Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

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Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up abuse complaints about Jerry Sandusky lost a set of rulings Tuesday, allowing their criminal cases to move forward.

Judge Barry Feudale denied an attempt to throw out the grand jury report backing up the accusations and ruled against two other defense requests. As the judge who oversaw the grand jury, Feudale said he no longer has jurisdiction.

Feudale said he would not have granted the defendants' request that the charges be thrown out and emphasized that the case was out of his hands once the grand jury issued its report. But the judge did provide an analysis of the defense arguments that, he said, led him to conclude their motions lacked merit.

Defendants Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier are charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

The three had sought to exclude the testimony of Penn State's former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, based on her actions as she accompanied the men to grand jury appearances in Harrisburg in early 2011. The defendants argued that Baldwin's actions violated their right to legal counsel, but Feudale said it "strains credulity to infer that they were somehow deluded or misrepresented by attorney Baldwin."

"In hindsight, perhaps I erred in not asking follow up questions about the role of corporate counsel Baldwin," Feudale wrote. "I regret and perhaps committed error in not asking any follow-up questions, but while I am unaware what the response would have been, I fail to discern how such would persuade me at this stage why presentments should be dismissed."

The attorney general's office and a spokeswoman for Curley's legal team offered no immediate comment. Lawyers for Spanier and Schultz did not immediately return phone messages.

Sandusky, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June of abusing several boys, some on campus. Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence but maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

Curley is on paid leave to finish out the final year of his contract as the school's athletic director. Schultz has retired as the university's vice president for business and finance. Spanier was forced out as university president the week after the other two and Sandusky were charged, but he remains a tenured faculty member.

The grand jury's report described in detail the behind-the-scenes conversations and decisions being made in late 2010 and in 2011 among the men, as Baldwin met with them after they were subpoenaed as part of the Sandusky investigation.

"Each personally and directly assured her that they knew of no information or documents involving alleged misconduct or inappropriate conduct by Jerry Sandusky," the grand jury wrote.

Baldwin testified to the grand jury that Spanier "specifically requested that she keep him informed of everything regarding (the Sandusky) investigation," the jury wrote.

In November, Curley and Schultz joined together to file one motion to prevent Baldwin from taking the stand against them.

The motion said Baldwin had violated attorney-client privilege by disclosing what they told her about the Sandusky matter, and that lawyers may not testify against their clients. Spanier filed a similar motion and made a similar argument.

Feudale said his review of Baldwin's testimony led him to conclude it was "circumspect and circumscribed. It was not a violation of the lawyer-client privilege, but rather was related to her belated awareness of the commission of alleged criminal acts and was in accordance with her responsibilities as an officer of the court."

Baldwin, who spent two years on the state Supreme Court, appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell, is also a former chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees. The university replaced her as general counsel last year.

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple at No. 19 Navy: Owls go for first AAC title

Temple (9-3, 7-1 AAC) at No. 19 Navy (9-2, 7-1 AAC)
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.​
Saturday, noon, ABC

It would have been hard to picture Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship game after the Owls’ first game of the season, a 28-13 loss to Army.

But that’s exactly where they are three months later, as Temple will take on No. 19 Navy in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Owls and Midshipmen have both been handling opponents as of late. Temple’s won its last four games by at least three touchdowns, while Navy has outscored opponents 141-62 in its past two games.

Let’s take a look at how one of the country’s top offenses and one of the country’s top defenses match up.

Scouting Temple
The Owls' defense seems to get better every week. Temple ranks No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense. The only two teams that rank higher than the Owls in both categories are Alabama and Michigan.

Teams haven’t scored more than 13 points against the Owls in their last four games, and Temple is outscoring opponents 123-23 during that stretch.

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Haason Reddick was named a first team all-conference selection earlier this week. He leads the FBS in tackles for loss. Redshirt senior Praise Martin-Oguike is coming off one of his best games of the season last week against East Carolina, in which he had two sacks, including a forced fumble. He has seven sacks this season.

On offense, Temple’s goal this week will be to sustain drives and keep Navy’s offense off the field. The Owls are currently No. 5 in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 34 minutes per game.

Earlier in the week, coach Matt Rhule said senior quarterback Phillip Walker was questionable for Saturday’s game. Walker will likely play, but the Owls might be without one of their top offensive weapons.

Rhule said sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead is doubtful. Armstead has 842 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Scouting Navy
The Midshipmen have one of the simplest — yet at that same time one of the best — offenses in the country. Navy ranks No. 2 in rushing yards at 342 per game.

