The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

October 2, 2013

O'Brien, Penn State head into Big 10 schedule

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State coach Bill O’Brien sure enjoys it when the seasons change.

Not just summer to fall, but nonconference to Big Ten.  

“When the Big Ten season rolls around, fall is beginning, it’s a little cooler out,” O’Brien said, “and the guys are very aware that is a very important time of the year. It starts with Indiana. I don’t know if there’s extra excitement, but there’s definitely a level of energy and alertness you start to see this time of year.”

Penn State (3-1) heads to Indiana (2-2) trying for one more win to build a nice cushion before Michigan rolls in next week in front of a sold-out Beaver Stadium.

The Big Ten has a stout first weekend ahead. Ohio State, Northwestern and Michigan are all undefeated and all eyes will be in Evanston, Ill., for the early-season conference game of the season.

There might not be much suspense at Indiana. The Nittany Lions are 16-0 vs. Indiana and Penn State won last year, 45-22.

The Nittany Lions were off last week – but still may have tallied their biggest win of the season. The NCAA restored some of the scholarships taken from the school as part of the punishment over the Jerry Sandusky scandal, phasing them until the school reaches normal totals in 2016-17.

O’Brien, who has steadied the program in the wake of the scandal, had an extra selling point on the recruiting trail.

“I talked to a few of them, we’re only allowed one phone call a week right now,” he said. “I think it’s positive, and it’s positive news for Penn State. Our guys feel good about it, but we’re focused on Indiana. Our guys are pleased with the news, but we’re focused on the Indiana game.”

Penn State has had a nice start to the season, though no one will confuse Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and Kent State with any of the Big Ten teams out of Michigan and Ohio.

O’Brien will put the class of the Big Ten up against just about any other conference in the nation.

“The Southeastern Conference is a fantastic league, nobody is going to debate that and probably the best in the country right now,” he said. “But I think we have some really good players and some really good coaches in this league.”

The Big Ten will get to showcase that ahead and these are five things to watch in the first full weekend of conference play:

Game of the week: This is the game No. 16 Northwestern (4-0) has been waiting for all season, if not years. A team that came in with high expectations is right where it hoped to be heading into the showdown against the No. 4 Buckeyes (5-0). But Ohio State is riding a nation’s best 17-game winning streak and plans to spoil Northwestern’s homecoming party. The Buckeyes haven’t been to Evanston since 2008 and Northwestern is 9-1 at home since 2012.

“The change in the climate here, and the way that our fans have not only supported us here, but the bowl experiences we’ve had are just amazing,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “We’re very thankful to be Chicago’s Big Ten team.”

Arrested development: Purdue coach Darrell Hazell ran into a double whammy in his first season. First, the Boilermakers (1-4, 0-1) were crushed 55-24 by Northern Illinois, of all teams. Then, after a week off, receivers B.J. Knauf and Jordan Woods were arrested for theft. Knauf is a starting receiver who has nine receptions for 95 yards and rushed 11 times for 92 yards and one score this season. Woods is a redshirt freshman who has not caught a pass.

Hazell said he’ll announce a punishment this week. “They made a bad decision, both of them,” he said. “We’ll make the necessary disciplinary action when we find out all the information.” 

Michigan motoring: The only other conference matchup with a ranked team features No. 19 Michigan (4-0) vs. Minnesota (4-1, 0-1) in the 100th meeting for the Little Brown Jug. But the Wolverines have more on their mind than a piece of pottery. After all, the jug has pretty much had a permanent home in Michigan – the Wolverines have won the last five games in the series, 37 of 40 and haven’t lost since 2005.

The Wolverines are a three-touchdown favorite and can move a step closer toward their goal of their first Big Ten title since 2004 with a win.

Illini on the rebound: Illinois (3-1) is an early surprise and has scored a school-record 161 points over their first four games, eclipsing the mark of 158 points in the first four games of 1914.

But this week, the schedule turns tough, and a game at Nebraska (3-1) could go a long way toward determining if the fast start is a mirage or the build toward something bigger.

Illinois went 0-8 in conference games last season and has lost 14 straight Big Ten games. And Illinois hasn’t won a Big Ten game since Oct. 8, 2011 at Indiana.

The O in Hoosiers: No wonder there are two O’s in Hoosiers. Indiana’s offense is racking up enough yards for two teams. The Hoosiers average 44.5 points and 547.2 yards per game.

But all the gaudy numbers haven’t helped Indiana (2-2) inch over .500. However, they have Penn State’s attention regardless.

“Handling the tempo and being able to tackle in space and not give up a ton of explosive plays is a big part of the gameplan,” O’Brien said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • aaaba 0721 Martella’s sweeps past Delweld

    A six-run rally in the first helped guide Martella’s Pharmacy to an 8-1 win over Delweld in Game 3 of their best-of-5 AAABA League semifinal series at Point Stadium, sweeping the series in the process.
    That rally also continued season-long trends for the clubs, according to their respective managers.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • warshel_0721 Warshel selecting UPJ

    For Kelci Warshel, the call to attend Pitt-Johnstown was based on the availability of her desired major – nursing.
    Taking an opportunity to join the university’s women’s track and field program was a very nice add-on and one that the Richland High graduate is ready to jump into ...
    ... Or hurdle over.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitt picked sixth in cluttered Coastal

    Florida State was an obvious choice as a favorite in one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s divisions.
    In the other one, the pecking order was nowhere near that clear.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    July 21, 2014

  • American Legion Region 7: Bedford gets past Clearfield

    Bedford’s Jake Stover had two hits with double and three RBIs in a 9-6 win against host Clearfield in the Pa. American Legion Region 7 Tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • American Legion Region 7: Claysburg edges Beech Creek

    Claysburg’s Mike Mock went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the fourth inning to help his squad get by Beech Creek 7-6 during Sunday’s winners-bracket game in the Pa. American Legion Region 7 Tournament.

    July 21, 2014

AP Video
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide