Sports Briefs: Pitt’s Johnson, Henderson Named Sports News All-Americans

PITTSBURGH (EYT) – Pitt’s Dorian Johnson and Quadree Henderson were named first-team All-Americans by The Sporting News.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

Johnson, a guard, is the first Pitt offensive lineman to be selected a first team All-American in 22 years. College Football Hall of Famer Ruben Brown was the last Panther to achieve that designation back in 1994.

Athletic and physically punishing, Johnson was a vital contributor to the highest scoring offense in Pitt history. The Panthers have compiled a record 508 points this season and boast the nation’s No. 10 scoring offense at 42.3 points per game.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Johnson did not surrender a single sack this year. He was also integral for a Pitt ground attack that produced 35 touchdowns, the fourth most among Power 5 teams.

Henderson, a return specialist, is the first All-America return man in Pitt history. He has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. Henderson ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121) and fifth in kickoff return average (31.1).

Pitt will face Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 28 in New York City. The game, played at iconic Yankee Stadium, will kick off at 2 p.m., and be nationally televised by ESPN.

Penn State’s Barkley Named Co-Chicago Tribune Big Ten MVP

CHICAGO – Penn State sophomore running back Saquon Barkley had added the Chicago Tribune Silver Football for the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player to his resume. He shares the honor with Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Barkley is the fourth Nittany Lion, all of whom were quarterbacks, to win the Silver Football and is the first since Daryll Clark shared the honor with Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham in 2009. Barkley joins Clark, Michael Robinson (2005) and Kerry Collins (1994) as Penn Staters to win the accolade.

Barkley ranks second in the Big Ten and ranks 32nd in FBS in all-purpose yards (128.15) and paces the Big Ten and ranks ninth in FBS in total touchdowns with 19. The sophomore back is third in the conference and 33rd nationally with 100.2 rushing yards per game. In the Big Ten Championship game, Barkley broke the Penn State sophomore rushing yards record and is 10th on the single-season chart with 1,302 markers and ranks No. 6 on Penn State’s single season all-purpose yards list with 1,666. He owns the sophomore scoring record with 114 points, passing Kevin Kelly’s previous mark of 96 points (2006).

Penn State won its first Big Ten Championship since 2008 and fourth overall with an 11-2 regular season and 8-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Rose Bowl Game is slated for Monday, January 2 at 5 p.m. (ET) on ESPN. The game will also air on the Penn State Sports Network (3:30 p.m. airtime).

Nine Pitt Football Players Named to Coaches All-ACC Team

PITTSBURGH – Nine Pitt players, including four offensive linemen, were honored on the 2016 Coaches All-ACC Football Team, which was released on Thursday afternoon.

After voting from the league’s head coaches was tallied, the Panthers had five players earn first-team All-ACC honors: junior running back James Conner, sophomore return specialist Quadree Henderson, senior offensive guard Dorian Johnson, senior offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty and senior defensive end Ejuan Price.

Conner, Henderson, Johnson and Price were also first team All-ACC in the media’s voting that was announced last week, but Bisnowaty garnered more coaches’ votes to earn his place on their first-team All-ACC unit after the ACSMA had placed the senior tackle on the conference’s second team.

Sophomore offensive tackle Brian O’Neill and sophomore safety Jordan Whitehead also earned second team All-ACC from the coaches’ votes, with O’Neill improving on his third-team selection from the league’s media. And two more Panthers, senior placekicker Chris Blewitt and sophomore offensive guard Alex Bookser received enough votes to be named as Honorable Mention selections. Henderson also received an Honorable Mention nod as a wide receiver.

PASSHE Coaches Ratify Contract

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The coaches of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education ratified their tentative agreement with the State System this week.

A full 100 percent of the coaches voted in favor of the contact, that was agreed upon this fall. The State System’s Board of Governors must now approve the contact. The System has not yet announced a meeting date for this action.

Pitt/Penn State to Meet Saturday in Men’s Hoops

NEWARK, N.J. – Pitt and Penn State will face off in men’s basketball in the inaugural Never Forget Tribute Classic at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. with CBS Sports Network televising the contest.

The event, which also features Notre Dame vs. Villanova, is partnered with the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which helps support the education of children of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

USGA and The R&A Announce New Local Rule Eliminating Penalty When Ball Accidentally Moves on Putting Green

FAR HILLS, N.J. – The USGA and The R&A Thursday announced the introduction of a new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.

The Local Rule will be available for any committee in charge of a competition to use starting Jan. 1, 2017. It will be adopted by the USGA and The R&A in all of their championships, qualifying competitions and international matches.

“Eliminating this penalty responds to the concerns we have heard from both golfers and committees about the difficulties in applying the current Rules when a player accidentally causes a ball to move on the putting green,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, said. “This change is a good example of the type of Rules Modernization changes we hope to implement after completing our fundamental review of all of the Rules. We are looking for ways to improve the Rules by making them easier to understand and apply.”

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