October 31, 2010

Photo Gallery: Penn State 41, Michigan 31

This game was just as much fun to shoot as it was to watch. For a few plays here and there, I found myself completely reverting back into fan-mode. Just after the first touchdown, my heart was racing, the crowd was going nuts, and the thought first crossed my mind: "Penn State may actually pull this off tonight."

As always, I will add in more photos as the weekend closes out, and probably more on Monday. So don't think this is all I have.

I will say this right off the top, though it may not have been the biggest play of the night, my absolute favorite photo in this set is of Joe Suhey hurdling Stefen Wisniewski on a screen pass. It just screams "Penn State football." Enjoy...

(*use the scrolling arrows on either side of the photos)

Ok, maybe the Michigan fan flipping off the Penn State crowd was a good one, too.

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Royster, McGloin lead Penn State past Michigan, 41-31

by Ryan

Evan Royster became Penn State's career rushing leader,
as the senior tailback abused Michigan's defense
for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
(photo: Mike/LBU)
In what many dubbed a must win game for Penn State, Joe Paterno entrusted the offense in former walk-on Matt McGloin.

Say what you want about the Michigan defense. With the fate of the team’s season in the balance, McGloin came through in a big way. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 250 yards and 1 touchdowns in the 41-31 win for the Nittany Lions.

“I think he did a really good job. He’s a smart football player. I really didn’t have any doubts,’ said quarterback coach Jay Paterno. “He’s a good athlete. Just because he’s white doesn’t mean he can’t run.

Rob Bolden seemed to be entrenched as Penn State’s starting quarterback. Then he got a concussion.

Now, who knows if he gets to lead the Lions off the bus again this season?

As for the potential quarterback controversy, Paterno put that to rest quickcly.“It’s Rob Bolden’s job,” said Jay Paterno.

Not to be forgotten of course in this game was the historic day put forth by running back Evan Royster. The senior entered the season just 481 yards away from Curt Warners all-time school rushing record. Many expected him to break it weeks ago.

But Royster came into this came just 31 yards shy of Warner’s mark, and got it early in the fourth. He gained 150 yards on 29 carries, and appears to be clicking at the right time heading into the latter part of the season. Next week it’s Northwestern: a chance to clinch bowl eligibility and give Joe his 400th career win.

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October 30, 2010

Michigan GOO PUNCH


If you had told me this game would resemble a high-scoring shootout with both teams reaching the 30's, I would've picked Michigan to win this one. Such was not the case, thankfully, and I can't recall a time in my life where I've been happier to eat my own words. So drink up, everyone, be merry! You, especially, Ginger Brett Favre.

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Gameday HQ: Michigan at Penn State 2010

Here's a pregame rundown of everything you need to know for tonight's game.

October 29, 2010

11th Hour Depth Charting: Michigan at Penn State

The latest depth chart (from what we can tell) for this week's game, with some complementary notes...

LBU Staff Predictions: Michigan at Penn State (updated)

In just about 24 hours, Penn State and Michigan will have at it under the lights. The end product is anyone's guess. So, naturally, we present guesses galore!

Evan Royster is just 31 yards from the record, and
Michigan's defense could be just what he needs to sail past the mark.
(Photo: AnnArbor.com)

The key for Penn State is getting out to a fast start, it’s a night game and a white out so they should come out pumped. Unfortunately, we all know what we’re going to see on defense: the horrendous cover 2 that will allow Robinson to eat away big chunks of yardage both on the ground running and through the air. Really he’ll have his pick. There’s no way Penn State will play man to man and take the chance that Robinson will run a draw when several DB’s have their backs turned to him. So just go into the game knowing we’re gonna see plenty of offense from Michigan.

With McGloin starting it really adds a different feel to Penn State’s offense. Even if the coaches call short pass plays look for Matt to look down field at every opportunity he gets because he likes to sling the ball. That could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing, the key is he can’t get so pumped that he starts trying to force the ball like he did last week. Sadly we all know how this game will start, Penn State will come out and mash the ball at the center of the line 2x and then try to throw on third and long.

This game will come down to turnovers, if there are none Penn State loses. It’s always important for your defense to force turnovers but against Michigan it’s crucial. If Penn State wants to win this game they will have to win the turnover battle, but I don’t see it happening.

Penn State 21 - Michigan 27


Big Ten Blogger’s Pick’em: Week 9

Week 8 is in the books and if it was not for Wisconsin's late heroics we would have swept the week. This week gets a little more difficult. 

Last Week
Galen: 4-1
Tim: 4-1
Mike: 4-1

Galen: 48-11
Tim: 47-12
Mike: 46-13

LB-U: 39 - 7:

Blue and White Roundtable: the Michigan Edition

Just in time for Halloween, a banged up Penn State defense gets to take on the Big Ten's best rushing offense and second best scoring.
A big ataboy to Nittany Whiteout who fielded the questions today because the rest of us were too lazy busy. As always, check out the other B&W Roundtable blogs.

