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DOMINATE THE STATE



Updated: 2017-01-24T15:08:58-05:00

 



Big Ten Wrestling: BCS Standings, New Faces, Auto Bids Emerging

2017-01-24T15:08:58-05:00

Wrestling’s BCS standings, plus a couple of new faces We’re nearly 50% of the way thru the college wrestling dual season. Let’s take a look at this year’s Wrestling BCS* projections. *What’s that? You didn’t know wrestling had a Bowl Championship Series? Well it does! Click this handy link to read the historical background and mechanics. And here’s something else - your Nittany Lions won it all last year. So you’ve got that going for you, which is nice. Ro-Tel Queso Dip Bowl (EWL Champ vs. Big Ten 7th) Edinboro Fighting Scots (6-4, 4-0) vs. #13 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2, 2-2) BORO just took out Rider, and will likely be the Eastern Wrestling League champ. Barbasol Close Shave America Bowl (PAC12 Champ vs. Big Ten 6th) #18 Stanford (7-2, 3-0) vs. #12 Minnesota (5-3, 4-2) Nathan Butler and Mike Kroells? I think I’d take Butler, actually. The NJ Turnpike James Fenimore Cooper Service Plaza Bowl (SoCon Champ vs. Big Ten 5th) #16 Appalachian State (10-2, 4-0) vs #11 Rutgers (9-2, 3-1) The Average Officials Bowl (EIWA Champ vs Big Ten 3rd) #9 Cornell (7-2, 3-0) vs #4 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) Cornell got a late, unexpected pin from Brian Realbuto over PreischIsRight to sneak past Lehigh last weekend, 21-20. Otherwise, this would be the Enginerds. The OmahaSteaks.com Bowl (MAC Champ vs. Big Ten 4th) #8 Missouri (9-2, 6-0) vs #5 Nebraska (10-1, 4-1) This woulda been OHST here, but they already wrestled (and beat) Mizzou. So the Tigers get the Huskers instead. Keep things fresh, just like Omaha Steaks. The Big Boy Pants Bowl (Wild Card vs. Big Ten 8th) #7 NC State (9-1, 2-0) vs. #14 Michigan (5-4, 2-4) Last year this was Gwiz vs. Coon - and Gwiz destroyed. Not quite the same matchup this year. But it retains its bowl sponsorship, nonetheless. The [[Orange]] Bowl (ACC Champ vs. Big Ten 2nd) #6 VaTECH (13-1, 3-0) vs. #3 Iowa (7-2, 3-1) Is there anyone on planet Earth - other than Tom Brands - who does NOT want to see this dual happen? No, there is not (other than Tom Brands). The National Championship (#1 vs. #2) #1 Oklahoma State (8-0, 3-0) vs. #2 Penn State (8-0, 3-0) At least, that’s the way this year is shaping up. But there’s a lot of wrestling left. Let’s get into the individual Big Ten standings, after another crazy weekend of mat action. New to this week’s tables of results - Coaches Rankings. As a reminder, Coaches Rankings are 1/3rd of the equation for earning a bid to NCAAs (for your conference tournament). In other words, we can start to see who will be bringing a qualifying bid to Big Tens, who won’t, and where the line to make the NCAA tournament might fall. Ready? (‘No’) Begin. 125 LBS table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } B1G Rank 125 LBS Coaches (1/20) Overall Conf. Conf.Duals Quality Wins 1 Gilman (Iowa) 1 18-0 4-0 3-0 1 2 Suriano (PSU) 3 11-1 4-1 3-1 3 3 Lambert (NEB) 6 22-3 5-3 4-1 3 4 Youtsey (MICH) 1-0 1-0 1-0 0 5 Lizak (MINN) 5 20-3 4-3 2-2 4 6 Jimenez (WIS) 23 6-4 2-3 1-2 0 7 Oliver (IND) 30 9-3 1-0 1-0 0 8 Piotrowski (ILL) 11-8 2-3 2-1 0 9 Rodriguez (OSU) 19 11-4 1-2 1-2 1 10 Paetzell (RUT) 12-4 3-2 3-1 0 11 Thornton (PUR) 33 21-9 3-3 3-2 0 12 Vargas (UMD) 8-12 0-5 0-4 1 13 Rogaliner (MSU) 11-8 0-1 0-1 0 14 Rubinetti (jNW) 9-8 0-4 0-3 0 The big news this weekend was the return of 2x All-American Conor Youtsey to the Michigan lineup. We’re slotting him 4th in the conference, behind ol’ nemesis Tim Lambert. The number of bids is difficult to guess - Youtsey, Lizak, Jimenez, Oliver, Rodriguez have all missed significant time (or are still missing it, in Oliver’s case). Best guess? 7. The first 4 are pretty much guaranteed already (Gilman, Suriano, Lambert, Lizak). Youtsey, Jimenez, Oliver are all past q[...]



