But they make bad teams look even worse.
The Number Four Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) dominated our hapless Penn State Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1) for sixty minutes at da Big House on Saturday, cruising to a 49-10 victory while slicing through the depleted PSU defense like a hot knife through butter.
Injuries at key defensive positions, namely linebacker, didn’t help matters. Michigan could run at will through them, as had Pitt in Week Two, amassing 326 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Penn State was never in it defensively, a situation that was exacerbated by the inept offensive performance that once again saw anemic third-down production (2-12), dropped passes, and an offensive line that was so sadly outclassed that their defensive counterpart often appeared to be playing on Penn State’s side of the ball.
After a particularly egregious loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the late 1970s, acerbic Head Coach John McCay was asked if he could draw anything positive out of the game. “Yes. Our remaining fans should be able to get into the parking lot a lot easier for next week’s game against Green Bay.”
That’s the kind of game it was for Penn State. When looking for the good, you have to stretch. A great day for freshman punter Blake Gillikan stands out. He punted six times for an average of 45 yards with a long one of 61 yards. Beyond that, perhaps another bone crushing tackle by Joey “Big Toe” Julius was entertaining. It hurts my head to have to go dumpster diving to find positive spots.
Although the offense was in the aggregate ineffectual to say the least, former freshman speedster Saquon Barkley was a one-man offensive show most of the day, providing our only hint of life when receivers were blanketed by defenders and the offensive line suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. He had 15 carries for 59 yards as well as five receptions for 77 yards in the losing effort. The Nittany Lions’ inability to stretch the field enabled the Wolverines to bottle up Penn State’s one remaining offensive weapon, to whom our crack coaching staff turned continually in desperation when nothing else worked.
PSU waited until the final quarter to exhibit its penchant for turning the ball over, with a Trace McSorley pick and a fumble by freshman running back Miles Sanders. Barkley consoled Sanders after the turnover, solidifying his role as a team leader and providing another rare positive moment in this sorry-ass game.
Worst of all, there was no fire on the sidelines, and not even a spark on the field. They had the look of a defeated team from the git-go, and they were never in it.
Let’s hope the parking lot at St. Joe Memorial Stadium at Beaver won’t be too easy to navigate for next week’s Minnesota game.