VIDEO: BCS Standings: Week 2 Source: FoxSports.com - "The NFL on FOX crew breaks down week 2 of the BCS standings. Find out who moves into the number two spot behind Ohio State after USF's loss at Rutgers.
10 BCS contenders that could go down in Week 9 October 22, 2007 Source: SportingNews.com - "7. Ohio State (BCS rank: 1; at Penn State, 8 p.m. Saturday, ABC). All this white-out talk has me a little concerned for the Buckeyes, I'll admit it. That said, I'm going with 23-14, Road Warriors..."
Former Buckeye: BCS here to stay "If you're waiting for the creation of a playoff system that determines a national champion in college football, don't hold your breath. Former Ohio State star Archie Griffin says the billions of dollars generated by holiday bowls, along with the endless controversy the Bowl Championship Series generates for college football, would decrease the likelihood of a playoff. 'College football likes it because it keeps you interested,' said Griffin...'Is a playoff going to happen? I don't think so. Bowl games are so good, college football doesn't want to destroy them.' Griffin, the only running back in Big Ten history to lead the conference in rushing three times, has been around the game long enough to doubt there are major changes ahead in the BCS system...Griffin said money and some success in creating matchups of the top two teams in the nation are the primary reasons the BCS is not likely to be replaced by a playoff system. According to the BCS Web site, the total economic impact on host cities of last season's five games that comprise the BCS system was $1.2 billion. In addition...from 1936-1992, the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country as ranked by the Associated Press met eight times in bowl games. In the past nine years of the BSC system, the AP's top two teams have played six times. That is strong proof, Griffin said, that the system is not nearly as bad as BCS critics say..."
Players of the Week (Michigan State): Offensive Player of the Week: Chris 'Beanie' Wells, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: Malcolm Jenkins, DB
Special Units Player of the Week: Shaun Lane, DB
Scout Team Champions: Defense: Chris Rietschlin; Special Units: Dan Herron; Offense: Dan Herron
Attack Force Award: Vernon Gholston, DE
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Kirk Barton, OL
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Cameron Heyward, DE
Immokalee's Rolle relishing playing time at No. 1 Ohio State October 19, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "Brian Rolle is No. 36 for Ohio State, the same number he wore in high school. It's a tribute to brother William, who also sported those digits -- for Immokalee High, then Illinois State. But these days, Rolle is bringing to mind a different No. 36. He's channeling Chris Spielman, the Dick Butkus of Ohio State football. No, Rolle hasn't filled the stat sheet with Speilman-like numbers. He hasn't earned All-America honors, or even started a game at linebacker. But man, those hits..."
Top 25 Overview October 20, 2007 Source: ESPN - Overview of all Top 25 Teams for the eighth week of the season, including Recap, Box Score, Play-by-Play, Drive Chart, Photos (links to 'previous weeks' results too)
Ten Pressing Questions: Ohio State at Penn State October 27, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "It will be No. 1 Ohio State at No. 24 Penn State tonight at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa...We have Ten Pressing Questions as we sort out keys to this huge game..."
Jim Tressel Thursday Audio October 25, 2007 Source: OSU Official Site - "Head coach Jim Tressel answered questions Thursday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. The top-ranked Buckeyes travel to No. 22 Penn State for a Big Ten battle Saturday night (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)"
Scare last week should help at Happy Valley October 24, 2007 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "It's only the second time that Penn State (6-2, 3-2) has played host to the nation's No. 1 team, the other coming in 1989, a game won by Notre Dame. 'You've got to be calm and you've got to be poised and you've got to keep your focus on the task at hand,' Tressel said, 'because the only thing tougher than that environment (is) the guys you're trying to block.'...To that end, the Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) were heartened by how they responded to a difficult situation last Saturday. Leading Michigan State 24-0 in the third quarter, two Ohio State turnovers led to 14 quick points. The Buckeyes ground out two time-consuming drives, sandwiched around a Spartans field goal, and came away 24-17 winners. It was good to be tested, they said afterward. It cleansed them of any growing overconfidence and taught them something about themselves..." Players say Jan. 8 loss continues to motivate
Transcript From Coach Tressel Weekly Press Conference October 23, 2007 Source: OSU Official Site - "'It was good to get a victory in the Homecoming game. Every Big Ten win we talk about as being special, and I thought Michigan State came in and got after it just like we knew they would. Coach Dantonio and his staff have done a great job and will continue to do that. You're going to hear a lot from the Spartans as time goes on...'..."
Bucknuts TV: Tressel Press Conference October 23, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "Nobody forgets the last time Ohio State played a game at Penn State as the Buckeyes walked into one of the loudest, rowdiest crowd environments ever seen at a college stadium. OSU's Jim Tressel talked about the PSU environment and more at this week's Big Ten teleconference and his weekly Tuesday press luncheon..." (Note: Updated with video of press conference.)
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel conference call October 23, 2007 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel addressed the media today in a Big Ten conference call. Hear coach Tressel talk about the environment in Happy Valley, the play of Chris Wells and more. Listen to streaming audio (Requires Real Player)"
Ohio State Football Quotes, Oct. 23 October 23, 2007 Source: OSU Official Site - "'The environment is just nuts. Two years ago they had fans lined up from our locker room all the way out to the field. I had never seen anything like it and haven't since. It really is a hostile environment.' Buckeyes Malcolm Jenkins and Tyler Whaley speak to the media Tuesday after Jim Tresselís weekly press luncheon..."
Tressel Discusses PSU Showdown At Press Conferences October 23, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "Nobody forgets the last time Ohio State played a game at Penn State as the Buckeyes walked into one of the loudest, rowdiest crowd environments ever seen at a college stadium. Things are expected to be the same this weekend, but the Buckeyes have a little better idea on what to expect this time around. OSU Jim Tressel talked about the PSU environment and more at this week's Big Ten teleconference and his weekly Tuesday press luncheon..."
Personnel Report October 25, 2007 Source: The Ozone - "The Buckeyes are relatively healthy heading into the Penn State game and...defensive lineman Todd Denlinger may be available this weekend...Another player who is kind of re-entering the defensive mix is redshirt freshman defensive player Thaddeus Gibson...Linebacker Ross Homan continues to be unavailable due to an undisclosed foot injury..."
The series between the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions is tied 11-all. Penn State has a 5-3 lead in all games played at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State was a 28-6 winner in Columbus last year. The higher-ranked team has won 15 of the past 16 in this series. Penn State has won 19 of its past 20 at home.
In Columbus..............................Ohio State leads, 8-5
In University Park.......................Penn State leads, 5-3
Neutral Site................................Penn State leads, 1-0
Last Ohio State Win......................28-6, 2006
Last Penn State Win.....................17-10, 2005
Biggest Margin of Victory for OSU...45-6, 2000
Biggest Margin of Victory for PSU...63-14 , 1994
Longest Winning Streak for OSU......2 (75-76, 95-96)
Longest Winning Streak for PSU......4 (1912-64)
Current Win Streak.......................Ohio State, 1
Time of Possession
The New Border War: Ohio State vs. Penn State October 23, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "On the eve of the next Ohio State-Penn State match-up this Saturday, we have an in-depth look at the history of this rivalry between two of college football's great programs. The all-time series between the schools is tied at 11-11. OSU leads 9-5 since the Big Ten series began in 1993, but PSU holds a 5-3 edge at home. Here is a look back at the 22 previous games in this series (game day AP rankings in parentheses after teamĎs name)..."
Buckeyes have been sad in Happy Valley October 23, 2007 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Penn State is 5-2 against Ohio State in Beaver Stadium...Penn State has won 19 of its past 20 home games, the lone loss being 17-10 to then-No. 4 Michigan on Oct. 14, 2006. The latest win was an unexpected 38-7 demolition of Wisconsin two weeks ago. 'We always feel that we can play with anybody at home,' Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, son of coach Joe Paterno, said..."
The results of Ohio State's games at Penn State since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993:
Oct. 29, 1994: Penn State 63, Ohio State 14 -- The Buckeyes wore black socks as a sign of solidarity. "We're not even competitive," new OSU athletic director Andy Geiger said in the press box at halftime.
