2007 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

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2007 Penn State Nittany Lions football
Alamo Bowl, W 24–17 vs. Texas A&M (vacated)
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches #25
2007 record 0–4, 9 wins vacated (0–4 Big Ten, 4 wins vacated)
Head coach Joe Paterno
Offensive coordinator Galen Hall
Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley
Home stadium Beaver Stadium
(Capacity: 107,282)
Seasons
« 2006 2008 »
2007 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#5/4 Ohio State   7 1         11 2  
#18/19 Michigan   6 2         9 4  
#20/18 Illinois   6 2         9 4  
#24/21 Wisconsin   5 3         9 4  
#NR/25 Penn State   0* 4         0* 4  
Iowa   4 4         6 6  
Purdue   3 5         8 5  
Indiana   3 5         7 6  
Michigan State   3 5         7 6  
Northwestern   3 5         6 6  
Minnesota   0 8         1 11  
† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative

The 2007 Penn State Nittany Lions football team represented the Pennsylvania State University in the 2007 college football season. The team was coached by Joe Paterno and played its home games in Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

On July 23, 2012, all nine wins in the season were vacated as a result of NCAA punishments handed down in the wake of the Penn StatePrevious season

The 2006 season began with the Nittany Lions ranked #19 in the AP and Coaches preseason polls. The team dropped out of the rankings with losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State, but finished the season ranked #25 in the Coaches Poll and #24 in the AP Poll with a final record of 0–4, including a vacated victory over the Tennessee Volunteers in the 2007 Outback Bowl.

Preseason[edit]

Shortly after the end of the 2006 season, junior linebacker and 2006 Bednarik Award finalist Dan Connor announced he would remain at Penn State for his senior year.[1]

Redshirt junior offensive lineman Elijah Robinson was forced to give up football after being diagnosed with a tight spinal canal, a condition that could lead to paralysis if Robinson ever sustained a head impact that pinches the spinal cord.[2] Redshirt junior safety Spencer Ridenhour chose to transfer from Penn State, after being unable to win a starting position with returning safety Anthony Scirrotto and converted cornerback Tony Davis ahead of him on the depth charts.[3]

Seniors Dan Connor, Terrell Golden, and Anthony Morelli were elected tri-captains by their teammates prior to the season.[4]

Penn State was ranked #17 in the AP and #18 in the Coaches college football preseason polls.

Recruiting class[edit]

The Nittany Lions received 21 letters of intent on National Signing Day, February 7, 2007.

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Drew Astorino
DB
Edinboro, PA General McLane HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 4.44 Jan 31, 2007 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Quinn Barham
OG
Durham, NC Hillside HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 265 lb (120 kg) 5.20 Aug 11, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 74
Ryan Breen
P
Clarkston, MI Clarkston HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 4.75 Jun 24, 2006 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 76
Chris Colasanti
LB
Bloomfield, MI Brother Rice HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 4.60 Apr 26, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 78
Andrew Dailey
LB
Massillon, OH Washington HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 4.60 Jun 28, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Jon Ditto
TE
Monroeville, PA Gateway SHS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 221 lb (100 kg) 4.60 Jun 8, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Stephfon Green
CB
Bronx, NY John F. Kennedy HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 4.30 Jul 17, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Kevion Latham
DE
Greensboro, NC Page HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 240 lb (110 kg) 4.60 Jul 12, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Josh Marks
OT
Catawissa, PA Southern Columbia Area HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 285 lb (129 kg) 5.30 May 19, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Nerraw McCormack
OT
Bronx, NY John F Kennedy HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 290 lb (130 kg) 5.15 Jan 4, 2007 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: NA
Derek Moye
WR
Rochester, PA Rochester Area HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 178 lb (81 kg) 4.65 Jan 25, 2007 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Chimaeze Okoli
DT
Virginia Beach, VA Salem HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 275 lb (125 kg) 5.00 Feb 2, 2007 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Ako Poti
OT
San Francisco, CA CC of San Francisco 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 300 lb (140 kg) NA Dec 15, 2006 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: NA
Chaz Powell
CB
Glen Rock, PA Susquehannock HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 4.44 Jun 24, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 74
Devon Still
DT
Wilmington, DE Howard HS of Technology 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 250 lb (110 kg) 4.90 Jan 24, 2007 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Nathan Stupar
LB
State College, PA State College Area HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 4.61 May 24, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Joe Suhey
S
Wilmette, IL Loyola Academy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 4.60 Dec 12, 2006 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Nick Sukay
S
Greensburg, PA Greensburg Central Catholic HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 4.49 Jun 26, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Andrew Szczerba
TE
Wilmington, DE Salesianum School 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 250 lb (110 kg) 4.90 Aug 13, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
J.B. Walton
OG
New Berlin, NY Milford Academy 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 275 lb (125 kg) 4.90 Jan 17, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 86
Stefen Wisniewski
OG
Pittsburgh, PA Central Catholic HS 6 ft 3.5 in (1.92 m) 275 lb (125 kg) 5.10 Dec 2, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 18   Rivals: 23
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

