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Douglas Robb hasn't written much since Joe Paterno passed away on January 22nd, 2012. He wrote a fitting tribute to Joe Paterno yesterday. He called it "The Joe I Know". Here is his story (which I feel honored that he allowed me to reprint here). Thanks Doug.
For me, growing up in State College, Pennsylvania was a great experience. Those who come to live and work in "Happy Valley" generally have a sense of loyalty about the place that endears itself to people who have lived there - even long after they move away. For those of us who are "Townies," this is especially true. Part and parcel of this is the atmosphere that revolves around Penn State.
After all, State College probably wouldn't be much of a town without Penn State. There is no major employer other than the University, save for the businesses that support State College and it's surrounding community. Many come to State College to attend Penn State, only to find employment there after they graduate. Some start businesses and stake their claim to their little piece of "Happy Valley".
That's how my family arrived at State College. After serving with the U.S. Navy, my dad - "Big Lou" - attended Penn State, as thousands of others had, through their G.I. Bill. Many veterans came from the cities, towns and rural communities around the state, to the school whose mission was "to educate the working class sons and daughters of the Commonwealth."
And so my Dad and my Mom came from their childhood home in Johnstown and began their life in "Happy Valley". Like so many before them, my Dad attended Penn State and my Mom raised our family. When my Dad graduated, he began working for Penn State and our family "took root" in State College.
The Penn State Nittany Lions football team finished #3 in the Nation during regular season play. They also won the Jan 3, 2006 BCS FedEx Orange Bowl against FSU (26-23)! It took a record-long, triple-overtime to win. See video highlights of the game ...
Penn State Nittany Lions win FedEx Orange Bowl
Takes Record-long, Triple-Overtime to Top FSU 26-23
I know a thing or two about oranges, growing up in soCal with citrus trees growing in our yard. The intoxicating, fragrant smell of orange blossoms in the spring. The tree-ripened sweetness of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.
The downside, is knowing what good citrus tastes like. It's rare that oranges purchased from an Edmonton grocery store live up to that standard. They're usually pithy and dry (frost-bitten), bruised, green or over-ripe. Even when they're juicy, they lack that tree-ripened sweetness.
So ... knowing oranges ... a blessing or a curse?
A Penn State football fan, I knew about the January 3rd Orange Bowl meeting between the #3-ranked Nittany Lions and #22 Florida State University Seminoles. The problem? Living in Edmonton, Canada. Here, New Years Day isn't synonymous with College Football Bowl games. I didn't check (because I was busy remodeling a certain bathroom), but I don't think ANY bowl games made into local programming on New Year's Day.
So, without on-air reminders, the evening of January 3rd appeared like any other New Year night.
Fortunately, while I was checking my email, I noticed someone reading the Geographically Challenged article on our web-site. "OMG," I realized, "I'm missing the GAME!!"
By the time I tuned into a radio broadcast, it was near the end of a (scoreless) 3rd quarter and Penn State was holding a narrow 14-13 lead. Depressed about missing the majority of the game I listened to a 4th quarter that looked like it would end with a Penn State win in the waning seconds ... as it turned out ... there was still LOTS more football than that!
The Agony of Defeat: Scott Paxton (41) puts his head in his hands, as Michigan teammates swarm in celebration, after making a TD on the final play of the game to win over Penn State. (I feel for you Scott. I was rooting for you guys.)
Wow. I don't think that anyone would argue that the game was boring! Especially the majority of the 111,000+ fans in Ann Arbor! What an exciting college football game! It all came down to Michigan's last play, a 4th-and-"do-or-die" deep in Penn State territory, with only 1 second left on the clock.
I still can't believe that Lloyd Carr (Michigan's head coach) had lobbied to add back 2 seconds to the game clock. If he hadn't done that, PSU would have been in the locker room, celebrating.
Penn State's offense came up with the clutch, go-ahead drive starting with about 2 minutes left on the clock and Michael Robinson is still my hero, with ANOTHER 4th-and-long play. What amazing composure, field of vision and running ability. He is truly exciting to watch (only I have to listen, because in Canada ... if it ain't on ice, it ain't on T.V.) If he could only aim his passes a tad lower when he gets jazzed up, his accuracy (and 3rd down conversions) would improve.
Up 4 points with about 30 seconds left, I was pretty confident that the game was in the bag. But, Michigan came back with an excellent kick-off return and then a series of plays. It was enough to make me shout and scream in denial and protest (poor Oop high-tailed it out of my office and Rachel knew to keep her distance)! I couldn't believe that Michigan cobbled their last drive together and faced with 4th down and one second left, I STILL had hopes that Penn State's defense would ensure a victory.
Chad Henne (Michigan's quarterback), made sure that wasn't going to happen. He connected with Mario Manningham, with no time on the clock, for the winning score. Congrats to Chad, Lloyd and his team! That's gotta feel REALLY good!
For Penn State ... with two turnovers, two missed field goals, a couple of in-opportune penalties and the special teams play (why did they allow that last run back?) ... those kind of mistakes and missed-opportunities come back to haunt you.
