Skydiver with UCF-Penn State game ball landed outside stadium (Video)

ucf-skydiverPenn State and UCF got their 2014 football seasons underway on Saturday across the Atlantic Ocean in Dublin, Ireland.

Not surprisingly, there were pregame festivities at Croke Park Stadium, which included skydivers representing both teams delivering game balls. As we can see above, Penn State’s skydiver did what we have come to expect in such situations.

UCF’s skydiver, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortunate as he missed the stadium altogether.

Penn State went on to win the game 26-24 thanks to a 36-yard field goal by Sam Ficken as time expired.

I mean, if there was ever a sign Saturday wasn’t going to be Central Florida’s day, their skydiver landing on a railway line outside of the stadium had to be it, right?

H/T SB Nation

Report: James Franklin expected to become Penn State head coach

James-Franklin-assistants-hot-wivesJames Franklin is reportedly expected to become the next head coach at Penn State, as first reported by Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.

Franklin has been the head coach at Vanderbilt since 2011, where he has led the Commodores to back-to-back top-25 finishes over the past two seasons. Vanderbilt has also won bowl games in each of its last two seasons and gone 18-8 in the SEC during that span. Prior to Franklin’s arrival, the team won just 13 SEC games in 10 years.

Last month, Franklin was one of a number of names that was rumored to be in connection with the USC job. That position went to former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian. When Bill O’Brien left Penn State for the Houston Texans last week, Franklin immediately became a candidate for the Penn State job. Franklin’s departure will not please Vanderbilt alum Brandt Snedeker, who recently made the coach a unique offer:

It was only a matter of time before Franklin left Vanderbilt for a more high-profile job. He has certainly earned the right.

Bill O’Brien got tired of the ‘Joe Paterno people’ at Penn State

Bill O'BrienBill O’Brien did all that he could and then some with a Penn State program that was reeling in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator compiled a 15-9 record through two seasons with a program that was banned from postseason play and stripped of several scholarships. So why did he leave?

For starters, O’Brien enjoys coaching at the professional level. That became even more obvious about a month ago, when O’Brien vented to David Jones of PennLive.com after longtime Penn State assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden left the program. O’Brien was asked if he was worried that the departure of Vanderlinden — a Paterno hire — would be met with resistance. He unloaded with a series of powerful quotes that Jones chose not to print until this week.

“You can print this: You can print that I don’t really give a s— what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program,” O’Brien said. “I’ve done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it.

“For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now.”

O’Brien then went off about how he had been accused of making excuses every time he reminded folks that he is doing the best he can with a program that essentially faced the death penalty.

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Penn State recruit Zayd Issah arrested for reportedly using fake money at McDonald’s

MoneyIt is going to take a lot of hard work and patience for Penn State to rebuild its football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The last thing the school needs is a recruit getting arrested for trying to use funny money at a fast food restaurant.

According to The Patriot News, class of 2013 linebacker recruit Zayd Issah was arrested on March 9 for allegedly trying to use counterfeit money at a McDonald’s restaurant. A police report from Susquehanna Township officers stated that Issah, 18, and two friends, 18-year-old Devacio Mcgowan and 19-year-old Brandon Wallace, attempted to use counterfeit $20 bills at the drive-thru. Employees took down the license plate number of the car they were driving and called the police, which led to their arrests.

The other two suspects allegedly pinned the blame on Issah, saying he had used counterfeit bills at two other locations. Police said they also discovered a Facebook conversation between Issah and one of the other suspects that proved Issah knew the money was fake and discussed a plan to “clean” it. He has been charged with two felony counts, one for forgery and conspiracy to forgery, and four misdemeanor charges of theft by deception.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said Issah has been cooperating and that it is unlikely he would receive a jail sentence even if convicted. While Issah is not the first college-bound athlete to make an attempt at stealing fast food, it is unknown how the incident will affect his future at Penn State.

H/T The Big Lead

Penn State honors 2012 team at Beaver Stadium (Picture)

Penn State decided to honor the 2012 football team alongside many of the other best squads in the program’s history with some special recognition inside Beaver Stadium.

Prior to Saturday’s season finale against Wisconsin, “2012” was unveiled as the latest edition to the strip below the luxury boxes at Beaver Stadium. Only teams that have gone undefeated or won national or conference championships get a spot on the facade, but an exception was made for the 2012 team.

Penn State was punished by the NCAA prior to the season for its role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and all the players in the program had the option to transfer schools. Many of them stayed and, despite starting the season 0-2, they battled to finish 8-4.

“There have been some great teams in this program’s history — the 1982 and 1986 National Championship teams, the 1994 undefeated team — on the field,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “But no team has gone through more than this team. That’s why this senior class will go down as one of the greatest in Penn State history.”

Photo via Penn State/Twitter
H/T Game On!

Penn State won’t play ‘Sweet Caroline’ at football games

Penn State won’t play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at football games over concern regarding the song’s lyrics. Penn State is worried about perception — specifically the lyrics “touching you, touching me,” from the song — in light of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal that rocked the university and country.

Although “Sweet Caroline” has become a popular tune at Red Sox and Pitt football games, The Altoona Mirror confirmed that Penn State is removing the song from the football playlist for the upcoming season.

H/T The 700 Level

Jared Fagnano transferring into Penn State

Just when it seemed like everyone was transferring out of Penn State, one player is doing the opposite. Redshirt freshman Jared Fagnano is leaving Akron to transfer into Penn State even though the program has been punished by the NCAA for its role in allowing Jerry Sandusky to sexually abuse several children.

Fagnano is transferring primarily so he can play with his brother Jake, who is a redshirt senior and listed as the starting safety.

“I’ve always wanted to play football with Jake,” Jared said, according to Onward State. “I never got the chance to play with him because he graduated before I made the varsity team [in high school]. This will be a great experience because I’ll finally be able to go up against him and see for myself everything that he does.”

What’s strange is that Fagnano won’t really be playing with his brother. Jared will have to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, so the only time he’ll face his brother will be in practice.

It sounds like the new coaches’ opinion of Jake may have contributed to Jared’s decision to transfer.

“I can’t compare myself to someone like Jake considering all the hard work he’s put in to get to this point — you know, walking on four years ago and not getting reps but still sticking with it,” Jared said. “Then the new coaches came in and decided right away that he was their guy — that takes some real guts and love of the game to stay in it that long and come out on top for his last year … I have some big shoes to fill.”

Jared Fagnano felt like Akron wasn’t too interested in him as a player after he wasn’t invited to the school’s preseason camp.

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision because I liked Akron, I fit up there,” Jared told Nittany Nation. “But it was an easy decision in the sense I could play at Penn State and play with my brother. That’s always kind of been a dream for me, just to be on Penn State. I was real excited when I found out I had that opportunity.”

Though it looked like Penn State became one of the most undesirable programs to play for after they were punished and tied to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, they’ll probably be pleased to know at least one athlete still considers it a dream to play there. One thing’s for certain: this delusional fan will definitely be pleased.