, 2006; Clemson, 2018; Kansas State, 2000; New Mexico State, 2008; Notre Dame, 2016; Ohio State, 2017; San Jose State, 2014; Texas, 2009; TCU, 2010; Tulsa, 2003; UCLA, 2008).
– Penn State held Rutgers to its fewest passing yards allowed (46) since giving up 46 against Nebraska in 2014.
– At Rutgers, Penn State held its opponent to less than 10 completions for the third time (Pittsburgh, 9; Wisconsin, 9; Rutgers, 5) this season. This is the first time since 2003 when Penn State held Nebraska (4), Kent State (9), Minnesota (7) and Wisconsin (9) less than 10 completions in consecutive weeks.
– Penn State’s five completions allowed at Rutgers were its fewest since allowing just one completion against Army in 2015.
– The Nittany Lions held Iowa to just 19-for-50 in the passing game, marking the sixth time since 2000 an FBS school has held an opponent to less than 20 completions on 50 attempts (Florida State vs. North Carolina [19-50] in 2002; Utah State vs. Connecticut [19-51] in 2001; Boise State vs. Nevada [19-51] in 2008; Colorado vs. Washington State [19-52] in 2004; UTEP vs. Hawaii [15-50] in 2000).
– Penn State broke up 15 passes against Michigan State, its most since totaling 16 PBUs against Purdue in 2000.
– CBs Amani Oruwariye and John Reid and S Garrett Taylor both rank in the top 11 in the Big Ten in passes defended, the most of any other team.
– Taylor became the third Nittany Lion to corral three interceptions this season with his third pick of the year at Rutgers, marking the first time since 2000 Penn State has had three players with three or more picks (James Boyd, Shamar Finney, Bhawoh Jue). Oruwariye and S Nick Scott also have three interceptions this season.
– With 14 passes defended (11 PBU, 3 INT), Oruwariye ranks third in the Big Ten with 1.3 passes defended per game, which also ranks 14th in FBS.
– Oruwariye grabbed his third interception of the season against Wisconsin and eighth of his career.
– Oruwariye had an interception in each of Penn State’s first two games. Both interceptions were in the red zone.
– At Pitt, Oruwariye intercepted a pass at the 3-yard line nullifying a potential touchdown drive. He was named to the Pro Football Focus National Team of the Week for his efforts.
– Against App State, Oruwariye sealed Penn State’s season-opening win in overtime with an interception in the end zone.
– Oruwariye has had an interception in three consecutive season openers (2016 vs. Kent State; 2017 vs. Akron).
– In nine games played, Reid (8 PBU, 2 INT) ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 1.1 passes defended per game.
– Reid collected his fifth career interception and his second of the season at Rutgers.
– Against Iowa, Reid returned an interception for 44 yards, tying his career-long interception return. He also broke up a career-high three passes.
– Taylor (7 PBU, 3 INT) ranks 11th in the Big Ten with 0.9 passes defended per game.
– Scott had his third interception of the season and his career against Wisconsin. Earlier in the season, Scott had interceptions in back-to-back games against Indiana and Iowa, respectively.
– Scott is the third Nittany Lion to have interceptions in back-to-back games this season, joining Oruwariye (Appalachian State, Pittsburgh) and Taylor (Ohio State, Michigan State).
– Led by DE Yetur Gross Matos ranking fifth with 0.73 sacks per game, Penn State has four defensive linemen ranking in the top 15 in the Big Ten in sacks.
– DE Shareef Miller ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 0.64 sacks per game.
– Miller has three sacks in the last two games with one at Rutgers and a career-high-tying two sacks against Wisconsin. It was his third two-sack game of the year.
– DT Robert Windsor is 10th in the Big Ten with 0.59 sacks per game.
– Windsor has four sacks in his last four games and had a career-high two sacks against Wisconsin.
– The five sacks by the Nittany Lions against Wisconsin were the most since they recorded six at Indiana earlier this season. Entering the game, Wisconsin had only allowed 13 sacks all year.
– DE Shaka Toney ranks 15th in the Big Ten with 0.45 sacks per game.
– Toney recorded 4.0 sacks at Indiana, all coming in the fourth quarter, doubling his previous career high of 2.0 against Northwestern in 2017.
– Toney’s 4.0 sacks tied the Penn State single-game record, equaling the mark held by three others – Terry Killens vs. Indiana, 1995; Jimmy Kennedy at Wisconsin, 2002; Tamba Hali vs. Wisconsin, 2005.
CAUSING CHAOS BEHIND THE LINE
– Penn State leads the Big Ten in both sacks (3.45) and tackles for loss (7.7) per game. Nationally, Penn State ranks fifth and 14th, respectively.
– Penn State registered 11 TFLs at Rutgers, the most since having 11 against Georgia State last season.
– Penn State is continuing to bring a balanced pass rush, as 14 different Nittany Lions have contributed to the team’s 38 sacks for the season.
– The Lions totaled 42 sacks in 2017. Following totals of 46 sacks in 2015 and 40 sacks in 2016, Penn State posted back-to-back-to-back 40-sack seasons for the first time since it posted three-consecutive 40-sack seasons in 2005 (41), 2006 (40) and 2007 (46).
GILLIKIN FLIPS THE FIELD
– P Blake Gillikin ranks second in the Big Ten and 26th in FBS, averaging 43.3 yards per punt.
– Gillikin boomed a 74-yard punt at Michigan, the longest punt of his career and tied for the fourth longest in Penn State history with Anthony Fera at Iowa in 2010.
– At Rutgers, Gillikin had punts of 67 and 70 yards on the day. He has two punts of 70 or more yards this season and five kicks of 65 or more yards for his career.
– At Rutgers, his punt average of 48.67 yards per punt ranked as tied for the 11th-highest single game average in school history with Jeremy Kapinos vs. Boston College in 2003. For Gillikin, it was his highest average since his 2017 Rose Bowl effort of 50.80 yards per punt.
– Gillikin is the first player in program history to have four career punts of 65 or more yards.
– Gillikin has 56 career punts of 50 or more yards.
– Gillikin is the fourth player in program history to have two 70-plus-yard punts in his career, joining Coop French, Jeremy Kapinos and Joe Colone.
– For his career Gillikin has landed 36 punts inside the 10-yard line and 68 inside the 20.
– Gillikin had a career-high 370 punt yards on eight kicks, which also ties his career mark, at Michigan.
– Gillikin’s four punts inside the 20 at Pitt tied a career high, which he has done three times.
– He also tied his personal mark at Pitt with three punts inside the 10, which is the fifth time in his career he has done so.
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