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Updated: 2017-11-17T18:30:02-05:00


YAY HOOPS: Penn State vs. Columbia Open Thread



The Nittany Lions will face their final tune-up before they hit the road for Brooklyn and the Barclay’s Classic next week, when they take on Columbia in a rare Lions vs. Lions showdown at 7:00 PM ET. Game preview can be found here.

Unfortunately, you will have to pony up some $$$ for BTN Plus if you want to see the action on the court from someplace other than the BJC. Otherwise, you’ll have to let the dulcet tones of Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi entertain you on the radio broadcast.

As always, the typical thread rules apply: Don’t post anything that would get us in hot water (i.e. porn, links to streaming video of the game other than BTN-Plus, etc.), save the religion/politics talk for an appropriate subreddit, and just be kind to one another, mmkay?

Penn State Wrestling MatCast Ep. 4



What the heck is going on at 197?

As Penn State prepares to take the mat this week against Binghamton and then Sunday at the Keystone Open, we examine some of the story lines in episode four of the 2017 edition of the Penn State MatCast.

We discuss:

  • How high should expectations reasonably be for Corey Keener?
  • Can Jered Cortez show a little more at 157?
  • Who takes control of the spot at 197?
  • Tom Brands’ comments on negative recruiting
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What Is Wrong With Penn State Hockey? Nothing That Can’t Be Fixed


There is a concern among some casual fans that the team is in trouble. Don’t worry, it’s not all that bad. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 10 to open the season by the poll. With a 5-7-0 record, Guy Gadowsky’s team is currently No. 27. The poll is not official but it does give fans a best-guess of where the teams currently stack up. So what’s wrong with Penn State? The truth is there have been a few setbacks that have led to the current record lagging behind what was expected at this point. At the start of the season, a team ranked No. 10 with Penn State’s schedule should have a record more like 8-4 or at worst 7-5. Part of the concern began with a pair of losses that were perceived as must-win games at the time the games were played. American International was 0-5-1 when it beat Penn State and it looked as though the loss was going to be a massive drag on the Lions’ PairWise Ranking. That no longer appears to be the case, as AIC has a 4-1-1 record since opening without a win through six games. Two weeks later when the Lions took on Mercyhurst at home, it was again thought that they should be able to sweep the series. Instead it was a 1-1 split with a team that is now 4-4-2. It was a missed opportunity for PSU, but not the type of loss that the team will have to drag along like a weight on the ankle of its PairWise Rankings all season. This week Penn State travels to Arizona State for a pair of games that will be streamed via the Pac 12 network. While it is dangerous to look for a sweep on the road, this is possibly the last chance the Lions will have to be favored to take two away from home. ASU is currently seven spots from the bottom of the PairWise Rankings, which isn’t saying much this early in the year, but it is a small indicator that maybe the Sun Devils aren’t quite as hopeless as it looked when the games were scheduled a year ago. While it will be disappointing if the Lions are unable to return to State College with a pair of wins, it may not be cause for concern. Should ASU, AIC, and Mercyhurst remain out of the cellar of the PairWise Rankings this season, it will make the earlier losses that much less painful. By virtue of the bad teams on the schedule not being so bad, the Lions’ PairWise prospects look much brighter. Even with the slow start, the team is in the middle of the pack with a strong conference schedule looming in the second half of the season. Should the Lions win 3 out of 4 or better versus ASU and Robert Morris, the two teams on the remaining schedule with the lowest PairWise Rankings and expectations, it may set them back up to where they need to be, record-wise. Unless a team wins its conference tournament, it must have a .500 or better record to get an NCAA tournament invitation. Last season St. Cloud State tempted that feat until the last game it played, nearly remaining in the top-16 while having a losing record. This year, should Penn State finish 3 or 4 games over .500, it could be enough to get a return trip to the big ice dance. Penn State has already taken its two most difficult trips in Big Ten play, having completed four games combined at Notre Dame and Minnesota, going 1-3 during the stretch. While heading to Michigan and Wisconsin is no picnic, those games and venues are less frightful. There’s a lot of hockey to be played, a win streak or hot month could change things for the better very quickly. Don’t panic if the team has a .500 record into February, that is not the death knell for the hopes of making a run at the post-season. The strength of the Big Ten could be the ace in the hole for Guy Gadowsky. Defense and Goaltending Peyton Jones has had a very difficult start to this season. After making what may be the highlight-reel save of the season during a massive win on the road versus Minnesota, the sophomore goalie ran into what appears to be a sophomore slump. He gave up four or more goals for a half-dozen games, and in the process seemed to have lost his confidenc[...]

