Penn State 35, Purdue 31
I don’t have any idea what that title means. Last night’s host for watching the game, Jackstand of Mike’s Garage — or is it Mikestand of Jack’s Garage? — suggested it. Much more thunder than lightning characterized last night as both sides made lots of booboos. In the end they were evenly matched.
Yeah, yeah, I know, Penn State homies would never put their vaunted Nittany Lions on a middle stratum with the lowly Boilermakers. But like big crocodiles, they’re in de Nile. I don’t see how this Penn State team will compete favorably against the likes of tOSU and Michigan, which guarantees middle-of-the-pack for them. But it’s early.
Room for Improvement
As Joe Paterno once said, the biggest improvement in a season will be between the first and second games. I never heard him say that, but longtime friend and Penn State athletic supporter, Toejam, did. Well, they better improve, because they’re facing the mighty Bobcats of Ohio U. next week, and they’re likely to be favored by four touchdowns or more. Better not screw up!
Sean Clifford, our 45-year-old signal caller completed over half of his passes behind a still dubious offensive line. What do you think of the line play you saw last night?
The overall stats were about even. Both sides gained over 400 yards, more than three-quarters of which were via the pass. Both took “three yards and a cloud of dust” literally, as their rushing averages if counted on fingers would yield the Boy Scout salute. The Boilermakers tried to sink their own ship with nine penalties and a fumble that led to a Penn State touchdown, while the Nittany Lions 12th year senior citizen quarterback committed an equally egregious error of throwing a pick six that could have lost the game for PSU. The offense-turned-defense should have contained that interception return in Purdue’s own territory, but poor pursuit and tackling resulted in a 74-yard play. Oy vey!
In Defense of The Defense (or not)
We were also annoyed by a veritable plethora of missed tackles by the Penn State defense, but the redemption for that unit was familiar standout, Joey Porter, who had eight solo tackles and showed us some damn fine pass coverage. He should have made his old man proud with that effort.
I really don’t have much to say about this game, but its outcome was satisfying. It’s been a long week and I’m still not cranked up enough to write something meaningful here, but I wanted to let y’all know I was still alive. I hope we don’t have any more damn Thursday night games!
The Nittany Turkey writes pure BS and makes no bones about it. You’ll find me here before and after Penn State football games on my own schedule, which varies from week to week. Hope to see you back here soon.
K. John says
Welcome back TNT. I missed the game due to a conflict (darn Thursday night game) but watched an abridged version yesterday. The game went as expected. Much like Wisconsin last year Purdue did a heck of a lot more to lose the game than to win it but a win is a win. the line is still a train wreck with little chance for more than an incremental improvement. Clifford played solid for the first game. I am not sold the pick six was on him though it could have been. He clearly thought the receiver was going to run a different route coming out of his break. One of them messed up, I just don’t know which one.
The defense is going to be rough much of the year though the secondary looks solid. All three levels are in worse shape talent wise, at least for now. The line will improve the most but will not be as good as people think it will be. The big test will be Auburn. We’ll see what they look like later today. Have a great week TNT.
The Nittany Turkey says
Good to see you for another season, K. John!
If Manny Diaz does one thing to shape the defense (evidence of which already exists), it will be tightening up the pass coverage. You’ve noted it, and it was apparent in the Purdue game that the Sandusky soft zone, which had pervaded our defensive schemata for time immemorial, now has bitten the proverbial dust, perhaps for good. I’m completely full of shit, as usual, but that’s one thing I was quick to glean about the Diaz Era.
If the Diaz Era lasts as long as the Cianciolo Era, we better not sneeze…
On another front, I see that Ricky Rahne beat Brent Pry to spoil our prior DC’s debut with the Hokies. But I’m glad they’ve both fledged the Franklin nest.
Don’t know how much information we’ll glean from Auburn destroying Mercer, and it conflicts with tOSU vs. ND. I’ll check it out for an hour or so.
