September 26, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - The first thing Penn State coach James Franklin does when evaluating an opponent is to try and find that one guy, that one defensive player who can wreck a game. Be it a defensive lineman, linebacker, cornerback or safety, who can change the complexity of a game? That's going to be quite the challenge for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. With a stable of defensive playmakers from the front four to the safeties over the top, the Nittany Lions' defense has turned heads through four games, leading the team to an undefeated mark.
September 22, 2014 |
The football struck a Roman Catholic defender's hand, ricocheted into the air, and hung over Washington's field on Saturday afternoon for what seemed an eternity. Cahillites coach Joe McCourt watched from the sideline, hoping the fourth-quarter play did not somehow turn into an Archbishop Ryan gain. Tom Stevens ran underneath the ball as it dropped toward the turf. "I hope I don't drop this," the Roman linebacker thought. Stevens grasped the ball and sprinted all alone with the interception for a 35-yard touchdown that sealed visiting Roman's 24-16 win. When the 6-foot-1 junior reached the end zone, he appeared to begin to dive across the goal line before stopping midstride.
September 19, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - Behind the defensive line are the linebackers, and if an offensive playmaker gets by the second level, the linebackers, of course, can lean on defensive backs. But if a ball carrier gets past the secondary? See ya. "We're the last line of defense," Penn State cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said. "Our mistakes are touchdowns. " Thankfully for Smith and the Nittany Lions secondary, that final wall before the end zone has held firm so far, and it needs to remain solid this weekend against a quietly potent Massachusetts offense.
September 17, 2014 |
INDIANAPOLIS - It is important to note, at this juncture, that the Eagles very much are a work in progress. They have a quarterback with less than a full season's worth of starts. They are inexperienced on the defensive line. They rebuilt their receiving corps. They addressed the porous defensive secondary, but they could not upgrade it overwhelmingly. They lost three of their top six offensive linemen to injury or suspension, and the offensive line was their best unit.
September 12, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - Paul James is not an easy man to bring to the ground. Just ask Washington State. James, Rutgers' 6-foot, 205-pound running back, doesn't intimidate in stature, but rather his running style - he hits the hole with speed and power. After running for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries against the Cougars to open the season, James has caught the attention of Penn State, namely its linebackers. So far, the Nittany Lions' defensive front four have made things look easy.
September 10, 2014 |
CHIP KELLY said yesterday he hasn't talked to Nick Foles yet about the film from Sunday's herky-jerky season opener. Kelly didn't want to share any insights into why his starting quarterback spent the first half of the game against Jacksonville lurching around the pocket with the dazed expression of a household pet abandoned on I-95. I watched the game again yesterday, and wasn't visited by any blinding insights. The only thing I noticed that I didn't really consider as it was happening was that a lot of the awkwardness had to do with Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.
September 7, 2014
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. Where: Lincoln Financial Field Records: Navy, 0-1; Temple, 1-0. TV/Radio: ESPN3; 97.5 FM The Fanatic. Coaches: Navy, Ken Niumatalolo (7th season, 49-31); Temple, Matt Rhule (2d season, 3-10). Series: 5-5. In the last meeting, Temple won, 27-24, on Oct. 31, 2009. Three Things to Watch 1. With its lethal triple-option, Navy's running game posseses a huge threat to the Owls, whose defensive line needs to win the line of scrimmage. 2. Temple is banged up at wide receiver.
September 7, 2014 |
Part of the preparation for Temple's Saturday home opener against Navy was to get in a good, crisp practice a week ago and then, with fatigue still upon them, gather and watch Navy make its 2014 debut against then-No. 5 Ohio State. Temple coach Matt Rhule, more than anything, wanted to guard against the Owls, who have started the season 2-0 just twice in the last 32 seasons, growing complacent headed into their game with Navy, which will join the American Athletic Conference next season.
September 7, 2014 |
Conestoga's Tim Miller hopped into Martin Dorsey's white SUV a few hours before the kickoff of a 21-14 win over visiting Ridley on Friday night. The two Conestoga offensive players drove together, as they do practically everywhere, for the 10-minute trip to the school's stadium. They told each other to be patient. Let Ridley stack the defensive line, Dorsey said, and the passing game will develop. No one will be able to call it a fluke, Miller said, when they beat Ridley for the second straight year.
September 5, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE - Ohio State's defensive line, now coached by former Penn State coach Larry Johnson, is stocked with future NFL talent. Michigan State's stifling unit is headlined by preseason All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun. But after taking in the opening week of college football, the preseason talk of premier front fours might have unjustly left a Big Ten unit out of the conversation. "I would say that people overlook us," Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson said.