Quarterback Will Worth runs the triple option for Navy. He has 2,544 total yards of offense and 33 total touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,363 yards and rushed for 1,181 more. Worth has a touchdown in 11 straight games.

Worth has attempted 258 rushes compared to 115 passing attempts. Four other Navy players have at least 40 rushing attempts this season.

Senior wide receiver Jamir Tillman is the Midshipmen’s best receiving threat. The 6-foot-4 wideout has 32 catches for 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Navy’s defense hasn’t been quite as elite as its offense. The Midshipmen have allowed 30 or more points in four of their last five games.

The Midshipmen are allowing 265 passing yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 313 yards and three touchdowns in their last three contests.

Storyline to watch: Can Temple find a way to stop the triple option?
The last time these two teams played was in 2014, when Navy ran for 487 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple’s most recent matchup against the triple option was when it lost to Army in its season opener. The Black Knights ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns. With only a week to prepare, Temple will have to find a way to cure its option woes if it wants a chance to win Saturday (see story).

What’s at stake?
The Owls have won only one other conference championship in program history, when they won the Mid-Atlantic Conference in 1967. A win would also give Temple its third 10-win season in program history. 

Prediction
Temple has to figure out this option thing at some point, right? The Owls’ ability to convert on third down and sustain long drives will help slow Navy's offense. This one will most likely come down to who has the ball last, but the Owls are a little bit more well-rounded, so they get the edge. 

Temple 31, Navy 28

Villanova at South Dakota State: Trying to extend Andy Talley's career another week

Villanova at South Dakota State: Trying to extend Andy Talley's career another week

No. 9 Villanova (9-3, 6-2 CAA) at No. 7 South Dakota State (8-3, 7-1 MVFC)
Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, Brookings, S.D.
Saturday, 3 p.m., ESPN3

Villanova will look to extend legendary head coach Andy Talley’s career at least another week as the Wildcats travel to South Dakota for a second-round FCS playoff matchup.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

Scouting Villanova
Led by a dominant defense and a balanced rushing attack, the Wildcats returned to the FCS playoffs for the sixth time in nine years, earning an at-large bid after finishing tied for second in the CAA behind James Madison. Villanova opened its playoff run with a 31-21 home victory over Saint Francis last week after building a 24-point halftime lead behind three first-half touchdown passes from Zach Bednarczyk, two of which went to junior tight end Ryan Bell. As usual, star defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (more on him here) led the defense with a career-high 2½ of the team’s six total sacks. On the season, the Wildcats rank in the top eight in the FCS in six different defensive categories and have held the opposition to just 15.4 points per game — second in the country. On offense, Aaron Forbes, Matt Gudzak and Javon White have all been productive rushers while splitting carries in the backfield, along with the speedy Bednarczyk.

Scouting South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits won the final three games of the regular season to capture the Missouri Valley Conference title, earning an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs and a first-round bye as a No. 8 seed. Their biggest victory came back in October when they upset North Dakota State, the FBS giant-slayer that’s also won the last five FCS national championships. Led by standout sophomore quarterback Taryn Christion, South Dakota State averages 314.4 passing yards (eighth in the FCS) and is scoring 37.4 points per game (11th in the FCS). On the other side of the ball, the Jackrabbits have returned four interceptions for TDs and linebacker Christian Roseboom is a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award as the nation’s top freshman after amassing more than 100 tackles.

Series history
This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Storyline to watch
The key to the game will likely boil down to which one of the talented dual-threat sophomore quarterbacks has the better game and how much Villanova’s dominant defense can slow down Christion, who has thrown for 3,369 yards with 29 touchdowns while also rushing for 385 yards and a team-high six TDs. The Jackrabbits quarterback has two very good targets who have both eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in junior wideout Jake Wieneke and junior tight end Dallas Goedert. Villanova will likely need Rob Rolle (seven interceptions) to make a big play against a team that’s only turned it over 12 times and for Kpassagnon to put heavy pressure on Christion.

What’s at stake?
The winner will almost certainly have a date with Carson Wentz’s alma mater in the third round as top-seeded North Dakota State hosts San Diego. If the Wildcats lose, it will mark the end of Talley’s career after 32 years at the helm and 12 playoff berths.

Prediction
This is a brutally tough trip for the Wildcats but something says Talley has one more win in him before running into the North Dakota State juggernaut.

Villanova 28, South Dakota State 24