The offense was able to move the ball, no doubt. A nice long catch and a nice long run by Tony Hunt. Even better, Alan Zemaitis ripped the ball from Henne and ran it back 35 yards for a go-ahead score. (How I wished that I could have seen that play). Way to go Big "D"!
Still, in BIG games like this one ... it's the little things that'll kill you. Two missed field goals? C'mon! Two turnovers? C'mon! And the run-back from hell! With less than a minute left on the clock? C'mon!
Exciting play, for sure. (My only argument - the wrong team won.)
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I enjoy watching Penn State Football games, but I don't live in an area where they are often broadcasted. I don't live in Pennsylvania, so can't listen to radio stations in the Penn State Sports Network. My solution has been to listen online. Here are some links I use to listen to Penn State Football online.
Nov 9, 2013
Kickoff 12 pm (ET)
Game is televised nationally on ESPN2 (Blacked out on ESPN3)
(If you're geographically-challenged or don't get the game on your living room television - turn to Internet Radio or Internet TV!)
Since 2005, Randsco has been helping geographically-challenged Penn State fans listen or watch - online - to Penn State football games. 2011 will be no exception. Tell your friends, "If you can't get the game on your television or radio, go to randsco.com to find out where you can listen (or watch) live, online." Support Internet broadcasting!
[ Penn State - 10 | Minnesota - 24 | FINAL ]
31-Aug - Syracuse WIN 23-17
07-Sep - Eastern Michigan WIN 45-7
21-Sep - Kent State WIN 34-0
12-Oct - Michigan WIN 43-40 (4OT)
02-Nov - Illinois WIN 24-17 (1OT)
16-Nov - Purdue
23-Nov - Nebraska
30-Nov - @ Wisconsin
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State is back! They're on top of the Big Ten and back in the hunt for a National title.
Michael Robinson and Derrick Williams ran for touchdowns less than three minutes apart in the second quarter, and Paul Posluszny and the Nittany Lions' defense did the rest in a 17-10 victory over No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday night.
Win No. 349 for Joe Paterno was the type of victory some thought was only in the past for the 78-year-old coach. The 16th-ranked Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0) hadn't beaten a team so highly ranked since knocking off No. 4 Arizona to start the 1999 season.
On a chilly and damp night -- just perfect for a slugfest between two of the Big Ten's best defenses -- Penn State was out to prove that Paterno's once powerful program could again compete with the nation's elite after winning just three conference games the past two seasons.
The Nittany Lions did more than just hold their own against the Buckeyes (3-2, 1-1) and their vaunted defense, led by linebacker A.J. Hawk. Penn State bested the team considered the class of the league and Rose Bowl contender.
When Tamba Hali sacked Troy Smith and knocked the ball loose, it was recovered by Scott Paxson, with about 1½ minutes left, All that Robinson had to do was take a couple of knees and kill the clock.
Now, for the first time since that '99 season, Penn State is a player in the national title picture.
Defense was the lynchpin of the '99 team - linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Courtney Brown - providing the big plays.
Now its Posluszny and Hali.
The Lions bottled up a two-way threat quarterback (Troy Smith) and took Ohio State's big-play receivers, Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, out of the game. Not until the final drive did either have a catch of more than 20 yards.
Posluszny had another double-digit tackle game and he chased down Smith for a 10-yard loss with about five minutes left to help keep the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half.
Ohio State was the highest-ranked opponent to visit State College since No. 2 Miami played at Beaver Stadium in 2001. Games like this used to be common at Penn State, but during four losing seasons in the past five years Happy Valley's been kind of a sullen place.
With the Nittany Lions back in the rankings and a win a way from having first place in the Big Ten all to themselves, the student body was re-energized. Some camped out for a week in what was dubbed "Paternoville" around Beaver Stadium for the first-come, first-serve seats.
The Nittany Lions rewarded their patience with a performance worthy of Paterno's two championship teams. In return, the bouncing crowd of 109,839 literally had the stadium rocking up and down after Penn State scored two TDs in a span of 2:33 to take a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
Williams sped 13 yards with a simple toss sweep for a touchdown that gave Penn State its first lead.
Moments later, Calvin Lowry picked off Smith's pass and returned it 36 yards to the Ohio State 2. On third-and-goal from the 1, Robinson scored on a keeper with 7:55 to go in the half.
But the Buckeyes responded to the Penn State defense and the thunderous roars of the crowd with an 81-yard, 14-play drive that Smith capped with a 10-yard TD run and reach across the goal line.
But that was Ohio State's one and only sustained drive and the Buckeyes dropped to 17-7 against Top 25 teams under coach Jim Tressel.
Let's be honest. Penn State was given a GIFT, in the form of an interception, by Calvin Lowry, during the 2nd quarter. He returned it to the OSU 2-yard line and the PSU offense capitalized, making the score 14 to 3. When OSU was going for the tie, in the 4th quarter, Tamba Hali sacked Troy Smith, forcing a turn-over that ended OSU's chances.
Those two turn-overs spear-headed OSU's defeat. Nothing against Penn State, who played smart and capitalized on the opportunities, but in important games, such as this one, those kind of mistakes lead to defeat.
I'm hoping that Penn State can continue to play smart and not turn over the ball.