Connor a Frosh All-American

Penn State linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford, Pa.) has been named a first team Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and Scripps. Connor was the only player from the Big Ten honored on defense.

The Freshman All-America honor is Connor's second, as he was named to The Sporting News' first team last month.

The former Strath Haven High School standout and consensus prep All-American started four games, including the last three at inside linebacker, in his first season with the Nittany Lions. Connor racked up 85 tackles (50 solo) on the season and ranked ninth in the Big Ten with 8.5 tackles per game.

Connor posted 4.5 tackles for loss (-12 yards), one sack and one interception on the year and was the second leading tackler for a Penn State defense that ranks among the top 12 in the nation in three defensive categories and finished as the only team in the nation to not allow more than 21 points in a game.

Connor led or tied for the team lead in tackles in three games on the year, including a 10-tackle performance against Purdue and a career high 16 stops against Northwestern, the highest tackle total for a Nittany Lion since the 2002 season. In Penn State's season ending 37-13 victory over Michigan State, Connor posted 11 tackles and one tackle for loss, one of four double-digit tackle efforts on the season including each of his last three games. Connor helped Penn State to hold the Big Ten's No. 1 offense 120 yards and 17 points below its season averages. He also recorded 11 tackles with a tackle for loss at Indiana and was instrumental in limiting the IU offense to 10 points and keeping the Hoosiers out of the end zone on first-and-goal from the one in the final two minutes of the game.

A Penn State defense that allowed just 14 touchdowns in 11 games (1.27 avg.), held all 11 opponents below their total offense average and 10 opponents below their scoring average will return 17 of their top 19 tacklers for the 2005 season.

Coach Joe Paterno's squad won its final two games and returns 19 starters (9 offense, 9 defense, 1 specialist) for the 2005 season, which begins Sept. 3 vs. South Florida in Beaver Stadium.


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