Thanks for commenting!
This season opener clearly revealed some PSU weak-spots but also gave evidence of potentially great performance to come. I think that the running game may be stronger than last season. PSU’s tight ends are big, powerful and effective. The offensive line performed pretty well to give Clifford reasonable protection. The defense demonstrated mostly good, consistent pass protection.
Barring any critical player injuries, I think it’s going to be a good season punctuated with thrilling performances but also a few disappointments.
The Nittany Turkey says
From your mouth to God’s ear… if it can get there through the random oil pans and Recaro seats in your living room.
I agree that if the one thing the Diaz acquisition provides is some NFL style pass coverage, we’ll have as many great defensive pass break-ups and interceptions to crow about as we have missed tackles to bitch about. That puts us on an even keel, bitchwise.
Big Al says
I’m glad State won, but this win was a bit of a mirage. The “explosive” plays that were critical for most of the Lion touchdowns were significantly aided by Purdue’s piss poor tackling which probably won’t be replicated in future games. The running issues haven’t been fixed, and probably never will be unless/until Penn State gets a quarterback who is willing and ABLE to run. That will never happen as long as Clifford is the qb since he couldn’t get out of the 1st half without needing medical attention. (I’ll be shocked If Cliff is still ambulatory after the Michigan game – although Franklin would probably send him onto the field in a motorized wheelchair if the rules allowed it).
The secondary looked great but they were matched up against receivers who were slower than them. And they could sell out to cover the pass because Purdue’s running attack sucks as bad as State’s. Things will be more difficult when they play opponents that can both run and pass. IMO the front seven didn’t look very good against the run and will need back up help from the safeties – which opens up passing lanes.
Bottom line: I didn’t see anything that would change my prediction that State will be 6-5 going into the season finale against Moo U. That prediction may be too optimistic if anything.
The Nittany Turkey says
Glad you can view the miracle win objectively (or cynically, as I see it). Don’t want to set expectations too high for this group, as the Sanguinarians of Social Media are already doing. Reading their crap, you’d think that Clifford was John Elway reincarnate. However, as you noted, he will be a better scrambler when Franklin puts him in on a motorized wheelchair.
I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about the secondary. They won’t have Chris Olave to defend this year — he’ll be busy saving Jameis Winston’s ass in New Orleans — so I’m hanging around watching these guys until they really do get beaten badly. That won’t happen next week, so all eyes are on Auburn a week hence.
They’ll most likely be going into that Auburn game with a 2-0 record, and if they should be lucky enough to pull off a win on enemy turf, the Sanguinarians will start talking about the forthcoming perfect 15-0 season and who the Nits will draw in the CFP, plus the advisability of signing Clifford to a 10-year, $70 million contract. Yea, verily, if they do get by Auburn, then this season could play out much like last year: start out 5-0, creating false hopes for the Sanguinarians, then tank. (Although Northwestern might not be a pushover this year).
-targeting calls need to be overhauled. That one was putrid.
-winning on the road is tough. winning on the road in the opener is tougher.
-receiver dropsies were haunting in the first half.
-hilarious qb sneak on the…3.5 yard line
-outstanding 4th down play calling.
-very little qb pressure by the DL. I had expected more.
-OL….all things are relative. This game was decent. For a franklin OL.
-JPJ is 6′ 2″ , 198 and plays physical. A standout from that game.
The Nittany Turkey says
Targeting calls will only get worse. We all must accept the pussified world of semi-pro football in 2022.
I had forgotten about the QB sneak where they moved the goal line.
Joey Porter enhanced his NFL value. And if defensive backs could catch, they would be receivers. However, we’re looking at a guy who has mastered his position and IMHO will only get better. Plus, I am encouraged that the annoying and frustrating soft zone might be relegated to the Sandusky/Bradley/Pry museum.
Now it’s on to the Bobcats, and let’s win there (to paraphrase RFK, just before he bought the farm).