Friday, January 04, 2008

Penn State postseason football notes

• Penn State defeated Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl to earn a 9-4 record, its 27th season with nine or more victories under Joe Paterno.

• Penn State is 29-9 (76.3) the past three seasons, tied with Auburn for No. 13 in the nation in winning percentage from 2005-07. The Nittany Lions have won 31 of their last 40 games overall, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season.

• Penn State improved its all-time bowl record to 26-12-2. Its 67.5 bowl winning percentage is second-best among teams with 10 or more bowl victories. The Nittany Lions are No. 3 nationally in bowl wins.

• The Nittany Lions have won three consecutive bowl games, improving to 9-2 in post-season contests since beginning Big Ten play in 1993. Penn State is 2-0 in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

• The Valero Alamo Bowl was Joe Paterno’s 500th game as head coach of the Nittany Lions. His all-time record is 372-125-3 (74.7), one victory behind Florida State’s Bobby Bowden (373-119-4) among major college coaches.

• Joe Paterno is No. 3 in winning percentage among active coaches with a minimum of 10 years as a Division I-A head coach, trailing only Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer (147-45, 76.5) and Bobby Bowden (75.6).

• Joe Paterno, the all-time leader in bowl appearances (34) and victories (23), owns a 23-10-1 post-season record. His 69.1 winning percentage is second-best all-time among coaches with at least 12 bowl appearances.

• Four Nittany Lion seniors started the Alamo Bowl: LB Dan Connor, WR Terrell Golden, TB Rodney Kinlaw and QB Anthony Morelli. The Nittany Lions return 20 starters: 10 on defense, eight on offense, as well as punter Jeremy Boone and placekicker Kevin Kelly.

• Penn State’s win over Texas A&M from a 14-0 first quarter deficit was its largest come-from-behind win since trailing by 16 in the first half at Northwestern (23-7) in 2005 and coming back for a 34-29 victory. It also tied the biggest come-from-behind win in Alamo Bowl history with Texas, which trailed by 14 before winning, 26-24, over Iowa in 2006.

• The Lions outscored opponents in the middle two quarters, 223-60, this season, including a 131-21 advantage in the second period. Penn State outscored Texas A&M 24-3 in the second and third quarters.

• Penn State had just two penalties for 15 yards against Texas A&M. For the season, the Lions had 58 penalties for 446 yards, an average of 4.4 for 34.3 yards per game. The Lions entered the Alamo Bowl in the top 5 nationally in both categories.

• The Penn State defense permitted only three points to the Aggies after the 4:10 mark of the first quarter. The Nittany Lion defense held seven teams to 17 points or less this season and has allowed only 26 touchdowns in the past 19 games. Twelve of the 19 opponents have been shut out, held to field goals or one offensive touchdown.

• The Nittany Lion defense entered the Alamo Bowl ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing (No. 6), scoring (No. 8) and total defense (No. 9), as well as No. 2 in sacks and No. 10 in tackles for losses. Final NCAA rankings will be determined after the BCS Championship game.

• Junior linebacker Sean Lee posted his 10th double-digit tackle game of the season, recording a game-high 14 tackles, tied for most in Alamo Bowl history, to earn Defensive MVP honors. A 2008 All-America candidate, he finished the season with 138 tackles, the fifth-best single season mark in Penn State history.

• Sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans forced his team-leading fourth and fifth fumbles of the season vs. Texas A&M. The first was recovered by A.J. Wallace for his third fumble recovery of the season (tying Sean Lee for the team lead) on the Texas A&M 11-yard line. Daryll Clark scored one play later to tie the game at 14-14. A finalist for the 2007 Ted Hendricks Award, Evans forced his fifth fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by A&M.

• Senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor posted nine tackles vs. the Aggies to finish the season with 145 tackles, the second-highest season mark in Penn State history behind All-American Greg Buttle’s 165 in 1974. Connor finished his career as the all-time career tackle leader at Penn State with 419. The 2007 Bednarik Award winner, Connor also had one tackle for loss vs. Texas A&M and ended his career with 34, tied for the 12th best mark at Penn State with All-American Paul Posluszny (2003-06).

• Penn State’s 270 rushing yards vs. Texas A&M were a season-high and the second-highest total in Alamo Bowl history. It was the fifth best total in bowl history for Penn State and most since 330 in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl. Penn State’s 6.6 yards per carry were also the second highest in Alamo Bowl history.

• Senior tailback Rodney Kinlaw was named Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP after posting his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, carrying the ball 21 times for 143 yards (6.8). Kinlaw finished the season with three consecutive 100-yard efforts.

• Rodney Kinlaw finished ninth all-time in single season rushing yardage at Penn State, passing Curtis Enis (1,210, 1996). Kinlaw finishes the season with 1,329 yards on 243 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

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