Sports Columns

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 ...

Bryant needs to think before he acts

PITTSBURGH — If Mike Tomlin sticks to his plan, Martavis Bryant will stay on the sideline tonight in Detroit, somewhere between the table full of Gatorade cups and the kicker’s practice screen. (They’re letting him make the trip, which makes sense. Imagine what trouble he could get into ...

Knockout punch belongs to OSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just when it appeared that Penn State was about ready to take the torch from Ohio State as the Big Ten’s flagship program, the Nittany Lions were dealt a cruel reality that will be forever etched in their craw. Penn State came into hallowed Ohio Stadium unbeaten, the ...

Buckeyes might be rested, but they’re not better team

In August, I picked the Nittany Lions to go 10-2 this season and have yet to pick against them so far. My fellow NitWit, Mike Irwin, used to pull this regularly, rolling out an optimistic 10-2 or 11-1 preseason prognostication and then never quite coming up with the one or two losses when it ...

Several key advantages give Ohio State an edge

Penn State is every bit as good as Ohio State and certainly can win Saturday’s showdown. But the Buckeyes have not just one, but three major elements in their favor, which is why I’m picking them. The game is in Columbus, first and foremost. Winning at The Horseshoe is always difficult ...

Bryant story will not go away

Commentary PITTSBURGH — OK, Martavis Bryant shouldn’t be the lead of this column. What has he done? He’s the Steelers’ third-leading receiver, and he has modest numbers. He’s caught 18 passes in seven games, averaging 13 yards per reception. His longest catch has been for 51 yards, ...

Observations from fading fall season

Some random thoughts while wishing the fall sports season didn’t fly by so fast… n The Penn State women’s soccer team held its senior day festivities over the weekend, an appropriate time to look back at the accomplishments of the graduating class. They brought home the program’s ...

Michigan’s Harbaugh not living up to all of the hype

One of the best things I read this weekend about Penn State’s 42-13 blowout of Michigan was this single line: “The Harbaugh worship has to stop.” It came from a Wolverines beat writer, Shawn Windsor. In the Detroit Free Press, of all places. And it’s 1 million percent spot ...

Lions’ performance matches atmosphere

UNIVERSITY PARK — James Franklin’s tenure hasn’t completed four years yet, but it’s already produced some memorable games. Ohio State last year. The Big Ten championship comeback against Wisconsin. The current collective stretch — 16 wins in the last 17 games with the lone loss an ...

Trump’s anthem soapbox has USFL roots

PITTSBURGH — We’re still a month or so away from ski season, but I’m going to head down this particular slippery slope anyway. Official disclaimer: This is not a political statement or column. This is still the sports section, and let’s give thanks for that. But... Before Donald ...

Offense needs to pass first big test against Michigan ‘D’

Michigan’s offense is not all that good, which makes this question easy to answer. Penn State has a terrific defense that leads the country in fewest points allowed (just 9.0 per game) and should play well Saturday night. But even if it doesn’t, the Wolverines don’t have the kind of ...

Bryant needs to go at end of season

Commentary PITTSBURGH — It doesn’t matter whether Martavis Bryant asked the Steelers to trade him. This should be his last year with the team. Bryant is an exceptional talent. Unfortunately, his ability has been undermined by the lack of professionalism that has plagued his ...

Martz shines on both soccer, football fields

Dedicated. Hard-working. Trailblazer. These are just a few of the words used to describe Bedford Area High School senior Emily Martz. Last year, she was part of the Bisons’ first-ever district champion girls’ soccer team. This year, she set her sights on kicking footballs. “It was ...

MLB replay gets one wrong

PITTSBURGH — Replay in baseball became a good idea around the time that Jerry Meals blew an easy home plate call and cost the Pirates a game. If everyone could see it was the wrong call, why not correct it? Even Meals admitted his mistake the next day, long after it was too late to do ...

Pens were perfect for DC trip

PITTSBURGH — The Penguins stopped by the White House on Tuesday, and they were the perfect guests. They graciously accepted congratulations for their second consecutive Stanley Cup, they dropped off a gift for the President, and they behaved themselves. There were no controversial ...

Lesson learned from Newton ordeal

NFL quarterback Cam Newton got a wake-up call this past week after comments he made toward a female reporter during a news conference. Newton chuckled at the reporter’s question about his receivers’ routes, saying: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.” I’m sure many ...

Steelers lacking production from their star quarterback

PITTSBURGH — Quarterbacks always get too much blame when a team loses. Not this time. This one is on Ben Roethlisberger. He threw five interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in Sunday’s 30-9 Steelers’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that shocked the crowd at Heinz Field Sunday ...

PSU showcasing new breed of ‘D’

EVANSTON, Ill. — Penn State’s offense took the Big Ten and the nation by storm a year ago and returned almost all of their key parts going into 2017. Through the offseason, the questions almost all were on the defensive side of the ball. Wouldn’t you know it: As the season hit its ...

Brown contributes to news cycle

PITTSBURGH — The tough thing about covering the NFL is that once a week schedule, which means large shovels are often needed to fill all the 24-hour news cycles between games. From one Sunday to the next, there’s a lot more talk than action. That’s why you get stuff like “keys to ...