WEDNESDAY SPORTS: Remembering Paul Dietzel; Bryant punished; So-Con’s oldest rivalry renews this weekend
*Fans in Baton Rouge, LA and Columbia, SC are mourning the passing of former LSU and South Carolina football coach Paul Dietzel, who died early Tuesday at age 89. Dietzel coached LSU from 1955-1961. His 1958 team won the National Championship after beating Clemson in the 1959 Sugar Bowl. After leaving Baton Rouge, Dietzel spent time at Army before becoming head coach, and later, Athletic Director, at South Carolina. Dietzel’s 1969 Carolina team captured that season’s ACC Championship.
*Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says starting wide receiver Martavis Bryant will have his playing time reduced against Wake Forest for making throat-slashing gestures following a touchdown catch against NC State last Thursday. Third-ranked Clemson plays host to the Demon Deacons this Saturday. It’s homecoming at Death Valley. The Tigers will also be without reserve offensive lineman Isaiah Battle, who was suspended after punching a Wolfpack player late in last week’s game.
*Furman and The Citadel are set to renew the Southern Conference’s oldest football rivalry this Saturday when the two old foes square off in Charleston. Kickoff for the 93rd meeting between the Paladins and Bulldogs is 6:00 p.m. at Johnson Hagood Stadium. Coverage on 96.3 WGOG will begin with the pre-game show at 5:00 PM Saturday.
*The NCAA said Tuesday that it will reduce the unprecedented sanctions against Penn State’s football program by gradually restoring scholarships starting next season, easing some of the punishment imposed 14 months ago by NCAA president Mark Emmert in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Penn State had faced a cap of 65 scholarships starting in 2014, but instead will have 75 scholarships in 2014, 80 in 2015 and the full 85 in 2016. The other penalties included Penn State’s wins vacated from 1998 to 2011, a $60 million fine, and being banned from the postseason from 2012 to 2015. Emmert insisted the reductions weren’t because the original penalties were too severe, but because of the efforts by Penn State, including implementing more background checks, more employee training, and records retention.
*St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha lost a no-hit bid with two out in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals Tuesday nigh, giving up an infield single to Ryan Zimmerman. The near no-hitter came in the 22-year-old Wacha’s ninth career start, with the hometown Busch Stadium crowd letting out a loud groan when Zimmerman got the hit in what finished as a 2-0 Cardinals win. There were two no-hitters in baseball this season, by the Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey and the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum, and two pitchers lost perfect games with two outs in the ninth inning, the Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish and the Giants’ Yusmeiro Petit.
*Andrelton Simmons’ single to the gap in right-center drove in Justin Upton with two outs in the ninth inning to give Atlanta a 3-2 win over the Milwuakee Brewers on Tuesday night. That series wraps up at 7:00 PM Wednesday at Turner Field.