Outback Bowl Preview: Penn State vs #21 Arkansas

33199548-0177-469C-B2E7-082EE3DF8D91
By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-5 Big Ten) return to the after losing 5-of-7 games to finish off the 2021 regular season campaign. At one point a Top 5 team, the Nittany Lions limped too the the finish line and an appearance in the Outback Bowl. 

No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4 SEC) were one of the bigger surprises this college football season. The Razorbacks complied right wins including two over Top 15 programs.  Head coach Sam Pittman was moments away from having Arkansas in the ten win club. Arkansas suffered a heartbreaking 52-51 loss to No. 17 Ole Miss and lost to CFP finalist No. 2 Alabama 42-35. 


This matchup could be the story of a team, Penn State, that woefully under achieved and an Arkansas squad that overachieved. The nation seems to think this is the case, Penn State is a 59.9% favorite according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. However, Vegas is favoring the overachiever, Arkansas is a 2.5-point favorite in most betting sites. 

Date: January 1, 2022

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

When: Noon/Eastern

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 1210 WPHT and the Penn State Radio Network

Series History 

This is the first ever matchup between Penn State and Arkansas. 

Continue reading "Outback Bowl Preview: Penn State vs #21 Arkansas " »


A Pair of Nittany Lions Opt Out of the Outback Bowl, Set Focus on NFL Draft

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Penn State will be a down a pair of All-Big Ten players when they take the field against No. 21 Arkansas on Sunday in the Outback Bowl.  Safety Jaquan Brisker and wide receiver Jahan Dotson have officially opted out of the bowl game and will focus on the upcoming NFL Draft process.  

Continue reading "A Pair of Nittany Lions Opt Out of the Outback Bowl, Set Focus on NFL Draft" »


Former Miami Coach Manny Diaz Named New DC at Penn State

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Former University of Miami head coach Manny Diaz has been announced as Penn State’s new defensive coordinator.  He takes over for Brent Fry who took the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. Diaz, 47, is coming off of a disappoint stint as head coach of “The U” where he compiled a 21-15 record at his alma mater. 

Despite the lackluster head coaching record at Miami, this is a very good hire for Penn State.  Diaz is considered by many to be one of the best defensive minds in college football.  He held the defensive coordinator position at multiple schools from 2006-2018.  Diaz’s defenses were routinely ranked near the top statistically.

Continue reading "Former Miami Coach Manny Diaz Named New DC at Penn State" »


Report: Penn State Co-Defensive Coordinator Anthony Poindexter to be Named Head Coach at Virginia

Poindexter

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

One of James Franklin’s in-house options to replace former defensive coordinator Brent Fry, now the head coach at Virginia Tech, looks to be hitting the road to Virginia as well.  Jerry Ratcliffe is reporting that co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter will be named the next head coach at the University of Virginia.  

The announcement could come as early as Monday evening. 

Poindexter, who spent 1995-1998 on the Cavaliers, was a consensus All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 1998.  His jersey, number 3, has been retired by the university.  He returned to Virginia as a graduate assistant in 2003 after a short run in the NFL with Baltimore and Cleveland.  Poindexter spent 2003-2013 with the Cavaliers before taking the defensive coordinator jobs at UConn (2014-16), Purdue (2017-2002), and Penn State (2021).

Continue reading "Report: Penn State Co-Defensive Coordinator Anthony Poindexter to be Named Head Coach at Virginia" »


Penn State Set for Outback Bowl Against Arkansas

OutbackPhoto: Penn State/@PennState_FB


Penn
State (7-5, 4-5 Big Ten) is headed to Tampa, FL to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4 SEC) in the annual Outback Bowl on January 1, 2022.  It will be the Nittany Lions fourth trip the Outback Bowl and first since 2011.  

The Outback Bowl, a New Year's Day tradition since 1995, pits the Big Ten against the SEC.  The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. 

Arkansas is ranked No. 22 in the final College Football Playoff poll and have wins over four ranked teams.  The Razorbacks ended their regular season with a 34-17 win over Missouri. The Nittany Lions are coming off a disappointing end of the season where they lost four of out their last six.  

