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Nitt Picks Likes Mr. Butterworth

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Anthony Fera is out for the season following his emergency appendectomy, and you know what that means...

Months after coming to Penn State as a preferred walk-on, Alex Butterworth will become the Nittany Lions starting punter.

Butterworth is filling in for Anthony Fera, who will miss the final two games of the regular season and possibly more after he underwent emergency surgery to remove his appendix Wednesday. Team spokesman Jeff Nelson said Fera is OK but will not play against Indiana or Michigan State.

Photoshop anyone?

Fera has been pretty solid for Penn State on special teams this year. He routinely shuts down opponents' return game by kicking it deep into the endzone or even out of it for touchbacks, which is always a plus. He's a big reason the Nittany Lion's have looked much improved in the kicking game over last season and he'll certainly be missed.

If you've got 10 minutes to kill, though, we have some Butterworth highlights for you here. At the very least, he should be serviceable as the kicker, though Penn State's kick coverage might not be able to take as many kicks off without Fera's touchbacks. That means stepping up and tackling and not letting Indiana and Michigan State get any more return yards than they should by breaking tackles.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Joe Paterno has been honored by Congress for his 400th win.

Congratulating Joe Paterno on his 400th win as Penn State Nittany Lions football coach.
Whereas Joe Paterno reached the milestone of 400 wins as head coach on November 6th, 2010;
Whereas Joe Paterno has served the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) with honor and distinction for 60 years since starting as an assistant coach in 1950;
Whereas in 2009, the graduation rate of Joe Paterno's players was 89 percent, and the graduation success rate was 85 percent--both of which were the greatest among all football teams in the final 2009 Associated Press Top 25 poll;
Whereas the legacy Joe Paterno has left at Penn State reaches far beyond football, as he has personally given millions of dollars to the university and raised hundreds of millions more for the library and need-based scholarships;
Whereas Joe Paterno has been very active in the community as a strong supporter of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics and a national spokesperson for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association;
Whereas Joe Paterno has more wins as head coach than any other in NCAA Division 1A FBS history, surpassing legendary coaches Bear Bryant in 2001 and Bobby Bowden in 2008;
Whereas Penn State is one of just seven teams with more than 800 wins in its history, and Joe Paterno has been active with the program for 692 of those games over 60 seasons with an amazing record of 504-181-7 (72.8 percent);
Whereas among Joe Paterno's accolades in 45 years as head coach are two National Championships, seven undefeated seasons, 23 finishes in the top 10 rankings, and three Big Ten Conference Championships since joining the conference in 1993;
Whereas Joe Paterno has 24 bowl game wins and 36 bowl game appearances, both of which are the most of any coach in history; and
Whereas Joe Paterno's continued dedication to his players and emphasis on academic integrity and education has resulted in Penn State fostering 15 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 34 first-team and 44 overall Academic All-Americans, and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) congratulates Joe Paterno for his unparalleled success with both the Penn State football program and the University, resulting in 400 wins as head coach; and
(2) commends Joe Paterno for setting an on- and off-the-field example of honor, success, integrity, and respect for thousands of players, coaches, students, and fans throughout the Nation.

I think this is what you call the definition of a lame duck session. Jokes aside though, it's a great honor for Joe. So great, I'm thinking maybe we should all head down to Washington this weekend to thank Congress for passing it?

Lady Lions Update

The Lady Lions are off to a blistering start. They're 2-0 with wins over Dayton and Rider and will take on Oakland tonight. Penn State is averaging 103.5 points per game so far this year. You read that correctly. Granted, the win over Dayton did go into double-overtime, but...still. That's a crap ton of scoring.

The big numbers are coming from an unlikely source, too, junior guard Zhaque Gray.

Junior guard Zhaque Gray leads the Lady Lions, who received 13 votes in this week’s AP poll. Gray is averaging 24.5 points per game, which puts her behind only Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender in the conference, a first-team All-American last year. In her first two seasons, Gray averaged only 4.0 points per game.

"For me, it’s not a surprise," Washington said of Gray’s success.

"I’ve always known Zaza could shoot the ball from the day she walked on campus. She’s been a really good shooter."

Those of you in the footprint will get a chance to see Coquese Washington's squad on the Big Ten Network at 3:30 p.m. this Sunday. I highly recommend you check them out.

In Scores Of Other Games

  • Former Ohio State center Greg Oden is out for the season...again. [AP]
  • Oregon fans are still ticked off about California allegedly faking injuries the other night. [Yahoo!]
  • More fallout from Indiana-Wisconsin last weekend. [Indianapolis State]
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