UNIVERSITY PARK, PA, November 18 — Thank God this season is over, as I couldn’t stand to watch this absolutely bad offense anymore. They did their damnedest to hand the ball to Michigan State on several occasions, but somehow managed to finish on top 17–13. I guess that’s no surprise to those who have following the Spartans, whose season went down the drain, along with their coach, several games ago.
Penn State finishes with an 8–4 record and ties Purdue for fourth place in the Big Ten. For bowl game selection, that just about guarantees an Outback Bowl bid, as the Nittany Lions hold the tie-breaker over Purdue. Besides, we’ve got the bigger alumni base. However, this could be the booby prize this year. The Tampa match-up will be against an SEC team that will beat the crap out of Penn State. The only potential SEC opponent that might be vulnerable is good old Auburn, which lacks a great offense. We’ll cover that stuff in a later column when the match-up becomes clear. A lot of football remains to be played in the SEC.
With the Ohio State–Michigan game having been such a hard fought, close game, the possibility that the two will meet again in the BCS Championship Game still lurks as a monkey wrench in the bowl works. Wisconsin could still be eligible for the Rose Bowl, which would allow Penn State to move up to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando should that happen. But don’t bet on it going that way. One loss notwithstanding, Wisconsin’s strength of schedule is not among the BCS elite, and this Turkey thinks that the BCS wouldn’t take a third team from the Big Ten unless it was a top six team, which Wisconsin ain’t. There are still too many one-loss and better teams ahead of Wisconsin. Keep an eye on the BCS standings this weekend.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER (Katie taught me how to make these): Until bowl invitations are officially extended, this Official Turkey Poop Bowl Speculation should be taken as mere bullshit.
But thank God this season is over for Penn State. What torture it has been to watch that offense screw up in 12 damn games. Jeez! The play calling is predictable because the team has not progressed at all during the year. The coaches keep it simple, knowing that their players aren’t capable of executing. I don’t blame them as much as I used to, because their logic might be valid. This team sure knows a lot of ways to screw up and few ways to succeed. Asking generic of clonazepam them to pull rabbits out of hats is just not good business.
I owe you some comments about the game. With great sadness I’ll pay my debt.
Four turnovers in the first half. They looked like the Keystone Cops out there. They haven’t improved a whit since the Akron game in early September. This crappy performance, against a team that really sucks, is nothing but pitiful. Four for thirteen in third down conversions? Bad, just bad. One failed third down conversion resulted in a punt on which roughing the kicker was called. It looked as if it should have been a five yarder, which wouldn’t have resulted in the first down; however, the officials gave the Lions a gift which later turned into a touchdown. Still, the Nittany Pussies could only manage 17 points.
Interestingly enough, after the pitiful Illinois game, Morelli, along with the three vaunted receivers (Butler, Norwood, and Willams), met with offensive coaches Galen Hall and Jay Paterno to complain that the conservative calls were not allowing them to help the team with the vertical game as they thought they could. (Full story here.) The receivers asked for the ball in the middle of the field and deep downfield, where they would have running room. Apparently, the coaches remained stalwart in their conservatism. We have to wonder what will happen next year when Tony Hunt is gone and point production will be dependent on an offense that didn’t complete a single touchdown pass during the Big Ten season until the final game. Will our coaches open up the offense, or just hand the ball to Austin Scott?
Back to the game, there were bright spots, some expected and some not. The Nittany Lion defense did its usual competent job, albeit with a first half lapse, and Tony Hunt concluded his Penn State career with 129 yards on 29 carries. One encouraging sign for next year is the increased involvement of tight end Andrew Quarless, a big 6’5″, 250 pound freshman, who had a breakout day with three receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Frankly, this Turkey impatiently waited for this sloppy, soporific comedy of errors to end so I could watch a real football game: Michigan vs. Ohio State, which although overly hyped, turned out to be all it was cracked up to be.
Now, look. We have a bowl game coming up, so I’ll have more to say as the venue and the opponents become clear. In the meanwhile I’ll be writing about whatever begs for a comment.
I like reading your stuff – straight to the point with no BS. I have to take argument with you this week though in your comment that the defense didn’t show up in the first half. We had four turnovers that repeatedly put Mich St in good field position and they mustered a mere 13 points. They had a great game plan – attack, attack, attack – against a very good defense. Some plays are going to work, but when a team is rolling as well as they seemed to be, I believe holding them to 13 points is a great showing. I haven’t seen the stat, but what was the TOP differential for the first half. The defense was on the field a long time and still was fighting hard at the end of the half. My hat is off to them for keeping us in the game.
Right on with the offense though – they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag right now. The receivers complain about play calling, but don’t make the plays when given the opportunities (how many times did dropped balls kill a drive throughout the season). The QB can’t see the field, locks on to receivers, makes poor decisions, and has zero pocket presence. The line got a lot of flack this year, but all in all I thought they performed well enough that our high powered passing game had plenty of time to get going in most games (which would have lightened up the pressure on them).
Keep up the quality blogging.
The Nittany Turkey says
Thanks, Pete, for being a faithful reader and for your kind comments.
The Spartans deserve a lot of credit for not just rolling over and playing dead. They didn’t have to put out the effort they did, and I contend that our defense, with the few notable exceptions who ALWAYS show up, was expecting a walk in the park. If MSU receivers could catch, we probably would have been down 28-0 at the half. Had Stanton played, too, he would have added a running threat that befuddled our defense against Illinois. Yes, they were on the field a long time, and yes, our offense made the job difficult for them. But in this Turkey’s opinion, they were not crisp in the first half.
After the game, Levi Brown said that he hadn’t expected to be needed in the fourth quarter. I think that notion probably pervaded others, who thought they could mail it in. Four turnovers involving the primary skill players in the first half of a November game? This offense has not developed at all in a whole season of football.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Pete!