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Sports Columns

High-powered offense shows up in all its glory

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers scored a season-high 40 points Thursday night, and here’s the crazy thing: They could have/should have had more. The offensive explosion that everyone expected to see in the season opener at Cleveland finally popped on a frosty night at Heinz Field in ...

Hamilton, Gesicki both have overcome adversity

DaeSean Hamilton showed a lot of character following last year’s loss at Pitt simply by coming out and talking to the media. As he sat in his chair and answered very difficult questions about “the drop,” Hamilton started to cry. “I’ll never forget about it,” Hamilton said of the ...

Bottom line: A victory doesn’t have to be pretty

PITTSBURGH — Sloppy. Unimpressive. Lucky. You can use any or all of those words to describe the Steelers’ 20-17 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday. The only thing that matters is they won the game and moved another step closer to setting themselves up for the ...

Once thought impossible, NFL embraced in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — This was a sight no self-respecting bookie in this gambling town would have ever laid odds on seeing. There was Roger Goodell, praising Las Vegas with the lights of the glittering Strip shining brightly behind him. In the audience were a trio of NFL owners (though not Jerry ...

Rec Hall electric for volleyball

The news came on Monday: the Penn State women’s volleyball team is once again the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, their fifth week at the top spot; but this time around, the ranking is unanimous. For the Nittany Lions, the designation is just another footnote in a long and storied legacy ...

Giger: Franklin, Moorhead need to be on same page about future

Head coaches make the huge money in college football, just as CEOs get the big bucks in corporations and, for most of us, the manager of your office makes a lot more than you do. But who does the actual work? The grunt work. The daily grind. The nuts and bolts. The stuff that makes the whole ...

Mehno: Pitt football program has major problems

PITTSBURGH — Pitt lost to North Carolina on Thursday night in a mostly empty Heinz Field, and two truths were immediately evident on social media: 1. Pitt needs a new head football coach. 2. Pitt needs a new on-campus stadium. Pat Narduzzi is the coach, and he was the coach last year ...

Despite declining stats, Barkley still leads PSU

UNIVERSITY PARK — It was midway through the second quarter Saturday, and Penn State’s running game was once again going nowhere. With just one first down and 11 yards rushing in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions trailed their old Eastern cousin Rutgers, 6-0, and though the ultimate ...

Losses can take toll on Nits’ engagement

Any team that climbs to No. 2 and sees itself in the national championship picture only to stumble twice and shatter its dreams can struggle with late-season disengagement. It’s natural. Penn State seems to have excellent leadership, from James Franklin to Saquon Barkley to Trace ...

Lions must focus on fixing flaws down the stretch

Program development for next season and beyond is my biggest concern for the Penn State football team down the stretch. The Nittany Lions are going to whip up on Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland and finish 10-2. But I want to see how they do it. Then I want to see how they line up up against a ...

Steelers can’t afford injury to the Big 3

PITTSBURGH — We’re halfway through the Steelers season and this is the middle of the week, so it’s a perfect time for some of those look back/look ahead observations. n The Steelers’ biggest second-half concern: Injuries. If the Steelers lose Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell or ...

NASCAR’s drivers looking to survive

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams are just two weekends away from the off-season and the crowning of the 2017 champion. Kevin Harvick’s win at Texas this past weekend punched his ticket to Homestead’s Championship Four, joining points leader Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch. The final spot ...

Coaching deserves some blame

The sky is not falling on Penn State. The team is still going to finish 10-2 and go to a decent bowl game, most likely the Citrus or Outback. Still, there are serious problems the Nittany Lions must address for this season and beyond if they’re going to remain nationally prominent and take ...

PSU plays like it’s afraid of heights

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Just eight days ago, Penn State, ranked No. 2 for the first time since 1999, stood in the rarified air of the college football world and allowed itself to take a long, deep breath from the same mountaintop as Alabama. And man was it exhilarating — while it ...

Morton shines at right time

PITTSBURGH — As if the Pirates’ 2017 season wasn’t rotten enough and thankfully buried, there was a post-Halloween haunting. That came with Charlie Morton pitching the last four innings of Game 7, nailing down the Houston Astros’ first World Series championship. Ouch. Yes, the ...

Young proud of Bell’s development

Josh Bell had a terrific season for the Pirates, finally giving the club the everyday first baseman it sought for so many years. Among the people who are very proud of Bell’s development at first base is the last guy who held that everyday job for a long time with the Bucs, Kevin ...

Times have changed, making blowouts necessary

As soon as Kirk Herbstreit said it, I knew Neil and I had our point-counterpoint topic for this week. “The best thing that Penn State can do is blow people out … by 40 or 50 points if they can,” Herbstreit said on the College Football Playoff ranking show Tuesday. For many years, Neil ...

Slow down on the Ju-Ju love affair

PITTSBURGH — There’s a lot to like about Steelers rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, beyond his name. (By the way, his given name is “John Sherman” and “JuJu” came from his aunt). He’s enthusiastic. He works hard. He rides his bike to work because he came here without a ...

Sports, Halloween together for one night

Commentary Halloween is one of those holidays that infiltrates every corner of pop culture, including sports. Bats, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns embellished the M&M’s theme on Kyle Busch’s Halloween paint scheme for the NASCAR race at Kansas earlier this month. (Collectors-edition ...

Lions not tough in run game

Saquon Barkley is awesome. The best running back in Penn State history. So how on earth has the program gotten to the point where it cannot run the ball effectively in clutch situations? The great Bill Murray line from the classic comedy “Stripes” is appropriate: “There’s something ...