William World News
Linebacker U
2 the Lion
Penn State Clips

October 28, 2010

Mac Attack: McGloin will start vs Michigan (updated)

Matt McGloin release
Go get'em, Matt!
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
From the mouth of Joe Paterno:
"We're going to go with Mac to start with," Paterno said. "There's an outside chance Bolden will go. Mac is a good enough quarterback. He'll get the job done."
Give me a few minutes, and I'll have more.

Ok, now that I've collected some thoughts on this...

I feel good about it. McGloin looked better than 90 percent of the other 120 backup quarterbacks in major college football, especially coming off of no first team preparation/reps the week before, or any point this season. McGloin looks the part of the traditional pre-2005 Penn State quarterback: Smart, Patient, Safe. Think John Shafer.

But don't count out Rob Bolden here. There was some disagreement between Joe and Jay this week about how hurt Bolden actually was. Also, he passed his concussion test yesterday. McGloin may start, but Bolden could play.

This is not a knock on Kevin Newsome. I really like that kid. He is a good quarterback, but there would have been more anxiety in my gut right now if he was named the starter for Saturday.

That's about it for now.

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Preview: Michigan at Penn State

The White Out returns... at night... against Michigan. God help us all.

It's baaack!
Penn state finally got back on the winning track last week, with a 33-21 win over Minnesota. The Gophers were able to move the ball well enough, but were doomed by poor field position, failed fourth down attempts, and one very big interception return by D'Anton Lynn. Oh yeah, did I mention the Gophers' defense had a terrible time slowing down Rob Bolden, before he left the game with a head injury, and didn't do too much better when Matt McGloin came into the game.

Having faced a bad defense last week, another bad one, maybe even worse than Minnesota's porous unit, comes to town this week. The problems for Penn State are that Bolden may not be available to start the game, and Michigan's offense is light-years ahead of Minnesota. And the Gophers piled up more than 400 yards on the Lions.

Scary? That's not even the half of it. In a night game atmosphere, the White Out in full force, and two teams that have a penchant for making throw-your-remote-through-the-TV level mistakes, this Saturday in Happy Valley should provide more than its fair share of drama. Oh, and did we mention Evan Royster is only 31 yards away from breaking Penn State's all-time career rushing record? Yeah, that's in there, too this week.

Let's get to it...

Chaz Powell may start at corner vs Michigan

Nate Bussey scuffles with Chaz Powell
Chaz Powell may start at corner this weekend,
replacing Stephon Morris.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Word has come out of practice this week that Chaz Powell will get the start at cornerback, opposite D'Anton Lynn, this week when Michigan comes to town. Sean Fitz, Lions247:
"...the recently switched Chaz Powell will get the start at corner this week opposite D'Anton Lynn. Stephon Morris obviously had a poor tacking performance against Minnesota last weekend, so he's not getting the start. Will check in to see what the nickel package will be this weekend."
You have to think this is a real wake-up call for Stephon Morris. I don't think at all that Powell will start and play the whole game in place of Morris. Powell may start, but Morris could end up playing 80 percent of the snaps. But losing your starting job is a big deal to players, especially at positions like corner where lineups aren't typically changed often (ex. DL, WR).

Always for the Glory: NFL Update Week 7

Kerry Collins (Photo: SI.com)
Well it was finally a good weekend for the current Nittany Lions after beating Minnesota, and the Penn State alums had a solid one as well. One of the great quarterbacks in the school's history got a chance to show he still has what it takes in his 16th season,a few defensive linemen wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks, and a couple graduates from Linebacker-U were paid homage to their school's namesake with solid days as well.

QB Kerry Collins, Panthers
Starting in place of the injured Vince Young, Collins completed 17 of 31 passes for 276 yards and three touchdown passes. He is the only current NFL quarterback to hail from Happy Valley and is continuing to succeed almost two decades after that magical 1994 season.

October 27, 2010

BlogPoll 2010: Week 9 Final Ballot and Top 25

Thanks to Mike for posting my draft ballot, as I've been under the weather.

A few notes: Michigan St. moves up maybe a bit prematurely, but will solidify their spot with a win at Iowa. Meanwhile, Mizzou and Bama are one game away from leapfrogging TCU and Boise St. in the rankings if they dispense of Nebraska and LSU in their next games respectively, however, the Horned Frogs may hold with a victory against Utah in two weeks. Unfortunately, Nebraska dropped a spot for knocking off an undefeated team, because I painted myself into a corner with Mizzou and Oklahoma ahead of them and another ugly loss by Texas following their upset of the Huskers last week (I know Texas' defense is pretty much ideally assembled to thwart Nebraska's offense, but Iowa St.? At home?! Come on!). The other risers and falls are pretty self-explanatory, oh yeah and Illinois pops in at 25 for their only three losses being to Top-10 squads, this is the time of season where those last few spots start getting really tough to fill in.