Oct. 7, 1995: Ohio State 28, Penn State 25 -- Coming off a first win over Notre Dame, the unbeaten Buckeyes needed a spectacular pass play (Bob Hoying to Rickey Dudley) late to propel the winning drive.
Oct. 11, 1997: Penn State 31, Ohio State 27 -- This was a classic give-and-take game, with the Nittany Lions prevailing on a 26-yard run by tailback Curtis Enis in the fourth quarter.
Oct. 16, 1999: Penn State 23, Ohio State 10 -- OSU's only TD was a fumble recovery by safety Gary Berry as Joe Paterno tied Amos Alonzo Stagg for third on the all-time wins list (314).
Oct. 27, 2001: Penn State 29, Ohio State 27 -- Penn State overcame an 18-point lead by Jim Tressel's first team to shove Paterno past Bear Bryant as the all-time winningest major college coach (324).
Nov. 1, 2003: Ohio State 21, Penn State 20 -- Backup quarterback Scott McMullen rose from the bench to rally the Buckeyes from a 17-7 deficit. The game-winning TD pass to Michael Jenkins came with 1:35 left.
Oct. 8, 2005: Penn State 17, Ohio State 10 -- The Buckeyes and Troy Smith never got a consistent handle on the Lions defense, with two turnovers proving costly. The teams tied for the Big Ten title, and both played in BCS bowls.
Last Time Out... October 23, 2007 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "The Buckeyes return to their house of horrors for a night game at Penn State. Check out how Ohio State did against the Nittany Lions in its last meeting in this edition of "Last Time Out..."..."
Schedule & Results To Date
Ohio State 8-0 Youngstown St. W: 38-6 Akron W: 20-2 Washington W: 14 Northwestern W: 58-7 Minnesota W: 30-7 Purdue W: 23-7 Kent State W: 48-3 Michigan State W: 24-17
Why to watch: Now that Ohio State is not just number one, but a cemented number one, the scrutiny, slings and arrows have started to come. The Buckeyes haven't played anyone. The defense hasn't faced an offense with a pulse. The Big Ten stinks. We're all being set up for yet another dud of a national title game. Blah, blah, blah. Despite only beating Michigan State 24-17, the team has been dominant all season long thanks to the nation's best defense, but now it has to start dealing with the meat of the slate. A win in Happy Valley, especially an impressive one, would go a long way to quieting the critics down, and would set the tone for the tough games against Wisconsin and Illinois before the season-ender at Michigan. Penn State has turned things around after back-to-back losses to Michigan and Illinois, and now, after three good wins, this is its one big final statement before things ease up against Purdue, at Temple, and at Michigan State. The Nittany Lions might be out of the Rose Bowl hunt, but a win here would kick in talk of a possible at-large BCS bid.
Why Ohio State might win: The Buckeye defense really is that good. Michigan State's running game has been ripping up yards in chunks all season long with a mix of explosion and power that no one has been able to slow down, but it was snuffed out by OSU for 59 yards. The secondary kept ultra-efficient MSU QB Brian Hoyer from getting on track completing 12 of 23 passes with an interception. The defense has allowed two meaningful touchdowns all year long, and isn't going to start getting pounded on this week by a nice Nittany Lion offensive line, but not a dominant one.
Why Penn State might win: Penn State can play a little bit of defense, too. It had problems containing Indiana's James Hardy and Kellen Lewis for a full sixty minutes, and gave up 216 rushing yards to Illinois, but has stuffed everyone else. The Buckeye passing game has been ultra-efficient thanks to a line that's playing extremely well, but it'll have to deal with a nasty pass rush for the second week in a row. Once Michigan State got pressure on Todd Boeckman, bad things happened. Penn State is leading the nation in sacks and is second in tackles for loss, mainly thanks to ...
Who to watch: Sophomore end Maurice Evans, who bulked up to around 270 pounds after a promising first year, and has been unblockable at times in a full-time role. With 33 tackles and 10.5 sacks, he's done a little bit of everything so far as one of the nation's best linemen. He's been on fire over the last three games with seven sacks including three against Indiana, and now it'll be his job to generate consistent pressure on Boeckman.
