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Sports Columns

Victory breathes life back into Nittany Lions

There’s a fine line between winning and losing, but there’s a wide gap on how outcomes affect certain teams. Especially teams with big dreams. Penn State’s 27-17 victory Saturday at Michigan in an empty Big House sent a much-needed infusion of positivity through the Nittany Lions, who ...

Time for Lions to start looking ahead

Since Penn State has never been 0-5, there’s no reference point in how the Nittany Lions handled that adversity. The closest stretch of futility was the early 2000s when the Lions managed four losing seasons in five years. Joe Paterno wanted a chance to bring the program back and kept ...

Sports hangs by thread of the almighty dollar

The games will go on, hanging by the thread of the almighty dollar. Even as the coronavirus rages out of control over wide swaths of the country, and some facets of society are beginning to shut down again in hopes of stemming the deadly tide, there are no plans to shutter sports like they ...

SFU, Krimmel worthy of praise after huge win over Pitt program

Saint Francis beat Pitt. I never thought I would write those words. So I’ll write them again. Saint Francis beat Pitt. It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a crazy finish. It was a dominant performance from start to finish by the Red Flash, who beat Pitt, 80-70, ...

Wasn’t easy, but fall sports hit finish line

Remarkably, the fall scholastic sports season in the area has been completed. Unlike years past when certain team or individual accolades stood out, just getting to the finish line is the accomplishment that will be most remembered. Throughout the summer, it was unclear whether local ...

O-line at head of Nits’ problems

UNIVERSITY PARK — If you can’t make a yard, you don’t deserve to win. That old football axiom was on full display Saturday as Penn State’s 41-21 loss to Iowa was unfolding. With the Nittany Lions down 10-7 in the second quarter, they faced third-and-1 at their 49. Did they go ...

PSU has lots to think about when benching a QB

To answer this week’s question: Absolutely. Much as coaches want to treat players the same, regardless of position, it just doesn’t, and can’t, work that way. Quarterback is the most important position on the team — one of the most important positions in all of sports. Coaches ...

PSU coaches should not treat QBs with kid gloves

There’s no I in team. There’s also no QB in team. No one is above the entire team. No one. If one player is messing up so badly that he’s a huge reason why a team is losing games, then that player has to be benched. Even if it’s the quarterback. OK, so most everyone agrees ...

For Nits, red zone becomes Red Sea

When the book is someday written on “Inventing New Ways to Lose,” presuming he look back and laugh about it, say 20-plus years from now, James Franklin could provide a chapter on Penn State’s 2020 visit to Nebraska. When, for the second straight week, the Nittany Lion offense gave up a ...

Franklin takes steps to save season

In starting out 0-3, Penn State has already lost what it thought was a chance to be in the Big Ten East title race, if not in the running for the College Football Playoff. Beginning today, we’ll find out if James Franklin has lost more than just three games. We’ll find out if he has ...

Defensive showing the reason for 2 of 3 Penn State losses

Penn State’s defense played great for the first 58 minutes this season. It’s been flat out awful ever since. There’s no question the Nittany Lions’ offense has had major problems, and Neil points them out. But the offense did enough to beat Indiana. The defense collapsed at the ...

Hoping new normal doesn’t last long

If sports in this unfortunate year of COVID-19 have taught us anything, it’s to embrace the non-traditional. While Toronto and Edmonton were playing host to the NHL playoffs, NBA teams were competing in a bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The entire World Series ...

Disorganization spooking 0-2 Lions

UNIVERSITY PARK — On Halloween night, in an eerie backdrop under a full moon, with only family and staff dotting cavernous Beaver Stadium, Ohio State was anything but spooked. In fact, the only people scared are the legion of Nittany Nation fans suddenly dealing with an 0-2 start following ...

Nittany Lions must keep offense on field, Fields off it

Coming up Saturday: Ohio State (1-0) at Penn State (0-1) Time: 7 p.m. TV: ABC Latest line: Nittany Lions are 11.5 underdogs. If there’s one thing that last week’s loss at Indiana accomplished, it quickly took the shine off tonight’s matchup with Ohio State and the pressure that ...

Altoona has night to savor

As I sat down in the Mansion Park press box for Altoona’s District 6 Class 6A championship game Friday night, I sent out a tweet about the two latest high school football games canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d heard about them earlier in the day, but had avoided sending it out ...

Another search for elusive success at PSU

Since everything has been said during this virus-extended offseason about the latest opener in the modern era of Penn State football — the 1887 team (PSU’s first) opened Nov. 5 — my usual pre-game column will shift today. Besides, there was a bigger Penn State story this week with the ...

Elliott’s time is now to race into title round

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chase Elliott again has a chance to take the next step in his young but quite celebrated career. He’s back in the round of eight for a fourth consecutive year, once again trying to drive through to his first championship finale. Is he a true contender? The time has ...

Tigers make statement

When the Altoona Mountain Lions opened their season last week by thrashing traditionally-respected Cumberland Valley, most figured the crosstown rivals from Hollidaysburg arrived at Mansion Park as underdogs Friday night. Well, as Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast, my friends.’’ If ...

It’s good to be a Bison these days

There might not be a school in the area happier that the PIAA went ahead with fall sports than Bedford. It’s hard to argue against the Bisons looking the most impressive in the region over the first three weeks of the high school football season with a dominating win over long-time rival ...

Scholastic ADs having a tough time

It has to be hard to be an athletic director in 2020. Last week, Tyrone learned its high school football game at Clearfield was postponed at 11 a.m. the same day the Golden Eagles were supposed to play. It was picture day at Tyrone, and I have to imagine several players were wearing their ...