Spring practice[edit]

Blue-White game with the VT block in the background

The public got their first look at the 2007 squad during the annual Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium on April 21, a 70-degree sun-splashed day. A record crowd of 71,000 turned out for the scrimmage, the third highest in the nation for a spring football game, and surpassing the previous record of 62,000 set in 1996.[5]

Thousands of fans in the huge crowd wore maroon and orange shirts, in tribute to the victims of the previous week's events at Virginia Tech, including a section of 800 fans that formed a large "VT" block.

The White team defeated the Blue team 30–6, led by junior quarterback Paul Cianciolo who ran for one touchdown and passed for two more, finishing 8-of-9 for 126 yards passing, and sophomore receiver Chris Bell who led all receivers with 116 yards receiving and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Daryll Clark.[6]

Criminal charges[edit]

On April 27, 2007, State College police announced that six members of the squad were charged with a range of criminal charges related to an altercation that occurred in an apartment in downtown State College earlier that month. The charges include burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault, and harassment, and players charged include junior safety Anthony Scirrotto, who led the Big Ten in 2006 with six interceptions and was named 2006 first-team All-Big Ten, and junior cornerback Justin King, named second-team All-Big Ten in 2006.[7] Charges against King were withdrawn before the preliminary hearing on May 4, 2007. After the hearing, charges against Jerome Hayes, Tyrell Sales and Lydell Sargeant were dismissed, citing weak evidence. However, Scirrotto and Chris Baker still face a possible trial in county court.[8]

Coach Paterno announced that, because of the incident, the entire football team will clean Beaver Stadium on Sundays after home games, a task usually handled by members of Penn State's club sports teams.[9] The team began serving this punishment following their 59–0 victory over Florida International. The players arrived at the stadium just prior to 8:00 a.m. and cleaned eight sections of the stadium. They were joined by members of various sports clubs and teams. The football team and other organizations worked together to clean the entire stadium.[10]

Penn State's Office of Judicial Affairs expelled Scirrotto, Baker, Sargeant and Hayes for the second summer semester, but all four players were allowed to return to campus on August 6 for preseason workouts. Sargeant and his family requested formal Judicial Affairs hearings to appeal the decision.[11]

Charges of burglary, simple assault and criminal solicitation against Scirrotto were subsequently dismissed by Centre County Presiding Judge, Charles C. Brown, Jr., but a felony charge of criminal trespass and a summary offense of harassment are still pending.[12] Trials for Scirrotto and Baker are scheduled for December.[13]

Preseason awards[edit]

  • Jeremy Boone
Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award[14]
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
Second-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]
  • Gerald Cadogan
Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award[14]
First-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-American[15]
First-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-American[16]
First-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
Second-team CBS Sports pre-season All-American[18]
College Football News pre-season Defensive Player of the Year[17]
First-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]
  • Devin Fentress
Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award[14]
Third-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
First-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]
Third-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
Second-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
  • Rich Ohrnberger
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
First-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
Second-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]
  • A.J. Wallace
Third-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[15]
Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten[16]
Second-team College Football News pre-season All-American[19]
First-team College Football News pre-season All-Big Ten[17]

Schedule[edit]

Penn State did not play Big Ten teams Northwestern and Minnesota this year.