What will happen: Penn State will have the crowd, the atmosphere and the set up to pull off the upset and change the 2007 college football season yet again, but it's not going to happen. The Buckeye defense will make life a nightmare for PSU QB Anthony Morelli, will stuff the running game, and will overcome a lackluster performance from the offense. It's not going to be a pretty game, but it'll be effective.
CFN Prediction: Ohio State 20 ... Penn State 13 ... Line: Ohio State -3.5
Penn State Next Hurdle For No. 1 Ohio State October 26, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "We have a detailed look at No. 24 Penn State, which will host top-ranked Ohio State on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC). This will mark just the second time ever that the nation's No. 1 team will visit Penn State, which is led by venerable coach Joe Paterno and QB Anthony Morelli. Click this link for more...."
Five Questions: OSU at Penn State October 25, 2007 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "This week's Five Questions takes a look at Ohio State's need to stay poised under the lights, dominate the line of scrimmage, protect the ball and get after the PSU quarterback. The matchups out wide should be fun to watch, too..."
Koo's News: 10/25 October 25, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "Bucknuts contributor Ben Koo returns today with his latest version of Koo's News. What are the keys to victory for OSU against Penn State? What other games should you watch this weekend? Koo answers those questions and more..."
Crunching The Numbers: OSU at Penn State October 24, 2007 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "This week the numbers tell us these are two stellar defenses, the road team has had trouble in the series and Joe Paterno has been around the game of football for quite a while..."
Game Data: Ohio State at Penn State October 23, 2007 Source: Bucknuts.com - "We look at the pertinent information, depth charts and share a prediction on Saturday's pivotal Big Ten football match-up between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 24 Penn State Saturday night at PSU (8 p.m., ABC). Click this link for all the details..."
Ohio State at Penn State Matchups
ESPN Edge: Ohio State vs. Penn State There are a lot of similarities between these two teams, including swarming defenses, solids play on special teams and too many turnovers for the liking of either coach Joe Paterno (Penn State) or Jim Tressel (Ohio State). With that in mind, Morelli becomes the biggest X-factor in this game. When he is playing with confidence and is taking what the defense gives him, Penn State is capable of beating any team in the country on a given Saturday. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, that version of Morelli doesn't show up every Saturday and the other version is an excitable senior that makes too many freshman-like mental mistakes. Ironically, Ohio State's first-year starting quarterback, Boeckman, is playing with more consistent poise. It also helps that his offensive line provides much better protection than Penn State's does for Morelli, and Wells is without question the superior talent of the two running backs in this matchup. Defense will rule the night but in the end an opportunistic Ohio State defense will exploit Morelli too many times for Penn State to knock off the nation's top dog.
Prediction: Buckeyes 24, Nittany Lions 20
Head 2 Head Preview: Week 9 Source: ScoutNFLExperts.com - "The Prospects: Brian Robiskie (6-foot-3, 196-pounds), WR - Ohio State vs. Justin King (6-foot-0, 186-pounds), CB - Penn State
Scouting Report: Robiskie, a junior who is a major offensive weapon, is still developing his game. He has a quick release off the line and is able to get separation from the opposition. He's a tremendous athlete with great speed, hands, and athleticism. He has outstanding leaping ability and body control and is able to make tough, acrobatic receptions. He runs good routes and is effective out of breaks, but he has to get stronger and play more physically against the opposition. King, who is also a junior, is an athletic cornerback with shutdown ability. He has good size and speed and has the ability to blanket a receiver all game long. He positions himself well in coverage and has great closing speed. He anticipates the action well and displays great timing defending the pass. He has great leaping ability and causes turnovers with his athleticism. He's not a physical corner and doesn't challenge receivers very often --- he tends to play off the line and try to entice the quarterback to challenge his quickness.
Head 2 Head: This is a game where King is looking for redemption. He struggled last week against Indiana's James Hardy and will look to make an impact against Robiskie. Robiskie is a tremendous deep threat, just like Hardy, and averages 19.7 yards a game. King has to show more aggression in coverage and press Robiskie at the line. King isn't a physical corner, but he has to change his play this week and not allow Robiskie to get deep without a fight.
