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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and coach James Franklin are primed for the Saturday showdown with Ohio State.

Sports Illustrated examines Penn State’s 25 seasons in the Big Ten; kicker Sam Ficken stays sharp

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Penn State and the Big Ten

Hard to believe it’s been 25 seasons since Penn State began play in the Big Ten Conference.

Sports Illustrated’s (and one-time Daily Collegian beat writer) Jenny Vrentas examines the relationship between the Nittany Lions and the conference and how it all got underway, starting with the 1989 meeting former coach Joe Paterno and a group of Penn State representatives took part in with then-Illinois President Stanley Ikenberry.

As Vrentas points out, it didn’t take long for the relationship to form.

Several months after the dinner, word reached the media that an invitation had been extended to Penn State to join the Big Ten. In June 1990, the Council of 10 convened in Iowa City for the official vote while Penn State administrators waited apprehensively in Old Main. After two days of deliberations, the conference presidents voted the Nittany Lions in 7–3, the minimum margin needed to pass.

Vrentas’ colleague, Andy Staples, takes a look at what Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead did to confuse Michigan in the blow-out victory on Saturday.

Sam Ficken wants to keep on kicking

The trials and tribulations of former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken continue. Remember his embrace with James Franklin in Ireland after Ficken’s game-winning field goal against Central Florida in 2014?

According to John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times, Ficken is still hoping for a shot to kick in the NFL and has put together a daily schedule with his job that allows him to stay sharp kicking.

Not a fan of the whiteout

Michigan’s Lavert Hall could have been on the winning side of things Saturday, but the cornerback spurned Penn State in favor of Michigan.

He made his feelings about the whiteout crowd known according to a photo snapped by Onward State.

Now he’s sorry for the inappropriate gesture.

Quick sellout

Onward State also reports student tickets for the showdown with Ohio State sold out in five minutes on Monday morning.

Scouting the opposition

PennLive’s Greg Pickel tracked down some of the television ratings for Penn State’s victory over Michigan on Saturday night. Where that game was most-viewed may surprise you.

Says Pickel:

Perhaps surprisingly, Columbus was the top market for the broadcast with a 17.6 rating. On the other hand, perhaps it’s not surprising considering this weekend’s matchup pitting the Lions and Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.

Obviously, Ohio State fans put the bye week to good use.

A final word from Kirk Herbstreit

ESPN/ABC analyst Kirk Herbstreit offers this exchange with a fan heading into the Penn State-Ohio State game:

 

Miss previous editions of the Wakeup Call? They can be found here.