Not long after the Penn State offense sleepwalked through a 6-4 loss to Iowa on Oct. 23, one of the first things coach Joe Paterno noticed was that the Nittany Lions didn't find a way to get the ball to split end Mark Rubin.
The former Amherst and All-Western New York standout has been known to make things happen -- he once scored four touchdowns in one quarter in high school -- and is making an impact at Penn State.
The 6-foot-4, 211-pound freshman has modest numbers (11 catches for 119 yards), but he didn't appear in Penn State's first three games. After several upperclassmen performed poorly, Paterno and his staff sought replacements, and Rubin emerged, playing opposite senior Gerald Smith.
Rubin made his debut at Wisconsin and came up with two receptions, and in his first start against Minnesota, Rubin responded with six receptions for 60 yards, including a 20-yard pickup on third down.
He was shut out against Iowa -- as was the entire Penn State offense -- and against Ohio State on Saturday, but Paterno thinks Rubin has a bright future.
"I think he's going to be a fine wideout," Paterno said. "He works awfully hard, he's tough and he's got really good hands, and I think he's been a big addition to our program."
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Niagara senior Eva Cunningham (Iroquois) has been selected as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's Preseason Player of the Year. Cunningham averaged 15.1 points and 4.5 assists per game last season for the Purple Eagles, and was the conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2002-03. Becky Zak of Canisius was a first-team selection, while Cheri Wittlieb was picked for the third team. Canisius was chosen to finish sixth in the MAAC preseason coaches poll, while Niagara was rated eighth.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Niagara was picked to finish second and Canisius eighth in the MAAC preseason coaches poll. Juan Mendez of the Purple Eagles was selected to the preseason All-MAAC first team. Teammates Alvin Cruz and David Brooks were second-team picks, as was Canisius' Kevin Downey.
MEN'S HOCKEY: Monroe CC defeated Erie CC, 3-2, despite Kats' goals from Bob Felschow (Timon) and Greg Pane (Maryvale).
SWIMMING: University at Buffalo swimmer Jennefer Brankovsky has been named Mid-American Conference Swimmer of the Week. Brankovsky won three events in UB's victory over St. Bonaventure on Oct. 27.
WOMEN'S TENNIS: Andreea Novaceanu of UB had a 5-0 record in winning the B flight of Dartmouth's Big Green Invitational in Hanover, NH, over the weekend. She knocked off top-seeded Lauren Leo of St. John's in straight sets in the finals.
WOMEN'S SOCCER: Heather MacDougall of St. Bonaventure has been named first team All-Atlantic 10. The forward had 15 goals and four assists in 20 games.
Bona's Jacquee Parmiter made the all-conference rookie team. The forward had four goals and 10 assists. Teammate Cheryl Benacci was picked to the conference's all-academic team.