December 30, 2014 |
NEW YORK - Sam Ficken lined up next to his kneeling holder and, with his head down looking at the torn-up field, counted three steps back. Penn State's senior placekicker picked his head up and stared at the uprights directly in front of him for a brief moment. The lanky, 6-2, 186-pound Indiana native then took two steps to the left and twisted his shoulders right to left. He was ready; ready to deliver Penn State its most significant, far-reaching win in years. The Nittany Lions (7-6)
December 19, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - At any given home game, Beaver Stadium houses about 100,000 offensive coordinators. Rare cheers and frequent jeers set the tone for Penn State's offense this year. It was a middling group with chronic issues, faulty execution and, what's most talked about, less-than-stellar play-calling. But regardless of fans' feelings, there's only one offensive coordinator at Penn State. His name is John Donovan, and for the first time since preseason media days, he spoke to the media about the season.
December 11, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - After defeating Temple on Nov. 15, Penn State became bowl-eligible, and from that point forward, the question of where the Nittany Lions would go in their first postseason opportunity since 2011 was a waiting game. First-year head coach James Franklin, athletic director Sandy Barbour and the rest of the Lions found out on Sunday that Penn State (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten) is Big Apple-bound, slated to play Boston College (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium.
December 5, 2014 |
THE MUCKETY-MUCKS at Penn State must be cringing. Someone forgot to make sure convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky was taken off the list of fans who receive letters from head football coach James Franklin asking for support. Onwardstate.com said it obtained a copy of the letter from filmmaker John Ziegler, who wrote the book "The Framing of Joe Paterno," and who operates the website FramingPaterno.com. "I got it from someone at the Sandusky home when the letter was received," Ziegler told the Daily News in a email yesterday.
December 1, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - With one last singing of the university alma mater and an unemphatic trot off their home field, Penn State's seniors solemnly bade farewell to a half-empty Beaver Stadium. Unlike the euphoria that followed the Nittany Lions' last two regular-season finales - both upset victories - Saturday's postgame emotion wasn't savored. "Because we lost the game," senior linebacker Mike Hull said after the 34-10 drubbing by Michigan State. "It wasn't a good feeling. We got our butts kicked, so we just wanted to get out of there and get away from it. " The Lions (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten)
November 30, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Perhaps the most shocking moments of the 2014 Penn State football season came last week when the Nittany Lions' nationally prominent defense was unable to stop Illinois on its final drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal. While the statistics - 280 total yards allowed, 14 for 16 in stopping third-down conversions - were favorable, the Lions did not respond after coach James Franklin decided to punt on fourth and 1 from his own territory with less than two minutes to play and put the game on the defense's shoulders.
November 27, 2014 |
Penn State's football season has been one of disappointment and discontent for Nittany Nation. The offense has continued to sputter. The defense has been terrific but overworked, the latter attribute leading to a stunning loss Saturday at Illinois. The play-calling has been criticized, as has the performance of the offensive line, which remains inconsistent 11 games in. The Nittany Lions have won only two Big Ten games while the offense has failed to reach 20 points in regulation in any of the team's seven conference games.
November 16, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - For two Owls who spent the week on the mend - receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick and cornerback Tavon Young - the game against Penn State was a good outing. Neither practiced much with injuries last week, but both made contributions during the Owls' 30-13 loss to the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Fitzpatrick, who injured his ankle in the third quarter of the Owls' previous loss, to Memphis, spent much of the week in a walking boot. However, the Owls' leading receiver had a strong game, finishing with four catches for 113 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown.
November 15, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - Joe Paterno was still in high school, Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games and World War II raged on in Europe. The year was 1941, and to many, that time in history holds special meaning. For old-timer Yankees fans, it's DiMaggio's streak. For film junkies, Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" premiered. But for longtime Penn State and Temple fans, they know 1941 for something else: the last time the Nittany Lions lost to the Owls. Anyone with fingers and toes or a calculator can tell you that Temple has gone 72 seasons without defeating Penn State.
November 15, 2014 |
PAUL PALMER played at Temple from 1983-86 for Bruce Arians, and of course finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior behind Miami quarterback Vinnie Testaverde. Now an analyst on the Owls' radio broadcasts, he still holds the program records for career rushing yards (4,895) and carries (935) and has the two best single-season totals (1,866, and 1,516 as a junior). In those days, there was no Big East yet. All the Eastern schools were independents. Ditto the Miamis and Florida States of the food chain.