Sep 24

Rutgers report card: The O gets straight D’s in Nebraska loss | Politi

The passing game was not good enough against Nebraska.

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Sep 24

Here are the 6 things wrong with Rutgers offense in 1-3 start | Who’s at fault?

Rutgers offense is an upgrade over last year’s worst-in-the-country, but it still isn’t getting the job done and it’s wearing out the defense

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2017/09/6_things_wrong_with_rutgers_offense_blame.html

Sep 24

Not a good enough job from Iowa football vs. Penn State

IOWA CITY — Everyone is telling the Hawkeyes good job. The Hawkeyes have a quick response.

“I’ll look at my phone in 10 minutes and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of texts from friends and family back home,” Iowa offensive lineman Sean Welsh said. “Regardless of what happened tonight, it wasn’t good enough. It might’ve been a good game, but we didn’t come out on top.”

Running back Akrum Wadley’s 70-yard touchdown catch-and-run was gorgeous, especially given the fact the Hawkeyes finally made Penn State pay for blitzing. Wadley’s 35-yard run on an inside zone might deserve its own mural. It definitely have Iowa a 19-15 lead with 1:42 left in the game.

Line up all of the stellar efforts from Iowa’s defense. They reach pretty high, don’t they? And is that linebacker Josey Jewell at the top? It should be. Jewell finished with 16 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, two pass breakups and an interception.

“I think anyone who saw the game realizes we easily could’ve won it,” junior defensive end Parker Hesse said. “We were almost there. We had the game in our hands. We weren’t able to come away with it.”

In the end, you were entertained by Saturday night’s sublime finish between No. 4 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) and the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1).

The Nittany Lions needed every second. Quarterback Trace McSorley hit wide receiver Juwan Johnson for a 7-yard TD as time ran out in PSU’s 21-19 victory at Kinnick Stadium before 66,205 fans Saturday night.

Stack all of the positives Iowa found late in this thing. The offense finally found away from PSU’s relentless blitz. Quarterback Nate Stanley hung in the pocket and finally victimized a blitz, with Wadley streaking past linebacker Jason Cabinda for a 70-yard TD that pulled Iowa to within 15-13 with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter.

Another finally for Iowa’s offense was Wadley’s 35-yarder that gave Iowa the lead 19-15 with 1:42. Iowa’s running game to this point contributed as much to the Hawkeyes’ effort as the goal posts did. But there it was, Iowa getting it when it needed it, Wadley delivering when it had to happen and the Hawkeyes were almost home.

“Some games, you get off early, some games it takes time,” said Wadley, who finished with 80 yards and a TD on 19 carries and led the Hawkeyes with four catches for 75 yards and a TD. “I have 100 percent faith in what the coaches call. I have faith in the line and wide receivers blocking downfield 100 percent.

“We just got going a little later than what we imagined.”

Iowa’s offense came alive in the fourth quarter. The Hawkeyes’ defense allowed a 295 rushing yards and 579 total. Still, it wasn’t easy to score for Penn State. Again and again Saturday night, Iowa’s defense played firetruck to the offense’s firebug. Iowa punted its first four drives and then on its fifth, Wadley was tackled in Iowa’s end zone by Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller for 5-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Hawkeyes went from treading water and allowing a safety to a fourth-quarter lead with 1:42 left against the No. 4 team in the country, the defending Big Ten champion and a team that hung a 41-14 black eye on them last November.

The statistics said blowout. The Hawkeyes said nuh uh.

“Our guys fought, simple as that,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s the beautiful thing about football.”

So you stack all of the positives that Iowa patched together late — and for Iowa’s defense, it was early, late and most of the game — and Penn State’s stack of goodness is just that much higher.

Running back Saquon Barkley can pretty much plan on being in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He rushed for 211 yards and a TD. He caught 12 passes for 94 yards. He is 5-11, 230 pounds and moves like a special effect.

“I cannot imagine that there’s a better player in college football,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years and this guy is special. I don’t know what his stats were or what he did, but every time he touched the ball, I don’t care if it was a 20-yard run or an 8-yard run, it was something special, it really was.”

Stacking the last Penn State thing that on the top of Penn State’s pile was quarterback Trace McSorley’s game-winner. Look at the replay of McSorley’s 7-yarder to wide receiver Juwan Johnson. It took the perfect line drive to make it through a carwash of Iowa secondary players.

With it being fourth down-and-everything-on-the-line, Iowa got out of its comfort zone and played man-to-man with a Jewell and linebacker Ben Niemann blitzing.

