Penn State Thon

Nittany Lions help raise millions for pediatric cancer research


Penn State’s reputation took a significant hit in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but there are still some classy and selfless acts going on at the university.

Case in point: the school’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

The annual dance marathon, run by PSU students, was held this past weekend, and the group raised a record $12.374 million that will aid in the fight against pediatric cancer.  The total broke the mark of $10.68 million set at last year’s event.

As part of the weekend’s festivities, 28 Thon Make-A-Wish children and their families were invited to the Lasch Football Building (don’t even go there, people), where they were hosted by 70 Nittany Lion football players.  The school’s official website wrote that “[h]ead coach Bill O’Brien spoke to the group after it received the facility tour and signed autographs.”  Below is a video clip of the team visiting with the Make-A-Wish kids.


The event, which began Friday evening and featured football players among the more than 700 dancers, benefits the Four Diamonds Fund.  It was also announced Sunday that, with the money raised this weekend, Thon, as the event is known, has brought in more than $100 million to the fund since 1977.

The money is certainly going toward helping those in need as the Patriot-News writes that “[t]t the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Thon has helped build a children’s hospital, pay the expenses for families of pediatric cancer patients and help pay for cutting-edge research into pediatric cancer.”

Well done again, Penn Staters.  Well done.

(Photo credit: Penn State athletics)

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.