Tag Archives: PSU


Who would have thought the Nittany Lions, struggling to defeat the likes of Rutgers just a mere week ago (whilst Maryland did their very best to upset Ohio State, but I guess their best wasn’t good enough) would showcase their best offensive scoring game since defeating the Illini back on September 21st, en route to making turtle soup out of the terrapins 38-3?  A question mark?  Well, it was a question that started a long time ago in a paragraph far far away.  But it’s more rhetorical anyway.

The Citizen’s Bank button this week read:  NO FEAR HERE.  An obvious reference to Fear the Turtle!  I admit it.  I was afraid!


I did not have a good feeling coming into this game, and truth be told, it’s the first game I thought sure we might lose.  Yes, I thought we had a chance to upset Michigan.  We should have beaten both MSU and OSU, and probably a host of other letter SU’s.  But I feared we were regressing, especially on offense.  And while the seniors always want to go out with a win on their home turf, we know that is not always possible.  Maryland doesn’t care about Trace.  But they do care about going to a bowl.  Or they should.  Maybe they don’t.  Either way, this loss not only continued the domination PSU has in this all-time series, but it effectively ended the terrapins season, not being bowl eligible with only 5 wins.

The only thing bad about the day was the weather, and truth be told it was not that bad for me at least.  My seats are conveniently located underneath the North end zone upper deck, so while the rain continued to precipitate at the outset of the game, I only suffered minor water damage getting from the parking lot to my seat.  And I thought the Wisconsin game felt colder.  But I’m no Joe Murgo.  I’m more Les Nessman.  Eye witness news.  I witness the news, or in this case the weather.  Have you actually lasted this long reading as I go on and on about the freaking weather?  Rhetorical.  Don’t bother to answer.  Move on to the next paragraph, please.

So we racked up 565 yards of total offense, 38 points, averaged 7.0 yards per carry rushing and kicked a field goal in a pear tree.  Tis the season.

Miles Sanders still managed to cough the ball up again, but it didn’t lead to points for Maryland, my Maryland.

Trace McSorley led his team on senior day as he should.  Eighteen other players ran out of the tunnel in Beaver Stadium for the last time as well.  They are deserving of our praise and thanks.  I was listening to a radio show on the way home from the game, wherein the radio personalities were discussing how in 2011, most of the college football world left Penn State for dead.  Many thought it would be at least a decade before Penn State was relevant again.  Yet, in 2016-2018, here we are.  Thank you seniors!

While this season may not have lived up to my hopes and expectations, a 9-3 season is nothing to sneeze at.  It’s hypoallergenic.  And a third consecutive 10 win season is now achievable as well.  That is a feat that Penn State has not replicated since the 1980-82 seasons.

We have only to wait as teams above us duke it out in Championship games–I’m guessing about half those teams lose–and the margins of those losses and which teams lose will likely determine which bowl game Penn State plays in.  Good gravy, was that a worthless observation or what?  Of course those games are going to impact where we go and who we play.  Why wouldn’t they?  Why point that out?  I apparently have a season quota of rhetorical questions, and I am behind on reaching that quota.

Perhaps I will return with a preview of our stellar bowl match-up when we actually know what that match-up might be.

I’m not even going to delve into the rumors of USC firing their coach and going after James Franklin.  Fake news!  Nothing to see here, folks.  Move on to the next site on the interwebs.

But I will leave you with this puzzle.

Is the Maryland Terrapin mascot a woman?

I ask this in all seriousness.  At one point, Testudo (the actual name of the terrapin turtle mascot) was heckling a couple Penn State players on the sideline.  But the more I watched, the more I was convinced that Testudo was liking what she saw.  Now I’m no more a herpetologist than I am a meteorologist–dammit Jim, I’m just a doctor!–but the way she walked and swung her arms–it appeared feminine.  I think it was a mating ritual!  I tried to Google the identity of the person beneath the shell, but I came up empty and with one PFA.  Who knew cyberstalking was illegal?  Rhetorical!

But I did come across an article that posits that the terrapin mascot is female.

The smaller size of Testudo’s tail, as well as Testudo’s more rounded carapace, support the conclusion that our terrapin is female.

And another thing: Testudo is a terrapin. Specifically, a diamondback terrapin, species name Malaclemys terrapin. Referring to Testudo as a turtle is too vague, too general, too all encompassing; there are over 300 species of turtles. The size of turtles varies a lot. Some are as small as a few inches. Other turtles are as large as several feet. Moreover, Terp is an abbreviation for terrapin, not for turtle. If we were to use turtle, its abbreviation would be turt — at least until the competition finds out and translates it to turd. When we meet alumni, we don’t identify ourselves as turtles — we identify ourselves as terrapins. Our battle cry should not be “Fear the turtle”; it should be “Fear the Terrapin.”

Fear the Turd!  Not!