This week's top 10:

October 26, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Michigan Week

Here's what you need to know from today's press conference with Joe Paterno.
  • Rob Bolden may play, he may not. Joe's no doctor, but if he had to guess by what he's seen/told so far, Bolden probably won't play against Michigan. Still, that was a very conditional statement from Joe. Later in the presser, Joe sounded very concerned that Bolden might not play. Bolden has had a very good year, "all things considered," like injuries at other key positions.
  • Mike McQueary didn't exactly come across as caring (ed.-my take) when Bolden first came to the sidelines after the big hit. But Joe must not have seen exactly what went on right there, or remembered it slightly different. Because Joe thinks McQueary was trying to convince Bolden to sit down. McQueary was clearly seen pushing/shoving Bolden back ONTO the field.
  • Matt McGloin did a good job in place of Bolden. McGloin didn't have a lot of preparation before the game, considering he was thrown in as the first team quarterback. 
  • Silas Redd and Stephfon Green are essentially tied for the second string tailback position. Joe didn't want to grade them against each other or say if one was ahead of the other. He likes what both bring to the game.
  • Kevin Newsome will go full strength this week, after dealing with a knee injury and illness last week. 

Review: Penn State 33, Minnesota 21

Silas Redd put on a show for Penn State fans, piling up
73 yards for the Nittany Lions against Minnesota.
(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)
Rah Rah!!! The Nittany Lions won a Big Ten game!

Ok, enough of that. It wasn't pretty, but it was convincing in the end. Reeling from two embarrassing performances, Penn State went on the road and did what it had to do. Minnesota may be the worst team in the conference this season. It doesn't matter. Wins are wins, and Penn State sure needs a few more before the season is done.

The defense bent plenty, but never broke enough to lose the game. In fact, it was a few big defensive stops, efficient passing, a strong running game [gasp!] in the second half, and special teams that propelled Penn State to the victory in Minneapolis. Now, I may be crazy here, but doesn't that sound an awful lot like the Penn State teams of old?

Here the roundup from Saturday.

LBU Staff Reactions: Penn State 33, Minnesota 21

We know, Joe. We're in that kind of mood, too.
(Photo: Joe Hermitt/PennLive.com)
A win is a win, right? Our thoughts on Penn State's road win over Minnesota this past weekend...


Given all the injuries I'll gladly take Saturday's outcome. The defense was banged up but played well enough to win and the offense finally found a way to score. Until he went down, with what is likely a concussion, Rob Bolden was 11 for 13 for 130 yards and a TD completing his first 9 passes. I said in the staff predictions that Penn State had to open up the offense and it looked just the opposite at first but the coaches did open things up a bit and Penn State had it's best offensive output of the season. Silas Redd continues to improve leading Penn State in rushing with 73 yards on 9 carries for a robust 7.9 yards per touch. He's easily Penn State's best running back but we won't see him until the other guys come in and struggle like they do in almost every other game. If Bolden can't go next week, I'm not too concerned McGloin is a serviceable backup until Rob is cleared. With all the struggles on the offensive side recently, Saturday's game was a step in the right direction. Let's hope things continue in that direction.


Nittany Digs: 'Deja'-Vu All Over Again

Teams just aren't losing. This leaves Penn State women's volleyball anchored firmly at No. 9 in the polls the last few weeks, even though the wins have picked up. The Nittany Lions are now 17-4, coming off sweeps of both Ohio State, and 22nd-ranked Northwestern in Evanston.
Deja McClendon
(Photo: GoPSUsports.com)

Penn State is undefeated in Rec Hall again this season. But with home games against Northwestern and Illinois looming large in the coming weeks, maintaining Penn State's 84-game home win streak is not guaranteed.

With that, here's the wrap up from this past week.

Frosh of the Week, again...

Deja McClendon just can't stop, grabbing this week's Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, her third this season.

October 25, 2010

BlogPoll 2010: Week 9 Rough Draft

Our week nine draft ballot. Some good movement this week. Mizzou gets its due respect for beating a No. 1 team--though, who isn't beating a No. 1 team these days? Also riding the Tiger wave, Illinois snuck into our ballot this week! The Illini have been playing lights out very well since the Ohio State loss. But are they for real? We'll surely find out. Comments, suggestions, polite insults? Have at it...

Creepin' The Big Ten: Week 8

The Big Ten decided that defense is overrated this week and lots of points were had. 6 teams scored 30 or more points and there were some very entertaining outcomes. Too bad most occurred at the same time, it's difficult to focus on other games when Penn State is playing (yeah I probably have a mild form of ADD, so sue me).