First-year starter Boeckman keeps Ohio State steady October 25, 2007 Source: USA Today - "Todd Boeckman will step inside the maelstrom of Penn State's Beaver Stadium for the second time Saturday night, but on this occasion the Ohio State quarterback will have a much different vantage point. Two years ago Boeckman did little more than hold a clipboard on the sideline as future Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith led the Buckeyes in what turned out to be a 17-10 loss. Now Boeckman will be the man behind center, looking to keep Ohio State's 8-0 season rolling while surrounded by 107,000 passionate Nittany Lions fans..."
Malcolm Jenkins welcomes role of inspiring his teammates before kickoff October 24, 2007 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Several minutes before kickoff Saturday night at Beaver Stadium, nearly 100,000 Penn State fans will be staring at the 70 Ohio State players in the center of the field. The 70 will be looking to one. Surrounded by his teammates, junior cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, the emotional leader of the No. 1 team in the country, will take off his helmet and hand it to linebacker James Laurinaitis..."
Wells runs despite aching ankle October 24, 2007 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State running back Beanie Wells is playing with scar tissue in his left ankle remaining from a surgery during his freshman year in high school, his mother, Paulette Wells, said Tuesday night. She said that surgery wasn't injury-re lated but was required to re move an extra bone that her son was born with...Paulette Wells said even though their doctor at Akron's Crystal Clinic has been in regular contact with physicians at Ohio State, nothing regarding her son's ankle is certain. She said off-season surgery is a possibility...'They haven't told us anything yet.' Paulette Wells said after the surgery five years ago, doctors pronounced her son was healthy, and he didn't experience any ankle problems until spraining it during spring practice...'I have in my head now I know it's going to bother me week in and week out,' Wells said. 'I have to fight through it and play football.'..."
Nittany Lions fans will be stoked when Buckeyes come to town October 23, 2007 Source: Associated Press - "Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins will never forget his first White Out.'The craziest thing was that they had fans lined up from our locker room to the field," Jenkins said Tuesday, shaking his head at the recollection. "That's probably the first time -- the only time -- that's ever happened. ... People cursing you and spitting at you, and things like that.' One fan singled out Jenkins and reminded him of a punt he'd fumbled several weeks before. Others screamed at the Buckeyes, while others seemed far more threatening. 'They're going to be right in your face and they're going to be tempting you,' (Tyler) Whaley said of the Nittany Lions' feverish fans. 'You might get a smack on the helmet or on the back. You have to keep your cool right then and there. You don't ever want to give your focus up to somebody by the concession stand as you go out to prepare for such a big game.'..."
Paterno predicts Penn State win at rally
October 26, 2007 Source: The Daily Collegian - "...'This is not going to be an easy football game, but we're gonna win it,' Paterno yelled, waving his arms, white shirt in hand..."
FOS Audio: Paterno PC October 23, 2007 Source: FightOnState.com - "Get the lowdown on what the Nittany Lion coach (Joe Paterno) had to say about this week's showdown with No. 1 Ohio State..." (Audio & written recap)
Staff Predictions: Ohio State October 25, 2007 Source: FightOnState.com - "See how the FightOnState.com staff sizes up the Penn State-Ohio State game as the Nittany Lions head back home to Beaver Stadium this week to clash with the No. 1 Buckeyes..."
Penn State defense on a roll October 25, 2007 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Penn State defensive end Maurice Evans hit the big-play trifecta at Indiana on Saturday when he sacked quarterback Kellen Lewis, forced a fumble, picked up the ball and took off toward the Hoosiers' end zone...Between them, Lee and Connor have 154 tackles, although Indiana's spread formations limited them to 10 on Saturday. Both are looking forward to playing the Buckeyes and their more conventional offense..."
Perceived slights have motivated No. 1 Buckeyes October 23, 2007 Source: CentreDaily.com - "Ohio State's players started the preseason a bit irritated. Yes, the Buckeyes had lost 13 starters from a team that went 12-1 in 2006, spending the last 15 weeks of the season atop the polls. And yes, maybe the 41-14 destruction at the hands of Florida in the national championship game left some doubt in the minds of those pollsters. But surely, the 2007 team thought, the returning players deserved more respect than they were being offered. The Big Ten media picked Ohio State to finish third in the conference, and the Buckeyes began the year at No. 11 in the Associated Press rankings and 10th in the coaches poll. Jim Tresselís team has put that irritation to good use..."
