CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Penn State is no match for heavy hand of the NCAA

The record will show that Virginia won, 17-16, thanks largely to four missed field goals by Sam Ficken. But don't discount the NCAA's influence.

The NCAA's plan to cripple Penn State as it humiliates innocent players could not be working out better.

The NCAA defeated Penn State, 17-16, on Saturday to improve its record to 2-0.

This week, the organization embedded in the University of Virginia. Last week, it camouflaged as Ohio and hammered out a 24-10 win in Happy Valley.

The Penn State kicker who would have defeated Virginia on Saturday, Anthony Fera, transferred to Texas.

Into the breach stepped Sam Ficken, a 19-year-old sophomore, who missed an extra point and four field goals, the last a 42-yard attempt as time expired.

The NCAA, as part of punishment levied against Penn State for heinous crimes committed by a coach who retired in 1999, allowed current players to transfer without having to sit out a year.

Penn State contributors you could not blame for leaving … did, including the star tailback, receiver, backup quarterback and the kicker it needed against Virginia.

It's only two weeks into four-year probation hell and Penn State is already in triage mode.

Last week, Bill Belton, the tailback who replaced USC-bound Silas Redd, injured his ankle. Belton's replacement, Derek Day, got hurt against Virginia.

When quarterback Matt McGloin was forced out after being hit on his throwing elbow, Penn State could not turn to backup Rob Bolden. He transferred to LSU.

Coach Bill O'Brien had to reach deep into his bench for freshman Steven Bench, who completed two of seven passes for 12 yards.

McGloin gamely returned with his arm wrapped tightly in what appeared to be two rolls of black duct tape.

There are still many who think the NCAA had no jurisdiction in unilaterally acting against Penn State for years-old crimes involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said an extraordinary case required extraordinary action, yet he elected not to shut the program down or take Penn State off television. What the NCAA settled for is allowing hard-working coaches and young men to slowly wither away.

Saturday it was broadcast on Channel 7.

The NCAA had no choice but to allow players to transfer out of Penn State understanding it could lead to the unintended consequences that forced young Sam Ficken to the field in Charlottesville.

Ficken had a day no kid born on Dec. 14, 1992, should have to endure.

Ficken is the son of Jim and Nancy Ficken. He has a brother Drew. Their cousin is former Purdue basketball star Robbie Hummel.

Ficken's Penn State bio says he enjoys water skiing and wake boarding. He did not list torture as a hobby.

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