Flash: Penn State 33, Kent State 13
The bated anticipation of a new offense and a revamped defense had us on pins and needles awaiting this anticlimactic effort, but we learned a few things from it. The Nittany Lions (1-0) beat the Golden Flashes (0-1) in a sloppy effort that gave us a flash of Joe Moorhead’s offense for the first time in a real game situation for Penn State.
I typically write sooner after the game, but this one left me rather uninspired. It was more flash than dash and that’s no trash.
Our closest prediction this week emanated from Artificially Sweetened, whose 35-10 prognostication edged out Big Al’s 30-10. The Golden Flashes covered the spread by the slimmest of margins, as Al said they would, but the total of 46 points made the “over” the winning bet by one measly point.
You all saw the game and I’m writing this too late to provide a blow-by-blow recap (and in my mind, it did blow), but I’ll give you some observations.
First, let me say that I was disappointed with what was purported to be an up-tempo no huddle offense. When you have a bunch of guys standing around looking at the sidelines where two stoners are break-dancing signals to the offense, what’s the difference whether there is a huddle or not? To me, up-tempo means something like Texas put on Notre Dame all night Sunday night. When the ball is set and blown live, they’re ready and can snap it right away to catch the defense napping. What good is standing there gazing at a pair of monkeys on the sideline? The only way that will catch the defense napping is when they all fall asleep from boredom. Maybe that’s the idea.
Second, when the highlight reel play of the game is a novelty tackle by 380 lb kicker Joey “Big Toe” Julius, then you know there ain’t much to say.
Playing Down to the Competition? I Think Not.
OK, so were these guys (coaches included) taking Kent State too lightly, or are they just not too great? It looks as if they were “finding themselves” in the first half. Of course, that’s nothing new.
On offense, our old friends on the O-Line might have looked a little better in protecting McSorley than they did protecting Hack last year, but remember, this is Kent State. Also, they weren’t really getting a push on running plays. S-Bark had to get many of his sneaky 105 yards on his own. The offensive line is still a weak point. Yeah, I’ll grant you that the Flashless Flashes stacked the box to key on the Barkeroo, but still…
Receivers are solid, and even Mike Gesicki caught a TD pass. That counts for something. However, as has been the knock for time immemorial, PSU receivers just ain’t capable of getting separation from D-backs. That was even a knock on Allen “Gimme da Damn Ball” Robinson, who now can do it all in the pros. These guys have the talent, but do they have the coaching?
Slow Developing Plays
But what’s the deal running the option with Trace McSorley hanging onto the ball, looking indecisive? Maybe not so much indecisive, but just slow. By the time Barkley gets it, the defense is in the backfield. Or Mack keeps it, gets a few yards, and gets beat up in the process. I know, I know, Morehead and Franklin know more about football in the tips of their dicks than I’ll ever know, but I reserve the right to criticize their asses.
Third down performance blew — 5-14. Opening day jitters, you say. Yeah, we’ll see.
And on defense, what’s with all the missed tackles? I see that the D-Line woke up in the second half and rang up a bunch of sacks against a notably deficient Kent State O-Line. Big deal. Color me unimpressed.
What’s the Deal?
Oh, yeah, you can go for two on the first TD of the game if you want to break the other guy’s spirit early, but when you shoot yourself in the foot while doing it, it has the opposite effect. This is Trace McSorley behind Brian Gaia and the PSU line we’re talking about, not Ben Roethlisberger behind Maurkice Pouncey and the Steelers.
So, Moorhen— this ain’t Fordham and you won’t be playing Patriot League I-AA opponents. Your signature win over Army doesn’t mean squat here in Happy Valley. What am I bitching about? After all, you put 33 on the board against what is purportedly a good defense. Good in the MAC, anyway.
A Real Punter, for a Change!
Penn State punting has improved with Blake Gillikan doing the legwork. He averaged 47 yards with a long of 59. That is a good thing.
A Win Is a Win Is a Win
So, a win is a win. Yep. Sure. I contend that these guys are not yet ready for prime time. What good, positive indications did you glean from this game?
I’ll be back like really really soon with an overview and prediction for the Pitt game.