Penn State’s Most Memorable Teams: 2012

The 2012 team featured 31 seniors who made their final appearances at Beaver Stadium during a 24-21 overtime win over Wisconsin. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

Editor’s note: Throughout the season, we’re looking at Penn State’s most memorable teams from the past 40 years. The 2012 team will forever be remembered for the Nittany Lion stayed united while also bringing together the Penn State community.

Gritty. Resilient. Inspiring.

A lot has been written and said about the 2012 Penn State football team, which compiled probably the most impressive 8-4 mark in the history of college football.

This week, we’re welcoming one of the leaders from that team to The Football Letter Live, as quarterback and NFL/XFL veteran Matt McGloin will join the program to discuss his team with the Nittany Lions and how the 2012 squad defied all expectations while, in many ways, holding together the Penn State community.

You can register online for the show or tune in on Facebook. This week’s show will air at noon on Tuesday, and we’ll return to our regular day and time, 8 p.m. on Thursdays, next week.

Matt McGloin’s family joins him on the field during pregame ceremonies prior to the 2012 contest against Wisconsin. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

The team closed out the season by winning eight of its final 10 games, including a home win over Wisconsin on Senior Day at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions won 24-21 in overtime after the Badgers missed a field goal, and John Black ’62 wrote in that game’s edition of The Football Letter that the cheers from the home team’s locker room roared throughout the underpinnings of the stadium.

You can read more elsewhere on the blog, including how Black wrote that the team had competed for the honor of the of their team and university.

For more on The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

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Penn State Preview: Iowa

Jayson Oweh (28) and the Nittany Lions look for their first win of the season Saturday at Beaver Stadium against Iowa. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on BTN. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions this football season.

Game details: vs. Iowa, 3:30 p.m. kickoff, broadcast on BTN.

Venue: Beaver Stadium, where Penn State boasts an all-time record of 297-76.

Weather forecast (via Accuweather): High of 56 degrees and mostly cloudy.

All-time series: Penn State leads 17-12 and has won the last six games.

Last meeting (2019): Penn State won a slugfest in Iowa City, collecting a 17-12 victory. The Nittany Lions led 17-6 late in the fourth quarter before the Hawkeyes mounted a touchdown drive to close the gap with less than three minutes in the game.   

Throwback classic (2007): Penn State ended a five-game losing streak to Iowa with a 27-7 victory at Beaver Stadium. We highlighted that game earlier in the week on the blog, and the article features insight from letterman Rodney Kinlaw.

The lead: Who starts at quarterback for the Nittany Lions is something that all fans are wondering. Will Levis subbed in for Sean Clifford last Saturday at Nebraska, nearly completing a comeback after the Nittany Lions fell behind by 21. Whoever gets the call will lead Penn State against an Iowa team that’s been hard to pin down. The Hawkeyes opened the season with losses to Purdue and Northwestern, but who have responded by upending Michigan State and Minnesota by a combined score of 82-16.

One thing’s for sure: Penn State needs to play better in the first half. Do that, and that should make the game more manageable for either Clifford or Levis, and the entire team.

Penn State wins if: the Nittany Lions create multiple turnovers and avoid giving up big plays. Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras has thrown four picks early on, so if the Nittany Lions’ can disrupt his passing lanes, that should help cut down on Iowa’s explosiveness.

Iowa wins if: the Hawkeyes can push around the Nittany Lions’ offensive line. That area has struggled throughout parts of the season, including allowing a sack last week during Penn State’s potential game-tying play. Iowa is third in the conference with an average of 2.75 sacks per game, so the line’s performance takes on extra importance Saturday.

Count on: a close game, if past results are any indicator. The last three games against Iowa have been decided by a total of 13 points.

Keep an eye on: Jayson Oweh. The star sophomore already has 27 tackles, the most for a Penn State defense end through the first four games of the season since at least 2000.

Trivia tidbit: Pat Freiermuth has caught a pass in 29 straight games, tying him for the nation’s best mark for a tight end.

Leading With Love

James Franklin’s coaching approach of leading with love has taken on extra significance during the 2020 season. (Photo by Penn State Athletics)

Success brings teams together. Struggles do, too.

James Franklin and Penn State have much more experience with the former, which spotlights the rare times when the latter occurs.

Franklin and his coaches and players acknowledge that adjustments need to be made, though there’s a time and place for them, something that Franklin has mentioned.