Success with Hyperlinking Takes to the Ice

2017-01-24T09:19:01-05:00

Penn State’s first series as the No. 1 team didn’t go well, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for growth. Penn State’s first series as the No. 1 team in the USCHO poll didn’t go as smoothly as coach Guy Gadowsky would have hoped. With the buzz of Friday’s White Out game and bitter rival Ohio State in town, his team tied the Buckeyes on Friday before losing 6-3 the next day. As a result, the Nittany Lions dropped in the USCHO poll this Monday, but only to the No. 4 spot, still receiving a first place vote. They also slipped out of the top spot and into No. 4 in the PairWise rankings, perhaps a more important indicator of the team’s play than the USCHO poll. The Daily Collegian assures us that it is not time to worry, however. With a young team experiencing its first true taste of success, an off weekend was inevitable and there are a number of flaws that the Lions must fix if they hope to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the nation. A deep group of defensemen is still having trouble cutting down odd-man rushes, a problem that persisted near the end of last season, and on offense the team regularly sought a “home run play,” as Gadowsky called it, forcing plays that weren’t there instead of simply getting a shot on net, a specialty in the Lions’ gameplan. Off the ice and onto the gridiron, James Franklin has a fairly important day coming up, as National Signing Day falls on the first day of February, just a week and a day away. While the Lions have a number of verbal commitments from highly sought-after recruits, the possibility remains for them to flip commitments and sign with another program on Feb. 1. Onward State laid out Franklin’s mindset heading toward the crucial day. With relatively few departures from last season, Franklin and his staff won’t have many scholarships to offer, potentially swaying some recruits to chose other programs with more space available. It seems three things in life are certain: death, taxes and the New England Patriots making a deep playoff run. Bill Belichick has made a habit of taking rather ordinary players and turning them into stars (see: the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft). The New York Daily News examined how Belichick discovered his newest breakout star: former Penn State lacrosse star Chris Hogan. While Belichick will forever be remembered as one of the best football coaches, he grew up a lacrosse player and fan. With Hogan’s lax legacy with the blue and white, it’s no surprise that Belichick would take a chance on him after Hogan spent three season with the Buffalo Bills. That chance has paid off for the Pats better than anyone could have expected. [...]