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 1 12:00 PM Florida International* #17 Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA BTN W 59–0  (vacated) 107,678
September 8 6:00 PM Notre Dame* #14 Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA ESPN W 31–10  (vacated) 110,078
September 15 12:00 PM Buffalo* #12 Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA BTN W 45–24  (vacated) 107,506
September 22 3:30 PM at Michigan #10 Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI ABC L 9–14   111,310
September 29 12:00 PM at Illinois #21 Memorial StadiumChampaign, IL BTN L 20–27   57,078
October 6 3:30 PM Iowa Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA ABC W 27–7  (vacated) 108,951
October 13 3:30 PM #19 Wisconsindagger Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA ABC W 38–7  (vacated) 109,574
October 20 12:00 PM at Indiana Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN ESPN W 36–31  (vacated) 41,251
October 27 8:00 PM #1 Ohio State #24 Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA ABC L 17–37   110,134
November 3 12:00 PM Purdue Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA ESPN W 26–19  (vacated) 108,318
November 10 12:00 PM at Temple* Lincoln Financial FieldPhiladelphia, PA ESPNU W 31–0  (vacated) 69,029
November 17 3:30 PM at Michigan State Spartan StadiumEast Lansing, MI (Land Grant Trophy) ABC L 31–35   72,251
December 29 8:00 PM vs. Texas A&M* AlamodomeSan Antonio, TX (Alamo Bowl) ESPN W 24–17  (vacated) 66,166
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Eastern Time.

Coaching staff[edit]

Coaching changes[edit]

Safeties coach Brian Norwood left the staff at the conclusion of the regular season to accept the defensive coordinator position at Baylor. Former Coordinator of Player Personnel Kermit Buggs was named his replacement and assumed coaching duties prior to the Nittany Lions' postseason appearance in the Alamo Bowl.[20]

Game notes[edit]

September 1: Florida International[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
FIU 0 0 0 0 0
Penn State 14 10 28 7 59
Penn State fullback Dan Lawlor hurdles a defender to score a touchdown in the 2007 season opener.

The Nittany Lions shut out the Golden Panthers in their first-ever meeting. Quarterback Anthony Morelli was 23 of 38 for 295 yards, with touchdown passes to Terrell Golden, Mickey Shuler, Jr., and Matt Hahn. The running backs scored five touchdowns, including two by Austin Scott.

Led by linebackers Dan Connor and Sean Lee, the defensive unit forced five turnovers and held FIU to −3 yards rushing.[21]

Lee was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.[22]


September 8: Notre Dame[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 7 0 3 0 10
Penn State 7 7 10 7 31
The first stadium-wide White-Out for the Notre Dame game

In front of a crowd of 110,078 spectators, the second-largest ever at Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions overpowered an inexperienced Fighting Irish team in a 31–10 win. Derrick Williams returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to start Penn State's scoring, after the Irish took a 7–0 lead on an interception return for a touchdown. Austin Scott rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Anthony Morelli finished 12 of 21 for 131 yards, including a 51 yard strike to Chris Bell and a 10 yard touchdown to Jordan Norwood.

Led by Dan Connor, the defense sacked the Irish's highly touted freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen six times for −50 yards. The defensive unit held the Irish to zero rushing yards and just 144 yards total. The Irish committed 14 penalties for 97 yards, partly due to the loud, mostly white-clad crowd.[23]

Recording 12 tackles, Connor was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week[24] as well as Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week.[25] Derrick Williams' punt return for a touchdown was selected the week's Pontiac Game Changing Performance in a landslide vote.[26]


September 15: Buffalo[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Buffalo 3 0 0 21 24
Penn State 0 17 14 14 45

Backup tailback Rodney Kinlaw had his first 100-yard game, tallying a career-high 129 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown after replacing starter Austin Scott, who fumbled on each of Penn State's first two drives. Scott's first fumble at the Penn State 8-yard line allowed the Bulls to take the lead, 3–0.

After a slow start, quarterback Anthony Morelli finished 20 of 27 for 202 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, including two to tight end Andrew Quarless, who was playing in his first game this season after being suspended for an underage drinking citation. Jordan Norwood's acrobatic 5-yard touchdown catch was highlighted as the Top Play for September 15, 2007 on ESPN's SportsCenter.

