Rutgers Couldn’t Chop
The mighty, Toilet Bowl-bound Penn State Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) shut out the Rutgers “Who is Scarlet” Scarlet Knights (5-6, 2-6) 28-0 on Saturday. Those who turned off the game after the first period puntfest missed all the action, including a long glimpse at a promising young backup quarterback.
Veilleux Proves Worthy
After Sean Clifford went down with an injury, freshman Christian Veilleux, who had been practicing all week as the prime backup, entered the game and impressed the chilled minions in St. Joe Memorial Stadium at Beaver Field. This was a fine seventy-fifth birthday present for your intrepid Turkey, who will invoke the declaration of the late Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Bob Prince: We had ’em all the way!
Many Nittany Lions were hobbled by the flu teamdemic, including Sean Clifford. When we say we could beat Rutgers with our hands tied behind our backs, this is mute proof. Clifford looked horrible before leaving the game with a crappy line of 2-8 for 23 yards along with a couple of scary near interceptions. Upon Clifford’s exit, after initial jitters, Veilleux settled down to produce a 15-24 performance, for 235 yards and three touchdowns.
Parker Washington was the leading receiver with six snags for seventy-two yards and a touchdown. Jahan Dotson was well corralled by the Rutgers defense, which was about the only chopping they were able to bring off, but he was still able to produce three receptions for fifty-two yards and a TD. Budding star freshman Malick Meiga thrilled us with a wide-open sixty-seven-yard TD reception.
Whither the Running Game?
The running game, as usual, sucked, although it was able to produce 149 yards from a collection of runners including Veilleux and seventh-string backup Mason Stahl. The leading rusher was stalwart Keyvone Lee, with 41 yards on thirteen carries and a touchdown.
First Half Boredom
The first half was a punters’ showcase, as nobody wanted to move the ball until Penn State was gifted with its first score in the second quarter. In what should have been a stopped drive with 3:47 left in the half, the dumbass Rutgers defender gave Noah Cain an extra shove out of bounds after he had stopped Cain with a three-yard loss on second and one at the Rutgers 46. PSU had been shitty on third-down conversions, so it was a fair bet that they wouldn’t gain the needed four yard and would have to punt. However, the highly personal foul resulted in a first down at the 34 yard-line, from which the Nittany Lions finally hit paydirt with 1:03 left in the opening demigame.
The flu-addled players were anxious to enjoy the steamy warmth of the halftime locker room. Many fans had already fallen asleep. I was playing solitaire on my smart phone. The score abruptly woke me up, making the rest of the game uncharacteristically amusing.
Around the Big Ten, Already!
Ohio State cleaned Moo U’s clock thoroughly, giving them a 56-7 ass reaming, as we had expected. Meanwhile, Michigan delivered a similar timepiece lavage and colonoscopy to Maryland, 59-18, thus setting up the big game next weekend where Ohio State takes on Michigan in the Big House and ends Jim Harbaugh’s coaching career at Big Blue.
Wisconsin edged Nebraska 35-28 to keep a firm hold on a piece of the West lead , while Iowa handled Illinois 33-23 to share that western division top spot. Purdue knocked off hapless Northwestern in a game played at Wrigley Field, 32-14. Minnesota euthanized poor Indiana, the only winless team in Big Ten combat, 35-14.
Barring something completely unforeseen, Ohio State will play Wisconsin in Indianapolis in the Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes will, of course, win, setting them up to lose in the CFP. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it. Wisconsin should handle Minnesota next weekend, although there will be plenty of boat rowing. Iowa should knock off Nebraska, leaving them in a flat-footed tie with the Badgers for the B10 West. However, Wisconsin holds the tie-breaker with its 27-7 win over the Hawkeyes.
That Toilet Bowl Awaits!
Meanwhile, Penn State is in a prime position to score a highly desirable bowl bid. I would suspect that they’ll lose in E. Lansing next weekend, stuffed by Thanksgiving turkey (OMG OMG) and the flu, ending the regular season with a 7-5 record, which will put them squarely in competition with the middle ranks of the Big Ten for appropriate slots in the vast range of early December Toilet Bowls. I’m thinking their competitors will be Minnesota, Purdue, and Maryland. What a fine state of affairs this is! Nashville, Las Vegas, Detroit, or New York, here we come! (Start spreadin’ the news. I’m leavin’ today…. I wanna be a part of it…. aw, shaddup! Fuggedaboudit!),
Happy Thanksgiving to All
Despite it being a holiday that inspires carnivores to commit mass murders of innocent birds of my feather, this Turkey wishes you all an incredibly Happy Thanksgiving!
(I might be back next week from Chicago to preview the Moo U. game if family activities allow me the time).