And I have nothing to fear but fear myself.

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Ioween: The Night He Came Home

Michael Myers wore a Captain James T. Kirk mask.  Kirk Ferentz grew up in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania.    In 1998 he became the Head Coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes.  20 years later . . . HE CAME HOME.


On a gloomy, wet day on Halloween weekend, Kirk Ferentz and his gruesome band of Hawkeyes (they taste just like chicken I am told!), put a scare into Penn State and Nittany Nation, as the Lions escaped Beaver Stadium’s Little Shop of Punting Horrors with a 30-24 win that shouldn’t have been that close.

Penn State won the toss and elected to put it’s offense on the field.  (Hey, let’s go into this spooky house!  Looks like fun!) After two incomplete passes sandwiched around a one yard gain, the Lions lined up to punt.  (What was that noise?  I don’t know.  Let’s split up and check it out!)

The punt never got off.  Well, it did, late after a bobbled snap, and was blocked.  Fortunately, the ball rolled through the end zone for only a safety.

After the free kick and a 22 yard return, the Hawkeyes set up shop on their own 44.  Stanley intentionally grounded the ball on the first play, but then connected beautifully for a 29-yard gain.  The Hawkeyes fumbled!  (Michael Myers has been hit!  He’s down!)  No.  Wait.  Somehow Iowa recovered the fumble.  (The body’s gone!  He’s still alive!!!) Our defense–which just doesn’t seem to be able to get a three-and out if their lives depended on it, and in any horror movie, your life does depend on it, allowed the Hawks to get to as far as the four yard line before settling for a field goal from the 9.  We tried to rip that facemask off Michael Myers, but we failed.  And there is a penalty to pay for that.

But down 5-0, we are still alive.  Sort of.  Three plays and minus 15 yards later, we are back to punt again.  (Cue the Halloween theme music.)  We did manage to get the punt off, but shanked it out of bounds.

With a starting position at the PSU 42, Ferentz and company went to work, carving up the Lion’s defense like a jack-o-latern.  Now we be down 12-0 and without so much as a first down of our own to show for it.

But Penn State wouldn’t let these B-movie slashers have all the fun.  McSorley and Sanders worked their magic and Penn State pulled to within 5 with a pass to Freiermuth to make it 12-7.

The defense then somehow, someway, managed a three and out and Iowa was forced to punt.  And just as momentum was shifting our way, we go incomplete, three yard rushing gain and then a sack to set up for our third punt.  The eerie music swells in a crescendo that sent the snap over Gillikin’s head.  Once again, the Lions are fortunate that the snap sailed through the end zone for only another safety.

Two safeties in one game?  (Flashback sequence to another wet, dreary day when the Hawkeyes prevailed 6-4.) I still shudder.

Worse yet, Jamie Lee Franklin’s team took a hit as McSorley was injured on the sack.  But after a John Reid interception, Tommy Stevens stepped in and rushed the remaining three yards  for a touchdown that tied the score at 14-14.

The teams would go into the half knotted up at 17.

In the second half, Iowa would get the ball first, and after ripping off a 23 yard rush to near midfield, our defense tightened again, and forced a punt.  Trace McSorley, back in the game (it was just a flesh wound!) worked his magic and ran 51 yards for paydirt.  The Lions took their first lead of the day.

Penn State would add another field goal to stretch that lead over Michael Myers 27-17.  No way could the monster in the Hawkeye mask catch up to us now.

Yet somehow, although he plods along while the hero runs, he still catches up.  Almost.  The Hawks are within three points.

KJ Hamler returned the kick-off 67 yards and Penn State looked poised to finish off the bad guy once and for all.  But Michael fought back fiercely, blinded in one eye, and held the Lions to another field goal.  30-24.

Michael was only 6 points behind.  A mere TD and an extra point from finishing us off.

And Iowa was moving the ball.

We had a chance to stop them on fourth down–no wait!  (We stopped him!) We jumped off sides!  (No–he’s on the move again!  He’s still coming!!!!) Horrors!

They drove the ball down to the 17 yard line, precious seconds ticking away.

Do we let them score quick so we have time to get in position for a field goal?  Or do we hope the monster can finally be stopped? You just know the killer isn’t going to die!  You can’t stop him.

Interception Nick Scott!  At the the three yard line!  (Michael Myers is down!  Should we shoot him again just to be sure?  No.  There’s only 3:18 left in this film.  He’s dead.)

But Nick Scott only stumbles out to the 9 and PSU must run off some clock.  (In the background, as we breathe a sigh of relief, Michael sits up.)

We manage to get the ball out to the 33, but there is still 1:23 left on the clock for Michael to wreak his revenge . . . (Dammit!  He’s still alive!!!!)

But Jamie survives and lives to face Michael on another day.


Just like last week, the opponent out-performed our Nittany Lions in almost every category except scoring points.