Penn State vs Wisconsin Preview: The Road Gets Tougher

2017-01-24T07:02:16-05:00

After the blowout loss against Purdue, Penn State looks to have a better showing against Wisconsin. Coming into this season there were three Big Ten teams Pat Chambers had never beaten in his tenure. After the game against Michigan State, that list has gone down to two. The Nittany Lions have the opportunity to whittle that list to one if they can do the impossible and beat the Badgers on Wednesday night at the Kohl Center. The Badgers are one of the best home teams in the Big Ten, rarely losing at the Kohl Center. Combine that with Wisconsin being one of the best teams in the Big Ten this season, and you can start to see the massive uphill climb the Nittany Lions will embark in this game. The good news this time around is that, unlike Purdue, Penn State matches up much better against this Badgers squad. The size advantage Purdue posed against the Lions is not as drastic with Wisconsin, which could allow for the Lions to play more comfortably than they did on Saturday. Also, the Nittany Lions could be catching Wisconsin at the right time, as the Badgers’ recent play against Michigan and Minnesota has made them look more human against teams close to Penn State’s caliber. Scouting the Opposition Wisconsin is the slowest team in the Big Ten, and one of the slowest in the nation, with an adjusted tempo of 63.8 possessions per 40 minutes. What they lack in pace they make up for in efficiency, having the third most efficient team in the Big Ten so far. This has been a staple of Wisconsin for many years now, and it’s made even better by having every player from last season return this year. Wisconsin’s returning cast includes the preseason player of the year and overall threat Nigel Hayes, trusty sharp shooter Bronson Koenig, and inside black hole Ethan Happ. Those three, along with Vitto Brown and Zak Showalter, take up the majority of the minutes on Wisconsin’s roster. D'Mitrik Trice and Khalil Iverson make frequent appearances, with the former being 55% from three this season, so Penn State should take note when Trice is on the floor. With Vitto Brown’s status for the game still uncertain as of this writing, there’s a strong chance Wisconsin may look to make up that production with Trice’s ability from outside. What to Watch For There are two things* Penn State needs to do if it wants to win this game. First and foremost, they need to speed Wisconsin up. The Badgers are not comfortable running up and down the floor, so the more possessions the Lions can force, the better their chances at staying with the Wisconsin in this game. In tandem with the first point, Penn State has to ensure Wisconsin has empty possession on the offensive end. Josh Reaves will need to have his imprints all over the game in order to take Wisconsin out of their comfort zone and into the Nittany Lions’. Mike Watkins is another player who needs to have a good game if the Lions are to compete. If Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes are allowed to do whatever they want inside, a repeat of Purdue will be very likely. This game will not be won outside, and while having Payton Banks and Shep Garner find their shots consistently would be welcome, this is not a game the Nittany Lions can afford to turn into a 3-point contest. That is a contest they’ll lose every time. Prediction This is certainly a game Penn State can be competitive in. Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes are two of the best players in the Big Ten, but they’re not Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan. If Penn State is able to play their own game and force Wisconsin to speed up, and if Vitto Brown does end up missing this game, it’s likely that the Lions can stay in it till the end. Predicting a win however, as with Purdue a few days ago, is just not realistic.Wisconsin 67, Penn State 59. *There are really many things they need to do, but I digress. [...]



DT Brenon Thrift Exits Penn State Football

2017-01-23T18:56:01-05:00

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The Nittany Lions lose the second defensive tackle since the end of the 2016 season.

Brenon Thrift joined Penn State just prior to signing day in February of 2016. Less than a year later, Thrift has decided to move on from the program.

Thrift was one of two JUCO defensive linemen to join the Nittany Lions as part of the 2016 class, along with Tyrell Chavis. While Chavis contributed to the defense as part of a deep rotation of defensive linemen, Thrift was unable to make his way on to the field or crack the depth chart throughout 2016.

Thrift originally began his career at Temple in 2014 before transferring to Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. as a sophomore. Penn State was the biggest program to offer Thrift, who also received offers from Akron and Central Florida, as well as several FCS schools such as James Madison and Idaho.

Thrift joins Antoine White as the second defensive linemen to leave the program since the end of the 2016 season.