All the Eggs: Rally in the Valley for Michigan

"Rally in the Valley"
(Photo: Live.PSU.edu)
Penn State is apparently putting all the blue and white eggs in this week's basket, calling a Rally in the Valley for Friday night in Rec Hall:
"The Blue & White Society and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics are teaming up to host the traditional "Rally in the Valley" football pep rally at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lion faithful will be pumped up and primed to get ready for the widely anticipated Beaver Stadium primetime clash between Penn State and Michigan on Saturday."
Can't say this wasn't expected. The night before the Michigan State game, the Blue Band plays its annual Bandorama concert, and you can't have a Rally in the Valley without the band.

But what about the Northwestern game? Well, look at the schedule. Michigan represents what could be the turning point in the season. Even if Penn State doesn't magically run off the final six games into the win column, beating Michigan is paramount to any hopes for a bowl bid, especially one not sponsored by a second-tier Pizza restaurant chain.

So here it is. Get loud. Get ready. No matter what happens, it's going to be one crazy weekend in Happy Valley.

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Report: Penn State to host Eastern Michigan in 2013

The Eastern Michigan Eagles will play at Penn State in 2013, according to an article by David Jesse at AnnArbor.com. Jesse reported that EMU AD Derrick Gragg spoke at last weeks's EMU Board of Regents meeting, discussing the financial benefit from playing big-time opponents away from Ypsilanti. Going through what Jesse wrote, I stumbled upon this little tidbit:
In the 2013 season, Eastern will get
• $150,000 to travel to Army.
• $850,000 to travel to Rutgers
$425,000 to travel to Penn State University.

October 23, 2010

Backups step in to keep Penn State alive, beat Minnesota 33-21

Brett Bracket was on the receiving end of Rob Bolden's
only touchdown pass. Bolden would leave the game
with an apparent minor head injury.
(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)
The final score looked better than the product on the field, as Penn State rode the backs of third-stringers, namely quarterback Matt McGloin and tailback Silas Redd, to a 33-14 win over Minnesota today in TCF Bank Stadium.

McGloin was in for the injured starter Rob Bolden, while second-string quarterback Kevin Newsome has been battling illness and injury all week. And although Evan Royster finished today's game only 31 yards short of Penn State's career rushing record (63 yards rushing today), it was true freshman Silas Redd that dazzled fans in the second half, ripping off several big runs, including two for more than 20 yards on the final touchdown drive for the Nittany Lions.

The defense, however, left much to be desired, surrendering more than 300 yards to Minnesota's Adam Weber, and allowing yet another 100-yard rusher, the Gophers' DeLeon Eskridge. Cornerback Stephon Morris was the main target of fans. The sophomore was harassed all day by Weber, including two of the Gophers' touchdown passes, and was very unreliable on open-field tackling.

Gameday HQ: Penn State at Minnesota 2010

Here's a pregame rundown of everything you need to know for today's game.

October 22, 2010

11th Hour Depth Charting: Penn State at Minnesota

Gerald Hodges (2)
Gerald Hodges is expected to play this week,
but to what degree is still up in the air.
Hodges was injured on the first kickoff at Alabama.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
It's a tough one this week, with so many players supposedly returning from injury. Some of them, like Michael Mauti, Bani Gbadyu, and Jordan Hill, are locks to either start or play significant time on Saturday. But then there are guys like Gerald Hodges, Jack Crawford, and even Brandon Beachum (actually listed as "possible" on the PSU injury report), who I'm not really sure are going to go this week, unless they are desperately needed.

The latest depth chart (from what we can tell) for this week's game, with some complementary notes...

LBU Staff Predictions: Penn State at Minnesota

Our weekly prognosticating and score predictions. Up this week: The Golden Gophers of Minnesota.

Coming off a bye week, facing a down-and-out opponent, it's the perfect recipe for Penn State to get back on the winning track. Or is it? Well, that's why we're here.

(Photo: Eric Miller/University of Minnesota)

 Full Game Preview


Both teams are looking for and identity Saturday, one lost its coach and the other lost a bunch of starters to injury but both are in desperate need of a win. I think the difference will be attitude; Penn State isn’t used to people questioning their heart and drive and I think the week off will be about as good for the psyche as will be for the body.

Look for Penn State to come out with a purpose, they’ve been reading bad press for two weeks. That doesn’t mean I’m predicting a blowout, with the injuries on defense the Lions are gonna give up points but I think Penn State will play much more inspired.

Penn State 24 – Minnesota 17


Big Ten Blogger’s Pick’em week 8

Week 8 is upon us and most of the games are so bad that only one game will be played after noon. Last week there were some head scratching upsets but don't look for that to happen this week. All of us missed out on the Wisconsin surprise (damnit!) and no one saw Purdue's sudden spurt of offense with their third string QB leading the way. Let's get to the picks and as always stats and comments to follow.