BSD Prediction Roundtable: Nebraska


The staff looks into their crystal ball for results against the Cornhuskers. Saquon has been in a bit of a rut since the second half of Ohio State and this feels like it could be a breakout game for him. In an effort to save his job, Mike Riley made the peculiar decision to hire Bob Diaco. Not that the decision itself was peculiar, Diaco was successful as the DC at Notre Dame before a doomed stint as the head coach at UConn, however, he employs a 3-4 scheme which Nebraska does not have the personnel to effectively switch from their traditional 4-3. Diaco certainly did not help his cause delaying an unveiling of the new scheme in the spring. Trace and Miles may put up healthy numbers as well. Penn State 52, Nebraska 13 Chris Lucia I was mostly correct last week - the team's heart just wasn't in the game, and Rutgers came out firing. The more talented team was able to pull away, but it never seemed like they truly cared about the game. Perhaps being put back in the top 10 will boost their spirits this week. I expect a similar game result this week, but with slightly different methodology. While Rutgers' offense wasn't particularly good, their defense did an excellent job stymieing Barkley, and kept the Lions to ONLY 35 points. I expect this game to be more high-scoring, as Nebraska can sling the ball when needed - and suddenly the Nittany Lion defense can't defend the pass very well. The flip side is that Nebraska's defense is terrible, and one could sense Barkley's frustration last week - I'm expecting him to take some of that angst out on a not-good defense in his last game at Beaver Stadium. Penn State 49, Nebraska 24 Dena Penn State has some momentum back and will start off strong against the Cornhuskers. Look for lots of Barkley and lots of scores since Nebraska's defense is so mismatched with Penn State’s offense, but don't expect it to be scoreless for Nebraska. Penn State 42, Nebraska 13 Clay Nebraska is pretty terrible, it's the last time in Beaver Stadium for the seniors and probably the last time in Beaver Stadium for Saquon Barkley. I think you could see an inspired performance from the offensive line against one of the worst defensive front sevens in power five football and Barkley could put on a show en route to a 200-yard game. Penn State 41, Nebraska 10 Dlando I'll continue the trend. This is the game that the Penn State running attack gets going, especially Saquon Barkley. Penn State 45, Nebraska 14 Aaron After what Minnesota did to Nebraska, a lot of fans think that Saquon Barkley will have another 100-yard rushing game this weekend. That's despite the fact that he has just three such games this season and that he recorded only 55 yards from scrimmage against Rutgers last Saturday. Running the ball doesn't come easy for these Lions, and I'm not sure that a Nebraska team that has "given up" is the cure. However, Penn State is still a better team playing at home, so I expect it to pull away in the second half after Nebraska's passing offense scores a couple of touchdowns in the first half. Penn State 35, Nebraska 14 Tim Giving up 54 points to Minnesota last week was a clear indication that the Nebraska players have thrown in the towel on the season. The likely ugly weather (cold, windy, and rainy) may prevent PSU from boat racing the Huskers by the near four-touchdown margin Vegas is favoring them, but don't expect the Blackshirts defense to suddenly live up to their namesake. Saquon Barkley goes over 100 yards rushing for the first time since the Michigan game and garners a couple of TD's, while Trace McSorley tosses a pair of TD's and rushes for another. Nebraska's Tanner Lee should be good for throwing for a couple of TD's both to his own teammates, and to the guys in the blue jerseys (Lee has 13 interceptions on the season). Penn State 35, Nebraska 14 Bscaff In the preceding 5 games, the only squad who failed to rush for 200+ yards against Nebraska was Purdue. The Boilermakers rushed 38 times for 199. Tha[...]

