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Updated: 2017-10-19T21:25:17-04:00


Penn State Hockey Handles AIC 7-5


It wasn’t a complete performance for the team, but the win was collected. The Lions came out with a sense of purpose to start the game but the effort was not immediately reflected on the scoreboard. The game was tied into the final minute of the first period even though Penn State dominated the action for most of the frame. In the closing minute, Andrew Sturtz scored to give Guy Gadowsky’s team a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Penn State continued to pull away, adding three goals in the second period, but AIC wasn’t ready to call it a night, as they answered many of the Lion’s goals with a quick score of their own. The final period went Penn State’s way initially, starting with two quick goals by Denis Smirnov and Kris Myllari. The Yellow Jackets were not ready to go away just yet, as they added two goals late in the final period to make the game competitive, even as most of the fans inside the Pegula Ice Arena had vacated their seats and headed for home. The teams will face off on Friday night at 7 p.m. to conclude the series. Recap American International got on the scoreboard first when Martin Mellberg put a shot past Peyton Jones with five minutes off the clock in the first period. Penn State went on the power-play five minutes later and had several chances to score but were unable to cash in the opportunities. Midway through the opening period the Lions held an advantage in shots on goal, 14-5. A few minutes later the Lions went on a power-play once again. It didn’t take long to capitalize this time, as Trevor Hamilton scored just a few seconds into the advantage. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Erik Autio assisted on the play. Following the goal, AIC was called for another penalty, so the 5 on 4 advantage continued for the home team. The Lions did not score, but the extended period of time shorthanded tired the Yellow Jackets considerably. Late in the period Erik Autio was called for a penalty but that did not slow down the Nittany Lions. Andrew Sturtz scored a short-handed goal on the first shift of the penalty kill. The second period began where the first left off, with the Lions holding a clear advantage. Five minutes in, during the first few seconds of a power-play, Liam Folkes got the third goal of the night. Folkes took the draw off the face-off and found room to get a quick wrist-shot off and it found the back of the net. The celebration inside the Pegula Ice Arena did not last for very long. AIC scored to tighten the game 3-2 with 13 minutes left to play in the second period. The Lions led by just one goal while holding a 29-11 shots on goal advantage. Not to be outdone, PSU answered right back. Cole Hults scored his first goal as a Nittany Lion to stretch the lead back to two. A few minutes later Blake Gober was called for a hooking penalty, which would have given AIC a power-play. Instead, Hugo Reinhart was sent to the box with Gober for embellishing on the play. Gober did in fact pull Reinhart to the ice, but he did not need to fall as though he had been shot by a sniper rifle. The Lions added to the lead during the 4 on 4 skating when Brandon Biro netted his second goal of the season. Once again AIC found a way to answer the Penn State goal. Less than a minute later, Stephan Kyle got the game back to just a two-goal spread with five minutes left in the second period. It felt like the Lions were ready to pull away but to the credit of the visiting Yellow Jackets, the was not yet in hand heading into the final period. Denis Smirnov didn’t take long to stretch the PSU lead. Forty-nine seconds after the second intermission, the elusive sophomore sniper got a goal, making it four straight games with a goal scored. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Kris Myllari ex[...]

Big Ten Basketball Moving to 20-Game Schedule Starting Next Year



Conference play is getting even bigger.

The Big Ten announced on Thursday morning that it will be expanding the schedule of both men’s and women’s basketball starting in the 2018-19 season. Next year, the men will play 20 league games and the women will play 18. Currently, the men play just 18 league games while the women play 16.

The larger slates will allow the men’s teams to play seven opponents twice and six opponents once. Fans of rivalry games will be glad to hear that three in-state matchups will be locked in for two games each season. Those matchups are Michigan vs. Michigan State, Illinois vs. Northwestern, and Indiana vs. Purdue.

There will also be a “regional component” added to conference scheduling that will allow teams in “similar areas” to play each other a little more often than they do other teams. Over the course of a six-year cycle, regional opponents will play each other 10 times compared to 12 times for in-state rivals and nine times for non-regional opponents.

If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is. Just know that Penn State will now be playing Maryland, Rutgers, and Ohio State a little more often than they might if two-plays were distributed randomly. However, as of now, the Lions do not have a rival that they will play twice every season.

When asked about Penn State and Rutgers possibly becoming rivals for Maryland at Big Ten Media Day, Terps head coach Mark Turgeon was nonplussed.

I think being new to the league, rivalries are going to take time to establish themselves in the area. But Pat's doing a terrific job at Penn State. Steve [Pikiell] is going to do a great job at Rutgers.

