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.