McSorley saw the window open and got the ball into Johnson before Iowa could close it.

“The guy made a good throw, he’s a good quarterback,” Iowa safety Amani Hooker said. “He just made a play.”

McSorley’s pass finished a 12-play, 80-yard drive.

Did that drive remind anyone of anything? Maybe the 2015 Big Ten championship game against Michigan State? The 22-play marathon that took a running back’s outstretched arm to keep the Hawkeyes from a Big Ten championship?

“It was eerily similar,” Welsh said.

The Hawkeyes will be in East Lansing, Mich., this weekend. Once again, they will be stacking as many positives as they can and maybe this time it will be enough for them to tolerate and maybe even enjoy a few “good jobs.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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Sep 24

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during national anthem

The A’s sent out a statement of support after Maxwell’s action during the national anthem.

      

 

 

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Sep 24

Omaha Burke tight end picks up offer from Huskers

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Chris Hickman has been receiving a lot of interest from Division I schools.

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Sep 24

Saquon Barkley provides ‘Whoa’ moments in Penn State win over Iowa

IOWA CITY — Saquon Barkley is getting Heisman Trophy hype for a reason.

There were 358 reasons on Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium, as he and his Penn State brethren got a last-second win, 21-19, against Iowa. A national TV audience watched as Barkley ran for 211 yards and a touchdown, caught 12 passes for 94 yards and returned three kicks for 54 yards to break a Penn State record for all-purpose yards.

He hurdled Hawkeyes cornerback Josh Jackson. He juked Josey Jewell on a play that should’ve gone for negative yardage but instead went for a first down.

Barkley was the star of the show, simply put.

“I cannot imagine that there’s a better player in all of college football,” Penn State Coach James Franklin said after the game. “This guy is special. I don’t know what his stats were or what he did, but every time he touched the ball I don’t care if it was a 20-yard run or an 8-yard run, it was something special, it really was.”

One of those special plays didn’t even involve him touching the ball at all.

On the game-winning pass from quarterback Trace McSorley to receiver Juwan Johnson, Barkley stayed in as a blocker — and had to pick up a hard-charging Jewell, who was blitzing up the middle.

One of the best running backs in football, and he wasn’t even a decoy. Franklin didn’t even flinch when he was asked about that play-call and Barkley’s role in it after the game.

“It’s in his job description, pass protection,” Franklin said.

That it is. And while it was one of his most important plays of the day, it wasn’t one of the several all 66,205 fans — yes, even the Iowa fans — will remember from Saturday.

You’d think his teammates would get used to seeing things like Barkley jumping over Jackson or stopping on a dime to shake multiple would-be tacklers, or outright breaking through two Hawkeyes who seemingly had him wrapped up. McSorley gave a half-laugh when asked if he was used to it, but shook his head no.

In two games against the Hawkeyes, Barkley now has 569 all-purpose yards (167 rushing, 44 receiving in the 2016 game). College football fans revel in his highlight-reel plays, and so do his teammates.

“There was a play where he was surrounded by four guys on the sideline and seemed like he didn’t make a move and somehow squirted out down the sideline with no room to operate,” McSorley said. “I think at that point I caught myself saying, ‘Oh my god, what was that?’

“I feel like he’s going to come up with some new way no one’s ever seen before to all make us kind of go, ‘Whoa.’ You’ve got to let him do what he does.”

Barkley isn’t really about the hype, though. He downplayed it in media availability going into the game, and apropos of a Big Ten player, he gave credit to his teammates and “best team sport in the world,” for what he was able to do.

He lauded Iowa’s defense for limiting Penn State from big plays — something the Hawkeyes were not able to do in 2016 — and for forcing the Nittany Lions to adjust on the fly, even while they were on the field for nearly 2/3 of the game.

Barkley said Saturday night was hardest he’d been hit “in a long time, yeah, I would say.”

But even he was forced, in the end, to acknowledge those plays, as McSorley said, that make you go, “whoa” — the plays the Hawkeyes’ defenders will have to force themselves to forget.

“Mostly that’s just instinct,” Barkley said. “That jump play (over Jackson) was third and six. Got to make a play, got to find a way. It was a critical moment of the game. Your body just takes over. You let go and you let God happen.”

MCSORLEY APOLOGIZES FOR PUNT

After McSorley knelt on the required point-after-touchdown attempt following the game-winning touchdown, the junior grabbed the game ball and kicked it high in the air in celebration of Penn State’s victory.

The Kinnick Stadium crowd booed him vociferously. It took McSorley no time at all to address that after the game, interrupting the first question he was asked to apologize.

