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Neil Rudel

Locals have watched Nits’ new OC grow

Two local high school football coaches have first-hand experience with new Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. R.J. Albarano roomed with him in the late 1990s while the two were on the football team at California (Pa.) University. “He played QB for us at Cal,” Albarano, a ...

Plenty to choose from when talking about Flash all-time wins

When Saint Francis opened its 2020-21 basketball season with a shocking 80-70 upset at Pitt, my immediate reaction was to call the victory the best of Rob Krimmel’s nine-year tenure. But where did it rank in annals of the Red Flash program? Though its place on the national landscape has ...

Lions can let loose vs. Illini

Some nitpicking as Penn State’s home season (for sure this time) concludes: n With three games canceled, and uncertainty over the availability of some key Ohio State players in the Big Ten title game, there’s an anti-climatic cloud over the entire conference today, and, surely, Penn ...

Finish line for PSU football season, mercifully, should be near

Kickoff Saturday: Michigan State (2-4) at Penn State (2-5), Noon TV: ABC Latest line: Penn State is favored by 14.5 points With all the uncertainty that has surrounded this year, college football’s goal was really pretty simple: Just get the season in. And for the Nittany Lions, by ...

New identity imposing Nittany Lions’ will

Football teams often talk about an identity. Through their 0-5 start, the Nittany Lions didn’t have one, other than a losing identity. They certainly didn’t have a defensive identity as they were lit up for 30 points weekly. Nor could they throw the ball effectively, even though they ...

Penn State’s Ciarrocca hasn’t lost confidence

Lion time Today: Penn State at Rutgers, noon Records: Penn State (1-5); Rutgers (2-4) TV: Fox Sports 1 Latest line: PSU favored by 11.5 When things aren’t going well — despite Penn State’s one-game winning streak – coaches who have enjoyed past success typically refer to their ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Offense most responsible for Nittany Lions’ 0-3 start

This is truly a coin flip, which is almost what we did. Cory had first pick this week and picked the defense. I’m sure we both can take either side of the ball since each has been mightily disappointing. But as unprepared as the pass defense has been, I’m comfortable saying the offense ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Lambour raced to inclusion:

Of the countless Division I athletes Blair County has produced over the years, Tim Lambour’s experience was perhaps the most unique when it came to racial relations. Lambour was a basketball standout at Bishop Guilfoyle, helping lead the 1970 Marauders to the Pennsylvania Catholic ...

Gazing into (shattered) crystal ball

This is supposed to be the most special time of the year. The calendar flips to September, summer vacation is in the rear-view mirror, the kids are back in school, the cooler fall air begins to replace the August heat. And you pack the car, hopefully with the Mirror Gameday in tow for a ...