Neil Rudel

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 ...

Barbour extension a good thing

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s been a relatively quiet lead-up to today’s Citrus Bowl, so it was a perfect time for Penn State to spring some off-the-field news. Sandy Barbour, PSU’s athletic director for the past five years, confirmed Monday morning that she will soon sign a new contract, ...

Scott’s leadership stands out

Nick Scott came to Penn State with designs on being a running back and kickoff returner. In fact, after redshirting in 2014, he showed some impressive versatility in 2015 as a redshirt freshman, averaging 4.4 yards on 30 carries, catching four passes and even completing a couple, including a ...

Bowl spirit buoyed; 10-win year alive

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State got more than just a W on Saturday. In blowing out Maryland, 38-3, the Nittany Lions accomplished several things that will carry them for the next five weeks. They sent their seniors, particularly quarterback Trace McSorley, out with a deserved curtain call. ...

PSU’s McSorley leaves a legacy like no other

As a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt in 2014, Trace McSorley remembers a phone call from James Franklin to inform that the coach was headed to Penn State. McSorley felt like he had been punched in the gut. “I was probably a little short (on the phone) because I was upset with how ...

Junior tailback growing into Nittany Lion leader

UNIVERSITY PARK — As C.J. Thorpe, a defensive lineman from Pittsburgh, picked up a kickoff and started rumbling with it Saturday afternoon, Miles Sanders cheered on his good buddy. But Thorpe fumbled, denying himself a SportsCenter highlight, and when he got to the sideline, Sanders ...

Housed: Michigan has way with Lions

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Big House is too big for Penn State. For the second time in three years, the Nittany Lions laid an egg against the Wolverines, losing 42-7, before 111,747 Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Two years ago, the 49-10 loss was early in the third season of James Franklin’s ...