If those do become our rivals I guess we'll play more local games, I'm not sure the real breakdown, but got a lot of respect for their programs.

Watch it, Coach. Only Penn State is allowed to be Unrivaled, okay?

The women’s schedules will also account for in-state rivalries and regional opponents, but the specifics have not been announced yet. We’ll hear more about the 2018-19 Big Ten basketball schedule at a later date.

Pat Chambers Stresses Defense and Rebounding as Biggest Areas of Improvement in 2017-18


The blue-collar coach wants his team to get better at grinding out victories this year. Penn State head basketball coach Pat Chambers spoke at Big Ten Basketball Media Day on Thursday morning and didn’t seem too concerned with his team’s offense despite an efficiency rating that ranked 13th in the conference last year according to KenPom. The club got great contributions from newcomers Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens, but Carr shot just 38 percent from the field while leading Penn State with 13.2 points per game. Chambers isn’t worried about the shooting woes continuing, though. “Minnesota and Northwestern averaged six threes a game last year,” he said, “We averaged seven. They went to the NCAA Tournament. They finished in the top four. I don't think we have to continue to focus on threes. We have to continue to focus on defending and rebounding. We were 13 out of 14 in rebounding. We gave up 73 points [per game]. That's not a good combination. So we're going to focus on defending and rebounding.” The Nittany Lions on defense last year trended in a positive direction, but they were far from perfect. While they did a nice job taking the ball away and blocking shots thanks to the talents of Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins, they also struggled to keep opponents off the free throw line or limit their three-point shooting. “I know everybody is focused on offense,” said Chambers, “But I think what we lacked was that grit, that toughness on the defensive end to get stops. I look forward to saying we're not going to be a feel-good team this year. We're going to be a team that can grind one out or show its grit, especially when you're not making shots.” Even if Chambers doesn’t acknowledge Penn State’s shooting as an issue, it will probably improve on its own. We saw last year how Stevens and Josh Reaves got more confident from beyond the arc as the season developed, and the young players should get better with shot selection as they get more experienced in Big Ten play. “I think with Shep [Garner], Tony [Carr]'s development, Lamar's development, Josh's development, and we're going to let Satchel [Pierce] shoot some threes from the top of the key,” said Chambers, “I think that's going to add to our arsenal.” The perimeter isn’t the only place where the Lions can improve, though. With an influx of frontcourt talent that includes Virginia Tech transfer Satchel Pierce as well as freshmen Trent Buttrick and John Harrar, Penn State should have more going on in the post as well. “We had great offensive production last year. But with Satchel and Mike [Watkins]'s development and Julian [Moore] being a fifth-year senior, and John Harrar, our freshman, I think we're going to be able to play inside-out a little more. We have the bigs up front, if we're in one of those scoring droughts that every team goes in, I feel really confident in putting the ball inside and being able to score from short range or at least get those guys to the free throw line where they can knock some things down.” Chambers might not agree with some fans on where his team needs to improve the most, but it’s clear that he’s as focused as ever on bringing the program to the next level. The coach didn’t make any promises at Media Day, but with all the talent he’s bringing back, both sides understand that Penn State is supposed to do big things in 2017-18. “We talked about climbing and we're climbing in everything we do. Sometimes that climb is never direct. It's never a straight line. You can go left, you can go right. You fall off. But you have to get that handle back and get your footing back. And that's what we're doing. And with this group and where our program's headed we feel like we're on the right trajectory.” [...]

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James Franklin shares his thoughts on Saquon Barkley

Tonight at 7 p.m. the Penn State Men’s Ice Hockey Team will play their home opener at Pegula Ice Arena against American International. The defending Big Ten Champions will be hoisting their championship banner along with an NCAA Tournament banner after making their first appearance in the postseason last year.

Today is Big Ten Media day as basketball season nears; follow @BSDtweet for our live coverage of the event. In the meantime, here’s a primer on what to expect from the Nittany Lions’ offense this year.

Head football coach James Franklin was interviewed on NFL Media’s Move The Sticks podcast this week speaking about Saquon Barkley’s recruitment, and how they coaching staff works to maximize his potential within the Penn State offense. It should come as no surprise that Franklin views Barkley as the best player in college football. Regarding Saquon’s work ethic:

Well, he sets the tone for our whole organization. I mean, literally, we stopped testing him on testing day because at some point how much you’re squatting and how much you’re power cleaning and benching, you’ve proven the point alright! You don’t need to do anymore. But he’s such a competitive guy, he gets in there and everybody’s max testing and he wants to jump in as well. I think the biggest thing is when you see him in persona and you look at his lower body, from his waist down, it’s freakish. I mean, it really is. You’re talking about a guy who is going to run 4.3. And I don’t really believe 4.3 guys exist but he’s going to run 4.3. He’s one of these guys, whatever you put on the bar he’ll bench, squat or power clean. You know he’s just really, really gifted. He really is in so many different ways. He’s thrown a touchdown pass, he’s got touchdown receptions. He’s a guy you could use like a Marshall Faulk and line him up as a wide receiver in the slot. That’s something I talked to him about for the last two years in the summer that that’s something he really needed to work on. Whether we were going to use him at that or not because it’s going to be important for his future. He’s a hard-working guy who gets the big picture what we’re trying to do from a team’s perspective. But he also understands the impact it’s going to have on his future.

“...line him up as a wide receiver in the slot.” Hmm.

In another feature, Kimberly Jones looks at Barkley’s Heisman hopes and what his draft stock is looking like as we head into the second half of the season.

If you missed the news, ESPN’s College GameDay will take place on Penn State’s Old Main Lawn this Saturday from 9 a.m. - noon. Be sure to show up early so you can get your Black Shoe Diaries signs on camera during the show.

Black Shoe Degenerates Week 8: Poor, Poor Tennessee



Alabama is really good. Are they 36-point favorites vs Tennessee good? We’ll find out.

The most satisfying way to win a wager is by half a point. This also happens to be the most excruciating way to lose it. Indiana came back from 10, twice, to send the game to overtime. It nearly guaranteed the most they could lose by was 7. Meanwhile, Mississippi State beat BYU by exactly 25, ensuring another close win. Too bad Maryland ran out of gas in the second half.

Richness Factor (<- this is a link to the full standings)

  1. mbailey71: 5556.18
  2. MrNoPants: 5006.25
  3. afields16: 4042.68
  4. garder54: 3448.90
  5. Sperbro: 2833.40

Another shift in the standings, and a few players who made some moves saw those moves work against them, which opened up an opportunity for a new top 5 entrant.

The Picks

Iowa -1.5 at Northwesten - It’s a home game for the Wildcats, and they did prove they’re not yet dead in the water on the road at Maryland. However, Iowa is not on their 67th quarterback for the season, their defense even in losses, held both Michigan State and Penn State at bay, and Iowa is coming off a bye. The teams will score, but Iowa comes out on top. $200

Tennessee +36 at Alabama - I don’t know why I keep picking against Alabama. Maybe it’s masochism on my part. I just can’t get over the fact that this is still a rivalry game, and Tennessee is going to get up for this game. Also, Butch Jones is already playing for his job, so he knows he has to give a good showing in this game if he wants to make it back to Knoxville. $58.23

Iowa State/Texas Tech OVER 67.5 - Texas Tech has a defense this year, so I don’t expect Iowa State to score 66 on their own, like they did last season. But I still expect both teams to score a hefty amount of points, enough to overcome the 67.5 line.* $300


Last Week: 2-1
Season: 13-9
Richness Factor: 1058.23

*Watch them score exactly 67 points.