“I just want to apologize for what happened at the end of the game after I took the knee,” McSorley said. “I meant absolutely no disrespect to Iowa or their program or their fans. I was caught up in the moment and I apologize for it. They really fought hard and gave us a fight all 60 minutes. I don’t want to say we’re lucky to pull it out, but you don’t get those kinds of games like that all the time.

“I just got caught up in the moment and wanted to apologize to Coach Ferentz, Josey Jewell, really their entire team. They’re tremendous guys, all class over there.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

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Sep 24

Watch: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa players on Penn State loss

Hear from Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz (above) and seven players (playlist below) after No. 4 Penn State beat the Hawkeyes 21-19 on the final play of the game Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium.Iowa is now 3-1, 0-1 in the Big Ten.

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Sep 24

College football: Penn State escapes Iowa on final play, 21-19

IOWA CITY — Juwan Johnson spoiled the party Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium.

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Sep 24

Husker defense was tough to move against in second half

Bob Diaco still isn’t much of a stat guy. The stat that really matters is having one more point than the other team, the first-year Nebraska defensive coordinator has said.

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Sep 24

Iowa football Game Report: Penn State 21, Hawkeyes 19

PLAY OF THE GAME

The Setup – Penn State took over for its final drive with 1:42 remaining in the Big Ten Conference opener, needing 80 yards and a touchdown to beat Iowa, which had just gone up 19-15 thanks to a 35-yard touchdown run by Akrum Wadley.

With two timeouts and likely the nation’s best running back in Saquon Barkley, the Nittany Lions drove 73 yards in 11 plays, all but one through the air – the lone rush from quarterback Trace McSorley, who was flushed out by the Hawkeyes pass rush. McSorley found four different receivers, including Barkley to set up the game-winning play from the seven yard-line with four seconds remaining.

The Iowa defense, which was on the field for 11 of the 15 minutes of the fourth quarter, hit McSorley and nearly intercepted a pass on that final drive – but only nearly.

What Happened – McSorley lined up in the shotgun on fourth and goal from the Iowa seven yard-line with 0:04 to go and Barkley next to him in the backfield. While most in the stadium probably expected the Heisman candidate to see the ball, Barkley was tasked as a blocker.

McSorley took five quick steps back as Barkley stepped up to block a blitzing Josey Jewell and fired up the seam to wide receiver Juwan Johnson, who was breaking on a route in the slot while being defended by Iowa safety Miles Taylor.

The Results – McSorley had the ball out on Johnson’s break and it found the 6-foot-4 sophomore in the back of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown as the clock hit 0:00.

The Nittany Lions dashed the Hawkeyes’ hopes of another top-five upset on a night game at Kinnick Stadium, wearing down Iowa’s defense on a drive emblematic of the game. Penn State ran 99 plays to Iowa’s 45, and possessed the ball for 39:39 compared to Iowa’s 20:21.

The last-second touchdown carried Penn State to 4-0 this season and 1-0 to start Big Ten play, while it dropped Iowa to 3-1 and 0-1.

-Jeremiah Davis

THE LAST STAND

At least two of the food vendors on Melrose Avenue across the street from Kinnick Stadium were selling bottled water for the very reasonable price of $1.

“We won’t gouge anybody,” said Tom Slade of Solon, who was working at The Last Stand.

Someone at Mincer Country Catering’s stand echoed that, saying “That wouldn’t be right on a hot day like this.”

Meanwhile, among the many shirts for sale at the Hawkeye Fan Shop stand on Melrose was one that said “Hawkeyes Against the Nation.”

It’s an Us-Against-the-World mentality, sure. But it doesn’t seem very patriotic.

This doesn’t seem very patriotic to me: pic.twitter.com/5iMhwcqWzd

— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) September 23, 2017

-Mike Hlas

GREENWAY HONORED

One of the best linebackers in Iowa history made his return to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night, and it was plainly obvious how excited he was about it.

 

Former Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was Iowa’s honorary captain while being honored as the latest member of the America Needs Farmers Wall of Honor. Greenway made a couple of appearances at midfield – first for the coin toss, then to get his ANF award – and did his best to get the Kinnick Stadium crowd going, gesturing wildly and waving his arms.

Greenway played at Iowa from 2002-05 and was named All-American in his junior and senior seasons before going onto a 10-year NFL career with the Vikings, which ended after last season. A South Dakota native, Greenway is the first non-Iowan to be named to the ANF Wall of Honor.

