Former Penn State assistant football coach Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte

Defense rests in Sandusky trial; closing arguments set for Thursday

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Three days was all it took for the defense to present its case in the Jerry Sandusky trial, one day less than the shorter-than-anticipated presentation by the prosecution. In all, the Sandusky trial should conclude about a week ahead of the original schedule. 

Relatively speaking, the defense made considerable strides in the past two days after getting thoroughly punished by the prosecution in Week 1. Though Sandusky’s lawyer Joe Amendola has had essentially no retort to the allegations by alleged victims, attempts to poke holes in the credibility of witnesses and testimonies finally gained traction yesterday and today.

As a result, Sandusky himself did not testify, despite the hint from Amendola last week that perhaps he would. Frankly, it was the only decision, as a testimony by Sandusky surely would have nullified everything the defense had done over the past 36 hours.

Amendola wasn’t desperate enough to risk sending his client to the stand. The defense closed strongly today — or, about as strongly as they possibly could outside of, say, an alibi — with a testimony from Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a family friend and colleague of John McQueary, Mike McQueary‘s father.

The testimony from Dranov corroborates a Patriot-News report last December that states Dranov was present at the conversation between McQueary and his father after the then-graduate assistant allegedly saw Sandusky and a young boy (alleged Victim 2) in the showers of an on-campus facility in 2001.

McQueary is a central figure in the Sandusky scandal, yet his account of the alleged incident has changed since his testimony for the grand jury indictment, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the defense called Dranov to the stand on the final day. Additionally, the defense presented a letter that shows McQueary went to a charity event hosted by Sandusky after 2001.

The cornerstone of that original grand jury indictment against Sandusky was the allegation involving alleged Victim 2, yet he did not testify during Sandusky’s trial and McQueary’s credibility is sketchy.  It’s as close as the defense has come to completely refuting an alleged incident of abuse.

The amount of overall evidence against Sandusky, who faces 51 counts related to child-sex abuse, is tough to overlook, but all the defense needed to do was place some amount of doubt in the minds of the jurors.

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Tennessee adds future home-and-home with BYU

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 10: Rajion Neal #20 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs into the end zone with an eight-yard touchdown reception in the first overtime against the Missouri Tigers at Neyland Stadium on November 10, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Missouri won 51-48 in four overtimes. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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At the moment, BYU is looking at one hellacious start to the 2019 season.

Thursday afternoon, BYU announced tat it has added a future home-and-home series with Tennessee.  The Volunteers will serve as the host for a Sept. 7, 2019, matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, with the second game set for Sept. 1 or 2, 2023, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.

The 2019 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

“There’s something about those orange and white checkerboard end zones that shouts ‘Tradition!’,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “When the opportunity to play a series with Tennessee presented itself, we didn’t blink. They’re a storied football program with a winning tradition, national championships, a classic stadium, incredible fans and hall of fame coaches.

“It will be a great experience to visit SEC country and play in Neyland Stadium, and later host Tennessee in Provo.”

BYU will kick off the 2019 season against Utah, followed by games against Tennessee, USC and Washington the next three weeks.  They also have a pair of mid-October games against Washington State and Boise State.

UT’s other non-conference games that season include Georgia State, Chattanooga and UAB.

Fighting Illini live up to nickname as Lovie Smith calls early end to practice amidst fisticuffs

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 01: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Illinois Fighting Illini looks over the field against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Illinois 31-16. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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Lovie Smith is not a big fan of fighting amongst his Illinois players, a lesson he shared with his aptly nicknamed Fighting Illini squad Wednesday evening.

According to the Decatur Herald & Review, Illinois’ spring practice session yesterday came to an abrupt and premature end after a fight between players broke out.  The names of those involved in the fisticuffs are not known as the media hadn’t been permitted to view practice.

From the Herald & Review‘s report:

…a source said Smith wanted to send a strong message about how he hates fighting and considers it an inexcusable transgression that robs the rest of the team of a chance to concentrate on getting better.

The field was cleared at about 5:35 p.m., nearly an hour before practice was scheduled to end. The players were sent to the locker room and the field was quickly cleared of equipment. Reporters were told there would be no interviews and were told to vacate the Memorial Stadium facility.

The Illini, which finished 3-9 in their first season under Smith last year, kicked off spring practice feb. 14 and will conclude it March 10 with the annual spring game.

Andy Dodd tweets decision to transfer from LSU

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Fans sit in the rain during the Auburn Tigers against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on September 21, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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With spring practice getting set to kick of en masse all across the country, there’s more of the expected personnel attrition settling in and coming to light.

On his Twitter account Wednesday, Andy Dodd announced that it is in his “best interest” to transfer from LSU and continue playing college football elsewhere. “This decision was not an easy one, but it is what’s best for me moving forward,” the offensive lineman wrote.

Dodd was a three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 17 guard in the country.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, the lineman played in eight games the next two seasons. He played in six games, with one start, in 2016.

Auburn adds FCS starting lineman as graduate transfer

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 12: Running back Peyton Barber #25 of the Auburn Tigers dives for the end zone during overtime in their game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on September 12, 2015 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 27-20. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.

Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster.  The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.

He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception.  Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.

The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American.  While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.

Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.