We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Oct. 19. Let’s get started.
Allen: We have a shot vs. Buckeyes
Penn State safety Marcus Allen tiptoed up to the line separating judicious game-week chatter from bulletin-board material Tuesday morning, but managed not to cross it.
During a conference call with reporters, he mentioned that he watched Ohio State’s 30-23 overtime victory over Wisconsin on TV this past Saturday, which fell during the Nittany Lions’ bye week.
PSU (4-2) hosts the second-ranked Buckeyes (6-0) this Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC). A White-Out is in the forecast, and Allen believes the Lions will be able to stand toe to toe with OSU.
“We definitely have a chance to compete with these guys,” Allen said. “Wisconsin opened up a big picture of what we can do against them. It just opened up a lot of things for us to look at, that gave Ohio State trouble.”
He stopped short of predicting victory, noting the Buckeyes are far from “pushovers.” After all, they have won 20 straight on the road, the longest active streak in FBS. Seventeen of those have come in Big Ten play, equaling the record Michigan established from 1988 to 1992.
Certainly, Allen figures to have a hand in whatever success the Lions enjoy Saturday night. His 57 tackles lead the team, and equal the Big Ten’s second-highest total. (It is possible that linebackers Jason Cabinda, Brandon Bell and Jake Cooper will return to help out, too.)
Allen made his first career start against the Buckeyes two years ago as a freshman. He was in on 11 stops that day, and has been a starter ever since.
One oddity, though: He is still without a career interception. He seems unbothered, however:
“When it comes, it will come,” Allen said. “I’m not going to try to force anything and mess up, and hurt my team.”
Hamilton offers a steady hand (or two)
Like Allen, Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton is in his third year as a starter. On Tuesday he recalled standing on the sideline during the Lions’ 43-40 quadruple-overtime victory over Michigan in 2013, his redshirt year. That also came before a whiteout crowd.
“That was probably the best one, the best college football game that I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve ever seen, live and up close and personal.”
He has been a steadying presence on the team since then, and this season he has 18 catches, equaling DeAndre Thompkins for the team’s second-highest total. Chris Godwin and Mike Gesicki both have 23.
“I tell the guys at the end of the day, it’s another football game, and it doesn’t matter what (the Buckeyes) are ranked. At the end of the day, they are putting their pads on the way same way you are. They might be held to a higher standard, but they are still football players, and we’ve got to go out and we are just going to give it our best shot.”
As is frequently the case, DaeSean’s mom, Madgeline (Max) Hamilton, a retired Marine, tweeted some encouraging words on Tuesday:
"Today will Never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound."
— Jemal Griffin (@jgriff_8) October 18, 2016
Curtis Cothran steps into the spotlight
One of the surprises on this week’s depth chart is the promotion of defensive tackle Curtis Cothran to a starting role, ahead of Kevin Givens.
“We think Curtis is doing some nice things for us,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We just feel like Curtis is earning the opportunity to step in there and be the starter.”
Cothran was a backup defensive end last season, but bulked up to 280 pounds this year and moved inside. For reasons that have never been adequately explained, he did not play in the first four games this season. He has made two assisted tackles while appearing against Minnesota and Maryland.
Remembering PSU-OSU ‘94
The web site Roarlionsroar.com offered a retrospective (complete with video) of Penn State’s 63-14 rout of Ohio State in 1994. It was a stunning display considering the caliber of the opponent, but typical of that edition of the Lions, which rode its powerful offense to a 12-0 finish but nonetheless wound up second in the nation, behind Nebraska.
One of the many highlights that day was a spectacular one-handed catch by wide receiver Bobby Engram, which prompted star tailback Ki-Jana Carter to say, “That stuff don’t make no sense.”
Engram enjoyed a long, productive NFL career, as did offensive teammates Kerry Collins, Marco Rivera, Jeff Hartings, Jon Witman and Kyle Brady. Carter, who blew out a knee in his first preseason game with the Cincinnati Bengals, did not.
It’s worth noting that the Buckeyes literally evened the score with a 63-14 victory over the Lions three years ago.