He’s said he’s learned that right after a game in the locker room isn’t the time to start critiquing anything. Whether it’s a win or a loss, emotions are raw. Everyone is either feeling the euphoria of a victory or the sting of a defeat, and that’s not the optimal time to process feedback that might require an analytical approach.

That’s an important insight that Franklin has shared over the years during his postgame press conference with the media, which take place approximately a half hour after the game ends. In those interactions, it’s interesting to note Franklin’s demeanor, since it’s not immediately following a game, yet still close enough to glean some of his more natural emotions, which provide insight into his coaching approach.  

For example:

Following Penn State’s last-second win at Iowa in 2017, Franklin was reflective in his postgame press conference, even more so than usual, a combination of appreciation and gratitude for the win while still not being satisfied.

After the team’s loss at Michigan State that same year, a defeat that came after a four-and-a-half-hour weather delay, Franklin was frustrated, even angry at times. He said the team had gotten away from what had made them successful, and there was a sense that the team was underachieving a bit, something that Franklin was determined to fix.

The next year, after another narrow loss to Ohio State, Franklin was defiant. Personally, defiance is a favorite trait of mine. And with the way Franklin spoke, he was defiant in the sense that he didn’t want to settle for 10-win seasons. Sure, that’s a good level, but he has aspirations to elevate Penn State into an elite program. He said as much in a press conference clip that’s been aired widely in the years since.

Last Saturday in Lincoln, Franklin embodied parts of everything above. Part of the point is that Franklin isn’t a robot and, in some ways, feels the joy of winning and the pain of losing more acutely than anyone else.

However, there’s a foundational aspect of his approach that’s always present: love. Love for the football program. Love for the University. Love for the community and alumni and fans and lettermen. And certainly, love for his players.

After the Nebraska game, Franklin said that he’s a guy who leads with love. That’s a real part of his coaching philosophy and is even more important when the team is struggling like this season.

Here’s what he said Tuesday during his weekly press conference, speaking to the balance he tries to find when coaching his guys on how they can improve without being overly negative:

“You have to balance that, always. And the reality is after wins, you can be harder on guys. We’ve talked about that for six years, that even when you win, there’s still things that need to get corrected and cleaned up that allow you to continue to win. And after losses, you’ve got to make the corrections, but you’ve got to do it in a way that that young man can hear it at the time and is going to grow and not be defensive. That’s all of us, I think that’s really important.”

Fifth-year senior Michal Menet is a standout center who’s been named to the watch list for the 2020 Rimington Award, which recognizes the top offensive center in the nation. There’s a strong sense that with Franklin, what you see is what you get, which is critically important for standout high school players trying to decide where they’re going to pursue their collegiate aspirations.

Everyone knows that the results will change week to week, season to season. Hopefully, things go your way more often than they don’t, though either way, there needs to be a baseline level of trust that goes both ways, and with Franklin, that’s in place. 

“I think the biggest thing with Coach Franklin is that he’s always been consistent, he always leads with love,” Menet said this week. “From the time I was recruited, coming up here watching practice, all the way throughout. He’s always been the same, whether we’re winning or losing. Obviously, the critique is going to sound a little bit different and his overall message will be different, but it’s always been from a place of love, and that’s the one thing that I’ve always respected him a ton for, is that he’s always been consistent. No matter how good or bad things are going, he’s going to show up for work every single day, giving us his best and lead with love, like he talks about.”

At some point after the season ends or during next spring, it’s likely someone will ask Franklin if he sees this as something of a lost season, or perhaps a season in which you can’t extrapolate too much because of all the seemingly once-in-a-lifetime circumstances that COVID-19 is placing on teams.

I’m guessing Franklin will say no, and he’d be right. Like every season, he’s learning about his team, in addition to acclimating four new coaches (including a new coordinator) into the program. Franklin constantly points to consistency as a major component of his program, and it’s also something that players (former and current) mention when discussing what it’s like to play for Franklin.

Additionally, consistency matters, as evident by Menet’s perspective. All that said, there’s a lot of football left for the Nittany Lions, who still aren’t halfway through their regular season. Plus, the upcoming bowl game, assuming Penn State accepts an invite and can play without COVID-19 disrupting anything further.

Either way, there should be lessons being learned, both for this year and future seasons, and they’ll be distilled in a way that encourages improvement.

As Franklin has said before: “It starts with ‘I love you,’ and it ends with ‘I love you,’” and indications are that won’t change.  

