My Official Turkey Poop Prediction for yesterday was so far off the mark that I felt I must own up to my epic fail. This is probably my worst prediction of all time.
As you know Penn State (1-2, 0-0) beat Navy (0-2) 34-7. Navy actually outgained the Lions by 50 yards and thoroughly dominated time of possession, but their four turnovers stick out like a sore thumb on the stat sheets. Navy shot themselves in the foot. The Nits didn’t fix their third down problems; they converted three out of eight. But Navy was far worse, at four for fifteen. Total Yards for the Midshipmen were 391 (17.8 chains) , for the Lions, 351 (1.6 furlongs).
Matt McGloin threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions. Allen Robinson became the first PSU player in three years to notch three touchdown passes in a single game.
Four turnovers by Navy. Gerald Hodges’ first quarter interception of a Trey Miller pass at the Penn State 10 saved a score and turned into six points for the Nittany Lions. I bet they’re kicking themselves all the way back to Annapolis. Penn State was able to convert only one of three recovered fumbles into points, that being on a Mike Hull run back 74 yards for a touchdown. Navy’s possessions came in fits and starts, and they couldn’t mount a decent drive until the fourth quarter when they scored their only points. They punted only once, because they were too busy handing the ball to Penn State to kill drives.
Sam Ficken, you ask? Whither of ol’ Samme? Well, no field goals attempted, so we don’t know if he improved there, but he sailed a no-excuses extra point attempt wide left to give us an indication that he’s still a work in progress, to be kind about it. And did you see the nose on that kid?
The running back situation was temporarily resolved by running Mike Zordich out of the tailback position instead of fullback, supplemented by Curtis Dukes. Together they ground out 97 terrestrial yards or 17.6 rods.
McGloin was 13-21, spreading the ball — sort of — among eight receivers. I say “sort of” because looking past the five catches by Allen Robinson and two by Zordich, the other six had one each. Converted quarterback Paul Jones was one of them, gaining seven yards on his catch.
There is still much reason to worry about the defensive secondary when Navy, a triple-option team, can beat them deep for receptions of 38, 28, and 21 yards.
All in all, this Turkey thinks the Lions are improving somewhat. They were turnover free, thank God. They’re beat up at running back and they have a ragtag receiving corps. It seemed clear to me that the defense was uncomfortable with the triple-option. Navy is a pretty mediocre team, so in meeting mediocrity with mediocrity, the better mediocrity won. Don’t be expecting any 34-7 routs of Ohio State or anything. If you’re about to put on the rose colored glasses (with blue and white trim), please wait until these guys have beaten someone good, which is still not likely to happen. But keep smiling at least until Saturday. Savor the win. Bill O’Brien sure did.
O’Brien got his first Gatorade shower, but he was smiling. It was also his first win with the New Nittany Lions. One down, 408 to go.
Announced attendance was 98,792.
Around the B1G, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, the #17 Mishiganers, and Iowa beat patsies. #12 Ohio State avoided an upset by Cal, 35-28; Northwestern scored late to cinch a win over Boston College, 22-13; #10 Moo U. was clobbered by the #20 Fighting Irish, 20-3; Wisconsin narrowly escaped a loss to Utah State, 16-14, as the Aggies missed a late field goal try; and Indiana dropped a close, high-scoring contest to Ball State, 41-39.
Expect a shake-up in the Top 25 in da morning, as the #21 Cardinal of Stanford shocked the #2 USC Trojans (ribbed and lubricated for her pleasure), 21-14. They shut down our boy Silas Redd, who had 13 carries for 17 yards (albeit with two touchdowns). But Alabama is a solid #1, having beaten the Razorbacks 52-0, and LSU should move into the #2 slot vacated by the Trojans after whipping Idaho by the slightly lopsided score of 63-14. Oregon will be sucked up to #3 with a 63-14 win over Tennessee Tech; #5 FSU beat Wake 52-0, so there’s your #4; and #5 Oklahoma was idle.
I’ll be back with a prediction for the tilt over across the state with Temple, now that I’m thoroughly confused.