Penn State vs. Columbia Preview: One More Game Until Brooklyn


It’s Lions vs. Lions on a Friday night in University Park. Penn State overcame an ankle injury to Tony Carr on Wednesday night and defeated Montana, 70-57. Next up is a clash with Columbia on Friday night that will be the Nittany Lions’ last game before next week’s Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York. Based on Pat Chambers’s comments from two days ago, it sounds like Carr will be able to play against Columbia, but I’m sure the head coach would love to limit his star guard in order to keep him as healthy as possible. That shouldn’t be a problem if Lamar Stevens has another 25-point performance or if Shep Garner keeps hitting three-pointers. Scouting the Opposition It’s hard to get a handle on Columbia so far, as the regular old Lions have lost to one of Division I’s best team’s in Villanova and defeated one of its worst in Longwood. However, in both games, shooting guard Mike Smith was aggressive from beyond the arc. The Illinois native has dominated Columbia’s possessions so far and is averaging 20.5 points and eight three-point attempts per game for the young season. With point guard Kyle Castlin out with an elbow injury, second-year head coach Jim Engles has turned to Quinton Adlesh to handle the floor general role, and the junior responded with a terrific performance against Longwood. Adlesh knocked down five three-pointers to score a career-high 23 points and added four assists to boot. Together, he and Smith should provide an adequate test for Penn State’s perimeter defense. On the inside, Columbia has big shoes to fill with Luke Petrasek and his 15.1 points per game graduating over the summer, and it looks like junior forward Lukas Meisner will help fill the void. After a quiet game against Villanova, he grabbed 16 of Columbia’s 40 rebounds and scored 12 points in the win over Longwood. He’ll be someone to watch for sure after Penn State was beaten on the boards by Montana this week. What to Watch for How much will Carr play? Penn State played almost the entire second half against Montana without Carr, and the Lions found a way to hold off their opponent. If Chambers doesn’t want to risk his point guard against Columbia, it will be up to Stevens and others to pick up the slack. Is Stevens heating up? After scoring just 20 total points in Penn State’s first two games, Stevens looked like a star against Montana with 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting. If Penn State is going to make a run at the postseason this year, fans are going to need to see this version of Stevens more consistently, and there’s no reason why he can’t put up a similar performance against Columbia. Can the bench step up? Even with Carr out, the bench scored just six points on Wednesday, with four of those coming from backup big men Julian Moore and Satchel Pierce. It’s cool that Jamari Wheeler handed out three assists in his 17 minutes, but he and Nazeer Bostick ought to look for their own offense more often on Friday. Prediction No matter how much Carr plays, the Nittany Lions have the talent to move to 4-0. Look for Stevens to lead the team in scoring again while Shep Garner continues to heat up from beyond the arc. Penn State 76, Columbia 65 [...]

BSD Mailbag 11.17.17


We’re talking Barkley, Nebraska and more in this week’s mailbag! Thoughts on Penn State playing a neutral site OOC game like Alabama has been doing for the last couple of seasons?--Patrick Koerbler I'm a firm believer in seven home games - it's what helps keep the athletic department as funded as it is (with all of the non-rev sports, which I love) and it's a boost to the local economy. So I'm in if it means we can still have seven home games - which means, because of the nine game Big Ten schedule, only every other year. Alabama does seven home games a year, with the neutral, and then four away games; this I'd be on board with. Michigan had one this year with only six home games; I'd have nixed that one, especially because it was, essentially, a lose-lose with a reeling Florida team as their opponent. Thinking positively, if we earn an invite to a NY 6 bowl game, do we A. want a rematch, albeit for smaller stakes, with USC B. be part of a "David gets their chance against Goliath" storyline against Central Florida C. renew a long ago rivalry and play Notre Dame--phillyfanisc I distinctly do NOT was A. I'm sick of USC, and the fact that their quarterbacks have Heisman-worthy performances against us before regressing. I'd be ok with either B or C; for B, it'd be a rematch of the Ireland game, which was phenomenal, and I'd be more confident than any other opponent. And C would be awesome - it would be a better game, but I'd love nothing more than for our team to be the cause of a Brian Kelly purple face. Plus, the kids on that team that had the chance to be Nittany Lions and didn't - I'd love for this squad to make them eat their words. How many points do we need to score to get Mike Riley fired?--NLions_54 None for him to get fired this Sunday; that’s not happening. To ensure he gets fired at the end of the season, we just have to score more than the Huskers do. When's Mike Reilly's last day--TonyLion IU is Our Most Hated Rival, obviously Can some of the hate I have for them be legally transferred to Nebby? Both have red and white color schemes, sometimes with varying stupid arrangements of stripes involved. What is the best trophy to represent this game? Should it be something iconic to 1994, just because, or is that a recency and one-sided bias as a PSU’er?--MrNoPants I think it should be an amalgamation, a montage of poor referees and AP voters. All aboard, like, a pyre. With this gif broadcast on top: (side note: I accidentally had this gif up on my screen while writing the rest of this mailbag, and, yep, still just as frustrating and traumatic as it was in 2012). With the exception of occasional evening games, why aren't all the kickoffs at 4pm? Screw the 12 o’clock kickoffs. 4 o’clock is perfect. You don’t have to get up super early and have plenty of daylight to tailgate. Plus a lot of the game is played under the lights which just makes things better all around. Then you get to cap off the win with a few hours at the bar. Why is there any other kickoff time? If I am watching the game at home the best time is the 7-8 pm evening games as long as we win. If we lose, I end up unable to sleep and the next day is shot.--bva-psu I don't know! 3:30/4pm kickoffs are my absolute favorite. You can sleep in a little bit, still tailgate for hours before the game, and still have time for some food and drinks after the game in celebration as well! It's the best time, especially this time of year, when it's almost like a night game at the end of the game. Logistically, of course, it can't happen because then you'd have too many games at one time. But still! #team330 Is Moorhead more likely to stay after the last few weeks? Has the perception of him nationally changed?--Dbridi I think so, ever since the MSU game. There aren't going to be many attractive (for him, at least) head coach openings this season and he gets paid pretty well at P[...]