On defense, Dan Connor and Sean Lee each recorded 12 tackles. Safety Anthony Scirrotto also recorded an interception and recovered a fumble forced by Tony Davis.[27]


September 22: @ Michigan[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 0 3 3 3 9
Michigan 7 0 0 7 14

The Wolverines defeated the Nittany Lions 14–9, their first loss of the season. Michigan's Mike Hart carried the ball a record 44 times for 153 yards, helping the Wolverines control the clock and executed 26 more plays than Penn State.

The Nittany Lions defense permitted only three drives above 40 yards, forced two turnovers and limited Hart to 3.5 yards per carry, but the Wolverines were 10 of 18 on third down conversions. Sean Lee finished with 12 tackles, and cornerback Lydell Sargeant made a career-high 10 tackles including a tackle for loss and an interception.

Anthony Morelli was 15 of 31 for 169 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, but lost a fumble early in the game on the Penn State 10-yard line. Michigan needed only two plays to convert the turnover into a touchdown.[28]


September 29: @ Illinois[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 10 7 3 0 20
Illinois 14 7 3 3 27

The Nittany Lions fell 27–20 to the Fighting Illini in a turnover-filled game, Illinois's first win over a ranked opponent since 2001. The Illini would take a 7–3 lead on a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first given up by Penn State since 1994.

Quarterback Anthony Morelli was 21 of 38 for a career-high 298 yards but was intercepted three times inside the Illinois 30-yard line. Morelli also had a crucial fumble on a fourth down scramble after appearing to have gained enough yards for the first down. The offense started five drives in Illinois territory but could only score three points on those drives.

The defense struggled early to defend the Illini's option running game, giving up 216 yards rushing. Linebacker Sean Lee recorded a career-high 17 tackles. Justin King and Tony Davis each intercepted the ball once, the second of the season for both players.[29]


October 6: Iowa[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Iowa 0 0 0 7 7
Penn State 0 13 7 7 27

Quarterback Anthony Morelli overcame first-half boos from the Beaver Stadium crowd to finish 18 of 31 for 233 yards and a touchdown in a 27–7 win over the Hawkeyes. Rodney Kinlaw, playing in place of suspended tailback Austin Scott, ran for a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Evan Royster had 86 yards on 16 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury.

Placekicker Kevin Kelly connected on 2 of 3 field goals, including a personal-best 53-yarder. Deon Butler led Nittany Lions receivers with 3 catches for 55 yards. Maurice Evans and Aaron Maybin each sacked Iowa's Jake Christensen twice, and the Hawkeyes were held scoreless until Trey Stross caught an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.[30]


October 13: Wisconsin[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Wisconsin 7 0 0 0 7
Penn State 10 14 7 7 38

Penn State capitalized on early turnovers by the Badgers, including a P.J. Hill fumble on the first play from scrimmage, to take control of the game early.

Quarterback Anthony Morelli completed 16 of 28 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown for the Nittany Lions. Tailbacks Rodney Kinlaw and Evan Royster each scored touchdowns while rushing for 115 and 68, respectively. Wide receiver Deon Butler caught seven passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Daryll Clark, who saw playing time in mop-up duty, scored on a 1-yard run. The Penn State defense intercepted Badgers quarterback Tyler Donovan twice. Linebackers Sean Lee and Dan Connor each ended with 12 tackles.[31] The Lions were only penalized once for 10 yards, continuing their streak as the Big Ten's least-penalized team.[32]

Defensive end Jerome Hayes was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in the third quarter.[33]


October 20: @ Indiana[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 0 20 3 13 36
Indiana 7 7 3 14 31

The Penn State defense, despite giving up 386 total yards, forced four second-half Hoosiers turnovers, including two forced fumbles by defensive end Maurice Evans who scooped up one fumble and returned it 55 yards. Although the Hoosiers had the lead early on, the Nittany Lions took the lead in the final minute of the first half. Penn State held off an Indiana comeback in the fourth quarter, ensuring the continuation of their perfect record over the Hoosiers. The win also gave the Nittany Lions their first road win of the year.

