September 25, 2014 |
Penn State has one game left before a week off in its schedule but already is exceeding expectations, with a 4-0 start and a chance before long to become the fifth Big Ten team to climb into the national rankings. After a 48-7 win over Massachusetts, the Nittany Lions finished last weekend still side-by-side with Nebraska as the conference's only two undefeated teams, and just two spots out of the top 25. However, when asked at his weekly teleconference what a 4-0 start meant, coach James Franklin refused to bite.
September 21, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The perception is that Penn State's tight ends have taken a step back in their offensive roles under James Franklin, but the numbers say different. Jesse James, Kyle Carter and true freshman Mike Gesicki have combined for 18 receptions in the Nittany Lions' first three games, with James (10 catches) accounting for both touchdowns from the position. Previous Penn State coach Bill O'Brien was known for his imagination in utilizing his tight ends, who caught 83 passes in his first season, 2012.
September 18, 2014 |
Christian Hackenberg has put up solid numbers in Penn State's 3-0 start to the 2014 season, but the sophomore quarterback could be doing so at a price. Hackenberg was sacked five times Saturday in the Nittany Lions' 13-10 victory over Rutgers and took a hit on numerous other occasions. For the season, he has been sacked eight times - a combination of Penn State's inexperienced offensive line and his tendency to wait for a receiver to get open rather than take off running. The Lions' rushing attack has been of minimal help in keeping Hackenberg out of certain passing situations.
September 10, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - "May no act of ours bring shame" bellowed from the crowd of thousands gathered Monday night outside Beaver Stadium on the Pennsylvania State University campus. Students sang the Penn State alma mater. They climbed atop tall carts and pushed themselves against the metal partition of Gate A, where students enter on game day. And they cheered the NCAA's decision to allow Penn State to compete in a bowl game this postseason and to restore its full number of scholarships for 2015.
September 8, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - James Franklin raced out of the South tunnel at Beaver Stadium with his team Saturday for the first time as Penn State head coach. But he admitted after his successful debut that he was fighting back tears much earlier when he accompanied the Nittany Lions walking from their buses on Curtin Road and into Beaver Stadium through a double column of Penn State fans. "Getting off that bus and walking into the stadium . . . I'm an emotional guy, and I was fighting back my emotions the whole time," Franklin said.
September 7, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Being the veteran on the Penn State offensive line, Donovan Smith doesn't mind reaching out to his younger and less experienced teammates to make sure they know exactly what is expected of them. "Just motivating them and telling them to ask me any questions in terms of game experiences or what I know here or there," the 6-foot-5, 348-pound tackle said earlier this week. "With my knowledge and my experience of playing, I'll provide that information to them if they ask me, or anyone who comes and talks to me. " The mentoring by Smith, a redshirt junior, is sure to come in handy as the Nittany Lions adapt to their new offense under coach James Franklin, a process that continues Saturday against Akron in their home opener - and Franklin's first game at Beaver Stadium.
September 5, 2014 |
Considering Penn State's second coaching change in three years and the resulting alterations in schemes, signals, and philosophies, the Nittany Lions appeared rather smooth and confident with their execution Saturday in their first game under James Franklin. Sure, the Lions had just enough hiccups - minus-2 on turnovers, nine penalties - to make their game against Central Florida a little closer than they would have liked. But no one in Happy Valley was complaining after a 26-24 victory Saturday in the Croke Park Classic in Ireland.
August 30, 2014
Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland TV/Radio: ESPN2; WNTP-AM (990), WNPV-AM (1440). Coaches: Penn State, James Franklin (first season); Central Florida, George O'Leary (11th season, 72-56). Series: Penn State leads the series, 2-1. UCF picked up its first victory over the Nittany Lions last season, 34-31, at Beaver Stadium. Three Things to Watch This will be the first chance to watch the style of offense and defense to be employed by Franklin and the members of his coaching staff, most of whom followed him to Happy Valley from Vanderbilt.
August 13, 2014 |
EIGHT DAYS ago, Penn State's football team held its annual preseason media day at Beaver Stadium, where nearly 90 non-freshmen players were spread out across the yet-to-be-painted natural grass field. The defensive linemen were stationed to a far corner, in an area of the field typically used as part of the opposition's sideline. Midway through the hour the players spent in the stadium, about 10 reporters huddled around the 6-4, 255-pound defensive end sporting a blue No. 18 uniform.