The Outback Bowl will be the first match up between Penn State and Arkansas.  


Jordan Stout Becomes Sixth Nittany Lion Selected to the Senior Bowl

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Penn State will be sending six players, or more, to the prestigious Senior Bowl on February 5 in Mobile, AL. 

Nittany Lions’ place kicker/punter Jordan Stout, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, accepted an invite to play in the game on Thursday. 

Stout will join wide receiver Jahan Dotson, safety Jaquan Brisker, cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields, linebacker/defensive end Jesse Luketa, and defensive end Arnold Ebiketie in the all-star classic.

Players will spend the week leading up the game practicing and speaking with NFL representatives.  The Senior Bowl is considered the first step in the NFL Draft process. 


Brisker, Ebiketie Selected First Team All-Big Ten Defense

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker and defensive end Arnold Ebiketie had themselves quite a day.  Both were selected as consensus first-team All-Big Ten selections by the Big Ten media and coaches.  The duo were among ten Nittany Lions defensive players to take home All-Big Ten awards. 

Brisker, a COVID senior, returned to the Nittany Lions this season and it paid dividends for the Pittsburgh native.  In addition to his All-Big Ten status, Brisker was selected to play in the prestigious Resse's Senior Bowl in Alabama.  A team captain, he started every game for the Nittany Lions amassing 64-total tackles, six tackles-for-a-loss, one fumble recovery, one interception, and five pass breakups.  

Ebiketie, a red-shirt senior transfer from Temple, took a step up in competition and was rewarded mightily.  He recorded a season-high ten tackles in Penn State's upset loss to Illinois.  For the season, Ebiketie compiled 62-total tackles, 18-tackles-for-a-loss, 9.5-sacks, and two blocked kicks.  He is a finalist for the Hendricks Award which goes to the best defensive end in FBS football. 

Other Penn State defensvie All-Big Ten selections include:

Continue reading "Brisker, Ebiketie Selected First Team All-Big Ten Defense " »


Jahan Dotson Nabs All-Big Ten Honors

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson can add another accolade to his impressive 2021 season, first team All-Big Ten selection.  Dotson was the only Penn State offensive player to take home first team honors as selected by the Big Ten media.  He was selected second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. Dotson was also named as an honorable mention in the returner category. 

Dotson, a fourth year (COVID) junior, hauled in 91-receptions for 1,182-yards, and 12 receiving touchdowns this season for the Nittany Lions.   He also added a rushing touchdown to his ledger against Ohio State.  Dotson’s finest moment came in the Nittany Lions’ November 6 win over Maryland, he caught 11 passes for 242-yards, and three touchdowns.  His 242-yards was a career high and set a new Penn State single game record.

Continue reading "Jahan Dotson Nabs All-Big Ten Honors" »


Penn State DC Brent Pry Officially Named New Virginia Tech Head Coach

Fry JobPhoto: Virginia Tech Football/@HokiesFB

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Penn State’s coaching staff has taken it’s first hit of the chaotic college football coaching carousel.  Defensive coordinator Brent Pry has officially been named as the new head football coach at Virginia Tech.  Pry, 51, had been with Penn State since 2014 serving in various defensive roles.  He takes over a Virginia Tech program that had  a 27-season bowl streak snapped in 2020.  This will be Pry’s first head coaching job at any level.

Continue reading "Penn State DC Brent Pry Officially Named New Virginia Tech Head Coach" »


Penn State, James Franklin Agree to 10-Year Extension

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

In a surprise move, Penn State and head football coach James Franklin have reached an agreement on a 10-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $70 million.  Franklin, who recently switched agents, had been tied to the openings at LSU and USC in recent weeks.  The extension should quell those rumors, especially on the recruiting trail.

Franklin has been at Penn State since 2014 and has led the Nittany Lions six bowl games, including three NY6 bowl appearances, and a Big Ten Championship (2016).  He routinely has Penn State in the top ten recruiting classes according to 247Sports.  Franklin’s record as a head coach, including his time at Vanderbilt, is 91-48 overall and 5-4 in bowl games.

Continue reading "Penn State, James Franklin Agree to 10-Year Extension" »