-Jeremiah Davis

BY THE NUMBERS

66,205 – Attendance for Saturday’s game

358 – All-purpose yards for Penn State’s Saquon Barkley

105 – Yards in two scoring plays by Akrum Wadley

99 – Plays ran by Penn State

80 – Yards on the game-winning drive by Penn State

48 – Total yards in the first half for Iowa

16 – Total tackles by Josey Jewell

11 – Minutes Penn State had possession in the fourth quarter

4 – Sacks by Iowa

3 – Quarterback hurries by Iowa freshman A.J. Epenesa

3 – First downs in the first half for Iowa

2 – Turnovers forced by Iowa

2 – Field goals blocked in the game

1 – Play run in Penn State territory by Iowa in the first half

0 – First half rushing yards for Wadley, on 10 carries

-Jeremiah Davis

INJURY REPORT

Iowa’s injuries had started to add up through the first three weeks, in which the Hawkeyes saw several key players miss time or sustain injuries that would keep them out for a while. Despite that and a bruising game against Penn State, the Hawkeyes went essentially injury-free Saturday night against the Nittany Lions.

The Hawkeyes started the same five offensive linemen for a second straight week for the first time this season – a feat last accomplished late last season. Boone Myers, who had missed some time earlier this season with a leg injury played the whole game, and the only time a regular starter left the field was in the first half, when Keegan Render had to by rule after his helmet came off.

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley returned after missing most of the second half against North Texas with a leg injury – for precautionary reasons – and was mostly bottled up by Penn State, save for a 70-yard touchdown reception and 35-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

The only Hawkeye player who flirted with an injury Saturday night was cornerback Manny Rugamba, who came up limping on the first series of the game, but never left the field.

-Jeremiah Davis

UP NEXT

Iowa heads on the road for the first time in Big Ten Conference play next week, going to East Lansing, Mich., and Spartan Stadium to face Michigan State (2-1). The Hawkeyes haven’t been on the road to face the Spartans since 2012, when they left with a 19-16 victory. Since then, the teams have played just twice – both losses, the latest of which in the 2015 Big Ten Championship game. Michigan State enters the matchup coming off a 38-18 home loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night. The game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff on FOX.

l Comments: (319) 368-8884; jeremiah.davis@thegazette.com

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Sep 24

The PG Version: Parker Gabriel’s extra points from Huskers-Scarlet Knights

Nebraska football writer Parker Gabriel offers his extra points from Nebraska’s 27-17 win over Rutgers.

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Sep 24

Here's how NFL teams have responded to Donald Trump

NFL teams joined the players, players association and commissioner in speaking out against Donald Trump’s statements.

      

 

 

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Sep 24

Steven M. Sipple: ‘Stone cold’ Lee shrugs off boo-birds while teammates have his back

Tanner Lee’s performance Saturday was acceptable. Nothing more than that.

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Sep 24

No. 4 Penn State 21, Iowa 19 — It’s OK if you take a minute

IOWA CITY — When you first pick up the weight of the world, it’s not so bad. You kind of get used to it and think, all right, let’s do this.

Well, no one told you exactly how much the weight of the world weighs. And no one tells you how long you have to lug around the weight of the world. Pretty soon, the weight of the world is heavy and you’re looking for someplace to set it down.

Well, the Hawkeyes, carrying the weight of an embarrassing loss at Happy Valley for nearly a year, finally dropped the weight of the world just inches short of a season-maker.

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley hit wide receiver Juwan Johnson for a 7-yard TD as time ran out, giving the No. 4 Nittany Lions a 21-19 victory over the Hawkeyes before 66,205 fans Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium.

During the run-up this week, of course, Penn State’s meaty victory over the Hawkeyes last year came up and came up a lot. It was 599 yards against Iowa, the second-most in head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 19 sesaons.

The defense got the note that it should show up. Iowa’s offense, given no room to operate by a super-aggressive Penn State defense, got what it needed from senior running back Akrum Wadley.

Wadley took a read-option hand off, got a perfect seal from the offensive line, mainly guard Ross Reynolds, and 35 yards later he took one high step into the end zone and into your memories.

Iowa had a 19-15 lead with 1:42 left in the game. Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) needed an 80-yard drive and it got it.

McSorley led a 12-play, 80-yard drive that needed the whole 1:42 that was remaining in the game. Iowa safety Amani Hooker got within inches of defending the game-winner, but it was a perfect pass from McSorley.

A lot of Kinnick sat stunned. It’s OK if you took a minute after this one.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is everything. The junior drizzled speed, power, hands and mostly elusivness all over Kinnick Stadium.

