Neil Rudel

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 ...

Staff’s growing pains show

For better or worse over its long history, but mostly for the better, Penn State football has been spoiled by the stability of its coaching staff. Even with Bill O’Brien’s two years, Penn State has only had four head coaches in the last 68 years. Of course, Joe Paterno’s 46-year ...

PSU well positioned for future contention

The Wolverines look like they have the inside track to the College Football Playoff, at least this year, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Penn State will get to the CFP first. Penn State is not a final four candidate this year, having squandered that opportunity by dropping consecutive ...

This year’s team can use some old-school methods

I feel like this is a loaded question, but I’ll take an old school argument — surprise, surprise — for the good of the order. Do I long for the days of Woody and Joe locked in a battle of 17-9 or 12-7 (both Ohio State victories, 1975-76) or even a Penn State offensive breakout of 19-0 ...

Opponent helps Lions get well

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Somebody brought up the last-minute onside kick that Penn State didn’t recover, and Nick Scott smiled. “I decided to make it a little more interesting,” the Nittany Lions’ senior safety said after Penn State, despite giving Indiana an extra breath with 49 seconds ...

Lions need veteran WRs to respond

Some nitpicking as the Nittany Lions attempt to avoid a three-game losing streak: Much of this week’s discussion centered around Penn State’s veteran receivers, and while there’s no doubt that the combination of Juwan Johnson, Brandon Polk and DeAndre Thompkins have been a collective ...

Setback, performance leave McSorley ‘­empty’

UNIVERSITY PARK — Trace McSorley became Penn State’s all-time leading passer in the first quarter Saturday, breaking Christian Hackenberg’s record of 8,457 yards, and when the feat was announced to the Beaver Stadium crowd, McSorley drew an immediate standing ovation. Three hours later, ...

Frustration shifts blame to Franklin

UNIVERSITY PARK — The road to the Big Ten championship and the College Football Playoff still runs through Columbus. Penn State found that out painfully Saturday night. And nobody felt the pain more than James Franklin, who was hoarse and animated afterward and challenged his program — ...

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 ...