Fans surprisingly optimistic about PSU bowl chances

Rob Bolden looks for a receiver
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Now this is something I surely did not expect. With Penn State's final six games featuring only two games (Minnesota and Indiana) definitely in the "winnable" category, it seems Penn State fans are expecting the Nittany Lions to pull off at least one toss-up game among Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State or Michigan State.

Here are the results from yesterday's poll:

Will Penn State reach bowl eligiblity (6 wins) in 2010?

Funny, after weeks of mass hysteria from the statewide and national media regarding Penn State's 3-3 record, you would think fans to be a bit less optimistic about the Lions' chances to make a bowl game.

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Preview: Penn State at Minnesota

Penn State's just gotta win, right? RIGHT?!?!

(Photo: GopherSports.com)
It get a feeling this is going to be just another weird week in a very weird season. Penn State heads out to play Minnesota, a team that hasn't won in seven weeks. The game is in TCF Bank Stadium, a place Penn State's never before visited. And the Gophers' head coach is now Jeff Horton, a guy 99 percent of you never heard of before this week. Oh yeah, that's because Minnesota just fired the actual head coach, Tim Brewster.

I told you it's weird.

But Penn State has a bunch of players coming back from injuries (not all of them, though), had a nice bye week, and hopefully a little more excitement to play football. Because, hell, it sure didn't look like this team wanted to play football the last time it took the field.

Let's get to it...

October 21, 2010

Blue & White Roundtable: the Caddyshack edition


This week the B&W Roundtable covers two teams limping into the second half of the season. One that just lost their coach and one that just lost half of their team to injury. Both will be looking for improvement on pretty mediocre play. This week's questions brought to you by 2 the Lion.

In the immortal words of Carl Spackler: You must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong.

Poll: Bowl or no bowl for Penn State?

Evan Royster breaks away from Amara Kamara
Will Evan Royster finish his Penn State career
without a final bowl appearance?
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
This isn't a hair-on-fire reaction to Penn State's rather disappointing 3-3 record, with only one, maybe two winnable games left on the 2010 schedule. But it seems like a good time to gauge some fan base attitude towards the Nittany Lions' chances of reaching a bowl game this post-season.

So the question today is whether you think Penn State can actually pull out three more wins and go bowling. Coming off of a bye week, with some injured players returning to the lineup, and hopefully something resembling a sense of optimism on the team, the Nittany Lions could be poised for a nice run before the big trip to Ohio State on Nov. 13.

Still, that would require taking care of business against Minnesota this week, beating Michigan under the lights, and avoiding a letdown against Northwestern after that. It's a tough task, but could it happen? You tell* us...

Will Penn State reach bowl eligiblity (6 wins) in 2010?

*There was a mix-up in the poll. If you voted between 6:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., please log your votes again. Thanks.

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October 20, 2010

Creepin' The Big Ten: Week 7

Apologies for the lateness on this week's edition of Creepin The Big Ten. I just woke up and realized that it's already Wednesday and the next batch of Big Ten games are on the horizon. I still consider myself to be far more reliable than Ohio State's special teams, though. Speaking of which...

Always for the Glory: Week 6 NFL Update

Here's your weekly Penn State football alumni update, with last week's results and this upcoming week's NFL schedule. Ryan should be back in the saddle next week or one after. Student life doesn't offer much of a concrete schedule, so I'm filling in for now.

NFC North

Chicago Bears - L 23-20 vs Seattle

This week: Chicago hosts Washington, 1 p.m. Sunday on FOX

Anthony Adams (1999-02), DT
Adams started at nose tackle for Chicago, recording one tackle in the loss to Seattle.

Robbie Gould (2001-04), K
Gould made 2-of-3 field goal attempts in the loss to the Seahawks, connecting on kicks of 24 and 34 yards, both in the second quarter.

BlogPoll 2010: Week 8 Final Ballot and Top 25

This is shaping up to be one of the crazier years in college football as the big swings from week-to-week have been evidence. I went with Oregon in the 1 slot, but you could argue for any of the Top-3. I don't how anyone could justify slotting Boise St. any higher, let alone ahead of TCU, the Broncos essentially hit their peak this week and will start falling behind one-loss teams very shortly. The one chance Boise St. had was if Nevada otherwise ran the table and that's out of play now. TCU could have a legitimate case for a BCS Championship by the end of the year, but it's slim and needs help from other teams losing. If Michigan St. gets past Iowa in a they'll leap ahead significantly and LSU is going to test it's luck against Auburn and Bama, so keep an eye out for some big movement by November. Oklahoma St. and Missouri also get to demonstrate how good they really are as they enter the meaty portion of their schedules and could be fast risers to watch as well.