Iowa had more first downs, more rushing, passing and total yards, and won what my fellow blogger the Nittany Turkey calls the “increasingly irrelevant” time of possession by 10 minutes.  (In horror films, that’s time enough for at least a dozen deaths.)  Third down conversions were slightly better by the Hawks (7-20 vs. 4-14.)  They notched 2 safeties, but not due to their prowess but to our ineptitude at snapping the ball.

However, they had one more INT and that is the key difference, although they still had another chance with a little over a minute to go.  We end with the hero still alive, but we all know that Iowa will be back.



Up by 10 and moving the ball, we fumbled.  We just can’t seem to put an opponent away in the waning moments of a game.  After the interception, we forced them to use their timeouts.  ONE FIRST DOWN and you WIN.  We failed-again.  Pundits are quick to criticize the coaches, but the coaches didn’t mishandle the fumble exchange, nor did they snap the ball poorly on two punts.  Maybe they need to work on some fundamentals more in practice (tackling in the first quarter jumps to mind as well,) but we can’t blame everything on our coaches.  But  a fourth quarter offensive scheme that works might have won a championship this year.

Crowd listed at 105, 244.  Yeah right.  Tickets sold, not bodies cold.  Still, a decent crowd for the weather conditions.

We won the toss.  Cost us 2 points.

No drum major flips–field too wet.

The Lions are riding a five-game win streak over the Hawkeyes. which ties the previous win streak record in this series.

Military Appreciation Day!  Thank you veterans and active service personnel!


Both Michigan and Ohio State sat out the weekend.  They looked bored.  To death.

Wisconsin lost to Northwestern 31-17.  Wow.

Minnesota defeated Indiana 38-31.  We softened them up for you, go-fair.

A week after Purdue upsot the Buckeyes, they fall to the Spartans, 23-13.

Maryland trounced the Illini 63-33.

And Nebraska beat Bethune-Cookman (I guess that’s a school?) 45-9.  Nice job not screwing up that one.


This is another Big One Elizabeth.

The Lions will travel to Ann Arbor next week to take on the Wolverines at the Out House at 3:45.  Penn State is 14/13 in the polls.

THEM (as in The-M) is 6-1 and undefeated in conference play.  They are ranked 5th in the nation with a lone loss to the Irish of South Bend.  Their closest victory was a 20-17 come from behind win over Northwestern.

I’m not one for predictions, but I think if we go a third week where the opponent dominates every positive statistical category, I think we will lose.  A lot will depend on how hurt McSorley was and how he recovers from that.

The wolverines open as a 10-point favorite..







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Bye Week Blues and News

Although Penn State did not play this past weekend, the Lions surged into the Top 10, garnering the 8th spot on both polls.

What happened?

In the Red River Rivalry, Texas upset the 7th ranked Sooners on a late field goal, 48-45.  It was not an easy task as the Longhorns watched in horror as a 45-21 fourth quarter lead morphed into a 45-45 nightmare.  But unlike the Nittany Lions, the Texas offense was able to gain just enough yardage to make a game winning field goal possible.

And then there was #5 LSU.  The Tigers lost to the Gators, 27-19.  The upset caused LSU to tumble to 13th in the AP poll and 12th in the coaches.

And if that carnage were not enough, Auburn was defeated by Mississippi State 23-9.


In conference play, Michigan (THEM) manhandled the Terrapins 42-21.  It is mind boggling that the only loss Texas has so far is Maryland.

Northwestern upset Michigan State 29-19.  More on this later.

Wisconsin handed Nebraska their fifth loss of the season, 41-24.  That’;s NINE losses in a row for the Huskers.

The Buckeyes rolled over Indiana 49-26.

Iowa beat Minnesota 48-31, highlighted by four interceptions and five sacks by the Hawkeye defense.

Illinois defeated Rutgers 38-17.  The Scarlet Knights are 1-5 with a sole win over  Texas State.


Last year, Penn State suffered a one point loss to Ohio State before losing to Michigan State, after the Spartans were upended by Northwestern the previous week.

photo posted on post-gazette.com

The Infamous Land Grant Trophy.  Shouldn’t the Loser have to keep this for a year?

This year, Penn State suffered a one point loss to Ohio State before playing Michigan State who was upset by Northwestern the week before.  The difference this year?  Well, hopefully we don’t lose to Sparty again.  But this year we had a bye week to regroup.

MSU has lost to Arizona State 16-13 and Northwestern 29-19.  They have wins over Utah State 38-31, Indiana 35-21, and Central Michigan 31-20.

The Spartans are currently unranked.

Game time is set for 3:30 on BTN.  This is homecoming for Penn State.  And a Stripe Out.  Check your ticket to see if you are BLUE or WHITE.


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What the Buck was that?

Did that seriously just happen? Again?

