Neil Rudel

PSU leaves itself wanting more

UNIVERSITY PARK — Trailing 33-14 at its own 25 with 3:34 remaining and down to one timeout left, Pitt seemed to raise the white flag Saturday by running the football on first down. James Franklin, at that point, had other ideas: He immediately decided to call timeout. So if you left here ...

Pitt series never will be matched

Ohio State is now a bigger game than Pitt, of course, and always will be unless the Panthers someday enter the Big Ten, and that ship has probably sailed for our lifetime. But that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes are a bigger rival, especially among the fans who make rivalries what they ...

Lions answer call for faster start

UNIVERSITY PARK — Of all the things that far exceeded expectations during Penn State’s stunning march to the 2016 Big Ten championship, the Nittany Lions’ ability to start games quickly wasn’t one of them. In fact, their 11-3 record came despite repeated late alarms. The Lions ...

Moorhead doesn’t miss deep shot at critics

UNIVERSITY PARK — Of all the great recruiting James Franklin has done since arriving here, a case can be made that no one has made a bigger one-year splash than Joe Moorhead. Never mind that he’s not a player but the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator. Moorhead took a dormant ...

Hockenos’ recent distinction a well-earned accolade

Commentary Rick Hockenos has enjoyed his life in basketball, and it came full circle with his enshrinement in his high school’s athletic hall of fame. Hockenos, a former Saint Francis standout, was inducted into Niagara (N.Y.) Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame on July 14 for his ...

Bennett ruled with iron fist, open heart

When the tapestry is ultimately drawn to highlight those who have made Altoona such a special place for sports — the athletes and coaches, contributors and characters — you had better believe there will be space reserved for one Carl Bennett. The former truck driver saved the old Howard ...

Bickel’s Richards project comes to fruition with basketball courts

Commentary A celebration of basketball and a legacy came together Saturday morning. Galen Bickel realized his longstanding dream of establishing a pair of circular courts at the Eldorado Kiwanis complex, at the same time naming them for late local broadcaster Dick Richards. “I’m ...

Barkley’s challenge: keep stock

Some random thoughts while wondering if we’ll hit 70 degrees again before June ... n The ink wasn’t dry from this year’s NFL draft before speculation immediately turned to the class of 2018 and, with it, where Penn State running back Saquon Barkley fits in. Based on all the projections, ...

Reid’s void anything but secondary

Some random thoughts while welcoming spring: n The loss of Penn State cornerback John Reid to a knee injury that could possibly sideline him for the entire season cannot be underestimated given that Reid was the Nittany Lions’ best pass defender last season and by far their top punt ...

PSU Altoona poised to be playoff venue

Some random thoughts with the (March) madness about to begin: n This region is blessed with two outstanding facilities at Saint Francis and Mount Aloysius that are used for high school playoff games. Another could be added to the mix next year. Penn State Altoona’s Adler Athletic Complex ...

Loss can’t take shine off season

PASADENA, Calif. — The effort and the finality moved James Franklin to tears. After the Nittany Lions wound up one stop and a field goal short of beating Southern Cal on Monday in the highest scoring Rose Bowl of all time, losing 52-49 as time ran out, Franklin didn’t mask his ...

Nittany Lions are playing for more than themselves

LOS ANGELES — Bowl games are generally viewed as either a cap to a great regular season or a springboard toward next year. With the gorgeous Rose Bowl as tonight’s backdrop, Penn State actually finds itself in both scenarios. The No. 5 Nittany Lions’ glamour matchup with No. 9 USC ...

Rudel: Father’s pride: Jim Pry shares in son’s success

Throughout his football coaching career, Brent Pry has never had to go too far for advice. In the early years, it was across the kitchen table. Now, it’s still just a phone call away. Pry’s father, Jim, is a lifelong coach whose mentorship of James Franklin as offensive coordinator at ...

Lions deserve Big Ten glory

Commentary INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State won its first Big Ten championship game Saturday night, and its heroic performance was more than fitting as the Nittany Lions have shown the heart of a champion all year. But never did their heart pound harder than at Lucas Oil Stadium against a ...

Experience at Pitt beneficial for Chryst

Commentary INDIANAPOLIS — It’s pretty obvious Paul Chryst feels right at home in Wisconsin. Chryst, whose Badgers are standing between Penn State and the 2016 Big Ten championship, wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire at his previous coaching stop — at Pitt. In three ...

Big Ten champion belongs in playoff field

Commentary The simple answer here is yes, and I say that whether Penn State or Wisconsin win Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. And if it’s not yes, then why bring everybody to Indianapolis for the championship game? Why not just play out the regular season and then have a ...

Lions’ progress hits historic proportions

UNIVERSITY PARK — There are 16 unbeaten or championship Penn State football teams that are recognized by year, in large blue numbers, across the west side of Beaver Stadium. They span from 1894, through the early 1990s (1909, 1911, 1912) to the juggernauts of Hugo Bezdek in 1920-21 to the ...

Nittany Lions’ focus gets final test

UNIVERSITY PARK — While Penn State’s 9-2 record this season was definitely unpredictable, the same cannot be said for James Franklin’s weekly approach. Franklin’s focus has been such that many questions throughout this seven-game win streak that even inched toward the bigger picture ...

Missing Big Ten final wouldn’t hurt progress

Commentary Penn State even being in the College Football Playoff conversation is a pinch-yourself kind of scenario. And, obviously, the best way to cap this dream season and program-restoring two-month surge would be to land in the Big Ten championship game, win it and play Alabama in ...

Credit where due: Franklin’s star shines

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — James Franklin was announced as a semifinalist for the George Munger national coach of the year award Friday. There are 16 candidates, and Franklin is as worthy as any of his peers and more worthy than most. Don’t be surprised if he wins it. Following Penn State’s ...