[*The full top 25 takes up a bunch of room, plus the top ten is all that really matters. So here's the abbreviated version.]

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 8

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Oregon Ducks (65) 24.30 1.20 --
2 Boise St. Broncos (16) 22.75 2.06 Arrow_up 1
3 Oklahoma Sooners (11) 22.71 1.48 Arrow_up 2
4 Auburn Tigers (8) 22.00 1.69 Arrow_up 3
5 TCU Horned Frogs (1) 21.45 1.92 Arrow_down -1
6 Michigan St. Spartans 19.05 2.19 Arrow_up 5
7 LSU Tigers (1) 18.89 2.86 Arrow_up 1
8 Alabama Crimson Tide 17.55 2.46 Arrow_up 1
9 Utah Utes 15.97 3.97 Arrow_up 3
10 Wisconsin Badgers 14.56 2.56 Arrow_up 11
Updated: Oct 20, 2010 7:54 AM PDT
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Our Final Week 8 Ballot below the jump...

10 Minutes or Less: 2005 Penn State vs Minnesota

[update - I mistakenly uploaded the wrong version of the video. This new version has much better sound. The other one was too low. Thanks.]

No one was sure--yet--if Penn State was truly "back." The Nittany Lions were feeling encouraged by a 4-0 start to 2005, especially coming off the 7-16 combined record the previous two seasons. But after three decent wins over mediocre opponents, and a shaky win in the Big Ten opener at Northwestern, Penn State fans were still asking "Are the Nittany Lions for real?"
Derrick Williams rushed for 2 touchdowns
in dramatic fashion.

The 18th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers were rolling into town on the back of their Heisman candidate tailback Lawrence Maroney. In the Gophers' first four games, Maroney had been averaging more than 170 yards per game on the ground, even though he was pulled before the fourth quarter in many of those games.

Penn State had not beaten a ranked opponent in three years. But on that sunny day in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions changed the way the nation viewed Penn State football. No longer beholden to seniority over talent. No longer three yards and a cloud of dust offenses. No longer allowing opponents room to breathe inside the raucous confines of Beaver Stadium. This was no longer a Penn State team opponents could take lightly, as Minnesota would soon (painfully) discover...

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Minnesota Week

Malcolm Willis & Chaz Powell
Malcolm Willis (10) will probably
start at safety this week, while Chaz Powell (2)
moves back to defense at cornerback.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Gophers, Injuries and Weed, oh my!

Joe Paterno hasn't had such a range of questions to answer in quite some time. Minnesota's Tim Brewster was fired this week. Sean Stanley had been charged with pot possession. And half the defense is heading to the M*A*S*H*

With all that, let's round it up.
  • [ed. - bumped this to the top b/c of interest] Paterno doesn't think he did a good job this year getting hist coaching staff or the team ready to play the games. That, combined with the big injuries to players that were supposed to be big parts of the team this year (Curtis Drake, Andrew Sczcerba, Brandon Beachum), have made this season "probably as tough as any time [Paterno's] been in coaching." Paterno said there was no one else to blame but him, as he's "the boss." But it's important to give the team time to rest up, so there was only three days of practice and a weekend off last week. There is still no answer as to why a great week in practice pre-Illinois translated into such a poor performance.
  • Already covered yesterday, Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford are probably out this week, with Latimore out indefinitely. Crawford may be ready by Michigan. 

October 19, 2010

Eric Latimore likely out for the season

Eric Latimore Kneeling Joe Paterno said today that Eric Latimore is likely done for the year, but there's a slight chance he may come back:
"Latimore, I'd be doubtful if we get anything out of Eric the rest of the year, although he may be ready for a game or two. Crawford has not done anything yet. ... I doubt if he'd be ready this week. Crawford might be ready next week."
And then there's the Crawford news, which sucks just as much.

We'll have our usual weekly roundup from the press conference. That will post later today, so stay tuned for more.

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BlogPoll 2010: Week 8 Rough Draft Ballot

There were so many changes this week, I'm simply presenting this draft without commentary and let everyone have at it, I'll have a breakdown with the final ballot tomorrow. There are compelling arguments to be made at almost every position. Questions, corrections, suggestions and objections are always welcome.

October 18, 2010

Sean Stanley charged with Possession (updated 2x)

Sean Stanley Warmups (2)
Sean Stanley was charged with
pot possession on Monday.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Defensive end Sean Stanley has been reportedly charged with marijuana possession. Per the Pittsburgh Trib:
...according to a university spokesman. Stanley was arrested for the drug charge Sept. 27, according to a report filed with a District Justice Carmine W. Prestia Jr. in State College.