27-26????  One point?

Like a bad remake of Groundhog Day, Penn State fans relive the same scenario over and over.  They watch their team dominate an opponent for three quarters, only to watch helplessly as the other team mounts a late comeback as James Franklin snatches defeat after defeat from the jaws of victory.

This was supposed to be Back to the Future.  Dr. Emmett White was supposed to go back to 2016 and bring back a Penn State victory over the Buckeyes.  But the DeLorean never made to the requisite 88 miles per hour, as the PSU offense sputtered to a mere 26 points.



There were at least four plays that conspired to hand Penn State it’s first home loss since 2015.

First, the fumble by Sanders late in the second quarter.  Penn State had smothered the Buckeye offense to this point, and was poised to take a 13 (or possibly a 16 or 20 point) lead into the locker room.  Instead, the Buckeyes took advantage of a short field and pulled within a score before the half.

Second, was the inability of the offense to convert prior to the punt which ended up at the Buckeye 2 yard line.  A first down and few more yards could have put PSU in a position for a field goal.  Penn State was 100% in the red zone this year, but just couldn’t get the ball there.

And while the punt to the two yard line (in the shadow of the student section) should have made a comeback more difficult, play #3 was the defensive let down that allowed the Buckeyes to move the ball to midfield on one play.

And then there was the fourth down play.  WTF???!!!  Two time-outs and that was the best we could come up with?  I’m sorry, James, but this is not about the semantics between a great program and an elite program.  This is about a coaching staff that took the ball away from their best player–a possible, but likely no longer Heisman candidate–and put it in the hands of a player that was having a bad night.

The much heralded return of Tommy Stevens and the Lion position, was well, disappointing.

You may have noticed that I have given no credit to the Buckeyes.  Had they dominated us and deserved to win, I would.  But that is not the game that transpired.  The Buckeyes were pwned for 3 quarters, we gifted them the first score with a fumble and we gave the game away in the fourth quarter by shooting ourselves in the foot numerous times and making poor coaching decisions.  Go on Bucks.  Add another Big Ten trophy to your case.  Get your asses handed to you by an SEC or ACC team.  It will be like Groundhog Day all over again.


Penn State out gained the Buckeyes 492-389 yards.  We also held a small edge in time of possession, 31:39.  Just.  Not.  Enough.

McSorley led the team with 175 rushing yards on 25 carries (7 yards per carry.)  Meanwhile, Sanders had 43 yards on 16 carries (2.7 yards per carry.)

Sooooo, when you need–HAVE TO HAVE–5 yards to keep your play-off and Big Ten Title dreams alive, you would go to . . .

Hello!  McSorley!


White Out.  110,889 fans (a new Beaver Stadium record.)  Drum Major stuck both flips.  Did not matter.  You still have to play FOUR quarters of football.  You still have to coach FOUR quarters.


McSorley keeps his streak of games with a TD pass intact.

College Game Day was in State College.


At least we’re not Nebraska.  Still winless, the Huskers were shucked by Purdue, 42-28.

The wolverines had to come back from a 17 point deficit to beat Northwestern 20-17.

Indiana managed to beat Rutgers 24-17.

The Spartans defeated Central Michigan 31-20.

Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin all failed to schedule games this weekend.


Bye week.




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Monochromatic Mayhem


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Memorial Stadium–RIP

The Chicago Tribune ranked the Big Ten Venues for their football experience.  Is it any surprise that Penn State is #1?

1. Penn State

More than 100,000 fans descend into a cozy Pennsylvania town every home football weekend and transform it into one of the grandest parties in college sports. Lots open on Thursday night as a pop-up town of white tents and RVs clusters around Beaver Stadium. Students set up camp for first-come, first-served seating in their section, helping build anticipation before game day. Stroll through the tailgating area before kickoff and you’ll likely be invited to share a beer or brat under someone’s tent. It’s hard to beat the raucous atmosphere of a whiteout during a night game in State College with fans chanting: “We are. Penn State.” The downside? Traffic is miserable with a two-lane road in and out of town.

And our current opponent today?

#12.  Hey, at least they beat out Rutgers and Maryland!

12. Illinois

Give Illinois credit for working to enhance its game-day experience in recent years. The self-dubbed “Littyville” includes a new Grange Grove, an “Illini walk” of fans cheering the players as they march into the stadium and a pregame fan fest with local bands and bouncy houses for kids. That’s the good. The bad: Memorial Stadium is one of the deadest venues in the Big Ten. The student section is rarely full, with many opting for the bars — or maybe even the library — instead of the stadium.

That is not what you want your review to ever say . . . THE LIONS DEN is one of the DEADEST VENUES . . .


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Flash-eating Lions

The Penn State Nittany Beast extracted it’s pound of flash from Kent State, en route to a 63-10 feast on a nearly perfect weather day for football. After being told all week to prepare for rain (the groundhogs were apparently wrong) the weather was anything but bad–perhaps even too hot for the fans in the direct sun.