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: PENN STATE V. IOWA (2007)

When Penn State hosted Iowa in Week 6 of the 2007 season, it was looking to stop two separate losing streaks.

The Nittany Lions were coming off of two-straight losses to open up their Big Ten campaign to Michigan and Illinois, respectively.

Penn State had also not beaten the Hawkeyes in the past five tries, including an ugly 6-4 home loss in the previous meeting between the two teams in 2004. 

Rodney Kinlaw, a fifth-year senior on that 07 team, said the Nittany Lions’ mindset heading into their matchup with the Hawkeyes was to “take care of the little things.”

“It’s all about executing,” Kinlaw said. “Play to the best of your ability and give it all on the field. Don’t stop playing until the clock reads double zeros at the end of the fourth quarter.”

As far why it seemed Iowa had Penn State’s number in recent meetings, Kinlaw said the common denominator was always the Hawkeyes’ toughness along the defensive and offensive lines.

Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

“They’re always good in the trenches,” Kinlaw said. “That’s where the game is pretty much going to be won. If the line can’t block, you’re running back and quarterback aren’t going to be productive. Iowa always seemed to have big, tough guys up front.”

Penn State controlled the line of scrimmage, took care of the little things and snapped their duo of losing streaks, dominating Iowa 27-7.

“With the vociferous support of 108,951 fans — the largest crowd to watch a football game that Saturday — the struggling Lions were resuscitated with a 27-7 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener in Happy Valley,” editor John Black noted in The Football Letter

For Kinlaw, his performance against the Hawkeyes was reminiscent of his college career as a whole.

He missed his freshman season in 2004 with a knee injury and was forced to redshirt. He battled his way back, but sat behind Tony Hunt on the depth chart.

By the time his senior season arrived, he was splitting carries with the likes of Evan Royster, Austin Scott and Stefon Green.

His confidence never wavered, though.

“It took a while, but I always knew I was going to get back on the field,” Kinlaw said.

Kinlaw overcame a fumble early in the game, which drew the ire of Paterno, to finish with a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was a great feeling to have that kind of day at home in an important game for us, especially after tearing my ACL and working so hard to get back into the lineup,” Kinlaw said. “It was a blessing to get that chance to show what I could do.”

The Nittany Lions went on two win their next two contests and five of their final seven overall, including the 24-17 success over Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. 

Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

The early-season struggles Kinlaw and his teammates faced during that 2007 season sort of mirror the kind of struggles the current Nittany Lions squad face today, sitting at 0-4 in the Big Ten.

Kinlaw said the best advice he can give to the 2020 team is to stick together and lean on one another as teammates.

“If you see your teammate giving 100 percent, it’s probably going to push you to give 100 percent. So, you want to be the guy who sets that example. Lean on that fight together. Be that person where your teammates know that they can count on.”

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 10

It was another productive weekend for some former Penn State stars in the NFL, so let’s get to the highlights.

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

Photo By Steve Manuel

Amos continues to shine in Green Bay’s secondary. In Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, it was the Green Bay defense, not it’s high powered offense, that had to carry the Packers for most of the game. 

With Jacksonville approaching midfield in the second quarter, Amos jumped in front of the intended receiver and snagged an interception — his first of the 2020 season. 

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

It’s safe to say Tampa Bay was a little ticked off after its drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints a week ago on Sunday Night Football. 

The Bucs offense was unstoppable in their bounceback win over Carolina in Week 10, racking up 46 points and 544 yards of total offense. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

Godwin was once again a focal point, with six receptions for 92 yards. 

Even with Antonio Brown in the lineup, the former Nittany Lion is sure to continue to receive a high-amount of targets from Tom Brady. 

Carl Nassib,  DL, Las Vegas Raiders

Photo By Steve Manuel

Hey, who doesn’t love when a defensive lineman gets an interception?

Nassib snagged his first career INT in Las Vegas’ 37-13 win over divisional rivals Denver on Sunday, catching Broncos QB Drew Lock completely by surprise as he dropped into coverage in the middle of the field.

Nasib and the Raiders will now host the Kansas City Chiefs for a huge matchup on Sunday Night Football in Week 11. 

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos

It was a tough day at the office for the Denver offense, but Hamilton came up with another touchdown grab. 

That gives him two touchdowns in as many weeks.

Photo By Steve Manuel

He finished the game with three receptions for 33 yards and that score.