On offense, Anthony Morelli finished 22 of 32 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Jordan Norwood led all receivers with 8 receptions for 65 yards.[34]

Evans was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. In addition to his two forced fumbles, he also recorded 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.[35]

Defensive tackle Jared Odrick left the game with a broken ankle, and fullback Matt Hahn left with a torn ACL. Both are out for the season.


October 27: Ohio State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Ohio State 10 7 7 13 37
Penn State 7 0 3 7 17

ESPN's College GameDay aired from State College, the second time in three seasons the show originated from Happy Valley for the visit by the Buckeyes.[36] After a close first quarter, Ohio State pulled away to win 37–17. First Ohio State scored a field goal, then Penn State scored a touchdown. Ohio State then scored another touchdown to end the quarter 10–7. Penn State only scored a field goal and a late kickoff return touchdown after that. Amazingly, Ohio State never punted once during the game, however, they did not score on every one of their drives. Some drives ended with a turnover or a missed field goal. Despite Ohio State never punting, Penn State still had a chance for a comeback until Ohio State went up 34–10 following an Anthony Morelli interception.


November 3: Purdue[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Purdue 10 0 6 3 19
Penn State 3 10 0 13 26

In his final Beaver Stadium performance, linebacker Dan Connor made 11 tackles against the Boilermakers to give him 379 career stops and became Penn State's all-time tackler, passing Paul Posluszny (372).

Senior Anthony Morelli was 22 of 35 for 210 yards and a touchdown, giving him 2,060 yards passing for the season. With 2,424 passing yards last season, Morelli became the first Nittany Lion quarterback with at least 2,000 passing yards in multiple seasons.

Redshirt freshman tailback Evan Royster recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 126 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Derrick Williams also made a career-high 10 receptions for 95 yards and rushed for 12 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a career-high 151 all-purpose yards.[37]

Linebacker Sean Lee was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Lee finished with 12 tackles and two forced fumbles, including a game-changing play late in the first quarter. On third-and-goal from the one yard line, Lee stripped and recovered the football to halt a potential Purdue scoring drive.[38]


November 10: @ Temple[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 14 3 0 14 31
Temple 0 0 0 0 0

Senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark as the Nittany Lions shut out the Owls for the second consecutive year. Kinlaw tied his career-high 168 yards and also caught a career-high five passes for 27 yards.

Anthony Morelli was 22 of 33 for 260 yards with three touchdowns, two of them to Jordan Norwood. Derrick Williams had a game-high seven receptions for a career-high 104 yards, and teammate Deon Butler made five receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown.

The Nittany Lions defense posted its fourth shut-out in 17 games, and its second road shutout in 17 games, dating back to the 12–0 win over Purdue in Ross-Ade Stadium in 2006. The defense was led by Dan Connor who tied his career-high of 18 tackles and Sean Lee who had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.[39]

For the second time this season, Connor was selected the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week[40] as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.[41]


November 17: @ Michigan State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 7 10 7 7 31
Michigan State 7 0 14 14 35

The Nittany Lions took a 24–7 lead in the third quarter on kicker Kevin Kelly's 5-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal. However the Spartans outscored Penn State 28–7 the remainder of the game to take possession of the Land Grant Trophy. Penn State was awarded a 4th timeout in the final minute of the game.

The Nittany Lions defense forced three turnovers and limited the Spartans to 145 rushing yards, but Spartans quarterback Brian Hoyer was 16 of 21 for 257 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. The Spartans had eight pass plays of 20 yards or more, with seven coming in the second half.

Anthony Morelli was 16 of 35 for 188 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. However, down 35–31 in the game's final minutes, Morelli threw four consecutive incompletions to end Penn State's last drive.[42]


December 29: 2007 Alamo Bowl – Texas A&M[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 0 17 7 0 24
Texas A&M 14 0 3 0 17
Main article: 2007 Alamo Bowl

Penn State rallied from a 14–0 first quarter deficit to win 24–17 on the strength of the running game provided by the offensive line and Rodney Kinlaw, Daryll Clark and Evan Royster. The defense came up with a key goal line stand in the fourth quarter stopping an option play on fourth and goal from inside the five yard line. The comeback from 14–0 has been compared to the 1981 Penn State vs Pittsburgh game where Penn State fell into an early 14–0 hole after one, but came back to win in a 48–14 blowout. In this game, Penn State went on a 24–3 run in the second and third quarters.


