2006 WWN PENN STATE PREGAME #5

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Northwestern Wildcats

For the second time in two seasons, the Northwestern game appears to be a turning point for the Nittany Lions. Last year, the Lions, especially QB Mike Robinson, played a sloppy game, yet somehow overcame the Wildcats. After that, they rolled through the Big11Ten schedule (for the most part) and to the #3 ranking.

Penn State Gameday CentralIntercollegiate Athletics

LAST WEEK

Penn State kept it close, but was not agressive enough around the goal line and fell at #1 Ohio State. Recap

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT: NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

Northwestern lost their head coach, Randy Walker, over the summer to a heart attack. Their new coach, Pat Fitzgerald, was a star there in the mid-90s and was being groomed to take over for Walker in a few years. Fitzgerald was coached by current Lions linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden, then assistant head coach, at Northwestern.

So far, the Wildcats are 2-2 with loses to Nevada and New Hampshire, the #1 team in I-AA. They beat Miami, Walker’s alma mater, in an emotional season opener.

NEW NO RANKING

The loss at OSU pushed Penn State into the “others recieving votes” category. It could be weeks before they return to the top 25.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Transcript | Audio (Fight On State)

IMPORTANT ARTICLES

  • Two coaches, 48 years difference Penn State vs. NorthwesternPost-Gazette
  • Questions swirl around WildcatsCDT
  • Beaver stadium to see changesThe Collegian
  • DAVID JONES Big Ten scores high on computersPatriot-News
  • Penn State fans don’t want thesePatriot-News
  • PSU doesn’t know which QB it will seePatriot-News
  • JEFF RICETime for PSU critics to reassessCDT

    BEANO WATCH

    Carroll H. Cook (’54 Pitt) had nothing to say about Penn State. Nothing. A shut out. Goose egg. Nil.

    TELEVISION

    The contest is being televised by ABC at 3:30 p.m. some of the nation, but not WJLA-TV 7 in Washington. Coverage Map

    WEATHER

    State College-based Accuweather says the high will be 60°F, but it will feel like 56°F, with clouds and sun. Some light rain may show up later in the day. Other than the rain, it looks like perfect football weather.

    TAILGATING

    I’m hosting a tailgate in either lot 12 or 13. Look for the Yurasko flag.

    MORE COVERAGE

  • Penn State Football Official Site – from the “Kremlin”
  • CDT coverage
  • Patriot-News coverage
  • Post-Gazette coverage
  • Tribune-Review coverage
  • 50 Yard Lion Blog – an Altoona dentist; daily (Patriot-News)
  • PA Sports Blog – mostly recruiting, if that is your thing
  • NittPickers – fans who work for the Patriot-News
  • No Cheering Aloud – sportswriters at the Patriot-News
  • Nittany Lines Blog — sports ed. from The Morning Call
  • Jeff Rice’s blog — PSU football beat writer at the CDT
  • Ask Jeff Q & A (CDT)
  • Monday Morning QB – Steve Smith (CDT)
  • FightOnState.com — free
  • Blue White Illustrated — Phil Grosz, subscription required

    PREDICTIONS

    This is a big game for the Nittany Lions and I think they will respond. Last year’s Northwestern game was the turning point and this year will be, too. A loss this weekend pretty much ends the season, while a victory keeps it going.

    There is no way that the Wildcats can keep up with the Nittany Lions. I expect Penn State to establish the run and take more shots downfield. Getting Anthony Morelli comfortable is the #1 priority in my mind. Wideouts Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and A.J. Wallace all need more touches on Saturday.

    Defensively, Penn State will be fine, the unit is really starting to come together, especially CB Justin King.

    I expect Penn State to win 30-17, not an overwhelming victory, but a victory nonetheless.

    IN CLOSING

    Go STATE, beat Wildcats!

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  • i-99 clean-up plan approved

    I-99 plan approvedCDT
    The environmental mitigation for the i-99 stretch near Skytop has been approved and will get underway immediately. Completion is expected in the middle of 2008, so next football season will be the last time drivers will have to use US-220 to get to State College.

    Unless this gets screwed up again or goes into litigation.

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    Thanks Nats!

    Last night’s win clinched the season series with the Phillies for Washington, 10-9. In doing so, the Nationals won my “mayor’s bet” with the Ombudsman. In addition to the universial currency of bragging rights (and a concession speech!), I also get to enjoy a trip to Jim’s Steaks for a celebratory cheesesteak (with whiz and raw onions).

    It is nice to actually win one of these things for a change. Good luck this weekend Ombudsman, we need your Phightin’s to save us from two California teams in the NL playoffs.

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    4:27 rain delay

    Another Bizarre Day for Nats Ends With WinThe Post
    After waiting until 11:32 p.m. to get the game started, the Nationals, led by a resurgent Mike O’Connor, took out the Phillies 3-1 on Ryan Zimmerman‘s 22nd birthday. The loss puts the Fleas two back in the wild card race. An Inky columnist is very grouchy about the whole thing.

    Both teams were adamant about getting the game in last night since it would have had to be made up Monday otherwise.

    Fans were apparently entertained (nationals.com) during the delay. No word if Tom Paciorek did his Ray Romano/Cookie Monster impression over the p.a. though.

