No. 9 men's lacrosse heads to No. 19 Ohio State Saturday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 9th-ranked Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team puts its 13-game road winning streak on the line at No. 19 Ohio State for a Saturday (March 1) contest at Ohio Stadium. Three of the past four meetings between the two teams have been decided in overtime.

#9 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (2-1) at #19 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (1-2)
Game 4: March 1, 2014 • 1:00 p.m. • Ohio Stadium • Columbus, Ohio
VENUE Ohio Stadium (Turf; 102,329)
COVERAGE Live Video ($) | Live Stats
SERIES RECORD Penn State leads 12-5
LAST MEETING 3/2/13, OSU 10-9 (OT) at Penn State
NEXT TIME OUT Monday, March 10 at No. 6 Denver
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

GAME NOTES
• Penn State faces its third straight ranked opponent at No. 19 Ohio State
• The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes face off for the 18th time overall, 12th straight year
• Ohio State has won 5 of the past 7 meetings; PSU won last meeting at OSU in 2012
• Penn State looking for 14th straight true road win. Streak started Feb. 26, 2012 at ND
• PSU will try to improve upon its 6-1 all-time mark against No. 19 ranked teams
• Nittany Lions coming off an important 8-7 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame
• PSU held on against the Fighting Irish by allowing just one goal in final 21:30 of the game
Shane Sturgis tallied 6 points on 5 goals and an to lead all players vs. ND
• Sturgis earned CAA Player of the Week, leads the nation in goals and points per game
Austin Kaut made 13 saves at ND and faces fellow senior netminder Greg Dutton
TJ Sanders tallied 2 goals at Notre Dame and has a scoring streak of 10-straight games
• Sophomore sensations Sanders and OSU's Carter Brown face off for 2nd straight year
Drake Kreinz picked up 6 ground balls vs. ND and has won 57.4 of face-offs in 2014
• Penn State's laborious schedule continues for a rare Monday night game at No. 6 Denver before returning to Happy Valley vs. No. 13 UMass on March 15

SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
Like Penn State, the 19th-ranked Buckeyes (1-2) have played a tough slate of games to open the season. Last week, Ohio State held off upstart Marquette, 11-7, indoors in Columbus following a pair of overtime defeats to Johns Hopkins (Feb. 9) and Massachusetts (Feb. 16). OSU is typically an efficient team on the offensive end. Already the Buckeyes boast a .326 shooting percentage. Leading the scoring attack is junior Jesse King with nine goals and four assists, while Turner Evans has garnered two goals and nine assists in the early going. Carter Brown is OSU's third 10-point scorer on a balanced five goals and five assists.

The Buckeyes employ a high-pressure defense that has caused 25 of its opponents 51 turnovers, while creating nine turnovers on the ride. In goal, senior Greg Dutton is poised to start his 48th game between the pipes. Dutton sports a 9.02 GAA in the early going with 29 saves on 58 shots on goal (50.0 save percentage). The faceoff X has been a trouble spot as OSU faced two of the better faceoff men in JHU's Drew Kennedy and UMass's Joe Calvello. Ohio State has a 37.5 winning percentage on draws with Jake Withers (17-for-37, .459) getting the most opportunities.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. OHIO STATE
All-Time Series: 12-5
PSU Streak: 1 loss
First Meeting: 4/7/79, PSU 14-11
Last Meeting: 3/2/13, OSU 10-9 (OT)
Last PSU Win: 3/3/12, 5-2
Last OSU Win: 3/2/13, 10-9 (OT)
Largest PSU Win: 24-4, 4/3/82
Largest OSU Win: 17-6, 3/8/08
All-time at OSU: 6-2
PSU Goals vs. OSU: 188-126

LAST EIGHT MEETINGS VS. OSU
3/2/13: L, 9-10 (OT) - H
3/3/12: W, 5-2 - A
3/5/11: L, 5-6 (3OT) - H
3/6/10: L, 10-11 (OT) - A
3/7/09: W, 11-5 - H
3/8/08: L, 6-17 - A
3/10/07: L, 8-10 - N*
3/11/06: W, 11-10 (OT) - A
* at Georgetown Prep; North Bethesda, Md.
Note: Penn State and Ohio State will meet for the 12th straight season on Saturday. The series is 5-5 over the past 10 meetings.