Rankings[edit]

Ranking Movement
Poll Pre Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Final
AP 17 14 12 10 21 NR NR 24 NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR
Coaches 18 15 12 10 19 NR NR 25 22 NR 25 22 NR NR NR 25
Harris Not released 19 NR NR NR 22 NR NR 25 NR NR NR Not released
BCS Not released NR 25 NR NR NR NR NR NR

Awards[edit]

Watchlists[edit]

Fred Biletnikoff Award watchlist[43]
Maxwell Award watchlist[44]
Lombardi Award watchlist[45] and semifinalist[46]
Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist,[47] semifinalist,[48] and finalist[49]
Dick Butkus Award watchlist,[50] semifinalist[51] and finalist[52]
Bronko Nagurski Trophy watchlist[53]
Lott Trophy watchlist[47]
Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist[54]
Ted Hendricks Award finalist[55]

Players[edit]

First-team All-Big Ten[60]
ESPN All-Big Ten Team[61]
ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District[62]
First-team ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-American[63]
2007 Bednarik Award winner[64]
First-team Walter Camp All-American[64]
First-team Associated Press All-American[65]
First-team ESPN All-American[66]
Second-team Sporting News All-American[67]
First-team Rivals.com All-American[68]
College Football News All-American[69]
First-team Scout.com All-American[70]
Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week (September 8)[25]
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (September 8)[24]
Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week (November 10)[40]
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (November 10)[41]
First-team All-Big Ten[60]
ESPN All-Big Ten Team[61]
Second-team Sports Illustrated mid-season All American[71]
Under Armour Award (Most Valuable Player, 2008 Senior Bowl North team)[72]
Third-team Scout.com All-American[70]
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (October 20)[35]
First-team All-Big Ten[60]
First-team All-Big Ten[60]
First-team Pro Football Weekly All-American[73]
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (September 1)[22]
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week (November 3)[38]
ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District[62]
Second-team All-Big Ten[60]
ESPN.com All-Bowl Team[74]
Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten[75]
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award[60]
ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District[62]
Second-team All-Big Ten[60]
Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten[75]
ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District[62]
First-team All-Big Ten (conference coaches selection)[60]
ESPN All-Big Ten Team[61]
ESPN.com All-Bowl Team[74]
Pontiac Game Changing Performance (Sep. 8)[26]
Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten[75]

Post season[edit]

Penn State finished the season ranked #25 in the final USA Today college football poll, earning Penn State its 33rd Top 25 finish under Joe Paterno.[76]

Penn State finished second in football attendance for the fifth time this decade and in the top four for the 17th consecutive year, averaging 108,917 for seven home games, including two primetime crowds of 110,134 on October 27 to watch Penn State host Ohio State, the second-largest in Beaver Stadium history, and 110,078 on September 8 to watch Penn State beat Notre Dame, the third-largest in Beaver Stadium history. Penn State finished the season with a sellout crowd of 66,166 at the Alamo Bowl.[77]

In January, junior cornerback Justin King announced that he was going to declare for the 2008 NFL Draft, skipping his final year of eligibility. King had graduated the previous semester with a degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in sports management. According to King's stepfather and high school coach, "He wanted to get an education and a degree from Penn State, which he did. He wanted to help turn Penn State around, and he did that, too."[78]

Three players were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, held February 20–26 in Indianapolis, IN: Dan Connor, Justin King, and Anthony Morelli.[79]

NFL draft[edit]

Two Penn State players were selected in the 2008 NFL Draft.[80]

Round Pick Overall Name Position Team
3rd 11 74 Dan Connor Linebacker Carolina Panthers
4th 2 101 Justin King Cornerback St. Louis Rams

All-star games[edit]

Game Date Site Players
83rd East-West Shrine Game January 19, 2008 Robertson Stadium, Houston, Texas Anthony Morelli[81]
59th Senior Bowl January 26, 2008 Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama Dan Connor[82]
2nd Texas vs. The Nation Game February 2, 2008 Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas Rodney Kinlaw[83]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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