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More on Justin Brown, Anthony Fera and Penn State’s ties to the Red River Rivalry

by Jason Kersey Published: October 10, 2012
Senior receiver Justin Brown caught his first touchdown pass as a Sooner in last week's rout at Texas Tech. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Senior receiver Justin Brown caught his first touchdown pass as a Sooner in last week's rout at Texas Tech. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
NORMAN — I wrote a story for Wednesday’s newspaper about Penn State transfers Justin Brown and Anthony Fera, who are now on opposing teams for Saturday’s Red River Rivalry game.

Here’s some extra content on Brown, a senior Oklahoma receiver, and Fera, who is Texas’ junior kicker.

BROWN BACK IN THE COTTON BOWL

As a first-year Sooner, senior receiver Justin Brown hasn’t ever played in the Red River Rivalry. But he has played inside Dallas’ Cotton Bowl stadium.

This year, in fact.

Brown’s last game with Penn State was a 30-14 loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl, which was played in the same stadium where he’ll face Texas on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Brown’s only catch of the game was a slick 69-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.

“There wasn’t that many people there when we played,” Brown said Tuesday after practice, saying he expects there to be more fans in the crowd for his first and only OU-Texas game.

Brown, from Wilmington, Del., said he’s only seen one OU-Texas game on television before.

“I watched the one last year because we had a late game; I only saw that one,” he said.

Brown has started all four games of the 2012 season since transferring to OU just before fall camp began. He’s hauled in 15 catches for 154 yards, and caught his first touchdown pass as a Sooner last week at Texas Tech.

He could’ve had another score — and many people think he should’ve been awarded one — in the second quarter, when he dove into the endzone and caught what would have been a 38-yard touchdown, but he didn’t maintain control of the ball though the play’s entirety.

Despite many fans believing the play should’ve been reviewed and possibly overturned, Brown and coach Bob Stoops have each said they don’t have a problem with the call.

“I should’ve maintained control all the way through,” Brown said. “At the end of the day it was on me. I have to maintain control.”

FERA TRANSFERRED FOR HIS MOM

Anthony Fera said Tuesday that he transferred from Penn State to Texas because his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but that she’s doing better now.

Fera, who redshirted a season, is a junior for football purposes but a senior academically. The Houston native has said he plans to transfer his credits back to Penn State and graduate there.

“She’s alright,” Fera said of his mother Tuesday, the first time the kicker has been made available for interviews.

“She actually just had surgery last week. Part of her back, or her spine moved or something. She’s doing a lot better now, though.”

Fera missed Texas’ first four games with a groin injury, but returned for last week’s home loss to West Virginia.

He missed a 41-yard field goal attempt with five minutes left that would’ve tied the game.

“I just missed it,” Fera said. “We hurried it up a little bit. And I just hit it right a little bit.”

MORE FROM FERA’S POST-PRACTICE MEDIA SESSION

Here are some other excerpts of Fera’s session with reporters Tuesday, courtesy of the Texas athletic department:

On transferring to The University of Texas: When I first got here, you know it was kind of tough at first, getting injured. But I’ve adapted to it all. I’m excited that I’m playing again. So I’m really excited about that.

On the decision to transfer from Penn State University: It was really hard. I was there for three-and-a-half years. I really loved it there. But I had to make a family decision.

On the reaction of Penn State fans to his decision to transfer: I mean a lot of people were understanding. Family comes first in my opinion. I just made a family decision.

On being injured and having to sit out for the first four games of this season: It was tough. I was actually a little injured before I got here. And then I just made it a little worse when I got here. It was the second practice. It was tough. But I’m back out there now, so I’m excited.

On staying in touch with PSU sophomore PK Sam Ficken: Yes. I definitely called him. I called him last week, too. And I talked to him the other day. I am just trying to give him all the advice I can. Keep him calm and motivated.

On watching Ficken miss four-of-five field goals in PSU’s 16-17 loss to the University of Virginia: I mean that was tough. Me and Sam are really good friends. We obviously get along. We always kicked together. He’s a really good kicker and a really good kid. It was kind of sad to see that happen.

On the pressure of kicking in front of 101,000 fans at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium: It’s the same thing at Penn State. There are 100,000 here. There are 110,000 there.

On if there is added pressure to kick well in a game like the Red River Rivalry: I mean I’ve kicked against big teams before, so it’s not too big of a deal.

On if he has communicated with OU senior WR Justin Brown: Yes. I sent him a little “good luck” thing earlier today.

On if he trash talked with Brown: No. I was just saying, “Good luck, looking forward to seeing you.”

On if he was close with Brown: I mean we were in the same class. We obviously knew each other really well.

On if a lot of PSU players discussed whether or not they would transfer: Yes. A lot of guys talked. I mean I lived in a house, there were seven of us. So it was really hard to leave all my best friends and roommates. I was the only guy in my house that actually left. It was just a tough decision. I didn’t talk to Justin at all about it.

On the reaction of his roommates on his decision to transfer: They understood. Because they knew my parents and my mom. So they were really understanding about it.

On adjustments he has made as a kicker at Texas: I mean it was tough at first, just adjusting with the snapper and holder. Stuff like that. Today I didn’t miss any field goals with the team. So I feel pretty good about that.

On if he is now pain-free after kicking: Yes. I’m good. I’m ready to go.

On if he ever thought about playing at Texas initially instead of Penn State: Yes. I considered it. Both of my sisters graduated from here. So there was obviously a comfort level. But it just didn’t work out at first.

On if he can compare playing for two of the most successful college football coaches: I don’t think anybody can say. I don’t know. But they’re both two well-respected coaches. [Former PSU head coach Joe] Paterno — I liked him a lot. I have a lot of respect for him. And [Texas head coach Mack] Brown — he’s awesome too. I mean I’ve only been here for three months, but I like him a lot.

On his reaction to the scandal at Penn State: Everything that went down, it was sad to see what happened. You know, I really loved it there. It’s such a great university. Just kind of got a little messed up from one guy . They’re trying to overcome it. [PSU head coach Bill] O’Brien is doing such a great job up there.

On if people knew about the scandal before it was brought to the public’s attention: I didn’t know about it. I found out when everybody else found out.

On if he thinks Penn State football can recover from the scandal: Yes. Like I said before, Coach O’Brien is a great coach. I liked him a lot. He knows what he’s doing.

On if he has ever attended the Red River Rivalry game: Yes. I went one time. I think it was the 2005 year, where we won the National Championship here.

On if he was in the stands for the game: Yes. I went with my dad.

On if he wore burnt orange to the game: I was kind of neutral at the time. I didn’t really know.

On the atmosphere of the Red River Rivalry: It was really exciting. The one side and the other.

On if his family is going to be at the game on Saturday: Yes. I think my dad is and my sisters.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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