The Big Ten coaches recognized Scott Paxson's efforts by selecting him first team all-conference this past season. Also a two-year starter, the Philadelphia native recorded 10.5 tackles for losses (minus-33 yards), to rank fourth on the team. He had 44 tackles (25 solo), 3.0 sacks, one huge fumble recovery and one pass break-up. The former Roman Catholic High standout helped hold Ohio State to 91 yards rushing and pounced on a fumble in PSU territory late in the game to seal the big 17-10 victory. Paxson made six tackles, including 1.5 TFL, in Penn State's win in the FedEx Orange Bowl. The hard-charging Paxson also recorded seven career blocked kicks, including five during the 2004 campaign.
A starter in every game this year and 30 of the last 31 contests, Matthew Rice also was instrumental in helping the Penn State defense rank seventh nationally in rushing, allowing just 93.0 yards per game. The Baltimore product was recognized for his efforts with his selection as Second Team All-Big Ten. Rice was third on the squad with 5.0 sacks for minus-40 yards and his 9.0 tackles for losses were fifth best for one of the nation's outstanding defensive units. Rice recorded a total of 55 tackles and five pass break-ups. He made two tackles, with one TFL, and had two pass break-ups in Penn State's win in the FedEx Orange Bowl. He was instrumental in Eleanor Roosevelt High winning the Maryland Class AAAA state title, the same school that produced PSU freshman standout Derrick Williams. Rice earned his degree in integrative arts in December.
Several other Penn State seniors are likely to play in other all-star games, which will be announced in the next several days.
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