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Neil Rudel

Raise a drumstick to Nittany Lions’ history

I’m thankful for Penn State’s history. Yes, the Nittany Lions have a present to feel very good about and a bright future, too, as the program has a chance to be in the College Football Playoff next year. But on this Thanksgiving Day, it’s cool that we as Penn State followers — be it ...

Gallant effort starts with backup Levis

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Penn State left its heart on the Ohio Stadium turf Saturday, gamely fighting back from a three-touchdown deficit, and at the heart of that fight was its backup quarterback. Will Levis was outstanding. In fact, it’s difficult to remember a Penn State quarterback coming ...

OSU a glimpse of PSU’s present, future

Penn State’s 2020 season starts today. OK, maybe that’s a stretch. Maybe the Nittany Lions shock the world and, as a 19-point underdog, stun Ohio State at the Horseshoe. And, obviously, if that happens, all of a sudden Penn State lands in the Big Ten championship game – probably ...

Lions must maintain a ball-control offense

The question reminds me of the late 1970s, my very early days at the Mirror. At that time, there were three outstanding area small-school scholastic football teams that stood out — Southern Huntingdon, Bellwood-Antis and Juniata Valley. Each was coached by an old-school, run-first, tough ...

Lions need to get better defensively

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State is 9-1, which means the valley is happy. Right? Well, almost. The Nittany Lions held off Indiana, 34-27, on a cool, sunny Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, but for the second straight week, their defense raised another caution flag. It just may be the ...

Mention of Minnesota stirs up 1999 nightmare

This week’s topic doesn’t specify good or bad memories, and at the risk of being a wet blanket while the Nittany Lions are 8-0, there’s really no doubt for me. I, like most Penn State followers who witnessed it, will never forget — 20 years later — the 1999 game/nightmare at Beaver ...

As November looms, Penn State still perfect

EAST LANSING, Mich. — No lightning bolts this time, and with the obvious difference in the Nittany Lions and Spartans, it would not have mattered. Two years ago, when Penn State visited Spartans Stadium, a three-plus hour lightning delay stopped the Lions’ momentum and contributed to a ...

Michigan State game belongs as regular-season finale

Penn State is headed to East Lansing today, and it should be playing Rutgers instead. Almost never, at least in its current state, is a matchup with Rutgers anticipated, and it wouldn’t be as today’s opponent. But Michigan State — not Rutgers — ought to be the Nittany Lions’ ...

Rahne, Clifford and Co. have done their part

In answering this week’s question, first ask yourself: How much better did you expect this Penn State offense to be? Thank you. That’s why there’s been too much consternation about the offense. Yes, it has built some big leads, against Purdue and Michigan, that it hasn’t turned ...

Officiating bug spreads to game with Michigan

A week after Penn State felt it was on the short end of the officiating stick, which made a victory at Iowa more difficult, the tables were turned Saturday night in the Nittany Lions’ 28-21 win over Michigan. At least if you consider Jim Harbaugh’s viewpoint. The Wolverines were ...

Wolverines have shown influence, dominance

Since Penn State joined and started to play a Big Ten schedule in 1993, it was clear the Nittany Lions’ success would be gauged on their performances against the two longtime conference heavyweights, Ohio State and Michigan. The series with Saturday’s opponent, Michigan, has brought a ...

Lions can win in multiple ways

Penn State’s 17-12 win at Iowa — the best road win of James Franklin’s six-year tenure — was most impressive in that the Nittany Lions beat the Hawkeyes at their own game. Iowa is not a great team because it doesn’t have enough offense and/or Kirk Ferentz can’t get more out of the ...

Fortunately for Nits, defense hasn’t rested

UNIVERSITY PARK — Noon starts haven’t always brought out the best in the Nittany Lions, but that wasn’t the case Saturday as Penn State was on top if its game early and built a 28-0 lead against Purdue. Then, apparently, the Lions got drowsy and needed an afternoon nap because they sure ...

Rudel: Terps’ Holliday is the ultimate host

When it comes to college football play-by-play announcers, there may be no one who has combined more versatility with a longer tenure than Maryland’s Johnny Holliday. Consider some of these impressive resume items: n He emceed the final scheduled concert of the Beatles at Candlestick Park ...

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 — ...