The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

August 30, 2013

QBs remain a mystery for Penn St., Syracuse

NEW YORK — The much-anticipated unveilings should be done by the end of the first quarter between Penn State and Syracuse.

The Nittany Lions and Orange will finally reveal their starting quarterbacks today at MetLife Stadium.

For Penn State, it’ll be either junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson or freshman Christian Hackenberg. Syracuse will trot out either Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen or sophomore Terrell Hunt.

Who starts might not be who finishes, and Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien and first-year Orange coach Scott Shafer have each suggested they could play both of their quarterbacks in Game 1.

But there will be no chance to ease in the newbies in a tough nonconference opener.

“It’s not just the quarterback position,” Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said. “This is a big game.  You’re playing a game in MetLife Stadium. You’ve been waiting for this game for a long time, both teams.”

O’Brien and the Nittany Lions are trying to follow-up an 8-4 season, the program’s first under heavy NCAA sanctions that include a four-year postseason ban and dramatic scholarship limitations.

Shafer also has a hard act to follow. He replaces Doug Marrone, who righted a listless program and guided Syracuse to bowl victories two of the past three seasons before shuffling off to Buffalo to coach the Bills. Shafer has some retooling to do, but the Orange begin their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference with legitimate postseason hopes.

Five more things to know about the renewal of the Penn State-Syracuse rivalry:

So about those quarterbacks? If the fans had a say, Penn State would probably start Hackenberg and Syracuse would go with Allen. While Ferguson and Hunt have good credentials, the scouting reports suggest Hackenberg and Allen have the higher ceilings. Hackenberg was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country when he committed to Penn State. After the sanctions hit, there was concern Hackenberg would find another place to play. Getting him onboard was one of O’Brien’s biggest victories so far. Allen is a graduate transfer, who wanted a clearer path to playing time as a senior.

So he left Norman, Okla., for upstate New York for a chance to replace the departed Ryan Nassib. Landing a one-time hot high school prospect has Orange supporters pumped.

Running men. Both teams seem prepared to take some of the heat off their new quarterbacks with the running game. The Orange have one of the better tailback duos in the ACC, if not the country, in Jerome Smith (1,171 yards rushing last season) and Prince-Tyson Gulley (830 and 11 touchdowns). Penn State has its leading rusher back, Zach Zwinak (1,000 yards).

Deion the disruptor. Penn State defensive end Deion Barnes was the Big Ten freshman of the year in 2012, leading the team with six sacks and 10 tackles for loss. The Syracuse tackles, who will be largely responsible for keeping Barnes in check, are junior Sean Hickey on the left side and sophomore Ivan Foy on the right. Both have limited starting experience at their current positions.

Moving up. Shafer was Syracuse’s defensive coordinator for four years before being promoted.

Now, Chuck Bullough (most recently an assistant with the Browns) is running the defense. Don’t expect things to change much. The Orange are a bit undersized at linebacker, but they do a good job in the front seven of getting though creases and into the backfield.

History lesson. Syracuse and Penn State have played 70 times. They met every year from 1944-90, but only twice since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993. The Nittany Lions are 42-23-5 against Syracuse, including easy victories in 2008 and 2009 by a combined 83-20. This game is a one-off, part of Syracuse’s push to make its presence felt in the New York metropolitan area, where so many of its alums live.

“Bright lights. Big stage,” Syracuse linebacker Marcus Spruill said. “We’ve just got to go get them.”

The Orange and Nittany Lions aren’t scheduled to play again until a home-and-home in 2020 and ‘21.

1
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
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 Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Poll

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