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

Penn State’s Most Memorable Teams: 2008

Daryll Clark powered toward the end zone during the 2009 Rose Bowl that capped another 10-plus win season for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

Editor’s note: Throughout the season, we’re looking at Penn State’s most memorable teams from the past 40 years. This week, we spotlight the 2008 squad that won the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl for the third time in program history.

In an alternative universe, the 2009 Rose Bowl could’ve doubled as the national championship for the 2008 season, with Penn State and USC battling for the crown.

For the second time in four seasons, a single play knocked the Nittany Lions out of contention for the national title, as a last-second field goal at Kinnick Stadium downed Penn State by one against Iowa. The Trojans, meanwhile, somehow lost to a middling Oregon State team that Penn State dominated earlier in the season.

It was a somewhat unexplainable blemish for USC, which otherwise steamrolled its competition 450-93, as noted by editor John Black ’62 in the Rose Bowl edition of The Football Letter.

So, while Florida and Oklahoma — each of whom also lost a game in the regular season — played for the title in Miami, Florida, the Nittany Lions and Trojans clashed in Pasadena, where Joe Paterno coached for the second of his two appearances in the Rose Bowl.

USC earned a 38-24 victory, thanks largely to a second quarter when they outscored Penn State 24-0, and afterward, Paterno said, “It would take a heckuva football team to beat Southern Cal the way they played today.”

The same could also be said for Penn State, which easily dispatched non-conference opponents Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Syracuse and Temple by a combined score of 211-40. The conference record mostly featured more convincing wins, including a 46-17 home victory over Michigan, followed by an epic road victory in Columbus.

Paterno was coaching from the coaches’ box during the season, and ABC played a memorable pregame feature on the legendary coach. Penn State left The Horseshoe with a 13-6 victory, thanks to a late turnover and quarterback sneak by backup quarterback Pat Devlin, who subbed for injured starter Daryll Clark in the fourth quarter.

Mark Rubin’s forced fumble at Ohio State in 2008 led to a season-defining victory during Penn State’s Big Title-winning season. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

The road victory snapped a seven-game losing streak in Columbus and raised Penn State’s record to 9-0 and also showed off the versatility of that year’s group. Normally employing a spread HD offense, the team grinded out the one-possession victory by forcing a fumble from Pennsylvania recruit Terrelle Pryor, who chose to head out of state and compete for the Buckeyes.

As Black wrote:

“There were plenty of heroes in Saturday’s contest, starting with senior strong safety Mark Rubin and sophomore outside linebacker Navorro Bowman. Rubin had a career-high 11 tackles, as the Lions held Heisman Trophy candidate Beanie Wells to less than half his 123.8-yard pre game rushing average (10th highest in the nation), and thwarted the running of dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor was attempting to convert a third-and-one situation at midfield on a quarterback sneak, but the Lions’ defensive line plugged every gap. Pryor bounced outside, but Rubin met him at the corner and punched the pigskin from the grasp.”

The Football Letter photographer Steve Manuel ’82, ’92g captured the sequence, which led to the touchdown drive captained by Devlin.

Following the upset loss to Iowa, Penn State finished the regular season by easily dismissing Indiana (34-7) and Michigan State (49-18), leading to the third Big Ten title in program history (1994, 2005).

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Penn State Preview: Nebraska

James Franklin and the Nittany Lions head west this weekend, looking for their first win of the season at Nebraska. (Photo by Steve Manuel)

Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions this football season.

Game details: at Nebraska, noon kickoff (EST), broadcast on FS1.

Venue: Memorial Stadium.

Weather forecast (via Accuweather): High of 54 degrees, mostly cloudy with patches of sun.

All-time series: Nebraska leads 9-8, with the first meeting occurring in 1920.

Last meeting (2017): Penn State 56-44 at Beaver Stadium, where the Nittany Lions thoroughly outplayed the Huskers. Saquon Barkley set the program record for rushing touchdowns with 39, eclipsing Curt Warner. Barkley scored three times on the ground, as Penn State led 56-24 with about 10 minutes left in the game. Nebraska then scored three late touchdowns, including one as time expired.

Throwback classic (2002): Penn State bulldozed a Top-10 Nebraska squad 40-7 at Beaver Stadium, with Larry Johnson collecting his first 100-yard game and Rich Gardner electrifying the crowd with a pick-6 midway through the third quarter. Fans can look back on that game and hear from Gardner by visiting The Football Letter blog.

The lead: Off-field issues, which have largely been out of Penn State’s control, have dominated the early part of the conference schedule. Earlier this week, standout running back Journey Brown announced that he’s retiring from football because of a medical condition called hyperthropic cardiomypathy. Brown’s widely recognized among coaches and teammates as a team leader who’s always upbeat, positive, and inspiring. James Franklin called the news heartbreaking earlier this week, though he and many other Nittany Lions are confident that Brown will be successful in the future, whatever he chooses to do.

Additionally, Franklin said this week that he hasn’t handled not being around his family well, as his wife, Fumi, and their two daughters are not staying in State College for the foreseeable future, as a precaution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Franklin’s younger daughter, Addison, has sickle cell anemia and is immunocompromised.

All of this puts Penn State’s struggles on the field into perspective. In a season when there are challenges that nobody could have envisioned a year ago, there are plenty of reasons to support the team and everything they’re going through, on behalf of the University.

Penn State wins if: the Nittany Lions can get the ground game going with the running backs. Devyn Ford leads that group through three games, gaining 141 yards on 37 carries. Getting a big game from Ford, or collectively from that group, will be key for the Nittany Lions.

Nebraska wins if: the Cornhuskers get out to an early lead. That’s what Ohio State and Maryland did the last two weeks, forcing the Nittany Lions to play from behind.

Keep an eye on: Parker Washington. The Penn State freshman wide receiver has caught three touchdowns in the season’s first three games, giving Sean Clifford another reliable option in addition to Jahan Dotson.

Trivia tidbit: Nebraska and Penn State 1,800 combined wins. Nebraska (902) has four more than Penn State (898).

From The Archives: Penn State V. Nebraska (2002)

Penn State knocked off No. 7 Nebraska 40-7 in 2002, collecting a signature win at Beaver Stadium.

There were some special guests in the house on Sept. 14, 2002, at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions made sure their predecessors didn’t leave disappointed.

Penn State entered the 2002 season in a somewhat perilous position. The Nittany Lions had just endured consecutive losing seasons, previously unthinkable for a program that had gone nearly a half-century without a single such occurrence. That record, perhaps more than any other, highlights the dominance that the Nittany Lions exerted throughout much of the 20th century.

Back to 2002.

Nebraska was ranked seventh. Penn State was searching for a signature win in the new century. A rare night home game (to that point) and a national TV audience provided the Nittany Lions with an opportunity to announce their re-emergence onto the scene, and that’s exactly what happened.

As editor John Black noted in The Football Letter:

“Spurred by the presence of nearly 50 members of the 1982 team that defeated the Cornhuskers, 27-24, the last time they came to State College, the 2002 Lions silenced the criticism that has surrounded them since Nov. 6, 1999, by playing a nearly flawless game to dominate the perennial gridiron power from the Great Plains.”

The 1982 team, of course, captured the program’s first national title, with the win in ’82 still standing as one of the more memorable wins for Penn State in its history. A last-second touchdown throw from Todd Blackledge to Kirk Bowman sealed the victory.  

Twenty years later, Penn State didn’t need a last-minute scoring drive to upend Nebraska. The Nittany Lion led in overall yards and time of possession, outscoring the Cornhuskers 27-0 in the second half.

“The Penn State swagger is definitely back,” pre-season All-American Jimmy Kennedy said, as noted in The Football Letter. “It was electrifying out there tonight. I hope it’s like that every week.”

Kennedy starred at defensive tackle for the Nittany Lions, who played only their seventh night game in Beaver Stadium history.

Larry Johnson tallied his first career 100-yard rushing game and scored two touchdowns, launching his 2,000-yard season that ended with him finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Johnson finished with 2,087 yards, despite not playing in the second half of many games as Penn State was blowing out its opponents.

Zack Mills was a sophomore that season, quarterbacking the offense with 19 completions in 31 attempts. He passed for 259 yards and rushed for another 32.

Perhaps the most vivid memory of that night is the pick-6 that Rich Gardner returned about midway through the third quarter with the game still hanging in the balance. Gardner’s score extended the lead to 26-7, and the Nittany Lions won the contest 40-7, an incredible margin over a Top-10 team in primetime.

Gardner recently joined The Football Letter Live, and fans can view the archived episode online. Gardner begins talking about the Nebraska game shortly after the 35-minute mark.

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Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 9

After our first eight Penn Staters At The Next Level recaps were dominated by offensive players, Week 9 saw defensive players take the spotlight. 