On a third-and-6 about midway through the fourth quarter, Barkley took a swing pass, leaped hard-charging cornerback Josh Jackson (he’s 6-2, by the way) and notched the first down with a 10-yard gain.

Barkley was all-everything Saturday night. He finished with 305 yards of offense (211 rushing, 94 receiving) and a TD.

And finally it was just too much for Iowa (3-1, 0-1).

Yes, it took four quarters for PSU to get to that “finally.” Iowa never yielded.

After three mostly empty quarters, Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley ran a beautifully executed pass to Wadley. The play was into a blitz. Penn State kept that button mashed the entire game. But Stanley hung in the pocket and delivered to the wide-open Wadley, who burst through the middle of PSU’s defense for a 70-yard TD.

Trailing 15-13, Iowa went for a 2-point pass. Penn State had three defenders around tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Penn State outgained Iowa, 579 to 273, but somehow it was a game that went down to the last play, one that was achingly close to Iowa’s defense saving the day.

Iowa hung on to a 7-5 lead. But after Iowa’s offense started the second half with its fifth three-and-out, the Lions took an 8-7 lead on Tyler Davis’ 21-yard field goal with 10:42 left in the third quarter.

The Hawkeyes answered with what had to have felt like a ray of hope for the Kinnick crowd on a hot summer night. Stanley caught Penn State offsides and made the most of the free play, hitting wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 29-yard gain to the Lions’ 35.

If you consider Iowa’s offensive output at this point in the game, this was momentus. On the next play, Wadley broke free. At the end of his run, he came out of a spin move and PSU safety Marcus Allen put his helmet right on the ball. Penn State recovered the ball and it went right back to Barkley.

Eight plays later, the officials reviewed whether or not he scored on an 8-yard run. They might’ve been checking for beauty. All night, Barkley ran like the kid who drove his own car to the junior high football game. He was the biggest, baddest and flashiest player on the field.

Even with the weight of the world hammering down on it, Iowa’s defense allowed the Hawkeyes to keep a foot in the door.

True freshman defensive end A.J. Epenesa sacked and stripped McSorley and the Hawkeyes recovered at Iowa’s 45. Wadley took a slip draw handoff 20 yards to PSU’s 20.

Allen blitzed from his safety spot and sacked Stanley for a 4-yard loss on first down. The drive, a chance to possibly tie the game, was smothered and then, for good measure, a Lion got a hand on Miguel Recinos’ 36-yard field goal.

Penn State called an aggressive defensive game plan against the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s offensive line was overwhelmed by speed and/or bodies. Penn State took away Iowa’s inside zone running play and most of everything else.

Iowa played like it wanted points for degree of difficulty in the first half. It simply made things harder than it needed to be.

The Lions would put together a drive, but then something would happen, mostly Iowa standing tall on defense.

Penn State drove to Iowa’s 35 on its opening drive. Jewell killed it with a tackle for loss on a second-and-3. Next drive, Nelson came up with his first sack on third down.

Next drive, linebacker Bo Bower saved a TD with a tackle of McSorley and the Lions settled for Davis’ 19-yard field goal.

The standing tall continued. And again, it was Jewell.

On a third-and-5 from Iowa’s 23, Jewell blitzed and batted down a pass. Davis missed a 41-yarder. Iowa stopped the next drive on a QB hurry on third down.

The Iowa offense was stuck in the FieldTurf. The Hawkeyes faced a second-and-8 from their 3. Stanley pitched the ball to Wadley and Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller was untouched. There was a pile on Wadley in the black of the end zone and it was 7-5 Lions with 7:40 left in the first half.

Iowa’s offense was pinned. Iowa’s first half starting field positions were its 9, 10, 18, 23, 1 and 22. It was a Hawkeye punt-a-lanche. But … but … the defense refeused to tap out.

The defense’s stubborness accounted for Iowa’s point.

On a first-and-10 from Penn State’s 45, Iowa defensive end Sam Brincks won an outside rush and just got to McSorley’s arm while he was throwing a pass. The ball went duck in the air and right to Jewell.

Jewell returned the ball to PSU’s 21. On Iowa’s only play on PSU’s side of the field in the first half, Stanley, blitzed relentlessly all night, hit wide receiver Nick Easley for a 21-yard TD with 37 seconds left before halftime.

Through sheer cussedness from the defense, Iowa had life and a 7-5 halftime lead.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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Sep 24

Notebook: Pierson-El breaks out in return game; offensive line rebounds; third-down success; Stille solid

Mike Riley and Scott Booker each stood steadfast in their confidence in senior punt returner De’Mornay Pierson-El this week.

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