TE Mike Gesicki’s status unclear as Penn State preps for Northwestern; new Saquon Barkley tidbits

Penn State football is the No. 1 topic in We are… Awake every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Nittany Lions sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Penn State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Wondering about Mike Gesicki

Bob Flounders of Pennlive.com reviews some of the X-factors for No. 4 Penn State’s visit to Northwestern this weekend, not the least of which is the health of tight end Mike Gesicki.

Gesicki departed the 45-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury, and did not return. He was seen favoring his left side after taking a hit from Hoosiers linebacker Tegray Scales.

Gesicki, who last year set a school single-season record for catches by a tight end (48), eclipsed Andrew Quarless’ mark for career TE receptions (87) the second week of this season against Pitt. He has 20 catches this season and 92 in his career.

The offense clearly will change things if Gesicki can’t go against the Wildcats (or beyond). Tom Pancoast and Jonathan Holland are the other Nittany Lions tight ends to see action this year. They each have 2 receptions.

Your daily Saquon Barkley update

Per Joe Juliano of Philly.com, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Saquon Barkley “may be the best player (he’s) ever seen on tape.” He looks pretty good everywhere else, too. With 4,222 all-purpose yards in his career, Andrew Callahan of Lions247 notes, Barkley is fifth on the Nittany Lions’ all-time list, behind (in order) Larry Johnson (5,045), Curt Warner (4,982), Blair Thomas (4,512) and Evan Royster (4,502). That, among other things, made Barkley feature fodder for the Big Ten Network.

Another look at the win over Indiana

Callahan also checks in with his weekly video review of Penn State’s offense and defense against Indiana. He writes the Hoosiers defensive scheme was as good as any he has seen against offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s attack. It was based on aggression and man-to-man coverage precepts, and the Hoosiers executed it well, despite the absence of two key defenders. The Nittany Lions’ answer was fade passes to DaeSean Hamilton, who caught 9 balls for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively, Callahan notes, middle linebacker Jason Cabinda looked as good on tape as he did on the stat sheet, where he was credited with 14 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.

Gregg Garrity talks The Catch and more

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times catches up with former Penn State wide receiver Gregg Garrity, who will forever be remembered for his 47-yard touchdown reception from Todd Blackledge in the January 1983 Sugar Bowl against Georgia. The TD paved the way for a 27-23 Nittany Lions victory, which secured their first national championship. Garrity, whose son (also Gregg) played wide receiver from 2013-16 at Penn State, told McGonigal he owns more than a few pieces of memorabilia commemorating that catch, but laughingly added that it “all stays down in (his) office. Just not throughout the house.”

Women’s volleyball team still No. 3

The university’s website notes the Penn State women’s volleyball team remains third in the country, having beaten Illinois and Northwestern last week to improve to 13-1, and senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the seventh time in her career.

Field hockey honors

Cori Conley, a junior back for Penn State’s No. 4 field hockey team, was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, according to the university’s website.  She scored her first career goal against Kent State on Sunday, and helped the Lions (10-2) record their fifth shutout of the season earlier in the week, against Michigan State.

Things add up for John Urschel

Penn State tweeted out its thanks to former Nittany Lions (and Baltimore Ravens) offensive lineman John Urschel, who will serve as grand marshal for homecoming on Nov. 11 against Rutgers. Urschel is studying toward his doctorate in mathematics at MIT, leading one to wonder if there might be a float dedicated to quadratic equations in the homecoming parade.

Also in the Land of 10

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