Iowa 41, Penn State 21
As we non-Sanguinarians fully expected, the Mighty Penn State Nittany Lions sank to 0-5 after fumbling and bumbling their way through yet another snoozefest with purportedly less talented Iowa team. The final score was 41-21. Stats, which are for losers, were pretty even, but the one that sticks out like a very sore thumb is the turnover ratio of 4:1. Penn State’s two interceptions and two lost fumbles handed the game to the Iowa Hockeyes. (Yes, I know I deliberately misspelled it).
Freiermuth Out for Season
At the outset of James Franklin’s exasperated press conference whose dual themes were “turnovers’ll killya” and “it is what it is”, the head coach announced that star TE Pat Freiermuth would have season-ending surgery required to deal with an injury he suffered back in the Ohio State Game. No sense destroying his whole potential football career trying to play hobbled this year. Penn State’s season is done and Pat will hope to be in shape to play next year.
Who Be Dat QB?
Most of us expected Will Levis to start the game, which he did. However, after three fumbles, two of which were lost to Iowa defenders, Levis was pulled in favor of last week’s starter, Sean Clifford, who wound up throwing two interceptions. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
Final lines for both QBs revealed a similar level of incompetence. Levis was 13-16 for 107 yards, while Clifford was 13-22 for 174 yards with two TDs and two INTs. Levis rushed 15 times for 34 yards, while Clifford pounded the rock six times for 13 yards.
The offensive line continued to suck, as did Penn State’s running game. Iowa knew they could control the line of scrimmage and loaded up on the run, daring the Cough It Up Twins to throw. How’d that work for us? Once again, that same old song — Penn State was not able to establish the run, winding up with an anemic 62-yard rushing output.
Starting primary running back Devyn Ford failed to answer the bell for the second half. He left the game with three carries for two yards.
Sanguinarians who bitch about officiating “always” favoring the other guys should note that Iowa was penalized three times as many times for three times as many yards. That assist from the officials still didn’t help us. No external factors will. It’s all internal, and it ain’t getting fixed this season.
So, Al Was Right
Elsewhere, Illinois showed that Peters is a decent QB. The Illini easily handled Nebraska, leaving formerly big Red in the west division cellar. So, our “Plus One” game, assuming that the Coronavirus gods are less than merciful in foreshortening the season, might well be a rematch with Nebraska.
Indiana showed they were no fluke by battling tOSU to the end, bowing by a touchdown. Speaking of battles, how about Michigan and Rutgers taking three overtimes to see who sucked worse — it wound up being Rutgers, but it was a field goal difference in suckage.
Northwestern took command of the West by schnockering Wisconsin 17-7, while Purdue and Minnesota had another one of those who-sucks-worse contests, ending with the Golden Gophers winning by a field goal. The Moo U. vs. Maryland game was canceled due to Covid-19.
Whither We Goest
Well, hell, the nadir has been achieved! Penn State has never started out a season with five losses at any point in its storied history. Sanguinarians are full of excuses: Covid-19, no fans, Covid-19, distracted players, Covid-19, our “superior talent can’t play up to their potential with all this going on”, Covid-19. But come on, already, S-narians! Give it up. All those other teams, some of whom actually do possess superior talent are giving it the old college try. Is there another winless team in the Big Ten? So, see? I made my point.
Talent or no (and I say “no”), you can’t win if you can’t play fundamentally sound football. Forgetting how to take care of the ball on offense and forgetting how to tackle on defense are two hallmarks of a losing football team. Penn State this year is the quintessential losing football team.
So, three games ahead, and none look like wins now. With no defense and a tendency to cough up the ball, even playing Rutgers and Moo U. doesn’t look good for the Lions. Michigan and Rutgers can put points on the board, and the PSU defense sucks, so they will. Meanwhile, Moo U. doesn’t score many points, but who knows what they can do with a defense that is like a rake with missing teeth, and who knows how many turnovers their stingy defense will force. Then, the prize will be a rematch with Nebraska — and who wants that?
I’ll be back during the week to let you know that I survived the Thanksgiving turkey slaughter and to give you my sour-ass Michigan forecast.
Big Al says
Actually it was 5 turnovers to 1. Franklin’s decision to go for it on 4th down from his own 48 should count as a turnover since it eliminated any chance State had to win the game. It was particularly brain dead considering that a previous 4th down attempt had failed just 3 minutes earlier. Losing doesn’t bother me as much as the team and Franklin’s attitude does. It looks like they just don’t care any more.
0-9 looks pretty likely right now. Karma is getting her revenge for 2016 and Mark Emmert is jealous that Franklin is accomplishing what he couldn’t do.
The Nittany Turkey says
I believe one of Levis’ three fumbles was retained by the Lionettes. Anyhow, when there are so many, it is easy to lose track, so 4, 5… who’s counting, already! Here’s a number for you: 5 sacks by Iowa. And our offensive line is the best we’ve had at least since the fall of Rome.
When that fourth down situation came up in the first quarter, I knew it would be too tempting for Franklin to pass up. Some of his play calls are so ludicrous that they’re amusing in a I’ve-given-up-on-this-damn-season sort of way.
Yeah! — you nailed it! — good idea for a new stat, Al! Turnovers due to dumbass, more balls than brains play-calling. Yeah, that’s it! We could lead the Big Ten in SOMETHING!
Franklin looks alternately disgusted and lonely on the sidelines. Hard to gauge emotion with the mask (or that thing that looks like part of a sleeve from an old coat) in place. He doesn’t seem to interact very much with people on the sidelines. Do you think he’s lost the team?
Although I harp on the notion that our guys are not as talented as we are either led to believe or just plain blindly believe, it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean. Bad metaphor. It’s the motivation and attitude. I don’t understand the lack of attention to fundamentals — unless it is because NO ONE gives a shit. Who the hell will want to play on a team that acts like that? Leadership is absent on the field and in the locker room. I see decommitments and mining the leftover tailings of the recruiting vein conspiring to relegate Penn State to middle of the pack or worse for a long, long time.
So, yeah, Emmert is no doubt smiling. He couldn’t shut us down — we’ve just self-destructed. Call it the Curse of Vicki Triponey.
Beam me up, Scotty!
Same script every game. It’s tiresome.
If we could just make franklin head of recruiting and get BOB back as head coach (yeah right).