But it was not all fun and games.


“I do NOT taste like Chicken!”   Photo by Curtis Chan

The Lions scored on the second play of the game, only to have the points erased by a holding penalty. The offense bogged down after that and we ended up punting. However, the Kent State Flashes would have none of that, and repaid the gift we gave them by roughing our punter. We went on to score.

7-0. We’re looking good. Everyone in the stadium was confident of a victory now.
Kent State took possession and moved the ball to midfield. On a fourth and five play, we jumped off-sides. Gift possession arrow shifts back to KSU. They capitalized on our mistake with a forty seven yard pass play (I believe we were off-sides again so it was another free play.)

7-7. With just over five minutes played, the Flashes have already scored more points than Pitt did in an entire game.

They executed an on-sides kick. We were apparently not prepared for that (more on that later.)

I’m in the shade of the North end zone upper deck, but now I am sweating too. It’s de ja blue all over again. It was only two weeks ago on this hallowed field that Appalachian State recovered an on-side kick (in a situation we should clearly have been prepared for . . . fourth quarter, time running out and they were behind) that sparked a comeback in regulation to force an over-time.

But the Nittany Lion coaches and players were not rattled like the fans, and managed to squelch any chance of KSU taking a lead. BTW I will refer to Kent State as KSU, and the stadium announcer should do so as well. Kent State and Penn State sound exactly the same over the sound system. We could never be sure who was doing what if we didn’t actually watch the game!!  Frog protection?  Fraud protection!  Was that penalty on Penn State?  Yes.  Kent State.

KSU would add a field goal off a tipped INT by McSorley. The Flashes had first and goal from the seven–and then the five on a pass interference call.  But the defense was stifling, and they did not allow a point in the second half.

The offense and special teams used a number of weapons to “run up” 9 touchdowns (seven different people scored) including a highlight reel, record setting play by back-up QB Sean Clifford who hit Daniel George for a 95-yard TD pass that is the longest play from scrimmage in PSU history.

And we didn’t run up the score. Two of those touchdowns were scored with Clifford in the game and if you knew we had a Daniel George or a Jonathon Thomas on the roster before they scored, I commend you. That’s like knowing what the tenth digit of pi is.

Despite covering the point spread and then some, and showcasing amazing talent and depth on both sides of the ball, there are still sportswriters, fans, and pundits who are predicting gloom and doom as Penn State heads into the meat of our schedule. Three touchdowns called back by penalties. Nine penalties for 95 yards. How many dropped passes???? I read things like Penn State can’t beat Ohio State playing like that. Someone sees at least four losses.  (They also see dead people.)

Wait. What???

How many points did we need to score against KSU to be considered a worthy opponent for Ohio State? 80? 100? What is the critical mass of penalties allowed in the past that predicts the future success of a team?

Granted, penalties can–and will–kill you, depending on where and when they occur. I would think it would be pretty hard to beat Ohio State if the referees take three touchdowns off the board for us.

But folks, calm down. This was NOT Ohio State. Kent is in Ohio, but that’s as far as the analogy goes. And while James Franklin can claim that each game is a Super Bowl, the players and coaches he’s preaching to are not that stupid. I would be willing to bet that every single player on that squad was pretty sure PSU would be victorious at the end of the day, even despite the scare by Appalachian State.

It is nearly impossible to maintain the focus and intensity against an opponent like Kent State. Sorry, Kent, no offense. Literally. You have no offense. But you are what you are. Don’t spend all that money we gave you in one place.

And Penn State did what they needed to do to win. We managed to get out without any injuries. Ask the Buckeyes (who saw Bosa go down with a groin pull) if that is significant. We didn’t lose. Ask Wisconsin (or Nebraska) if that is important.

Our back-up defense didn’t even give up any points in garbage time. If you only started watching PSU football in the post-Paterno era, you don’t know what that means. From 1966-2011, I can’t count the number of games I watched PSU’s second or third string give up meaningless touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score look less impressive. It was maddening!!! The Indiana game in 1994 might have cost us a national championship. Our second and third string are still ahead of anything Kent State can throw at us. Depth will be important against teams like Ohio State, which apparently we have no chance of winning anyway.

When was the last time you saw an elite team (ranked in the top 25) boot an on-sides kick in the first quarter with the score tied? Anyone? McFly? Catching us with our proverbial pants down was embarrassing, but in no way an indicator of performance against the better teams in our league. I remember Glenn Mason’s Minnesota Gophers catching Paterno off-guard two years in a row by on-side kicking the opening kick-off of a half. But Minnesota is NOT an elite team either. I rest my case.

I’m feeling pretty good about this squad now. Always room for improvements. But I see us getting better.


