Bill O'Brien

Penn State, UCF confirm ’14 game in Ireland


There’s been no shortage of Penn State news this weekend, the latest of which has been a long time coming.

An announcement Sunday confirmed what’s been speculated for the past couple of months: the Nittany Lions will play UCF in Dublin, Ireland for the 2014 season opener. The game will be held in Croke Park in central Dublin and will kickoff at 8:30 a.m. ET. The announcement was made Sunday during the GAA Leinster Football Finals at Croke Park with members from both universities present.

PSU’s previously scheduled game against Temple will be moved to Nov. 15.

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has been vocal about finding different ways to give his team a bowl-like atmosphere in the wake of the postseason ban handed down by the NCAA. A report surfaced Friday that O’Brien and Penn State may also be preparing to ask the NCAA to modify the sanctions levied against the program.

“We are thrilled to announce that we will play UCF at Croke Park to open the 2014 season,” said O’Brien in a statement. “Our players and coaches are so excited to go to Ireland and play a college football game in such a historic and outstanding venue. I have great respect for Coach [George] O’Leary and his team and playing UCF in Ireland will be a fantastic experience for all the players, coaches and fans.”

Penn State is the first Big Ten school to play internationally since Michigan State and Wisconsin met in Tokyo in  the early 1990’s. However, this will be the first time PSU and UCF have ever played a game outside the United States.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.