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October 19, 2011

Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011



Tip shots

- World Series begins tonight

The 2011 edition of the World Series is set and the Fall Classic opens at 8 p.m. tonight with the Texas Rangers heading to St. Louis to take on the rolling Cardinals.

Manager Ron Washington’s Rangers are in the series for the second straight year. The team fell last fall to San Francisco, but powered back to the postseason this year with its big bats and ousted the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have snuck into the series after only reaching the playoffs on the final day of the regular season due to the Atlanta’s September collapse. Since, though, the Cardinals of veteran skipper Tony La Russa surged past Philadelphia and Milwaukee to take the franchise’s third National League Pennant in eight years.

“It’s hard to explain, man,” Cardinals’ reliever Octavio Dotel, a former Pittsburgh Pirate, told ESPN’s Jayson Stark. “I can’t believe where we are and how we’ve been playing for the last month. It’s crazy where we are right now.”

The series’ first two games are set for tonight and Thursday, with Games 3 and 4 set for Saturday and Sunday. If needed, Game 5 will be held Monday and Games 6 and 7 on Oct. 26 and 27, respectively.

- Kennedy out

Tyler Kennedy is the latest Pittsburgh Penguin knocked out by a head injury.

Kennedy is reportedly suffering concussion-like symptoms and Penguins’ head coach Dan Bylsma said Monday he will be “evaluated further.”

The forward left Saturday’s loss to Buffalo early and didn’t make the trip Monday to Winnipeg. The Penguins have also been without Evgeni Malkin at times this season as he’s battled soreness in his knee and, of course, Sidney Crosby as he continues to rehabilitate from a concussion sustained in January.

The numbers

5 - The seasons Sean Payton has served as head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, a remarkable run that so far has already included a Super Bowl title.

Payton had surgery Monday after colliding with a pair of players early on in Sunday’s Saints’ loss to Tampa Bay. Payton was forced to watch the second half of the tilt from the training room after he was found to have torn and ligament in his left leg while also fracturing his tibia.

15 - The times University of Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham got to touch the ball Saturday in the Panthers’ 26-14 loss at home to Utah.

Graham, the leading rusher in Division I, had just 46 yards on 12 carries and caught three passes for 10 yards.

The loss, the second in as many games for Pitt, dropped the Panthers to 3-4 on the season.

38 - The seasons out of the 46 total in Joe Paterno’s tenure as Penn State’s head coach the Nittany Lions have been bowl eligible.

The Lions clinched their latest postseason appearance Saturday with a 23-18 win at home over Purdue, Paterno, though, battling a cold, had to watch the win from the press box.

“Nothing serious, it’s just that I’m getting to be a sissy in my old age,” the 84-year-old coach told The Associated Press. “I just thought it would be better. If I can’t move around down there, I get in the way. Everybody’s worrying, ‘Where is Paterno? Where is coach?’ That’s not fair.”

The win was Paterno’s 407th at Penn State. He said he hopes to return to the sidelines for this Saturday’s game at Northwestern where he could tie Eddie Robinson for the second most wins all time in all divisions.

By Patrick Connelly, Allied News sports editor. Images by The Associated Press and MLB. Follow the sports department of The Allied News on Twitter at twitter.com/AlliedSports.

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