Neil Rudel

Lions’ talent masking their youth, mistakes

UNIVERSITY PARK — Only a true Penn State nitpicker would witness a 53-point victory and come away somewhat unimpressed. So be it. Yes, the Nittany Lions demolished Kent State, 63-10, on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. Yes, they are 3-0 heading into their Big Ten opener at Illinois ...

Panthers collapse on their own stage

PITTSBURGH — Pat Narduzzi entered the final scheduled home game between these two old Eastern foes making no bones about the fact that the Penn State rivalry has extra meaning to his program. Maybe, in fact, it means too much. Pitt rolled out the most decorated of its incredibly ...

For openers, Lions raise their share of questions

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State opened its season with a wildly-entertaining 45-38 overtime victory Saturday over Appalachian State that anyone who witnessed had to enjoy. Well, almost anyone. “I started the game at 46 years old,” James Franklin said afterward. “I ended it at ...

Yes, the game builds character

The answer for me is easy since I already have. And I did so with, thankfully, with no regrets. Numbers have steadily declined in football with more information on concussions and their long-term effects. Because of awareness, changing rules and better ...

With clouds in Columbus, PSU in ‘good place’

UNIVERSITY PARK — Throughout his five-year tenure, James Franklin has regularly used examples of bad behavior to help educate his football team. That includes what’s currently going on in Columbus. In case you’ve been in a cave, Ohio State — the Big Ten’s flagship program – has ...

Franklin feels ‘vibe of BG and the area

James Franklin apologized to Bishop Guilfoyle’s Marauder Club for taking four years to make an appearance at the club’s annual spring luncheon. While he may not have gotten to the Marauders’ event that in the past couple of years brought former Georgia football coaching legend Vince ...

Rudel: Knox ‘brought great glory’ to Juniata

When he became president of Juniata College in 2013, one of Jim Troha’s first acts was to hop on a plane to California to visit with Juniata’s favorite son. Troha sat on the back porch of Chuck Knox’s home in Anaheim, and the two smoked a cigar. “That,” Troha said the other day in ...

Hayes leaves a giant legacy at Bellwood

BELLWOOD — When you’re 71 and have been a head football coach for 38 straight years, with a resume of more than 300 victories, and as you’ve recovered from the emotions of another season and some down time over the holidays and the calendar flips to spring, you inevitably look for a sign ...

Annual game helps Penn State market itself

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Blue-White Game is Penn State football’s best commercial. The game itself isn’t usually much to watch, let alone evaluate, and Saturday was no exception as the Blue continued its recent domination and cruised to a 21-10 victory. Unless you want to go back to the ...

Rudel: Piece of Altoona history remembered

It’s safe to say there are few in Altoona Area High School’s rich football history remembered more for one single play than Brooks Kaufman. Kaufman, who passed away last month in New Jersey at the age of 94, was the central figure in the infamous Altoona-Johnstown 1940 season finale that ...

Lions save best of ’17 season for last

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There’s sure something about the Fiesta Bowl that agrees with the Nittany Lions. Penn State kept its perfect record in the desert intact at 7-0 by starting strong and holding off Washington, 35-28, Saturday in a well-played and entertaining showdown at University of ...

Petersen’s deeds outweigh his words

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Friday morning’s final pre-Fiesta Bowl press conference with the head coaches provided at least a slight glimpse into their personalities. While both offered mutual respect of the other’s program, it was easy to see that Washington’s Chris Petersen was content to ...

Franklin shows Terps what could have been

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — This was James Franklin’s first trip back to the University of Maryland campus since 2010, when the announced vision called for the Terrapins’ program to be turned over to him. In 2009, Maryland named Franklin its “coach-in-waiting” to be Ralph Friedgen’s ...

Pitt’s upset of Miami does Penn State a favor

If Penn State needed advance notice on how teams whose seasons seem dead in the water can be dangerous — especially at home and especially against an old, familiar opponent — Pitt delivered that warning loudly and clearly on Friday afternoon at Heinz Field. The Panthers’ victory over ...

Programs show they’re currently very far apart

UNIVERSITY PARK — In case you got a little confused Saturday by the red and white uniforms on Beaver Stadium’s visiting sideline, while Penn State was stunningly leading 42-10 late in the first half, rest assured those uniforms were being occupied by Nebraska and not Rutgers. And that may ...

Despite declining stats, Barkley still leads PSU

UNIVERSITY PARK — It was midway through the second quarter Saturday, and Penn State’s running game was once again going nowhere. With just one first down and 11 yards rushing in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions trailed their old Eastern cousin Rutgers, 6-0, and though the ultimate ...

Losses can take toll on Nits’ engagement

Any team that climbs to No. 2 and sees itself in the national championship picture only to stumble twice and shatter its dreams can struggle with late-season disengagement. It’s natural. Penn State seems to have excellent leadership, from James Franklin to Saquon Barkley to Trace ...

PSU plays like it’s afraid of heights

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Just eight days ago, Penn State, ranked No. 2 for the first time since 1999, stood in the rarified air of the college football world and allowed itself to take a long, deep breath from the same mountaintop as Alabama. And man was it exhilarating — while it ...

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 ...