#12 Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0) 35, Purdue (1-4, 0-2) 7
The expected win over Purdue played out, but with an unexpected twist of the nooner script. The mighty Nittany Lions came out strong, scoring 21 first-quarter points, then fizzled. With my viewing pleasure in mind, I would have to rate the final three periods of this one a snoozer.
In fact, I was more engrossed in the Iowa-Michigan game on the soundless alternate screen, which was contested until the end. Not that it was any kind of a masterpiece of fine play or anything, which it wasn’t. But it had the appropriate elements to maintain my attention, while the Penn State game didn’t.
Am I complaining? Yes and no. You don’t say!
Defense, Defense Über Alles
Go with the Hot Hand
James Franklin and Ricky Rahne must have learned something about sticking with the productive guy on the running back committee when one emerges. Keep the rhythm, men! Noah Cain once again looked like a go-to feature back, but this time, they gave him the ball. The result: 105 yards on an average of 8.8 yards per carry.
Purdue came into this game with the worst net turnover rate in the Big Ten, a minus-two, while Penn State was up toward the top with a positive stat. Those roles were reversed on Saturday, as
Special Teams Not So Special
Yeah, the general post-first-quarter malaise or delayed nooner effect — whatever the hell it was — seemed to have a deleterious effect on the damn special teams, too. Start with Jonathan Sutherland playing soccer with a punt that should have been left to die on the field, kneeing it right to a perfect spot for the Boilermakers to recover it. Then consider an easy, 25-yard field goal missed by Jake Pinegar. Finally, Mr. Jordan “Touchback” Stout not only kicked a returnable ball, but also launched one that went out of bounds. What were these guys smoking on the bench?
SDR Definitely Will Wait
So, once again we learned nothing. We had hoped to see a 60-minute effort on both sides of the ball, but we didn’t. In fact, the offensive erraticism and the special teams’ distractability at this stage of the season is rather disconcerting. We’ll have to wait for the Iowa game to glean anything gleanful.
Meanwhile, as we watched this frustrating effort, our next two opponents were battling it out in da Big House, with Michigan ultimately beating Iowa 10-3. The Wolverines shut down the Hawkeyes’ running game, while exhibiting balance on offense. The Michigan defense forced four turnovers, while Iowa shot itself in the foot by incurring eight penalties for 60 yards in a game where offense was at a premium.
Wisconsin and the Schmuckeyes took care of business.
I’ll be back!