Penn State Football 2016 Offensive MVP: The Case For Trace McSorley

2017-01-23T10:08:29-05:00

Next in our series of MVP candidates is Penn State’s quarterback, Trace Mcsorley. For the past few weeks, we at Black Shoe Diaries have been discussion several candidates to serve as MVPs of the offense and defense. Today we take a look at the Nittany Lions’ quarterback, Trace McSorley. McSorley isn’t your prototypical NFL quarterback, as he lacks the pure arm strength and height to make NFL scouts drool. As such, he wasn’t a coveted recruit coming out of high school. What he lacked in prototypical metrics, however, he made up in, what do you call it, Moxie. McSorley started at quarterback all four years in high school, and reached the Virginia State Championship every time (won three of them). That competitiveness would prove useful later on. McSorley committed to Vanderbilt, and followed James Franklin from there to Penn State. He was recruited to play both quarterback and safety out of high school. He opted to play quarterback at the college level, and sat his first season as a redshirt. His second season, he backed up Christian Hackenberg for the year, and saw his first meaningful action in the TaxSlayer Bowl against Georgia. In that game, McSorley threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns, leading a comeback effort that fell one pass short of being completed. This was only the beginning. Having put his time in, McSorley took over as the starter this season and did not disappoint. Even with his rocky start where he had most of his turnovers for the season, including three of his 8 interceptions, McSorley proved that he would excel in this offense. He only got better as the season progressed. McSorley’s competitiveness and desire to win showed after his worst game against Michigan, where he apologized to the fans for that type of performance. He and his teammates assured the fans that this would not happen again, and it didn’t. He bounced back after that game and began using his legs more and more, which opened up the passing game to heights not seen since Daryll Clark was running the offense. His ability to avoid sacks when the offensive line wasn’t at its best allowed for drives to remain alive when, previously, this would lead to stalled drive after stalled drive. After his gutsy performance in the second half against Minnesota, McSorley simply poured it on. Even when the running game wasn’t working to perfection, McSorley found ways to connect with his litany of weapons through the air. And as he got more comfortable with the offense, his completion percentage improved, and his turnovers nearly vanished, and his rushing and passing yards increased, and the offense got better as a whole. By the time they Nittany Lions finished the Rose Bowl (via winning the Big Ten, which, again, was something not done at Penn State since Daryll Clark was commandeering the offense), McSorley already held the records for single season passing yards and touchdowns, previously held by Matt McGloin and Daryll Clark, respectively. There’s no denying that guys like Saquon Barkley are once in a lifetime type players. However, Trace McSorley has proved to be an integral part of this offense, and has single-handedly kept the Lions in games where, had he not been there, would have gone the other way. His improvement over the past season has added a dimension to the offense we haven’t seen since Daryll Clark, and like that season, it’s led to Penn State being at the top of the Big Ten yet again. The sky is the limit for The Wizard and the rest of the offense moving forward. [...]



PSUers in the NFL, Conference Championship: A Hulk Out for Hogan

2017-01-23T09:10:01-05:00

It’s Jesse James against Chris Hogan in this week’s edition of PSUers in the NFL. Who came out on top? This week’s game: Patriots-Steelers (C. Hogan vs. J. James) (The NFC Championship contained no former Penn State players) One of these players gave a solid first half effort, while the other player just balled out. Jesse James: Finished with five catches for 48 yards. His first catch was a seven yard reception gave the Steelers a first down on their second possession. James’ second grab was good for six yards and set up DeAngelo Williams’ touchdown run, making it 10-6. His third reception was good for 11 yards and another first down. His fourth grab went for 18 yards, just missing a touchdown. (The Steelers had to settle for a field goal.) James just missed a diving grab for a first down in the third quarter. Jesse got back on the stat sheet with his fifth catch (for a six yard gain) late in the fourth quarter. Chris Hogan: Set a Patriots record with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns His first catch was a four yard reception that gave the Patriots a first down on their third possession. He made his second catch on the next play for a 27 yard gain. Hogan’s third straight catch went for 11 yards and another first down. Hogan’s fourth catch of the drive was the 16-yard touchdown that gave the Patriots a 10-0 lead. After dropping a pass, Hogan’s fifth reception went for four yards. Hogan made a 22 yard catch a play later on third down for his sixth grab. Hogan’s seventh reception went for 34 yards and his second touchdown of the first half. The former Penn State lacrosse star’s eight catch (and first of the second half) went for 24 yards. Hogan’s ninth reception went for 39 yards, and the Patriots scored two plays later to make it 27-9. Hogan dropped two more potential touchdowns in the second half. Super Bowl 51: Patriots-Falcons (Hogan) [...]



Committany Nation: Dylan Rivers Flips to Virginia Tech

2017-01-23T07:00:02-05:00

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Penn State’s 2017 recruiting class took a big hit at linebacker, as Dylan Rivers switched his commitment to Virginia Tech.

Linebacker Recruiting Woes Continue At Linebacker-U

If there was one spot the Nittany Lions couldn’t afford to take a hit, it was linebacker. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Penn State, as longtime commit Dylan Rivers rescinded his verbal to the Nittany Lions, flipping his commitment to Virginia Tech.