DaQuan Jones, DL, Tennessee Titans 

The Titans defense had struggled mightily in recent weeks, but had a nice performance against the Bears in Week 9.

At the heart of this improved effort was former Nittany Lion DaQuan Jones. The seven-year vet was a force along Tennessee’s defensive line, recording five solo tackles, two assisted stops and a half sack. 

Jones and the Titans D held Chicago to just 56 yards rushing. 

Adrian Amos, S, Green Bay Packers

It was another strong showing for Adrian Amos as Green Bay got a little bit of revenge on a depleted 49ers squad with a 34-17 win. 

Photo By Steve Manuel

Amos recorded five tackles (second highest on the team) and Green Bay turned the tables on San Francisco after an embarrassing loss to the same foe in the NFC Championship Game just over 10 months ago.  

Amos and the rest of the Packers defense will look to keep this momentum going against a bad Jacksonville team in Week 10. 

Carl Nassib,  DL, Las Vegas Raiders

Don’t look now, but the Raiders are 5-3 and look to have a very good shot to make the playoffs in this year’s expanded format.

Former Lion Carl Nassib had two tackles and a sack in Las Vegas’ 31-26 win over the division rival Chargers on Sunday.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Two more clashes with AFC West Opponents — the Broncos and Chiefs — loom large in the Raiders’ quest to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. 

KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos

A week after snagging the game-winning touchdown for Denver against Los Angeles, Hamler turned in another strong showing for the Broncos in Week 9.

The rookie wideout hauled in six receptions for 75 yards on a team-high 10 targets. 

He seems to be developing a good rapport with Denver QB Drew Lock, and assuming the pair can stay healthy, that bodes well for the team from Mile High.

Photo By Steve Manuel

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams, Shareef Miller
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen, Stefen Wisniewski 
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant

‘Powerful’ Adam Taliaferro Special to Air on BTN

In one of the most inspiring moments in Beaver Stadium history, Adam Taliaferro walked onto the field prior to the team’s season opener in 2001. (Photo by Penn State)

An inspiring member of the Penn State football family will be featured tonight on The Big Ten Network.

The station will air a one-hour special titled, “The B1G Moment: Adam Taliaferro” this evening at 7. BTN will re-air the special multiple times, including 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 p.m. on Thursday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Fans can find more listings at btn.com/shows.

Many fans are familiar with Taliaferro’s incredible journey. As a true freshman, he suffered a life-threatening spinal cord injury at Ohio State in 2000, absorbing a hit that left him with no movement in his extremities from his neck down.

He was given a 3 percent chance to ever walk again.

That 3 percent came through in a big way, as Taliaferro jogged onto the Beaver Stadium field less than a year later, before Penn State’s home opener against Miami (Fla.).

Chuck Kimball was the Nittany Lion mascot that game, and Kimball talked about that experience earlier this season on The Football Letter Live. He even has the jersey that Taliaferro wore that evening. You can watch the episode online, with Kimball talking about Taliaferro beginning around the 30-minute mark.

We also spoke with letterman Justin Kurpeikis last year. Kurpeikis talked about the game following the Ohio State contest in 2000, an emotionally charged home victory over a Purdue team led by future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees.

Today, James Franklin talked about Taliaferro’s impact during his weekly news conference. The head coach had an opportunity to see the video ahead of time, leading him to call Taliaferro and share how much he enjoyed watching the special.

“As you guys know, I’m an emotional guy,” Franklin said. “Actually, Michael Hazel (senior director of football operations) and Nacho (Jim Natchman, assistant AD, media and video production) sent that to me last week before it was public. I got the hot peek at it and got emotional watching it. I called Adam and Adam hadn’t seen it yet, and I just told him, I said, ‘You’re going to love this thing. It is powerful.’”

Franklin continued:

“I think Adam represents everything that Penn State is all about. It’s interesting, the other thing that kind of hit home for me watching that is the challenges that that team had that season and the timing of it all (Taliaferro ran onto the Beaver Stadium field 10 days before 9/11). So, I had a really good conversation with Adam. He’s been phenomenal, not only with his time as an undergraduate student here, and how the Penn State community rallied around him and behind him is special. I know that at a point, Adam was on the board of trustees here, and he’s very successful back in New Jersey. I’m a big Adam fan and we couldn’t be more proud of him, and I think everybody’s going to love the show. And I strongly recommend, again, everybody take an hour and watch that and get away from your frustrations with other things right now.”

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