A hearing has been set for Nov. 17.
Update: The Daily Collegian has a bit more:
Police seized various items from the 3101A Nittany Apartments residence. Inventory collected included a marijuana blunt, a marijuana roach, at least two dime bags and an empty can of Four Loko malt beverage, among other items seized, according to the search warrant.
Stanley has missed the last two games for undisclosed "team violations," which could have meant anything... until now. The actual surprising thing to be here is how Penn State kept this thing hush-hush for two weeks. Usually, when criminal stuff is involved, the press is on top of it.

Nittany Digs: Floyd of Rosedale Edition

Is it sad that a pig makes a better trophy
than the Land Grant Monstrosity that
PSU and MSU have to play for?
Penn State downed Iowa and No. 19 Minnesota last week. On the gridiron, the Gophers and Hawkeyes play for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, giving this edition of Nittany Digs its theme for the week.

The Nittany Lions are now 14-4 overall, which on paper looks like a complete train wreck of a season for what this program has been used to the last few seasons. But Penn State is still in the very thick of the Big Ten title race this season, and already in position for a decent seed in the NCAA tournament. Yes, it's early to start thinking about the postseason, but the regular season is already halfway done.

Here's the lowdown on last week's action.

Adam Taliaferro and Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand (updated)

Found this article today by Tom Luicci at The Star-Ledger. In it, Luicci writes how Penn State's own Adam Taliaferro hopes to hear from Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand or his family. Why?
LeGrand, a junior defensive tackle, was left paralyzed from the neck down after suffering an injury to his C-3 and C-4 vertabrae while making a tackle on a kickoff late in Rutgers' 23-20 victory over Army on Saturday at New Meadowlands Stadium. He underwent emergency surgery that night at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Taliaferro, and the Adam Taliaferro Foundation have already pledged any support they can offer to Eric and his family.

Rutgers has set up a page that you can send your best wishes to LeGrand. I suggest you take a moment and do so.

Update: Per Jeff Nelson, "Joe Paterno, Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Adam Taliaferro and his family have spoken to Rutgers officials about Adam's spinal injury in 2000"

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October 17, 2010

Looking at Penn State's final six games

Beaver Stadium Press Box
Can Penn State return Beaver Stadium to its place among
the toughest places for visitors to win a football game?
The 2010 season hasn't turned out (so far) quite how any of us had hoped, but the schedule has been set up quite nicely with a bye week coming right in the middle.

With all the injuries and personnel shuffling, it's really a great time for the team to get a week "off."

Today we'll go through Penn State's final six (hopefully with a 7th tacked on soon...) games, all Big Ten conference matchups, and gauge how things look at this point going forward.

So long Timmah: Brewster gets the Axe

Coming from the University of Minnesota, head coach Tim Brewster has been fired. Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton will become the interim head coach. UM Athletic Director Joel Maturi:
"While I appreciate the passion and commitment that Coach Brewster has shown, it is clear that a change in the leadership of Gopher football is necessary," Maturi said. "We have high aspirations for our football program and we are not satisfied with its current direction. The results so far this season have been unacceptable and the program has simply not shown enough improvement over the past three and a half years to continue with the status quo."
Don't know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind is "how does this affect Penn State's visit this week?"

That's not to say I think the Nittany Lions will lose in Minneapolis. But changes like a fired head coach can play funny games with teams.

Anyway, here's the first casualty of 2010.

[EDIT: Here's a parting gift courtesy from all of us at LBU. -- Tim]

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October 15, 2010

Big Ten Blogger's Pick'em: Week 7

It's hard to believe but it's week 7 of the football schedule (I know, I know for some Penn State fans the end can't come soon enough). This is probably the most competitive week to date for the Big Ten and there are some interesting match-ups. Linebacker-U moved up a notch to 9th place as all of your LB-U "experts" *snicker* missed two games last week and Purdue blogger Boiled Sports was perfect (don't ask me how). As always stats and comments to follow.

Happy Friday: Here's an Epic Captioning Fail by The Daily Collegian*

*Presuming of course, that Matt McGloin's skin didn't pull a Reverse Michael Jackson and that he hasn't been feverishly juicing for the past month.

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October 14, 2010

Mid-Season Review 2010: That Which Doesn't Kill You...

Penn State hasn't exactly impressed through the first half of its 2010 schedule. While many fans and pundits were predicting losses to both Iowa and Alabama, few--if any--foresaw the injury-riddled defense, disaster of an offensive line, and the loss to Illinois on Homecoming.

Mike Zordich celebrates a tough run
My personal favorite photo from the first six games,
and probably the most positive emotional moment of the season. (Photo: Mike/LBU)

It hasn't been much fun for the team and its fans. The student section hasn't filled up to capacity once this season, compounding the complete lack of enthusiasm from the crowd as a whole. Even the team, including the lack of aggressive coaching, has been hammered by some for not showing much emotion on gamedays.

