Neil Rudel

PSU showcasing new breed of ‘D’

EVANSTON, Ill. — Penn State’s offense took the Big Ten and the nation by storm a year ago and returned almost all of their key parts going into 2017. Through the offseason, the questions almost all were on the defensive side of the ball. Wouldn’t you know it: As the season hit its ...

Hack’s contributions immeasurable

In less than two years as a starter — just 19 games to be exact — Trace McSorley has established himself as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Penn State history. There’s no doubt he fits James Franklin’s offense better than Christian Hackenberg, and there’s little doubt that ...

Secondary has sprung leaks

When a team is 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country, there aren’t an abundance of big concerns. Certainly, the field goal operation — snapper, holder, placekicker — is one as Tyler Davis is no longer automatic. Four times from within 41 yards he’s either missed or had his field goal ...

Lions deliver another classic

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The road to the Big Ten championship still runs through State College. The Iowa Hawkeyes — always game and especially so here at night — did more than threaten to knock the Nittany Lions off their perch Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium. They actually grabbed the ...

Lions have room for growth

Since the Nittany Lions outscored their three non-conference opponents, 141-14, the answer to this week’s question is obvious. Or is it? Certainly Penn State’s 3-0 start has been successful, but whether it fully prepared the Lions for what lies ahead will not be determined until the ...

PSU now 3-0, but road just starting

UNIVERSITY PARK — OK, let’s get to the real thing. Penn State’s non-conference/exhibition season is over, and to the surprise of no one, the Nittany Lions will enter Big Ten play unscathed at 3-0 following Saturday night’s 56-0 demolition of Georgia State. Based on the way Penn ...

Penn State report card

Following is Neil Rudel’s report card from Penn State’s 33-14 victory over Pitt on Saturday at Beaver Stadium: POSITION GRADE COMMENT Quarterback C McSorley went 15-28 for 164 yards, three TDs and one pick and didn’t have his best game. Missed several open targets high. ...

PSU leaves itself wanting more

UNIVERSITY PARK — Trailing 33-14 at its own 25 with 3:34 remaining and down to one timeout left, Pitt seemed to raise the white flag Saturday by running the football on first down. James Franklin, at that point, had other ideas: He immediately decided to call timeout. So if you left here ...

Pitt series never will be matched

Ohio State is now a bigger game than Pitt, of course, and always will be unless the Panthers someday enter the Big Ten, and that ship has probably sailed for our lifetime. But that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes are a bigger rival, especially among the fans who make rivalries what they ...

Lions answer call for faster start

UNIVERSITY PARK — Of all the things that far exceeded expectations during Penn State’s stunning march to the 2016 Big Ten championship, the Nittany Lions’ ability to start games quickly wasn’t one of them. In fact, their 11-3 record came despite repeated late alarms. The Lions ...

Moorhead doesn’t miss deep shot at critics

UNIVERSITY PARK — Of all the great recruiting James Franklin has done since arriving here, a case can be made that no one has made a bigger one-year splash than Joe Moorhead. Never mind that he’s not a player but the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator. Moorhead took a dormant ...

Hockenos’ recent distinction a well-earned accolade

Commentary Rick Hockenos has enjoyed his life in basketball, and it came full circle with his enshrinement in his high school’s athletic hall of fame. Hockenos, a former Saint Francis standout, was inducted into Niagara (N.Y.) Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame on July 14 for his ...

Bennett ruled with iron fist, open heart

When the tapestry is ultimately drawn to highlight those who have made Altoona such a special place for sports — the athletes and coaches, contributors and characters — you had better believe there will be space reserved for one Carl Bennett. The former truck driver saved the old Howard ...

Bickel’s Richards project comes to fruition with basketball courts

Commentary A celebration of basketball and a legacy came together Saturday morning. Galen Bickel realized his longstanding dream of establishing a pair of circular courts at the Eldorado Kiwanis complex, at the same time naming them for late local broadcaster Dick Richards. “I’m ...

Barkley’s challenge: keep stock

Some random thoughts while wondering if we’ll hit 70 degrees again before June ... n The ink wasn’t dry from this year’s NFL draft before speculation immediately turned to the class of 2018 and, with it, where Penn State running back Saquon Barkley fits in. Based on all the projections, ...

Reid’s void anything but secondary

Some random thoughts while welcoming spring: n The loss of Penn State cornerback John Reid to a knee injury that could possibly sideline him for the entire season cannot be underestimated given that Reid was the Nittany Lions’ best pass defender last season and by far their top punt ...

PSU Altoona poised to be playoff venue

Some random thoughts with the (March) madness about to begin: n This region is blessed with two outstanding facilities at Saint Francis and Mount Aloysius that are used for high school playoff games. Another could be added to the mix next year. Penn State Altoona’s Adler Athletic Complex ...

Loss can’t take shine off season

PASADENA, Calif. — The effort and the finality moved James Franklin to tears. After the Nittany Lions wound up one stop and a field goal short of beating Southern Cal on Monday in the highest scoring Rose Bowl of all time, losing 52-49 as time ran out, Franklin didn’t mask his ...

Nittany Lions are playing for more than themselves

LOS ANGELES — Bowl games are generally viewed as either a cap to a great regular season or a springboard toward next year. With the gorgeous Rose Bowl as tonight’s backdrop, Penn State actually finds itself in both scenarios. The No. 5 Nittany Lions’ glamour matchup with No. 9 USC ...

Rudel: Father’s pride: Jim Pry shares in son’s success

Throughout his football coaching career, Brent Pry has never had to go too far for advice. In the early years, it was across the kitchen table. Now, it’s still just a phone call away. Pry’s father, Jim, is a lifelong coach whose mentorship of James Franklin as offensive coordinator at ...