Big Ten Week 8 Preview and BSD Challenge


Who plays whom and how will they do?  Tune in to find out! A week after #chaos ruled the land, the Big Ten resumes action on the field essentially unscathed. The big dogs all won - albeit sometimes unconvincingly - and all was more or less right throughout the conference. This week brings some interesting match ups, as the middle of the conference should start to sort itself out. How will this week’s B1G games go down? Let’s find out! Big Ten Week 8 Preview Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at #5 Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0) Saturday, 12:00 PM at Madison, WI Line: Wisconsin -24 I really thought Maryland had turned a corner when they beat Minnesota, and was not going to hold a big loss to Ohio State against them. Then the Northwestern loss happened, and now I’m not sure what to make of the Terrapins. In any case, I don’t see their offense being much of a challenge for Wisconsin, and expect the Badgers to coast. Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Maryland 10 Iowa (4-2, 1-2) at Northwestern (3-3, 1-2) Saturday, 12:00 PM at Evanston, IL Line: Iowa -1 Iowa is no powerhouse, but their only two losses have come to two ranked teams. Northwestern, meanwhile, has been much more up and down throughout the season. I can’t say I really understand the line on this one, but I do know that Iowa’s defense is stout. Given what Penn State did to the Wildcats, I think the Hawkeyes win a fairly easy one. Prediction: Iowa 24, Northwestern 14 Purdue (3-3, 1-2) at Rutgers (2-4, 1-2) Saturday, 12:00 PM at Piscataway, NJ Line: Purdue -9.5 Rutgers won a Big Ten game! Rutgers won a Big Ten game! Rutgers may not win another Big Ten game this season! Seriously, though, the Scarlet Knight’s schedule only gets tougher from here on out. Purdue still has enough chaos in it that I think they’ll make some noise in the West. Boiler up! Prediction: Purdue 42, Rutgers 24 Indiana (3-3, 0-3) at #18 Michigan State (5-1, 3-0) Saturday, 3:30 PM at East Lansing, MI Line: Michigan State -7 Put me firmly in the boat that doesn’t believe Michigan State is “back” after an abysmal 2016 season. They’ve played two supposedly good teams so far and have gone 1-1 in those games - a beat down by Notre Dame, and a sloppy win over a Michigan team that forgot how to play offense. The Spartans are probably better than Indiana, but I would not be surprised at all if the Hoosiers make this a fun game. Prediction: Michigan State 21, Indiana 20 Illinois (2-4, 0-3) at Minnesota (3-3, 0-3) Saturday, 3:30 PM at Minneapolis, MN Line: Minnesota -14 I think PJ Fleck will have Minnesota on the winning train sooner or later, but he just doesn’t have the horses this year. With the meat of the conference slate ahead of the Gophers, there aren’t many more chances to get to a bowl game, so this week becomes all the more important. Illinois lost to Rutgers - Rutgers! - and may lose every game from here on out. Prediction: Minnesota 31, Illinois 17 Bye Week #6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0), Nebraska (3-4, 2-2) BSD Challenge Rutgers messed up a lot of perfect bids last week, as four different writers went 5-1 because of the Scarlet Knights. We’re past the halfway point of the Big Ten season, and the race is as tight as ever: Clay and I are tied for first at 52-12, and a bevy of writers are right on our heels, sitting within three games. Looks like we’ll have to grind out that season victory! For this week, the staff has unanimously decided on the following games: #5 Wisconsin over Maryland Purdue over Rutgers Minnesota over Illinois #2 Penn State over #19 Michigan That means only two games are up for grabs. Out of the entire staff, only dear leader Cari has picked Northwestern over Iowa. She must know something about Fitz that the rest of us don’t. She’s also on the Indiana over Michigan State train, along with Aaron and Patrick. Like I said, I expect that game to be entertaining, so the Hoos[...]

Former Foes: Week 8


Wins for everyone except for Pitt and Indiana … In our weekly column, we check in on Penn State's past opponents and what’s going on with the teams the Nittany Lions have already faced (and defeated). Akron Zips (4-3) Bucked the Broncos It was another great week for the Akron Zips, who took down defending MAC champion Western Michigan Broncos 14-13 on Sunday. What? Yes, the game was postponed one day due to intense flooding at WMU’s Waldo Stadium: The flooding into Waldo is.....severe— Brandon Fitz (@broncofitz) October 14, 2017 Where's Waldo? Under water. Cue Sunday - gameday. On the Broncos’ opening drive, Zips cornerback Kyron Brown intercepted the ball on the 24 and returned it 70 yards to the Broncos' 24, setting up the first score for Akron. The Zips missed a field goal in the second quarter but answered with a score for a 14-0 lead. All of Akron’s 14 points were scored in the first 20 minutes of the game. Western Michigan answered with a field goal before the half and 10 more points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. Key playmakers for the Zips were running back Manny Morgan (12 carries for 53 yards), quarterback Thomas Woodson (13-of-24 for 127 yards and a touchdown) and cornerback Alvin Davis (12 tackles). Up next for the Zips are the Toledo Rockets, who are 5-1. Up Next: Toledo Rockets (5-1) Pitt Panthers (2-5) Lost to North Carolina Wolfpack In their homecoming game, the Pitt Panthers lost 35-17 to No. 16 North Carolina State Wolfpack. In the first half, the Wolfpack were trailing after Pitt’s early lead on a touchdown, but by the half the game was tied 14-14. After the half, it was all NC State domination, with the Wolfpack scoring three touchdowns against Pitt’s one field goal and outgaining Pitt by nearly 100 yards and forcing a pair of turnovers. Pitt is still searching for a starting quarterback after Max Browne went down with an injury last week. Ben DiNucci played the first half, then was removed in third quarter to give true freshman Kenny Pickett a shot. Pickett was 5 for 13 for 61 yards and ran for 18 yards. DiNucci returned in the fourth quarter, and by game end had thrown for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Pitt struggled to run. Leading rushers for Pitt were Kenny Pickett and safety Jordan Whitehead. Wide receiver Jester Weah had seven catches for 106 yards and one of Pitt’s two touchdowns. This Saturday Pitt plays the Duke Blue Devils (4-3). Up Next: Duke Blue Devils (4-3) Georgia State Panthers (3-2, Sun Belt) Won against the Warwhawks In their third straight win, the Georgia State Panthers defeated the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 47-37. The Panthers scored on their first possession, but the Warhawks answered, bringing the score to 7-6. Georgia State scored again to lead 13-7 in less than six minutes into the game, and by the half was up 26-10. By the fourth quarter, Georgia State led 47-24. ULM managed to score two more times to bring the score to 47-37, but it wasn’t enough for a win. Georgia State piled up a school record 670 yards of total offense with the school’s most points ever against an FBS team. Quarterback Conner Manning completed 26 of 35 passes for a career-high 446 yards. His key target was Penny Hart, who set the school record with 190 yards receiving on 11 catches. The Panthers also rushed for a season-high 224 yards, despite losing their top two backs to injury. Georgia State next plays the 4-2 Troy Trojans. Up Next: Troy Trojans (4-2) Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2) Bye Week The Iowa Hawkeyes had a week to rest after beating the Illinois Fighting Illini 45-16 the week before. Next, Iowa faces t[...]