But what should we really have expected? As mentioned, we all knew Iowa and Alabama would be losses. But I can even admit I never expected both to be so frustratingly bad losses. And that Illinois debacle? Well, that was the most shocking of everything we've witnessed this half-season.

October 13, 2010

Always for the Glory: NFL Update

At last, Penn State has finally reached a bye week. Players now have more timed to get reamed out by coaches, and coaches now have more time to get reamed out by fans. It also gives me more time to focus on the Penn Staters that really matter. The ones that get paid to play.

After five weeks of NFL action, we have seen some great performances by the Nittany Lions of old. Tamba Hali has been an absolute force for the Kanssas City Chiefs and Cameron Wake has helped bring back memories of the not so happy days in the valley.

Injuries and trades open up potential huge openings for Andrew Quarless and Deon Butler to emerge onto the scene.

Injuries could force Chaz Powell back to defense

The injury situation has gotten so bad, Penn State actually released a full injury report yesterday (unusual outside of weekly game notes) to members of the media, including us deadbeat bloggers. Here's the official lowdown:
An injured Jack Crawford could only watch from the sidelines
Defensive end Jack Crawford
didn't start Saturday against Illinois
due to a foot injury. (Photo: Mike/LBU)
Out for season:

T Lou Eliades (knee)
TE Garry Gilliam (knee)
Safety Nick Sukay (pectoral)

Out for minimum of two weeks:

WR Curtis Drake (leg)
DE Eric Latimore (wrist)
TE Andrew Szczerba (back)

Possible for Minnesota game:

DE Jack Crawford (foot)
Safety Andrew Dailey (stinger)
LB Bani Gbadyu (calf)
DT Jordan Hill (ankle)
LB Gerald Hodges (leg)
LB Michael Mauti (ankle)
Honestly, that's not as bad as I expected. Of course, "probable" would be much more comforting than "possible," but this isn't the NFL here, so these are very loose terms we're dealing with here.

BlogPoll 2010: Week 7 Final Ballot and Top 25

Updated 1:15 p.m. w/Top 25 link

We appologize for not posting a draft ballot this week. "Motivated" wouldn't exactly be a word to describe the mood around here, or anywhere there are Penn State football fans.

Here is our week 7 ballot (assembled by Nick, posted by me), with the full BlogPoll top 25 below that. There were some big single-team movements this week, like Alabama, Florida and Arizona all falling at least eight spots. The top 10 is still mostly rock solid, and should remain so until some more of those teams play each other as the year goes on.

Our ballot:

October 12, 2010

Review: Illinois 33, Penn State 13

This is a tough one.

Penn State hasn't looked this inept in years, if not decades. Illinois came into Beaver Stadium on a mission. Compounding the issue was Penn State not showing up at all. The injuries haven't exactly helped matters, either.

We all knew this wouldn't be Penn State's year; everything was gearing up for a monster 2011 campaign. That's still my bet. But did this year have to be this bad?

The rest of the season will be addressed later this week. Right now we're focused on the Illinois loss. This should be the last time we speak/write of this, so let's get it over with.

Rob Bolden
Rob Bolden was bound to come back to earth at some point this season,
but did it really have to happen on Homecoming Weekend? (Photo: Mike/LBU)

Here are some things I liked from Saturday, and some things I wasn't crazy about...

Nick Sukay tears pectoral, out for the season

Updated 7 p.m. w/notes from Joe Paterno's presser

Nick Sukay interception return No. 2
Dear Football Gods: Why?!?! (Photo: Mike/LBU) 
My God, really?!?
Penn State starting safety Nick Sukay (Mount Pleasant) will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in last Saturday's clash with Illinois.

Sukay becomes the third Nittany Lion starter to suffer a season-ending injury in the past three weeks. Senior tackle Lou Eliades (Ocean, N.J.) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the win over Temple on Sept. 25. In the Oct. 2 game at Iowa, redshirt freshman tight end Garry Gilliam tore the ACL in his left knee.
I don't even know what to say anymore. Every college football team has its "down years," but does it really have to be this DOWN all in one season?

Let's hope that we're getting it all out of the way in 2010, right? RIGHT?!?!

Press Conference

Here are some quick hits from today's press conference with Joe Paterno. "Upbeat" would be great if you're playing The Opposite Game.
  • The coaching staff didn't do a good job preparing the team, and didn't do a good job adjusting during the game.
  • This is the worst season for injuries in the 24 years the current Penn State medical staff has been working on the team (see: Sukay above), as Joe said today that "most of the people you saw leave the game (vs. Illinois) are gone; they won't be ready for Minnesota." That includes Eric Lattimore and Jack Crawford.
  • Check back tomorrow for a few more updates from the press conference. It was a very short media day, compared to a normal game week.
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