No, this isn’t a commercial for long-acting Cialis. (By the way, what ever happened to Levitra? Cialis and the grandaddy of them all, the blue, football-shaped Viagra, are both going strong, but where the hell is Levitra? I don’t see any ads for it anymore. Maybe it was something about imagining a sexual interlude with the drug’s spokesman, Mike Ditka, that repulsed people. But I digress even before establishing a topic.)
The B1G schedule has begun, and Penn State is the master of its game. Well, not hardly, but much of what they did on the field Saturday looked pretty pretty pretty good, as it were. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. It gets much harder from here.
I was wrong once again. Did I overrate the Illini or underestimate the improvement of the Nittany Lions? Probably a little of both as I’ll happily admit anytime the desired effect is achieved. Screw my predictions. It is good to see Penn State winning, even if it is in the Big Ten, which it is in vogue for everybody to call crappy this year. As the later Joseph V. Paterno would say, “You guys don’t know what you’re talking about. We had to play hard to beat a good football team out theah. And we gotta get ready for Northwestern.”
In any case, the Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-0) prevailed 35-7 for their first in-conference win. The hapless Illini (2-3, 0-1) remain winless in the conference.
And, jou know soneseeng? It was a satisfying win that left few questions as to whether Bill O’Brien knows how to coach his offense. Mr. Head Coach cum Offensive Coordinator, ya did well, lad. And ya did it without much help from top running back Bill Belton or the dearly departed tight end (formerly known as second string quarterback) Paul Jones. You, Mr. O’Brien, did not suck. Even though the Fakowie defense was and is less than crappy, you impressed this old Turkey.
OMG OMG The Big Ten sucks so bad. Who cares? Get over it. You want to bullshit in a bar about something, talk about the variety we’ve seen implemented in this offense, which made the giant leap from 1972 to 2012 in about three games, if that.
O’Brien placed the running game in the capable hands of sophomore Zach Zwinak who scampered for 101 yards and two TDs while McGloin has a decent day at the helm, with 211 yards passing, 18 out of 30, plus one TD and no INTs. McGloin also showed how sneaky he was, scoring two touchdowns on the ground behind a mighty Stankiewicz-led surge. Still gimpy Bill Belton added 65 yards on 16 carries. No doubt that Mike Zordich is pissed off that he only got one carry for two yards. But then, all of those who had been gathering pine splinters and flirting with nurses have returned to action.
For a change, it was not Allen Robinson who topped the list of Penn State receivers. No, man, McGloin spread the ball around, counting on tight ends Matt Lehman and Kyle Carter for most of the grunt work. Lehman had five receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
It seemed that Illinois never seemed to get “untracked”. (It’s ON TRACK, dumbass sports commentators, not “untracked” or the pseudo-Teutonic equivalent, “untrakt”. Sorry, couldn’t resist; I digress. N’wait – don’t go away yet!) Much as in the Lousiana Tech game, they coughed the ball up early and often. Turnovers’ll kill ya, especially when they come demoralizingly early in a game after a completely demoralizing loss the prior week. Just wait until next week when they have to deal with the Badgers (3-2, 0-1). They’ll fold their tent in the third quarter.
Even the stripe-out at Memorial Stadium and one well executed trick play couldn’t help the Illini before an announced crowd of 46,734. They sucked.
Hidden well below the noise above was another bad day for Lions’ place kicker Sam Ficken, who missed both of his field goal tries. He was, however, perfect in five extra points converted. Punting was a bit better, too, as Mrs. Butterworth’s favorite son averaged 43.3 yards. Keep that up, Alex!
Things get tougher for Penn State (3-2, 1-0) after this. Undefeated — yeah, that’s right —Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) comes to State College, loaded for bear (or maybe Lion). This turkey will return later in the week to take a look at yet another catfight in Happy Valley.
Some random thoughts.
-I’ll bet there are some people at Illinois today that are wishing they hadn’t sent Ron Zook packing!
-The Patriot News reported a statement from one of the local sportswriters after the game that in essence said when Penn State needed a new football coach they went to the NFL and got New England’s offensive coordinator; when Illinois needed a new coach they went to Toledo!