No. 2 Penn State vs. No. 19 Michigan: Game Preview


Following the bye week, Penn State faces its first ranked opponent of the season. Penn State kicks off an intriguing three-game stretch against the Wolverines in a prime time clash in Beaver Stadium. (2) Penn State (6-0, 3-0) vs. (19) Michigan (5-1, 2-1) Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., Beaver Stadium, State College, PA The Betting Line: Penn State -9.5 TV: ABC- Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst), Maria Taylor (sideline) Weather: A very pleasant October day with a high around 70 and sunshine, then cooling off into the 50s during the evening with very little chance of rain. COACHES: James Franklin: PENN STATE RECORD: 31-15, 4th Year OVERALL RECORD: 55-30, 7th Year VS. MICHIGAN: 0-3 Jim Harbaugh: MICHIGAN RECORD: 25-7, 3rd Year OVERALL RECORD: 127-53-1, 14th Year VS. PENN STATE: 2-0 NOW THE FUN PART.... MICHIGAN OFFENSE VS. PENN STATE DEFENSE The biggest offseason storyline for Michigan was how they would bounce back after losing the most starters in the Big Ten. While the defense hasn’t lost much of a step, the offense looks very much like a unit with just four starters returning from a year ago. A major part of the offensive struggles revolve around a lack of production from the quarterback position. Wilson Speight returned as the starter, but has been ruled out indefinitely after suffering an injury early against Purdue in week four. Taking over is senior John O’Korn, who has been unimpressive in three weeks of action. The Houston transfer is completing 54.9 percent of passes for 563 yards, with one touchdown and four interceptions. He is coming off of a rough game against Indiana, where he completed 10 of 20 attempts for just 58 yards. While Michigan has some talent on offense, they seem to lack any dangerous playmakers to help the offense overcome the lack of experience. The team employs a running-by-committee approach with Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans splitting carries evenly. At times, Jim Harbaugh will stick with one back who has the hot hand, so you may see a group effort, but you may also see one of the aforementioned running backs get 25 carries on Saturday. Isaac is the team’s leading rusher with 403 yards, edging out Higdon by a mere two yards. Higdon has done a better job finding the end zone with five touchdowns on the season to Isaac’s lone score. Evans is averaging 3.8 yards per carry, and his role has declined since being the primary back with 22 rushes for 78 yards against Florida in week one. Junior Grant Perry is the team’s leading receiver, and does most of his work going over the middle. Tight end Sean McKeon plays a large role in the passing game and moves very well for someone at 6-5, 250 lbs. True freshman Tarik Black seems to be on his way to a stellar career, but has not recorded a catch in the past three games after a hot start. Penn State’s defense has been outstanding, currently leading the nation in scoring defense by allowing just nine points per contest. The secondary has been the most pleasant surprise of the season, and should make for another tough outing for O’Korn. Expect the defense to do what they have done best- fly to the ball to limit the run game if there is no real threat in the air, while using its speed by sending pressure from all over on obvious passing downs. MICHIGAN DEFENSE VS. PENN STATE OFFENSE Despite only returning one starter from a season ago, Michigan has one of the nation’s top defenses. They currently lead the nation in total defense, giving up just 223.8 yards per game, and also rank first in pass efficiency defense, third in passing defense, sixth in rushing yards allowed and sixth in sacks. Basically wherever you try to attack, the Wolverines have a solid unit that really make you earn every last yard. The bigest concern for the Nittany Lions, as it will be for the next three weeks, will be how Penn State’s offensive[...]