Connor Takes National Award

Walter Camp names Penn State senior its National Defensive Player of the Week following his 12-tackle performance in the Nittany Lions' 31-10 win over Notre Dame.

Senior All-American Dan Connor recorded a game-high 12 tackles (8 solo) to lead the Nittany Lions to a 31-10 throttling of Notre Dame and has been selected the Walter Camp Football Foundation's National Defensive Player of the Week. The former Strath Haven High standout tallied 2.5 tackles for loss (minus-13), including a sack and a pass break-up, as the Penn State defense put the clamps on the Irish offense to the delight of the frenetic White House crowd of 110,078, second-largest in Beaver Stadium history.

With his 12 stops, Connor moved into fourth all-time on the Penn State career tackles list with 291, passing All-American Dennis Onkotz (1967-69) with 287. Brian Gelzheiser is third at 315. The 12 tackles were the 13th career double-digit tackle game for Connor, who was a 2006 first team All-American by The Sporting News and a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

In addition to the Camp honor, Connor was one of six players nationally who earned a “helmet sticker” from ESPN’s college football studio team for his efforts this week. Last week, junior linebacker Sean Lee was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the 59-0 win over Florida International.

The Penn State defense held Notre Dame zero rushing yards on 26 carries, recording six sacks for minus-50 yards. The Lions limited ND to 144 yards of total offense, nine first downs and 2 of 16 on third down conversions. After their first drive of the game, the Irish had 97 yards of offense the remainder of the contest. The Irish's zero rushing yards marked the 13th time the Lions have allowed zero or fewer yards under Joe Paterno. For the second straight game seven different Nittany Lions recorded a sack.

In its first two games, the Penn State defense has given up a total of three points and 258 total yards (144 Notre Dame / 114 FIU). The Lions have allowed minus-3 rushing yards on 57 carries, recording 13 sacks for minus-100 yards and have held their first two opponents to 3 of 31 on third down conversions, including 2 of 16 by Notre Dame, and just 16 first downs (nine by ND).

The Nittany Lion defense is again shaping up as one of the nation’s best, being highly ranked in at least six national categories. Penn State is No.1 in the nation in rushing defense (minus-1.5 ypg), with Iowa second at 22.5 ypg, and tied for No. 1 in sacks at 6.5 per game, along with Indiana. The Lions are No. 2 in total defense at 129.9 ypg, trailing only Ohio State, and No. 2 in third down conversion defense at 9.7 percent (3 of 31). Wyoming leads, having not allowed a first down on 13 third down plays.


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