    More from The Wash. Times: Nationals, Phillies work late

    BoxscoreESPN


    Robinson Is Elusive After MeetingThe Post
    Frank Robinson is putting on a brave front, but you know that not being asked back next year is killing him. The front office handled this poorly.

    T(h)om Loverro of The Wash. Times also wants to see Robinson ‘s #20 retired (makes sense to me) and a position with the franchise.

    More from The Wash. Times: Nats should find place for legend


    Rick Snider: Even better than expectedThe Wash. Examiner
    Look! The Wash. Examiner is actually running a column online for a change. This one sings the praises of Zimmerman who is a strong candidate for rookie of the year.

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    Nats Season ticketholders meeting recap

    Several weeks ago, I was able to crash (pun intended) a Nationals season ticketholders meeting hosted by Stan Kasten. Belated thanks go to CrashRiley for the hookup. Some observations from the meeting:

    • Kasten reaffirmed the three tenets of his philosophy: player development, customer satisfaction, and community involvement. He explained very pragmatically why these pillars are so important.

    • Why so little farm system information? — he blamed the media for not doing it and said they may have to link to blogs from the team’s Web site, which sounds like good news for NFA.
    • people asked why the taxi stand did not have taxis
    • why the lines are so slow
    • will I get similar seats in the ballpark (asked about three times — YES)
    • I asked if there would be a Nats store any time soon, and it sounds like the answer is no. He said “off the record” that Angelo$ mentioned to him that the 17th Street Orioles store would be closing. That is public knowledge now.
    • Everyone laughed when I used the word “subsidized” to describe that other team.

    Also, I got bag of swag. Included in it were:

    • A “Take Me Out to the Nachos” t-shirt.

    • A notepad
    • Ryan Zimmerman dog tag
    • A pretty cheap Chinese-made Nats cap
    • Probably something else that I forgot.

    Oh and I think there is NO chance Soriano resigns here, it conflicts with Kasten’s philosophy. I understand where he is coming from on this one.

    Thanks again to CrashRiley for letting me tag along.

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    Nats take Fleas 14 innings before falling; Robinson done

    Phillies Finally Put Away Pesky Nationals in 14thThe Post
    The Nats lost a crazy game last night. Ryan Zimmerman got his 20th home run, breaking Brad Wilkerson’s franchise record for rookies. Starter Pistachio left with forearm stiffness (natonals.com).

    The Inky also called the Nats “pesky” in their game story headline.

    Tonight, the Nats and Fleas play the rubber game of this series and and the season series. I have alreday talked enough about what that means for me.

    More from The Wash. Times: Nationals show fight in 14-inning defeat

    BoxscoreESPN


    Nats Prepare to Part Ways With RobinsonThe Post
    The Nationals braintrust is apparently trying to figure how to inform Frank Robinson that he will not be retained.
    That increasing lack of communication, in part, has led to a growing feeling among members of the team, coaching staff, front office and, to a degree, even Robinson himself that a decision has been made. But officials are wrestling with how to best tell Robinson, a proud man with a deep history in the game who has, in many ways, served as the face of the Nationals franchise since it arrived here from Montreal before the 2005 season…

    In recent weeks, Robinson has been candid about his desire to know about his future before the season ends. “If it’s time to go, at least I want to be able to say goodbye,” he said in an interview last week.

    If club officials are to follow Robinson’s wish, it likely will have to happen by tomorrow. The Nationals are preparing for their final series of the year against the New York Mets, which they have dubbed “Fan Appreciation Weekend.” In theory, Robinson — who has a career record of 1,064-1,173– could be recognized during that series. In addition, the Lerners are devout Jews, and they are unlikely to make a major announcement during the upcoming holiday weekend.

    Yankees coach Tony Peña has been mentioned as a possible successor.


    Lerner: It’s only the beginningThe Wash. Times
    T(h)om Loverro has a Q&A with owner Mark Lerner.

    Zimmerman Has Case for Rookie HonorsThe Wash. Times
    In addition to his 20 homers, Zimmerman currently has 47 doubles, second all-time for rookies. Since sitting last week, he has been on fire, strengthening his bid for rookie of the year.

    Alex Ovechkin Throws Out First Pitch at Nationals GameWashington Capitals
    The NHL rookie of the year met up with the NL’s potential rookie of the year before the game last night. Ovechkin and other Capitals took batting practice, mingled with the Nats and signed autographs on the concourse. Capitals Defenseman Jamie Heward went yard. Expect to see more cross promotion between the two franchises in the future. The Lerners are investors in the Capitals.

    UPDATE: DC Sports Bog was has two posts on the Caps visit to RFK.

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    PSU scheduling rumor

    dl004d sent me a link to this article from something called BlackandGoldInsider.com. It says a home-and-home between Penn State and Pitt will start in 2009. We’ll see.

    I was not going to post this, because I don’t care much about Pitt, but if it had been someone like Rutgers I would have, so I guess I have to post this one too.

    You know who I would like to see Penn State play? Navy. They are local (to me at least) and could perhaps be convinced to move the game to FedEx Field like they did for Notre Dame once. That would be a very attractive home and home in my eyes because not only would it mean I could Metro to a Lions game, but an old series would be resumed.

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