McSorley extended his streak of consecutive games with a TD throw to 31, which currently leads the NCAA.

We are tied for 10th with one-loss Washington (no respect, no respect at all) in the AP poll and 9th in the Coaches Poll.

We compiled 643 yards of total offense. Still won’t be enough against the Buckeyes. We might need a thousand. God, we’ve got some work to do.

We had nine penalties for 95 yards. Lost in the shuffle, though, was KSU’s 83 yards on 10 yellow flags.   The net is a twelve yard difference.  Barely a first down.  Sometimes teams play to the level of their competition. There’s no way our players could be more focused for Ohio State in prime time, during a whiteout at night, than they were against Kent State. We are soooo doomed.


The crowd attendance was 106,528. Enthusiastic but not as loud as the App State game. Didn’t need to be. We’re saving our loudest and best cheers for Ohio State, even though we can’t win that game.

KSU won the coin toss and elected to defer–didn’t screw it up like Pitt.  Didn’t matter.  We’re going to need to win 12 out of 13 coin tosses to beat OSU.

The Drum Major stuck both flips.  He’ll need to stick about 20 if we have any hope of beating Ohio State.  And that clarinet player–you know who you are!–better step up their game.


Where do we even begin?

If not for a second half collapse by TCU, Penn State might have been the Big Ten’s flagship team after the carnage this weekend.

The Badgers lost at home to BY-who? 24-21. Hey Badgers, I got you a play-off spot. Oh, so close. Gotta be quicker than that. They haven’t lost a non-con game in Camp Randall since 2003. There is no way in freaking Hell, Michigan that they can beat Ohio State. Well, they don’t play them in the regular season, so they’ve got that going for them.

Nebraska lost to Troy. Troy! Do you even know where that school is? It’s in freaking Alabama! All the good players go to The Alabama University of Saban or Auburn. Nebraska is 0-2 for the first time since 1957! That was like way back in the 1950’s.  Did they even wear helmets–or shoes–then? There is no way Nebraska will ever beat Ohio State!

Northwestern lost to . . . wait for it . . . wait for it. . . AKRON. The Zips! 39-34. It marks the first time Akron has beaten a Big Ten team since . . .wait for it . . . wait for it . . .1894! 1894! They used to hold up stone tablets on the sidelines and use smoke signals to send in plays! I think they used a real pig back then instead of a football. It was dead, but a pig nonetheless. And they weren’t even called Akron . . . they were Buchtel College. They managed a win incognito! They beat . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . OHIO STATE! Yes, for 124 years, Ohio State was THE only Big Ten Team to lose to the school that would become Akron. Northwestern has ZERO chance of beating Ohio State. (They don’t play in the regular season, and if you think Northwestern has a chance to win the Big Ten West, well, you , you . . . well you’re wrong. That’s all I got. I’m not going to waste a good zinger on some loser that thinks Northwestern can play football.)

Maryland lost to Temple? 35-14? Temple couldn’t beat an egg. They lost to Villanova (and we’re not talking round ball here) and Buffalo (the school, not the Bills.) How does this happen????

Oy vey! South Florida beat Illinois 25-19!  I pity the fools that have to play Illinois next week!

Kansas demolished Rutgers 55-14. Ok, that’s not a surprise at all. But Rutgers and Kansas combined . . .oh, throw in Missouri and Temple too . . . all combined couldn’t stay on the same field with OSU.

Surely Purdue did better. Nope. I got nothing here. They lost to Missouri 40-37.

Did anyone besides Penn State win this weekend in the Big Ten?

OK–THEM (Michigan) lassoed SMU 45-20.

Indiana had a larger margin of victory over Ball State than Notre Dame did, winning 38-10.

Minnesota beat Miami (OH) 26-3. Go gophers. The west is wide open for varmints like you.

Iowa defeated Northern Iowa 38-14. Would that be like us playing Erie?

And the Buckeyes. Best team in the damned land with or without Meyer out horned the horny toads 40-28. Pssst. Don’t tell anyone, but TCU was leading 14-13 at the half. It’s our secret.


We shouldn’t even bother playing Illinois, since there’s no way we can beat Ohio State. But, be that as it may be, James Franklin is going to take his show on the road to Champagne for Penn State’s first regular season Friday night game ever against the Illustrious, Industrious Illini. Game time is 9 pm Eastern which is probably around 8 in Illinois. It’s 5:00 somewhere.

This game has all the hype and excitement of a high school game between two non-rivals. If Penn State loses this game it will be because of BOREDOM.

And because it’s a freaking Friday night. That’s just wrong on multiple levels. But it will be a good excuse. When a golfer doesn’t shoot par, there’s always an excuse–the wind, the course was wet, etc.  Never is it because I can’t golf.  If we lose–it’s because it’s FRIDAY!

