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Oklahoma football: Former Penn State teammates now on opposite sides of OU-Texas rivalry

Sooners wide receiver Justin Brown and Longhorns kicker Anthony Fera each left Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Now they get their first taste of the Red River Rivalry on Saturday in the Cotton Bowl.
by Jason Kersey Modified: October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012

/articleid/3717401/1/pictures/1853807">Photo - Oklahoma's Justin Brown (19) grabs a pass in front of Texas Tech's Cornelius Douglas (2) but was not able to hold on for the touchdown during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas Tech University at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Justin Brown (19) grabs a pass in front of Texas Tech's Cornelius Douglas (2) but was not able to hold on for the touchdown during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas Tech University at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Fera is from the Houston area, and has said he left the Nittany Lions to be close to a sick family member.

He missed Texas' first four games with a groin injury, but returned for last week's home loss to West Virginia, during which he missed a 41-yard attempt with five minutes left that would've tied the game.

Brown said Penn State's biggest rival is “probably Ohio State,” but later acknowledged that — because of Ohio State's annual grudge match with Michigan — Saturday's OU-Texas tilt will be his first experience in a college football rivalry game this heated.

Still, Brown is forever linked with his new rival's kicker; he and Fera are part of the group that chose to leave Penn State and, in doing so, live with the intense — sometimes hateful — fan criticism that came with leaving.

“We're there to support each other,” Brown said, “but also the rest of the team that's still at Penn State. We're watching each others' games.

“I talk to those guys every couple days to see how they're doing. We're gonna be like that for the rest of our lives; just because people leave doesn't mean you don't talk any more. Hopefully none of them have hard feelings against me.”

The Nittany Lions started the 2012 season 0-2, but have since won four straight games.

“They're doing good,” Brown said. “It's nice to see them go out there and win some games.”

Fera, a senior academically, and Brown each plan to transfer their credits back to Penn State and graduate as Nittany Lions.

For now, though, the two are focused on their current teams, neither of which can afford a second Big 12 Conference loss Saturday in the Cotton Bowl.

“He's a leader because of the way he handles himself, carries himself and competes,” OU co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said of Brown.

“He's getting better every week.”

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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