Our #4 Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) beat the Indiana Hoosiers (2-2, 0-2 Big Ten) in a packed St. Joe Memorial Stadium at Beaver. Final score was 45-14.
So, hey, didn’t I tell you that there would be a Saquon Barkley kickoff return for a TD and a J-Shun Harris punt return for a TD? Am I a seer, or what? (Of course, the J-Shun punt return went the other way, but who’s counting?).
My final score of 44-24 fell short of the mark, though. I told you to take the over. So I wasn’t all that prescient, but PSU covered the spread, anyway.
Indiana’s D, combined with the mediocre PSU O-line, bottled up the inside run once again, allowing our hero Saquon only 56 yards rushing. Of course, he made up for it in so many ways, ways in which he can hurt you, so to speak. Even in ways we’ve not heretofore considered that he could hurt you, he hurt you, already. So many weapons at their disposal!
Then why did the awfense look so anemic doing the routine, fun-a-mental football stuff, like running straight ahead? They ain’t living up to all of our’s expectations. I mean, if the defense sells out on stopping the Barkley run, you have to hit some receivers, right? And there was Trace McSorley doing his C-Hack imitation again — chuck ’em high, chuck ’em low, chuck ’em any way the wind blowwwwwwwwwws!
Our wonderful O-Line also allowed five sacks of Tracy McSorley by the Indiana defense. Not good. Not good at all.
And what’s with the field goal unit? A block and a miss are unacceptable now, but could be disastrous later on, in the heart of the Big Ten title race. This was, after all, Indiana. I know that there were problems with a new long snapper and a new holder, but either these things get worked out in practice or those guys just plain suuuuuuuuuuuuck. I mean, Tyler Davis used to be Mr. Automatic, to coin a phrase.
DaeSean Hamilton became Penn State’s all time leading pass receiver, and barring injury, should extend his total to near unreachability through the remainder of his career. (A little hyperbole there — we all know that records are made to be broken. (A little cliche there).).
Did we get the worst BTN announcer duo, or what?
An expected win with some exciting, spectacular plays, but what is that empty feeling in the pit of my overstuffed gut? Do I think our big-play offense left something to be desired? <burp!> Yes. Do I see problems down the road? I do. Yes, I do.
Northwestern at home is no pushover, and then #7 Michigan and #10 Ohio State. Better get this shit fixed by then.
Franklin and the brain trust need to work on some things to get this team ready for prime time. Their being dead last in the Big Ten in field goal percentage and 12th in the Big Ten in third-down conversions suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks! Those issues, if not fixed, most certainly will come back to bite us!
What do you think?
I’ll be back with a look at the Northwestern Purple Wildpussyettes forthwith.
Big Al says
Kudos you’ve gotten the last two games right and I’ve totally blown them. I should have realized that Indiana would loose their poise and play like crap in the Beav – just like they always have. And I should have realized that the defense would be able to handle Indiana’s offense. It’s a lot like State’s, only with players that aren’t as talented. Indiana is one game where the defense can get quality practice reps that are reasonably close to the real thing. Unlike Michigan for example. where our scout team doesn’t stand a chance in a hell of imitating the opponent’s power gam.
However, one thing I wasn’t wrong about is Penn State’s flaws. They’re real, but’ the question is whether Penn State’s future opponents are good enough to exploit the flaws. And most of them also have flaws that State might be able to exploit. So, maybe we CAN win another B1G championship. And then get curb stomped in the BCS by Alabama or Clemson like Moo U and tO$U did the past two years.
The Nittany Turkey says
One thing is for certain: my string of fortuitous predictions will end this week! There’s never a dull moment when the Nittany Lions travel to Evanston for a nooner. Expect the unexpected! The exception is the rule, and there are no rules.
I think the Indiana score would have been closer were it not for the injuries on their side — not only the lingering ones from the Georgia Southern game, but also the injuries to J-Shun Harris and Ian Thomas during the game. Four turnovers and some fortunate happenstance gave PSU a three-TD cushion. Who would have thought that after a 28-point first quarter, the Lions would be completely shut out until the waning moments of the third quarter? So, what happens when they play that game against a decent team operating at full strength? I’m not saying Indiana is a pushover by any means. Just saying that they’ll be facing tougher competition down the road, when the flaws will be exposed.
The damn place kicking fiasco needs to heal quickly — THIS WEEK, in fact. NWU won the 2015 game 23-21. The unpredictability of this match-up suggests that a field goal can be the deciding play. They’ve got work to do.
Your concluding paragraph presents a plausible scenario that I cannot and will not refute. I do not think that PSU will face a complete team in the Big Ten, although I still believe that they will have a tough time beating Michigan and probably will go down in the Horseshoe. If they don’t fix a few things they could lose others, too; however, they could just as easily escape this season with another B1G title. If they should make it to the playoffs, they have two chances: slim and none.
Stopping Barkley’s inside running seems to be the standard defensive game plan against PSU this year, but thus far, the opposing defenses haven’t been up to the task of putting the clamps on the rest of the offense. Indiana did manage to get four or five sacks and rushed McSorely several times, leading to crappy throws. Gesicki’s injury worries me. (All random, disconnected thoughts for a Monday.)
Well not much in your wrap-up I would disagree with.
Watching the line play has me confused-while I don’t think we’re back to the 5 traffic cone level of play, they still seem to be getting pushed in to the backfield on a too frequent basis and there seems to be an awful lot of waving at someone as they blast past them. Yeah I understand that our opponents are sending 8 and 9 guys on just about every down and that’s a lot of bodies for 5 guys and maybe a tight end or Barkley to pick up. We also don’t seem to have that safety valve receiver hanging around for McSorely to dump off a quick pass and he seems to get a case of happy feet and wants to take off right away. These guys also seem to be too nice-I want to see more illegal hands to the face on blocking assignments, guys getting pancaked and just some real nastiness from our big uglies. At least Nelson wasn’t in the game. So perhaps this will take time, I expected more from Menet this year (he’s from my area and I really expected him to come into his own this year) but he just doesn’t seem to be there yet. Not being able to open up some holes for Barkley and the other RB’s to possibly break into the second level is a major concern.
I am also confused by our FG kicker, watching the first four games, we were plagued by low snaps and bad holds, but those did not seem to be an issue this week. I knew we were replacing the long snapper and holder this season, but I figured that would be something that gets worked out before the season starts and Davis would be money in the bank again this year. Hard to tell with the blocks if the kicks are low or someone is just missing an assignment on the line but somehow I view this as a THE issue that could derail this team as we move in to the meat of the schedule.
So fix these two issues and a little better passing accuracy from McSorely and who knows where this season goes. I’ll feel better if we come back from Evanston with a ‘W’ Saturday and will certainly welcome the bye week, but this is the one game where I always felt we had a good chance of choking on a fur ball.
The Nittany Turkey says
I share your disappointment in the progress of the offensive line. Just think of what kind of an offense we would be seeing if they had an offensive line of PSU 1994 caliber, or even a few latter day linemen like Donovan Smith, John Urschel, and A.Q. Shipley. While they haven’t regressed to the Paris Palmer “come to me and I will block thee” paradigm, they get pushed around and they are seen making feeble attempts to hold blocks. So, go ahead and define what a traffic cone isn’t, since you originated the moniker. Or don’t, but in my thinking, a traffic cone by any other name…
In view of the weakness of the O-Line, the offensive brain trust needs to work on the blocking schemata, on the safety valves, and on McSorley’s happy feet (although it appears the last is more of a planned component of the offense than I would have hoped). At this point, the game plan needs to recognize that many defenses will load up the box to try to limit Barkley’s yards and put pressure on T-Mac. Furthermore, I have no idea whether McSorley’s accuracy issues the past couple of games have been pressure related, but geez! They can’t convert third downs without a decent short game, and their 12th ranking in the conference reflects some serious problems in need of fixing. Fix the line, fix the third-down offense, and fix McSorley’s pocket presence — is that too much to ask?
Oh, yeah, fix the field goal shakiness, too.
NOW, I’m asking too much, methinks.
In my August preview, I looked at the NWU game and saw it as the biggest potential stumbling block in the first half of the season. In fact, I predicted a loss at Evanston. My feelings about NWU have moderated somewhat since that time, but I still see this game as one that cannot be taken lightly and one that has upset potential. In fact, I’m never very confident going into Evanston, for whatever reason, especially for a noon kickoff. I hope Franklin and the boys are of a better mindset than I.