We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Friday, Oct. 14. Let’s get started.
Perjury charge dismissed against Curley
Berks County Senior Judge John Boccabella on Thursday granted a request from the Office of the Attorney General to quash the perjury charge against Tim Curley, the former Penn State athletic director.
Curley still faces one count of failure to report suspected child abuse, stemming from grand jury testimony that resulted in charges and a subsequent conviction of retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Curley’s co-defendants, former PSU president Graham Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz, also face failure to report charges, but Schultz’s attorney filed a motion Thursday to head off a conspiracy charge, after the attorney general’s office filed a motion to amend the case.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of various child-sex charges in 2012 but maintains his innocence and is seeking a new trial.
Which Lions make the grade?
Derek Levarse of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader checked in with his midseason grades for the Lions. His highest mark was an A to the Saquon Barkley-led running back corps, while his lowest was the D earned by the banged-up linebacker crew.
Regarding Barkley, Levarse wrote:
Despite every opponent basing their defense around stopping him, Saquon Barkley leads the Big Ten in rushing yards (fourth in yards per game) and touchdowns.
Even when he has been swarmed right at the handoff, like the second half against Minnesota, he found a way to respond with a game-winning score. His role as a receiver also figures to grow.
Seven linebackers have been injured, including all three opening-week starters, and two have been lost for the season. Brandon Smith, a one-time walk-on, has come to the rescue in the middle, but the play at the position has been predictably spotty.
Obviously there’s a rather large asterisk here because of the unprecedented chain of injuries that has struck the unit. But it was a disappointing start to the season even before all three starters went down.
Missed tackles have been a problem for much of the year and with so little experience available, the Lions have had to stay more vanilla than they would like.
Thompkins emerges as top deep threat
Redshirt sophomore DeAndre Thompkins has caught 18 balls for 328 yards (18.2 yards per catch) and a touchdown while starting the last five games for an injured Saeed Blacknall, and according to a study by ESPN.com’s Josh Moyer, has emerged as the Big Ten’s top deep threat, with five catches of 20 yards or longer.
Thompkins’ distance has also been incredibly consistent, as he’s caught balls in the air of 38, 27, 36, 37 and 37 yards. But, for as good as he’s doing on long balls, he has among the worst overall drop rates in the Big Ten. He’s second to (Nebraska tight end Cethan) Carter with a drop rate of 14.3 percent – but none of those drops came on a deep ball.
Moyer notes that the conference’s worst deep-ball threat is Thompkins’ teammate, DaeSean Hamilton, a redshirt junior and PSU’s starting slot receiver, who also has 18 receptions but is averaging just 11.3 yards a catch. He does not have a catch of 20-plus yards this season, and dropped the only opportunity he had to make such a play, against Pitt.
As Moyer writes:
Feel free to blame the small sample size on this one. But the fact is that Hamilton is the only receiver in the Big Ten who’s managed to drop a deep ball without catching one. Last season, he was slightly above average in this category.
Samuel impressed by Penn State hoops teammates
Terrence Samuel, a guard on the PSU basketball team and transfer from Connecticut, won a national championship with the Huskies in 2014. But he said the roster of his current team compares favorably to the one at his previous stop:
“I say — by far — we have way more talent than my UConn team that freshman year. But we had heart. We didn’t listen to what people would say about us, and stuff like that. We just focused on doing the little things to win the game, like rebounding and boxing out. Being in the gap on defense. Making the extra rotation. You know, the little things to win.”
The Lions last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2011.