No. 10 Penn State vs. Nebraska: Game Preview


Penn State seeks its ninth win in its final game at Beaver Stadium of the season. Penn State looks to send out its seniors on a high note while Nebraska hopes to pull off an upset to keep its hopes of bowl eligibility alive. (10) Penn State (7-2, 4-2) vs. Nebraska (4-6, 3-4) Kickoff: 4 p.m., Beaver Stadium, State College, PA The Betting Line: Penn State -26 TV: FS1- Jason Kutcher (play-by-play), Mark Helfrich (analyst) Weather: Cold and wet, with temperatures in the upper 30s/low 40s, and showers expected throughout the day. COACHES: James Franklin: PENN STATE RECORD: 33-17, 4th Year OVERALL RECORD: 57-32, 7th Year VS. NEBRASKA: 0-0 Mike Riley: NEBRASKA RECORD: 19-17, 3rd Year OVERALL RECORD: 112-97, 17th Year VS. PENN STATE: 0-1 NOW THE FUN PART.... NEBRASKA DEFENSE VS. PENN STATE OFFENSE There’s good news and bad news for Penn State when it comes to Nebraska’s run defense. The ‘Huskers are one of the worst teams in the nation when it comes to stopping the run. On the other hand, other teams with similarly poor run defenses have succeeded in selling out to stop Saquon Barkley in the backfield. If the Cornhuskers are able to follow suit, it will be once again up to Trace McSorley to identify the mismatches and move the ball through the air. Nebraska is better statistically against the pass, but this may be a symptom of teams running the ball at will against the ‘Huskers without worrying too much about putting the ball in the air. Overall, Nebraska is allowing 412 yards and 32.5 points per game. The ‘Huskers have a star-in-the-making with pass rush specialist Ben Stille, who is putting up big numbers as a redshirt freshman. He leads the team in tackles for loss and sacks, and could be in for a big day against the Nittany Lions offensive line. Senior Chris Weber can also be disruptive and has eight TFLs on the season. Weber also excels in pass coverage. Nebraska lacks a regular pass rush, meaning a big day could be in store for McSorley. The Nittany Lions finally took advantage of wide receiver Juwan Johnson in single coverage last week against Rutgers, and he responded with five catches and 78 yards. This could also mean a big day for tight end Mike Gesicki, and perhaps Saeed Blacknall, who will be playing their final game in Beaver Stadium. NEBRASKA OFFENSE VS. PENN STATE DEFENSE One positive for Nebraska’s disappointing season has been the play of quarterback Tanner Lee. The junior has been quite prolific at times, and often gives the ‘Huskers hope as they have trouble moving the ball on the ground. However, Lee is currently in the concussion protocol after being knocked out of last week’s contest against Minnesota, and is not likely to suit up on Saturday. In his place would be redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien, who is rather short on experience. O’Brien has played in three games this season, getting mop up duty in blowout losses against Wisconsin and Ohio State, as well as coming in relief of Lee last week against Minnesota. On the season, he is 18 of 30 for 192 yards, one interception and no touchdown passes. At 6’4’’ and 230 lbs., he’s a classic dropback quarterback with a big arm, but not likely to hurt a defense with his legs. O’Brien will have a talented group of receivers to work with, starting with Stanely Morgan Jr. The playmaking junior has at least 94 yards receiving six times this season and leads the team in touchdowns with seven. Freshman J.D. Spielman is on his way to becoming one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, and leads the ‘Huskers with 49 receptions and 734 receiving yards. He is coming off a huge month that included big games against Ohio State (11 rec., 200 yds.) and Minnesota (9 rec., 141 yds.). Senior De’Mornay Pierson-El is an outstanding third receiver who can cause damage if left alone. He knows how to find the soft spots in a defense, and the ‘Huskers like to use his s[...]

Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs Binghampton


The Lions hit the road for the first time this year! Penn State is 2-0 on the short season, with two dominating wins under their white belts (no surprise, those). Up next for Cael’s crew is a road trip to New York, the return half of last year’s Binghamton dual in Rec Hall. Last year, the Nittany Lions won resoundingly; this year, it should be much of the same. The Bearcats haven’t wrestled a dual so far this year, with none of their grapplers taking the mat yet. What a first trial for them to go through. They do have one ranked wrestler in their midst, but unfortunately for Binghamton, he’s up against one of Penn State’s murderer’s row. The entire lineup is chock full of experience, which means they will be mentally tough for the Lions; but mental toughness can only get you so far against a squad of this talent, with coaching this good. I can’t stop with the effusive praise of Penn State wrestling, so I’m not going to. Onto the matchup! How To Watch What: #1 Penn State at Binghamton Where: Events Center, Vestal, NY When: Friday, 11/17, 7 pm ET Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports Video: ESPN3 125 LBS It’s now official that it’s all Schnupp right now at 125. The freshman went without a win in the first two duals of the season, though he showed flashes of promise. Can he pick it up this weekend? I’m not so sure, as his size still has me concerned. I picked him twice last weekend; let’s see if the Gulibon curse holds true. Prediction: Bulzomi by Decision Score: PSU 0, Binghamton 3 133 LBS I’m waiting for the chips to fall in front of Keener, in order for him to move up in the rankings. Fifteen is not bad by any stretch; it’s slightly below where he finished last season. But an increase of pace and activity in the Penn State wrestling room is sure to up his game, and this weekend will prove that. Prediction: Keener by Major Score: PSU 4, Binghamton 3 141 LBS I have a feeling that this is the week that Jered puts it all back together. This is, of course, based on little more than gut; his performance in the Keystone Classic on Sunday will be more of a barometer. But I think he impresses Friday. Prediction: Cortez by Major Decision Score: PSU 8, Binghamton 3 149 LBS I have nothing to say here. Zain does what Zain does, and it’s beautiful to watch if not comfortable for his opponent. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Prediction: Zain by Pin Score: PSU 14, Binghamton 3 157 LBS Jason Nolf pinned Rifanburg in the second period last year. Will the now-sophomore have learned? He’s undoubtedly better, but arguably so is Nolf. Prediction: Nolf by Pin Score: PSU 20, Binghamton 3 165 LBS When Penn State wrestled Binghamton last year, it was still early enough in the season that Cenzo Joseph was a relatively unknown commodity. He was winning, of course, but not quite at the dominating clip he would start to embody later on; against DePrez he was dominant but not high-scoring, posting a 10-5 major decision. As the season went on Cenzo got more confidence and it showed in his wrestling, and he’s buoyed that into this season. He’ll handle the redshirt junior (one half of a pair of twins on the Bearcat squad) with ease. Prediction: Cenzo by Major Decision Score: PSU 24, Binghamton 3 174 LBS Before Mark Hall had his redshirt pulled last year, 174 was all Geno Morelli. Geno was solid if not as exciting as his replacement; he won a fair amount, but wasn’t a bonus point machine. And he majored Lombardo. Hall rolls, fairly easily. Prediction: Hall by Pin Score: PSU 30, Binghamton 3 184 LBS Bo’s up against the sole ranked Bearcat wrestler, a two-time NCAA qualifier whom he majored early in the season last year. Schneider is a solid wrestler [...]