Nittany Lions Wreck Big Blue, 42-13
With last year’s 49-10 rout at da Big House serving as tacit locker room fodder, the #2 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) entered whited-out, packed St. Joe Memorial Stadium at Beaver bent on revenge. They tore apart the best regarded defense in the conference and demonstrated that their own defense ain’t too shabby, annihilating the #19 Michigan Wolverines (5-2, 2-2) 42-13.
Is That All You Got?
After anesthetizing Jim Harbaugh and his boys with a couple of quick strike scores early in the first quarter, the PSU defense settled in to do its job, allowing only 13 points and 269 total yards. That was no surprise to most of us who expected a low-scoring game. For a while it appeared as if Michigan’s stifling defense would give us just that, holding Penn State scoreless after their initial outburst until late in the first half, when Trace McSorley scored on a three yard run with 53 ticks remaining on the clock.
After they took a 21-13 lead into the clubhouse, the Nittany Lions’ offense further demonstrated that it could live up to all the hype. While the PSU defense held the Wolverines scoreless in the second half, the Lions added another 21 points on their way to a 506-yard performance. So, it would turn out that those first 14 points were, in fact, a knockout punch, as that was all the points they needed. The rest was gravy. Icing on the cake.
(Wow, how the hell many metaphors can I mix?)
Predictor of the Week
On our selection crew, only Jackstand had the balls to predict that PSU could score 38 points against the vaunted Michigan defense. The Lions exceeded his prognostication by four on offense and four on defense as well. Thus, Jackstand may take a bow for his 38-17 prediction, which lands him squarely in the limelight as the Nittany Turkey Predictor of the Week.
Offense Too Much for Harbonian Defense
Most of us, I’m sure, were surprised by the abilities displayed by the offense, who were not intimidated in the slightest by the ballyhooed Michigan defense. Kudos to the much maligned Penn State offensive line, who held their own against the likes of Maurice Hurst, Jr., who had a quiet day. Here’s a shout out to yinz guyz: OFFENSIVE LINE!
The Big Offensive Stars, of course, were Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley, each of whom scored three touchdowns. Barkley tacitly sent a telegram* to the Heisman Committee stating, “I win.” His all around performance included 15 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, three receptions for 53 yards and a TD through the charged ether of St. Joe Memorial. To that, he added 15 return yards. McSorley overcame some early game jitters that caused him to appear erratic when pressed, ending up with a 17-26, 282-yard passing day with one TD toss to Barkley and one INT, while his rushing excelled with 11 carries for 76 yards and 3 TDs. McSorley’s prime target was DaeSean Hamilton, who had six receptions for 115 yards.
Barkley’s juggling touchdown catch, which in an apres-game interview he jokingly claimed he did for the fans, made all the highlight reels**.
This game has caused me to change some perspectives. First, I have to believe that Michigan’s defense is not as great as it has been cracked up to be. After all, other than Penn State, who have they played? They’ll have a few weeks to regroup against lesser opponents before wrapping up the season with a couple of tough nuts to crack, namely, Wisconsin and tOSU.
I’m going to bet that most of you (save Jackstand) were surprised by the impressive offensive performance of the Nittany Lions, and pretty satisfied with the Penn State defense going into the Ohio State game. I was way the hell off with my 20-15 prediction for Michigan, and I’ll have to rethink my preconceived notions regarding the forthcoming showdown in da Horseshoe with tOSU. Your thoughts, please!
I’ll be back sometime during the week with my usual insouciant babble about the next “Biggest Game of the Year”.
*telegram — an archaic form of written communication used in the 19th and 20th centuries to improve upon the speed of postal mail without incurring the cost of long-distance telephone communication. Telegrams no longer exist, having been replaced long ago by email.
**highlight reels — another vestige of the past. There are no more reels. Reels were once used to store film. There is no more film. There is no more “footage”. Furthermore, there are no more “game tapes”. There are no more tapes. We need new terminology to replace these archaic misnomers.