November 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM
It's been a tumultuous 12-and-a-half months for Penn State, but on this day, here's a look at what Penn State fans have to be thankful for, by the numbers.
31 - Seniors who will be honored Saturday in their last game for Penn State. This is arguably the most meaningful senior class in the school's rich football history and it will run out of Beaver Stadium for the final time in two days. Countless times this season coach Bill O'Brien called it a "special senior class," and did so because the 31 members braved what has happened in the past year and led this team through it. The class is headlined by players such as Matt McGloin, Gerald Hodges, Stephon Morris, Matt Stankiewitch and the injured Michael Mauti. However, all 31 members of the class will be justifiably honored before the Nittany Lions take the field against Wisconsin.
7 - Wins Bill O'Brien has earned in his first season as a head coach. The O'Brien era started off on a sour note as Penn State dropped its first two contests. But since then, the Lions are 7-2 and O'Brien is a contender for some coach of the year honors. Many Penn State fans have bought in to what O'Brien is selling and the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator has become a popular figure in State College. He has helped turn McGloin into one of the best pocket passers in the Big Ten and O'Brien's high-powered offense is putting up 29.5 points per game.
+84 - Margin of points Penn State is outscoring opponents by in the first quarter. In what continues to be one of the most mind-boggling stats of the season, the Lions have yet to allow a first-quarter touchdown in 11 games (165 minutes). On top of that, the team has allowed just two field goals in the first quarter while scoring 90 points of its own.
6 - In reference to the group known as the "Supa Six." A collection of second-year players (Adrian Amos, Deion Barnes, Bill Belton, Kyle Carter, Donovan Smith and Allen Robinson) have nicknamed themselves this and have all aided Penn State in one way or another. Robinson and Carter have been the two most productive pass catchers, Amos has two interceptions and Barnes leads the team with six sacks. The good news for Penn State fans is that each member of the group could possibly be at Penn State for two or three more years.
3:30 - Time of Saturday's kickoff from Beaver Stadium. After a few days of overeating and shopping, catch up on some sleep or take the time to travel back to Happy Valley before tailgating with some leftovers. And just a reminder, O'Brien said he wants everyone in their seats by 3:00 to honor the seniors.