NITTANY LIONS KNOCK OFF FIGHTING IRISH
The 12th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions bounced back from a tough loss last week to upset No. 4 Notre Dame, 8-7, at Arlotta Stadium Saturday afternoon (Feb. 22). Senior Shane Sturgis scored five times in a six-point performance, while senior goalie Austin Kaut made 13 crucial saves in Penn State's 13th straight road win.

Penn State (2-1) held a 7-3 lead with 11:46 remaining in the third period before Notre Dame (1-1) began its charge back. Three straight tallies by the Fighting Irish in a two-minute span cut the lead to 7-6 before Sturgis fired his 14th goal of the year on a TJ Sanders feed with 5:06 to go in the frame. That goal, which would be Penn State's last in the game, proved to be the game-winner as the Nittany Lions were held scoreless over the final 20:06 of the game. Sanders would finish with two goals and an assist.

Notre Dame again trimmed the lead down to one on a Matt Kavanagh (three goals, two assists) unassisted tally on a tight-angled shot with 7:25 to go in the fourth. That would be Notre Dame's only goal of the fourth quarter and the only one the Irish would tally in the final 21:30 of the game.

The Irish were held scoreless by the spectacular play of Kaut, whose 13 saves were the most this season. In a less than three-minute span from 6:16 to 4:29, Kaut made four consecutive saves of shots from Will Corrigan, Kavanagh, Trevor Brosco and John Scioscia to keep it a one-goal game in the fourth quarter. After an extended Penn State possession that yielded a 30-second timer-on situation and eventually led to a turnover, Notre Dame went on the attack with 2:03 to go.

Despite being down a man for with :37 remaining, Kavanagh threw the ball away under pressure from the Nittany Lions as Penn State ran out the clock for the victory. Tom LaCrosse added his first goal of the year in the first period, while Kyle Baier and Erik Myers added helpers. Steven Bogert collected four ground balls and caused two turnovers, while Tyler Travis also added two caused turnovers.

NATION-LEADING STURGIS EARNS AWARD
Shane Sturgis has vaulted to the top of the NCAA charts with his outstanding early season play. Through three weeks of the season, Sturgis leads the nation in goals per game (4.67) and points per game (6.00). His five-goal, six-point perofrmance against Notre Dame earned himself a second CAA Player of the Week honor on Monday, Feb. 24. To put his fast start in perspective, Sturgis (14 goals) is already more than halfway to his career-high 27 goals scored last season as a junior. He as accounted for 34 percent of PSU's goals (14-of-41) and 32 percent of the team's points (18-of-56).

ROAD WINNING STREAK
Most teams fare better at home, but not the Nittany Lions. Penn State excels on the road, especially in true road games. With last week's win at Notre Dame, Penn State has ticked off a school-record 13 straight true road wins. In 2013, Penn State went 7-0 on the road after going 5-0 in 2012. The Lions' last road loss was Apr. 30, 2011 at Hofstra. Penn State has won 15 of its last 16 true road games. Included in that 13-game winning streak is an upset win over then-No. 2 Notre Dame Feb. 26, 2012, which kicked off the streak as well as last week's win over No. 4 Notre Dame. Penn State has also defeated five straight ranked foes on the road dating back to that win over the Fighting Irish in 2012.

Date // Game // Score
2/26/12 at #2 Notre Dame (OT) 4-3
3/3/12 at #16 Ohio State 5-2
3/24/12 at Saint Joseph's 7-3
4/7/12 at Drexel 10-9
4/14/12 at Towson 8-3
2/9/13 at Michigan 11-6
3/16/13 at #19 Massachusetts 7-5
3/19/13 at Binghamton 11-7
3/26/13 at #7 Bucknell 11-3
3/30/13 at Villanova 7-6
4/20/13 at Delaware 13-7
4/27/13 at Hofstra 16-7
2/22/14 at #4 Notre Dame 8-7

BATTLE OF SOPHOMORE ATTACKERS
Another battle to keep an eye on will be a pair of stellar sophomore attackers in Penn State's TJ Sanders and OSU's Carter Brown. Both student-athletes were their respective conference's Rookie of the Year and both are primed for spectacular sophomore seasons. Each has played 20 games with Sanders holding a slight edge in points scored (59-53). Below are their career numbers.

RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
Penn State once again features one of the toughest non-conference schedules in Division I lacrosse. The Nittany Lions face seven teams ranked in the USILA Coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media polls this season. Using the coaches poll alone, the Nittany Lions see two top 10 teams and five in the top 15. This week's game at No. 19 Ohio State will be the third of five straight ranked opponents after games against No. 12 Loyola and No. 4 Notre Dame. Next week, PSU travels to No. 6 Denver (March 10) before hosting No. 13 UMass (March 15). Following a non-conference game against Dartmouth (March 18), Penn State hosts No. 18 Albany (March 22) and Villanova (March 30) before traveling to No. 15 Drexel (April 5).

NITTANY LION AGAINST RANKED FOES
Penn State will play its 210th game against a ranked opponent Saturday at No. 19 Ohio State. PSU is 68-141 all-time against ranked teams. The Nittany Lions are 6-1 against No. 19 teams with the lone imperfection coming in a 12-10 loss to Lehigh last year in Chester, Pa. During Jeff Tambroni's tenure at Penn State the Nittany Lions have gone 8-10 following a 3-5 campaign in 2012, 4-4 showing in 2013 and 1-1 thus far in 2014. PSU has gone 4-1 against ranked teams since a win over No. 19 UMass March 16, 2013.

THE POWER OF 10
Penn State's success last year revolved around the number 10: as in goals scored and goals allowed. When Penn State tallied 10 or more goals the Nittany Lions were 10-2. More importantly, when PSU allowed less than 10 goals, Penn State went an unblemished 11-0. All five losses came when allowing at least 10 goals and only once did Penn State yield a victory (15-12 vs. Denver on Feb. 19). So far this year, Penn State is 2-0 after allowing just seven goals in victories over Michigan and Notre Dame, but 0-1 after allowing more than 10 goals to Loyola. PSU is 1-11 under Jeff Tambroni when allowing 10 or more goals with the lone win coming last year vs. Denver (15-12).

HAT TRICK HEROES
Shane Sturgis has registered a hat trick or more in every game this season, bringing his career total to nine, trailing team-leader TJ Sanders by one. In all, Penn State features seven scorers who have tallied hat tricks in their careers: Sanders (10 times), Sturgis (9), Tom LaCrosse (3), Gavin Ahern (2), Kyle Baier (1), Kyle VanThof (1) and Steve Aitken (1).

TJ Sanders 10
Shane Sturgis 9
Tom LaCrosse 4
Gavin Ahern 2
Kyle Baier 1
Steve Aitken 1
Kyle VanThof 1

THE FIVE-GOAL MAN: TJ Sanders
Sophomore TJ Sanders scored his fourth five-goal game of his career against Michigan. Sanders' five-goal outing against the Wolverines was the first since April 13, 2013 vs. Towson, a 10-8 Penn State victory. No one else on the current Penn State roster had scored five goals or more in a game until Shane Sturgis scored six against UM and five against Notre Dame.

PENN STATE RETURNS TO THE TOP TEN
Penn State is ranked in the top 10 by both nationally recognized polls as of Monday, Feb 24. After falling out of the top 10 to 12th last week, PSU's win over Notre Dame catapulted the Nittany Lions to 9th in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll, voted by the coaches. In the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, Penn State rose to 10th. In the preseason, the Inside Lacrosse rankings pegged Penn State seventh, while the USILA had PSU ranked ninth, tying the highest preseason ranking in school history (1992).

CLIMBING UP THE LEADERBOARD
Austin Kaut has made his stamp in the Penn State record books with the majority of the 2014 season remaining. In net, Kaut now ranks in second place all-time in saves with 577, matching Kevin Keenan (1996-99). He only needs 117 saves to catch Drew Adams (2006-09), who is the all-time saves leader with 694.

NEXT TIME OUT: AT DENVER
Penn State travels to No. 6 Denver for a Monday night clash at Peter Barton Stadium. PSU last traveled to DU in 2004, an 11-10 win, over the Pioneers. Last year, the two battled in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic with Penn State coming out on top, 15-12. 

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Last Updated February 27, 2014