-At the time, I felt McWhorter was the the best assistant coach hire by BoB. Watching his O-line push the Illini front four all over the field Saturday has to be one of the best coaching jobs I’ve seen in recent memory considering what he had to start the season. I understand he’s also using a nine man rotation which bodes well for the future. Donovan Smith is a beast at LT.
-Lot’s of credit for the OL development also has to go to Craig Fitzgerald (probably my #1A hire by BoB). Makes you wonder what we were missing in all those prior seasons.
-The guy is also a lunatic on the sideline when someone makes a big play. In fact, there is more emotion shown by this coaching staff than I ever remember seeing during the 200+ years that the old staff was around. I like it!
-I also had my doubts about running the ball against their front four (if you remember last year, they ate our OL for lunch.) Prior to the game, everyone seemed to think that Spence, Buchannan and Brown would all be receiving paychecks from the NFL. More props to the OL for making them essentially non-factors.
-Couldn’t understand Beckman keeping Scheelhause in the pocket in the first quarter. He obviously had mobility as evidenced how they used him later, but I don’t think it ended up mattering either way.
-Don’t piss off Michael Mauti; EVER! One of the most outstanding performances I’ve witnessed in all my years of watching college football.
-Roof’s defense actually looks pretty good. Putting Hull in and moving Amos to safety on third down seems to have solved some of the third down issues for now. Morris said they are also now starting to feel more comfortable with each other handling their responsibilities based on the defensive calls.
-TE’s in the backfield and no-huddle offense, man this makes we want to watch when PS is on offense instead of getting up to get a beer or make a sandwich. I also believe we have still not seen everything in the playbook. And considering he’s doing this with a team that for the most part was handed to him is even more remarkable.
-During the broadcast, Brian Griese gave a real compelling argument about why top high school QB and TE recruits should want to come to Penn State to play in O’Brien’s pro-style offense. Emmert will probably impose additional sanctions on us since he mentioned Christian Hackenburg on the air.
-Dave Pasche (sp) his co-broadcaster mentioned several times that O’Brien should get National Coach of the year because of everything he’s had to overcome at PS to put a winning product on the field. Again we’ll probably get hit with repeat offender status by Emmert as his comments seemed to infer that we were still promoting the culture of football over everything else by wanting to win with the kids who stayed.
-Sad that the planned Illini orange and blue striped stadium sections looked more like cobs of indian corn at the start of the game and you could hear the stadium PA announcer clear as a bell mid-way through the third quarter as fans decided they had better things to do. I also assume there is no interview room as all of what I saw was conducted outside.
-Belichek had to be proud of O’Brien’s post game handshake with Beckman. O’Brien will probably get a warning letter from Delaney as his total disregard for Beckman after the game was not in keeping with the sportsmanship mantra of the B1G, even if the opposing coach is an absolute dickhead.
-Wished BoB would have went for the TD after Mauti’s 99 yard INT return. That would have been the dagger in the heart!
-McGloin had me worried at times; felt we were in for an old Matt McFarve game Saturday. But he did come through with some nice plays and did manage the game for the most part (except for that godawful 20 yard sack he took.) I still believe he is serviceable and will do more good than bad.
-Liked keeping Illinois out of the end zone on the last play, especially with a lot of second/third team guys on the field.
-Will there be a letdown for N’western after this game? Glad it’s at the Beav.
-Agree that it gets harder from here out.
-Don’t know if N’western is for real or not (see Minnesota).
-tOSU really does not look that good (stop Miller, stop the Bucknuts). -Who knows about Iowa although we play there this year and have to deal with that aggression removing, pink painted visitors locker room.
-Wisky I don’t have a clue (Montay Ball’s performance this year is another reason why you should take the pro $$ instead of coming back for your senior season especially when you finish in the top 5 Heisman balloting, no OL and a free-agent QB who’s not worth what he’s being paid.
-Indiana (well it’s Indiana).
-Purdue may be for real this year if they can keep their last QB from tearing an ACL.
-Nebraska could very well be the best of a lousy B1G conference and we do play in Lincoln.
-So who knows? We’re an injury or two from disaster, but right now this team, coaching staff and BoB are making this a season that’s absolutely a blast to watch, and wherever we end up, I still think they should put “2012” up at the Beav with all those other great teams.