The Nittany Lions played their asses off but could not generate the needed offense to surmount the Shmuckeyes, blowing an early lead. As it wound up, #5 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 B10) 33, #20 Penn State (5-3, 2-3 B10) 24. The Bucking Fuckeyes should retain their #5 position in the polls and are tied with Moo U. for the lead in the Big Ten East. On the other hand, Penn State will drop out of the Top 25. They are tied with next week’s opponent, Maryland, for middle-of-the-pack mediocrity in the highly competitive division.
They Shut Down the Run (big surprise)
Ohio State shut down the Penn State running game, but that’s old news. A Pop Warner team could deliver that knockout punch to PSU, which has struggled all year to move the ball on the ground. Absent from this game once again was the rushing contribution from Sean Clifford His passing game was back this week with a credible effort of 25-52 for 361 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. In contrast, his running suffered four sacks by the Schmuckeyes, which contributed a minus eleven yards to a net total of thirty-three yards rushing.
TreVeyon Henderson, the talented Ohio State freshman, made lunchmeat out of the Penn State rushing defense, with twenty-eight carries for 152 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t need any fancy sell-out offensive line maneuvers like Illinois used the previous week. His quarterback, C. J. Stroud, another freshman, also enjoyed a successful day against the vaunted Penn State defense, going 22-34 for 305 yards and a touchdown. The Big D did a good, but not great job of containing the talented tOSU receiving corps, seeming to concentrate on Chris Olave, who they held to forty-four yards, at the expense of allowing Smith-Njigba and Wilson to roam free.
WTF? Scratching My Head.
OK, so don’t we need to talk about Franklin and his whacko, momentum shifting fourth-down calls? How about that rotten banana of a field goal attempt by so-called triple threat Jordan Stout to hand the Schmuckeyes the sure victory? What happened there?
They Won’t Admit the Flaws
I know the Sanguinarians will be complaining about what might have been if Lovett hadn’t been “forced” out-of-bounds. Oh, how life would be if the officials hadn’t flagged the “erroneous” illegal touching penalty. However, that is bullshit and once again they’re grasping at straws. The officiating was even, if not perfect, and if anything, shaded a bit in Penn States’s favor. Like the targeting foul that cost tOSU a good defender. Even Davy Witvoet in the replay booth, a notable Penn State hater who once was chased by St. Joe at halftime of an Iowa game, made a favorable call.
Some High Points in Defeat
One thing that stood out for Penn State was the third-down efficiency, where they excelled, converting eleven of sixteen. Keeping that up, along with the associated 50-50 time of possession, will be keys to any successes in the remaining four games. The defense played hard and were grateful for the rest periods provided by the offense’s ability to sustain drives.
Who Are We?
After eight games, we know who these guys are, and we know all about their warts. They are not the 10-2 team many thought they would be this season. Say what the Sanguinarians will, idealists as they are, depth at key positions and the lack of ability to play solid ground-pounding football have been back breakers this season. “The injury bug” is part of the game and must be offset by having capable backups. A solid offensive line is the cornerstone of a dominating offense. Neither of these areas will improve at this late stage of the season, so we’re stuck with another middling finish.
The Sanguinarians are busy trying to figure out mathematically just what it will take to get Penn State its much deserved spot in the CFP. This might involve petitioning the NCAA to invalidate two of the past three outcomes on the grounds everyone knows we really won those games. It was solar activity, assassin squads targeting our wonderful quarterback and defensive players, and Covid-19. We should get a do-over, because it is obvious that the Nittany Lions belong in the Top Five.
Don’t make me laugh. Yes, the Toilet Bowl in Kohler, Wisconsin is again my prediction. This, as you six long-time readers know, is my characterization of a worthless post-season outing, typically in an undesirable venue attended by a few Penn State fans who “travel well.” I think at 5-3 with Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, and Moo U. ahead, two more losses are likely. That would give us a barely bowl eligible 7-5. We would have a bit of a cushion to stay at six wins or above. Detroit and New York in December are distinct possibilities. Ew.
Where Be Dis Goin’?
We’ll finish above Indiana and Rutgers in the Big Ten East.
But where will Franklin be next year? His stock must be sinking fast.
As a final note, I’m here to eat some crow. I was surprised by the Nittany Lions’ competitiveness against a quality opponent. The expected blowout did not occur. The team we saw last night can play on anyone’s home field and deliver a credible effort. We all know the flaws but let us give credit where due.
(After taking a little break from thinking about the annual cruelty known as college football, I shall return with a preview and prediction for the battle with the mighty turtles).