New faces October 24, 2007 Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - "...Dan Lawlor will replace Matt Hahn as the first-team fullback, and Chris Baker will take over for Jared Odrick as the starting left defensive tackle after Hahn (torn knee ligament) and Odrick (broken ankle) suffered season-ending injuries. Paterno said he doesn't expect former starting right guard Mike Lucian to play Saturday. Lucian did not make the trip to Indiana because of a concussion. Freshman Stefen Wisniewski from Central Catholic High School made his first career start, substituting for Lucian, but John Shaw replaced him in the second quarter and played the rest of the way..."
#14 Anthony Morelli QB Pittsburgh PA In 2007, Moreilli has completed 147 of 247, with 7 interceptions, for 59.5%, and 1739 yards. He's throwns for 13 TDs and averaged 217.4 yards per game through the air. Morelli started every game (2006) and improved throughout the year, growing as a leader in guiding Penn State to nine wins, including five in its last six games, and a New Year's Day bowl victory. He finished with his best effort of the season in directing the Nittany Lions to a 20-10 win over No. 17 Tennessee in the Outback Bowl...Playing behind a line that had only one returning starter, Morelli produced a record-breaking season. His 208 completions and 386 pass attempts broke Wally Richardson's school season marks of 193 and 335, respectively, from 1995. Morelli's 2,424 passing yards were good for third place on the Penn State season list. He was 208-of-386 (53.9) for 2,424 yards, with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions...
#1 Justin King CB Pittsburgh PA Justin King has intercepted 2 passes in 2007, has 26 tackles and leads the team in passes defended. He quickly established himself as one of the top cover-corners in the Big Ten during his sophomore season...demonstrated his multiple skills and productivity on offense, defense and special teams during his initial two seasons as a Nittany Lion...A Freshman All-American selection by The Sporting News as a multiple-position true freshman in 2005, King was able to focus on the defense last year, starting every game at right cornerback...and helped a secondary that featured four new starters thrive. Regarded as the nation's top prep cornerback in 2004, King is rated the Big Ten's best cover-man by The Sporting News. He was named a preseason second-team All-American by Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview...Widely recognized as one of the top players in the country coming out of Gateway HS in suburban Pittsburgh...
#24 Jordan Norwood WR State College PA In 2007, Norwood has caught 30 passes for 381 yards, an average of 12.7 yards per catch, and 3 TDs. He has developed into not only one of the top and most reliable receivers in the Big Ten but also a Nittany Nation fan favorite, heightened by the fact that he is a local product from State College Area HS...Last season, the receiver was second on the team in receptions and receiving yardage and led the Nittany Lions in catches and receiving yardage in five games each...Norwood joined classmates Deon Butler and Derrick Williams to form the first trio of Nittany Lions to each make at least 40 receptions in a season. Playing in every game, with eight starts, he made 45 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns, ranking second on the team in all three categories. His 45 catches were 11th-best on the school season list and his 77 career grabs in two seasons are good for 14th place all-time...
#40 Dan Connor LB Wallingford PA In 2007, Connor is second on the team in tackles with 76, has 10 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, recovered 1 fumble and has 5 passes defended...Connor had a superb junior year...was a finalist for the Bednarik Award and should be among the primary candidates for numerous awards in 2007. Connor earned first-team All-America recognition from The Sporting News last year, the 13th to do so under Coach Joe Paterno...started the last 20 games at outside linebacker...was shifted to middle linebacker during spring drills...Connor is a consensus preseason All-America who will lead a linebacker unit rated No. 4 in the nation by The Sporting News. He is rated the nation's No. 1 middle linebacker by Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview. Connor is ranked the nation's No. 2 defensive impact player by ESPN's Joe Schad...A year ago, Connor made 113 tackles...Connor's prolific season boosted his career tackle total to 274, good for a tie for fifth place on the school list and 98 away from the record of 372 established by Posluszny last season. Connor recorded double-figure tackle totals five times last season and was one of only three Big Ten players to receive conference Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors twice in 2006...