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SPORTS
September 29, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lamar Stevens used to watch older basketball players at the Haverford School gather college offers. And he said he always wanted it to be him. "Now that it is me, it's a little surreal," the junior said. It's also starting to get busy for Stevens. Stanford will visit him at school on Sunday. Vanderbilt will check in later in the week. The 6-foot-6 small forward will visit Penn State on Oct. 25 and Indiana on Nov. 14. He has scholarship offers from Indiana, Penn State, La Salle, St. Joseph's, Temple, Villanova, and others.
SPORTS
September 29, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - After four games of feeling good about a new head coach, building up some momentum, and generating hope that a bowl bid would soon be possible, Penn State wiped out that optimism in a dismal performance Saturday. A sun-splashed crowd of 102,910 homecoming attendees at Beaver Stadium watched in disbelief as the Northwestern defense completely dominated the overmatched offensive line of the Nittany Lions and handed James Franklin his first loss in Happy Valley, a stunning, 29-6 defeat.
SPORTS
September 29, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - An illustration of the frustration that Penn State experienced Saturday during its 29-6 loss to Northwestern came early in the third quarter, when Christian Hackenberg and Bill Belton yelled at each other on the sideline. Hackenberg had just one-hopped a third-and-10 pass in the left flat to a wide-open Belton at the Wildcats 20. Belton, a senior running back from Winslow Township High, fielded the throw and spiked it to the ground in disgust. After the players reached the sideline, television cameras caught them exchanging words.
SPORTS
September 28, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – James Franklin said it's a part of every head coach's routine when watching film of his team's next opponent. "You're trying to find the guy that can wreck the game," the Penn State coach said. The Nittany Lions have that type of player in defensive tackle Austin Johnson, a sturdy 6-foot-4, 313-pound redshirt sophomore who starred at St. Augustine Prep in South Jersey. Johnson could be a major headache for Northwestern in Saturday's Big Ten game at Beaver Stadium.
SPORTS
September 27, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Penn State's three-headed tailback system is a luxury for coach James Franklin but a problem of sorts for the participants. Franklin loves the competition generated among the backs - seniors Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak and sophomore Akeel Lynch - because it keeps everyone sharp on the practice field and on the sideline watching the game. The trio has done so well through the Nittany Lions' preseason camp and nearly a month of the regular season that Franklin still can't find one tailback who has emerged above the other two. "I don't think one guy has really separated himself over the others," Franklin said.
SPORTS
September 26, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
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.
SPORTS
September 24, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pat Fitzgerald last led his Northwestern football team into Beaver Stadium in 2012, only a few months after the NCAA slapped Penn State with harsh sanctions that could have left the players and coaches in disarray. But Fitzgerald saw the focus of the team firsthand, led by the Nittany Lions' strong senior class and coach Bill O'Brien. The Lions rallied from 11 down with a 22-point fourth quarter and defeated the Wildcats, 39-28, for their fourth straight win after an 0-2 start. Penn State finished the season 8-4. The Wildcats return Saturday to State College to meet an undefeated and happier Penn State team that now can play in the postseason and will get all of its scholarships back next year.
SPORTS
September 23, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Green grass. Not a closing hole. Not the back of an offensive lineman. Certainly not an approaching defender. Open field ahead of him is what Penn State running back Bill Belton said he saw, a change from previous weeks. Penn State is 4-0 on the season, for the first time since 2008. The Nittany Lions reached the Rose Bowl that season, and two wins away from bowl eligibility - a thought not possible just a few weeks ago - James Franklin's team is staring at the heart of its Big Ten slate with confidence.
SPORTS
September 22, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - With two of Penn State's victories this season having come on a last-second field goal and a touchdown in the final 73 seconds, the Nittany Lions defense certainly was happy to have a relatively easy game for a change. "It's always nice to win in this fashion" linebacker Mike Hull said Saturday after the Lions crushed Massachusetts, 48-7. "You get a lot of younger guys in to get experience and also some of the older guys who have paid their dues. " Added linebacker Brandon Bell, "The tough ones feel better at the end, but a win is a win. It builds our confidence as a team every time we win. " A Massachusetts guy Redshirt freshman D.J. Crook, who received the mop-up assignment in relief of Christian Hackenberg for the final quarter-and-a-half of the game, was pleased to be able to get on the field against UMass.
SPORTS
September 22, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Nittany Nation had been awaiting this day since Penn State boarded the charter flight last month for Ireland - a team that consistently could pound the ball on the ground and dominate the game. No one, however, loved seeing this offensive development more than the Nittany Lions players. "Whenever you can run the ball and physically impose your will on the defense, it's definitely good for the team," senior Bill Belton said Saturday, after scoring two of Penn State's five rushing touchdowns in a 48-7 romp over winless Massachusetts on a sun-splashed day at Beaver Stadium.
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