Nebraska should be playing this game instead of us–as punishment for losing to Troy. There’s a Troy, Ohio. But this school is in freaking Alabama. I googled it. I kid you not. And they beat Nebraska. Do you remember when we beat them in 1982? They were something back then. They’re something now but it ain’t a good something.  I appear to  have digressed here.

So far, Illinois has beaten Western Illinois (is that like us beating Pitt?) 34-14, and an impressive 31-24 victory over the Kent State Flashes. Didn’t somebody just maul the crap out of them?

Penn State is a 27.5 point favorite over the Illini.

I look for another comfortable win, with maybe a slow start. Don’t expect any razzle dazzle. We be keeping that stuff under wraps before the Buckeyes come a knocking. Like it’s going to help. We have no chance in that game.


PS(u): You know who else can’t beat Ohio State? The Steelers. Not a chance.

PSS:  A lot of folks predicted Pitt wouldn’t win an ACC game after last week’s loss to us.  They beat the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech 24-19.  Could it be these pundits don’t know what they are talking about????

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The True Champion . . .

The True Champion of College Football is . . . PENN STATE!

Am I delusional?

Well, I am.  But that has nothing to do with this issue.

Let’s back up a moment.  BEEP.  BEEP.  BEEEEEP!

In January, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a bastion of journalistic integrity and the best newspaper in their entire office building, published an article arguing that Pitt, by virtue of defeating Miami (FL) to end their season last year, became the heavyweight champion of college football.

Clear as the Monongohela River after the deluge, isn’t it?

Okay.  Here is the basic premise.

Starting with the very first documented college football game (disputed by some historians, of course), a 6-4 win for Rutgers over Princeton in 1869, Shepard — call him a historian and enthusiast of the sport — has tracked who holds the college football championship as one would in boxing. He refers to it as the “daisy chain” system — an Arizona newspaper even wrote about it in 2004 during the BCS days — but let’s just think of it as “the belt.”

In the daisy chain, Rutgers started with the belt by beating Princeton way back before the telephone was invented, and Princeton took it right back according to the research, with many years when the belt either rotated between a few old-timey teams or didn’t change hands at all because the sport barely existed.

Another site calls it the LINEAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

Regardless, Penn State wrested the championship belt away from Pitt last Saturday by virtue of it’s 51-6 pounding of the panthers.

Cue . . . We are the Champions, we are the Champions . . .


So what time is it in Pittsburgh at 5:09?

It’s fifty-one to six.

Thank you!  I’ll be here all week.  Try the veal!

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A Visit From Saquon Barkley

A Visit From Saquon Barkley
By Todd A. Sponsler
(With a nod to Clement C. Moore)

‘Twas the week before kickoff, when all through the lands
Not a player was stirring, not even the fans;
The rankings were hung by the pollsters with care,
In hopes that their musings would soon be shown fair;

The Lions were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of touchdowns danced in their heads;
And Rahne with his playbook, and Pry with his D,
Had just settled down for a warm cup of tea,

When out on the field there arose such a clatter,
Pry sprang from his tea to see what was the matter.
Away to the Beaver they flew like a flash,
Tore onto the sidelines and stopped at the hash.

The moon on the grass of the newly mown field
Gave a lustre to the endzone where players once kneeled,
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a Penn State golf cart, cruising past in high gear,

With a seasoned coach driving, so anxious to win,
They knew in a moment it must be Franklin.
More rapid than buckeyes his challenges came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Beat, Panthers! Beat, Sparty! Make soup of Terrapins!
Eat, Hawekeyes! Beat Badgers! And, crush Michigan!
To the top of the league! to the top of them all!
Now kick away! pass away! run with the ball!”

As the teams that before the Nittany Lions fall,
when they meet with our defense, their drives would stall
and on to the end zone the Lions they flew,
for a bowl full of fans, and Coach Franklin too.

And then, the clock ticking, they stood on the field
the season of victories they each hoped was sealed.
As James braked to a stop and was looking around,
down the sideline Saquon’s ghost came with a bound.

He was dressed all in white, with no name on his shirt,
and his jersey was all tarnished with grass stains and dirt.
A tackler from Iowa he flung off his back,
and he looked like a winner breaking free of the pack.

His eyes—they were focused! His balance, how steady!
His shoes are black Nikes, he knew he was ready!
His determined mouth was drawn tight in a grin,
with the ball in his hands he was sure they would win.

The end of the football held tight in his grasp,
and the tacklers who missed him let out their last gasp.
He had a fast pace and a little step-stutter,
that broke through the tackles, like a hot knife through butter.

He was cheated and screwed, by the Heisman voters,
but we cheered when we saw him, to spite the doubters.
A wink of his eye and a run straight ahead
soon let them all know they had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to the task,
He piled up the highlights, what more could we ask.
Then, raising his finger up high in the sky,
and giving a wave, he started to cry.

