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Neil Rudel

Finale reflects old-school series

UNIVERSITY PARK — If we don’t see a renewal of the Penn State-Pitt rivalry for years, decades, or even ever, those who were fortunate enough to witness Saturday’s last scheduled game between the neighboring schools were treated to a performance that did the series proud. Penn State won, ...

Suprisingly, defense was soft vs. Buffalo

For the sake of today’s debate, I’ll take the defense, which was supposed to be the team strength and may still be, we’ll see. But some issues surfaced against Buffalo that signaled a red flag. Buffalo kept the ball for 90 plays and 42-plus minutes. That’s hard to believe. So if ...

Early schedule gives PSU chance to grow

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Penn State faithful surpassed the 104,000 mark at Beaver Stadium for the second consecutive week so imagine if the opposition was a team that people actually wanted to see play. Instead, we’ve witnessed Idaho and Buffalo as season-opening appetizers. And you know ...

Rudel: Buffalo, some others not built for prime time

I understand the genie has been out of the bottle in college football for many years, and it won’t be put back in. TV is driving the bus, picking the matchups and the kickoff times, and too many games are at night. The television revenue has helped football staffs and athletic departments ...

Clifford meets first-game challenge

UNIVERSITY PARK — OK, let’s not get too carried away with anything that happened Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Idaho just didn’t provide the kind of barometer for the Nittany Lions to gauge themselves. The final score was 79-7, and it wasn’t that close. But, when you’re breaking ...

Receivers must show big jump from 2018

Cory deferred the first choice this week so I picked the receiving corps. I think it’s the most intriguing spot after the position collectively failed last year, resulting in the dismissal of receivers coach David Corley. The Nittany Lions led the nation with 36 dropped passes in 2018 — ...

PSU’s ‘D’ will accept challenge

UNIVERSITY PARK – Two words are being embraced and emphasized in Penn State’s defensive meeting room: Finishers and closers. “Just having a finisher’s mentality — a mentality to close out teams when we’re up on them,” defensive coordinator Brent Pry said Saturday during PSU’s ...

Phelan turns back the clock at Saint Francis

LORETTO — You could not be in the Maurice Stokes Center on Friday night for the 2019 Saint Francis Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony without feeling the deep sense of pride that permeates the Red Flash community. While all of the inductees were certainly worthy, one was particularly ...

Rudel: Nevins concludes it’s time

Central High School is expected to name Paul Frederick as its new boys basketball coach Monday night. Which means after 27 seasons and 452 victories — most in Blair County boys scholastic basketball history — the Reggie Nevins era is over. Nevins’ last three months as Central’s ...

Bedford HOF call extending Nastasi’s legacy

The Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame has a unique process: It generally waits 25 years following an athlete’s career before enshrinement. Reasoning is simple: The mission is designed to be a career honor but also to extend the understanding and provide full appreciation of ...

Strange audible: Stevens’ stunning transfer leaves no winners

Those of you from the 1970s — much of the Mirror’s readership — may recall a Penn State tradition called “Gentle Thursday.” Students would gather on the HUB lawn, bringing blankets and refreshments, to enjoy the dawning of spring and all that came with it. There were good feelings ...

O-line challenge heads into fall

UNIVERSITY PARK — It’s not wise to emerge from the Blue-White Game armed with sweeping conclusions. The game is less than a glorified scrimmage because the playbook is “vanilla,” according to James Franklin, who also stacks the roster heavily in favor of the Blue team. The first ...

Rudel: Tournament dreams not so sweet for Macklin

In 1970, NCAA danced without Florida State With March Madness in high gear, Kenny Macklin finds himself bittersweet. When the former Penn State Altoona head basketball coach and current Mountain Lion assistant was a player at Florida State in 1969-70, the Seminoles thought they had Final ...

Rudel: BG boys look to make history

One of the many great things about the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic boys basketball team’s charge to its first PIAA championship game is now the Marauder faithful not only have a storied past but a team to celebrate today. And sometimes it takes a team like this one to shine that light. For ...

John Mehno always delivered the right touch

When the chapter on the best and longest tenured sportswriters in Pittsburgh sports history over the last 50 years is someday authored, the names of Bob Smizik, Ron Cook, Gene Collier and Ed Bouchette will surely be mentioned. One name who won’t be on that list but deserves an honorable ...

Flying above Altoona, football openings

Longtime followers of this column realize I’ve been fortunate to have access to the Mirror helicopter to assist in the most important of stories. Like when Altoona Area High School is searching — OK, again searching — for a new head football coach. Oh, there have been some other ...

Rudel: Baron savors SFU days, coaching ride

TYRONE — Jim Baron made a trip back in time over the weekend. Some 32 years ago, Baron arrived at Saint Francis to coach the men’s basketball team. One of his friends then was Harry Sickler, longtime Tyrone pillar and passionate Notre Dame alumnus who got to know Baron when he was on ...

At crunch time, Lions must be a lot better

Boy, talk about a smorgasbord of potential choices. Rather than an individual position group (receivers, special teams, offensive line), I’m going with the Nittany Lions’ consistent inability to function in the clutch. Body of work, the defense performed admirably since its opening-game ...

Near-comeback caps McSorley’s career

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trace McSorley’s career ended like it began — in a Florida bowl game, against an SEC opponent, attempting to rally the Nittany Lions from a three-score deficit. In the end, as Penn State lost to Georgia 24-17 three years ago in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the Lions could not ...