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Nittany Lions try for big finish



Published: Fri, October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



They take on Purdue Saturday in another Big Ten matchup.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

PHILADELPHIA -- With the end of the season in sight and a major bowl bid all but impossible to obtain, the Penn State football team is still going down the stretch with a chance to finish with a very good record.

Or a mediocre one.

The Nittany Lions, 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, will visit Purdue (5-3, 2-2) Saturday. It is the first of four remaining games for Penn State.

"We want to win every one of these games we have left," said sophomore safety Anthony Scirrotto. "We're not satisfied with our record. We want to go to the best bowl game possible."

Scirrotto played a key role last week when Penn State got by Illinois, 26-12, on Homecoming Day despite not playing one of its better games.

Last week's standout

The 6-foot, 192-pound Scirrotto came up with two interceptions as the Nittany Lions kept the Illini from scoring a touchdown. And with the visitors still within striking distance at 19-12 late in the fourth period, Scirrotto recovered an onside kick and scored from 29 yards out to cap the scoring.

It was the first career touchdown for Scirrotto, who leads the Big Ten with four interceptions. He is hoping to add to that total against a Purdue team that is led by quarterback Curtis Painter, who is averaging more than 300 yards in the air with 13 touchdowns while connecting on almost 59 percent of his pass attempts.

With several weapons for Painter to choose from, Purdue is first in the Big Ten with 309.6 yards per game of pass offense and is leading the league in total offense, with 448.5 yards per game.

The Boilermakers are coming off a 24-3 loss to visiting Wisconsin, which was Purdue's first loss at home this season.

Notes

Dan Connor and linebaker Paul Posluszny, winner of the 2005 Bednarik Award, are among the semifinalists for the 2006 award, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player. Posluszny and Connor are among 15 semifinalists for the award, which is presented by Philadelphia's Maxwell Football Club. The winner will be announced during the college football awards show on Dec. 7 on ESPN.

Posluszny also has been selected as a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy. Named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the trophy is awarded by the Pacific Club Impact Foundation of a defensive player for his athletic performance and personal character attributes.




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