He thanked all his friends, to his team gave the glory,
To the NFL he flew at the end of his story.
But we heard him exclaim, ‘ere he did graduate,
“McSorley can do it, and WE ARE PENN STATE! ”

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Michi-gunned Down

For an entire week I endured the media hype.  Michigan has the best defense in the country.  They were going to shut down Barkley.  Penn State had no offensive line.  McSorley was going to be running for his life and making mistakes.  Blah, blah, blah.


Did they know this was 2017 and not 2016???

Jim Harbaugh actually looked shell-shocked in his post-game interview.

I can’t believe their coaching staff only looked at last season’s 49-10 game to prepare for last Saturday.  Yet, they looked unprepared.  They couldn’t stop Barkley.  They couldn’t cover him as a receiver.  They actually looked slow on defense (or we looked really fast–take your pick.)

Of course, there is the possibility that they did prepare but I guess their best wasn’t good enough.

Before a record-setting white out crowd of 110,823 exuberant fans, the second ranked Nittany Lions proceeded to methodically dissect, out man, and out play the vaunted Wolverine defense.

It didn’t take long.  On the second play of the game, Saquon Barkley (for those of you who are Michigan fans, he is a running back that plays for Penn State, a school that is not Michigan nor Ohio State if you can actually believe the concept that there are other schools out there) shifted to take the direct snap out of the wildcat formation.  He then proceeded to take the football 69 yards untouched for six points and our kicker made the point after.  Saquon Barkley . . .  say Bye Bye!

Penn State would go up to 14-0 on the team from up north, on yet another run by Barkley, this time from the fifteen yard line.  Georgia State held Barkley to fewer yards than this alleged number one defense.

The first quarter ended as the wolverines got a spark of life support from a Trace McSorley interception, where it appeared the quarterback and receiver weren’t on the same page.  But one-time PSU commit Quinn Nordin would miss the extra point.  Wouldn’t mean anything in the final analysis but it was just a bit of karma in his face.

To their credit, the maize and blue would try to make a game of it with a second touchdown in the second period, but the score was 21-13 at the half thanks to a 7 play, 75 yard drive engineered by Trace McSorley (for Michigan fans, he’s a quarterback who plays at Penn State, blah, blah, blah, he’s pretty good outside the town of Ann Arbor or so I’ve heard.)  The drive took all of 52 seconds and the team never looked back.

Let’s do some Michi-gun bullets baby:

  • Penn State amassed 506 yards of offense against the “number one defense”
  • Penn State only punted twice.
  • Penn State never had to kick a field goal
  • The Lions averaged 7.2 yards on first down plays
  • The pathetic Penn State line allowed only two sacks
  • Penn State sacked O’Korn seven times
  • McSorley ran for 78 yards
  • Penn State has still not allowed a point in the first quarter
  • If you think that’s impressive, PSU has outscored opponents 72-3 in the third quarter
  • Penn State shut-out the wolverines in the second half.
  • The loss drops the University of Michigan out of the AP poll

The final score was 42-13 as Penn State rattled off 28 unanswered points.  They are 7-0 on the season and still ranked number 2.  This was one of the best whiteout games and certainly one of the most entertaining.  I still put Ohio State 2005 at the top of the list because that game was close, it was an upset victory, and Penn State was resurging from the dark years of 2003-4.  This game was never really in doubt but was just plain fun.  Michi-fun.


The Buckeyes had a week off to prepare for Penn State.

Wisconsin badgered the terrapins 38-13.

The Spartans outlasted Indiana 17-9.

Northwestern fricaseed the Hawks 17-10.

Rutgers beat the Boilers 14-12.  Wait?  What?  Let me check that.  Wow.  They won one.

And the Gophers defeated Illinois 24-17.

Outside the conference, the Irish embarrassed the Trojans 49-14.


The Nittany Lions travel to Columbus next week to face the 6th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.  Kick-off is 3:30.

The Buckeyes struggled a bit with Indiana in the opener, trailed at the half, but ultimately put the Hoosiers away 49-21.  If you recall, we beat Indiana 45-14.  Kind of a wash there.  That is the only common opponent to date.

The Bucks have scored no fewer than 54 points in their last four games, against the likes of UNLV, Maryland, Rutgers and Nebraska.

Their one loss was a night-time, prime time loss to the Sooners, 31-16.  This was the second game of the year on their schedule and no game since has been even close.

Ohio State opened as a 7 point favorite.

I think we win.  Their front seven will keep Barkley in check, although I still see him breaking free at one point.  However, our offensive line is getting better, and I think McSorley will have a good day against the Buckeye secondary.  This will be one of the better if not the best offenses we have faced so far so it will be a test for our defense.  I think they will rise to the occasion.  It won’t be as lopsided as this week, but we shall see.

And I leave you with this . . .

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