Football season is officially over.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 31-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV closed the door on another football season. In the end, it wasn’t a very good year for either Penn State or the Steelers. The Nittany Lions, of course, fell to Florida in the Outback Bowl. Super Bowl Sunday didn’t turn out much better. Turnovers killed the Steelers, who still had a chance to pull out a victory in the final minutes.
So it’s back to business as usual here at Morelli OnLion.
In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll check in with the Penn State men’s basketball team. We’ll also take a closer look at the Penn State football’s Class of 2011.
Let’s start with hoops.
Just when you think the Penn State men’s basketball team has made strides (see wins over Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin), the Nittany Lions drop a game they probably should’ve won.
On Super Bowl Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lions squandered a second-half lead to the Michigan Wolverines in a 65-62 loss. Michigan improved to 14-10 overall, 4-7 in the Big Ten. The loss dropped the Lions to 12-10 overall, 5-6 in the conference.
The loss put a big dent in Penn State’s NCAA tournament plans.
While the three wins over Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin look good on paper, home losses to teams like Maine and Michigan will be backbreakers when the NCAA selection committee sits down to pick the squads for March Madness.
Talor Battle said that the Nittany Lions simply did not show up on Sunday.
“We played soft, we lacked toughness,” Battle said. “We didn’t make one stop. We deserved to lose today.”
Battle tried his best to pull the Lions out of the fire, scoring 31 points. However, it wasn’t quite good enough. Penn State is clearly missing Jeff Brooks, who is out of the lineup with a dislocated shoulder.
Down the stretch, the Nittany Lions faltered – that proved to be their undoing on Sunday.
“Yeah, we just didn’t guard them the last 10 minutes of the game. The focus was inconsistent. The first half we played well offensively and had a good flow,” said Penn State coach Ed DeChellis. “We subbed some guys and we let them get two or three transition baskets in a row. We didn’t score the last seven minutes of the first half, that’s huge. We came out the second half with a better effort, we got a lead, but the last seven or eight minutes, we just didn’t stop them. We made some really bad decisions offensively that led to some baskets at their end.”
Penn State will need to bounce back quickly, or it will be another trip to the NIT for the Nittany Lions.
Class of 2011
The Penn State football team announced its Class of 2011 last week.
The class includes: Anthony Alosi, Marlton, N.J. (OL, 6-6, 282); Adrian Amos, Baltimore, Md. (S, 6-0, 200); Deion Barnes, Philadelphia (DE, 6-5, 230); Bill Belton, Sicklerville, N.J. (WR-CB, 5-10, 185); Kyle Carter, Bear, Del. (TE, 6-4, 231); Sam Ficken, Valparaiso, Ind. (K, 6-3, 180); Jordan Kerner, Fairview, Pa. (DE, 6-5, 230); Ben Kline, York, Pa. (LB, 6-3, 225); Angelo Mangiro, Succasunna, N.J. (OL, 6-3, 295); Ryan Nowicki, Glendale, Ariz. (OL, 6-5, 275); Shawn Oakman, Lansdowne, Pa. (DE, 6-8, 250); Shyquawn Pullium, Erie, Pa. and Kiski School (CB, 6-1, 180); Allen Robinson, Southfield, Mich. (WR, 6-3, 190); Donovan Smith, Owings Mills, Md. (OL, 6-7, 280); Matt Zanellato, Burke, Va. (WR, 6-3, 190); Anthony Zettel, West Branch, Mich. (DE, 6-4, 255).
The class has several blue-chip recruits. However, the class didn’t impress nationally. The Nittany Lions have the No. 33 class in the nation according to Scout.com and No. 35 by Rivals.com.
Penn State landed four defensive ends, which fills a major void. Shawn Oakman (6-8, 250) is considered the jewel of the class. He has the potential to be a major force along the D-line and could see significant playing time as a freshman.
Penn State guard Johnnie Troutman has been charged with driving under the influence.
According to court documents, Troutman was pulled over in State College last Saturday. He was also charged with failure to obey a traffic device and driving without a license. His BAC was listed as being between 0.10 and 0.16. Pennsylvania’s legal limit is 0.08.
Troutman’s preliminary hearing has been set for March 9.
Troutman (6-foot-4, 323 pounds) will be a fifth-year senior this fall. He started 11 games at left guard for the Nittany Lions.
Chris Morelli is a writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics. He is also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at email@example.com. Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!