Penn State 46, Ohio 10
The explosive plays of James Franklin’s wet dreams were abundant on Saturday, as the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) summarily dispatched the Ohio U Bobcats (1-1, 0-0 MAC) by the score of 46-10 before an announced home crowd of 107,306 (which is always a lie). Two freshmen, running back Nick Singleton and quarterback Drew Allar, impressed us with their big play ability. As always, I’ll caution my readers that this was Ohio U, so don’t get your hopes up too much, but enjoy the victory, anyway.
These young dudes are the future of the Nittany Lions, if they don’t decide to show their shit and then ditch Penn State for a playoff contender via the transfer portal. I should note here that Will Levis, our last hot QB prospect who did not get the playing time he wanted, bolted for Kentucky, where he has thrived. Yesterday, the Wildcats kicked some Gator ass. The moral of the story is play ’em or lose ’em, a sad fact in today’s pecuniary world of college football.
The ESPN power rankings put Penn State at number twenty-four this week. In the blurb, staff writer and former Penn State football beat reporter for the Centre Daily Times, Heather Dinich, asked the question, “Have the Nittany Lions found their running game?” Good question, Heather! A question for which we hope the answer is “yes”; however, a few standout plays by a fine freshman running back breaking loose at this early juncture against a MAC opponent tells us little. Most of Singletons yards were gained without much help from the suspect offensive line.
Dinich went on to spout the facts. “Freshman Nick Singleton had 10 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his big-play capability that was most encouraging. Singleton had three carries over 40 yards apiece — more than all Penn State players had combined (two) in the previous two seasons. Yes, it was against Ohio, but the Lions’ defense also was smothering, as the Bobcats only crossed midfield three times. Penn State needed the complete effort before heading to Auburn.”
Offensive Line Tracking
The boys gave up five sacks, plus eight TFLs and a QB hurry. Obviously, the O-line is still a work in process.
No QB Controversy
Clearly, 14th-year super-senior Sean Clifford, who was 19-27 for 213 yards and a TD, is the starting quarterback. However, much like Steelers fans are clamoring for Kenny Pickett over Mitch Trubisky, Nittany Lions fans will be inundating social media with their plaintive cries for more playing time for freshman Drew Allar, who got his feet wet with a 6-8 performance for 88 yards and two TDs. For my money, this year should be a seasoning year for Allar, who represents the future for PSU at QB, notwithstanding the omnipresent prospect of transfer portal desertion. Christian Veilleux also got into the mix, going 6-7 for 37 yards. It is clear to me that, absent injuries to Clifford and Allar, Veilleux will get clean-up duty in the fourth quarter in garbage time situations.
Heather Seen It
The running game was a refreshing presence, not seen by Penn State fans for a shitload long time. With feature back Nick Singleton earning the Lion’s share of the yards, we still must note that the rest of the backfield added 57 yards, which would have been greater were it not for the five QB sacks applied by the Bobcat D. Freshman Kaytron Allen shows additional promise, with 7-45.
Butbutbut Third Down Woes Continue
Some would argue that “explosive plays” obviate the need for third-down conversions. I might be old school, but I still want these clowns to be able to convert on third down. The Nittany Lions were a putrid 3-12 in this game. Improvement is necessary to be competitive. They can’t ALL be explosive plays, so they need some bread-and-butter grinding to move down the field against the better opposition.
The mighty Penn State front seven were just a-ight, recording but a single sack but holding the mighty Bobcats to one-hundred yards on the ground.
Kicking — WTF?
WTF? You would think Jake Pinegar was a raw rookie playing his first game in Beaver Stadium. Missing one easy field goal and one extra point (which high school girls have no trouble making) I must repeat. WTF?
On the other hand, Barney Amor’s punting looked solid, and the downfield coverage was excellent. Keep up the good work, boys!
Wrapping It Up
Well, PSU covered the spread, just like I didn’t tell you they would. The game was never really close, but I told you it would be uncomfortably close for a while. So, the moral of that story is: I’m full of shit, as usual.
Auburn (2-0) next week. They’re coming off a 24-16 home victory over San José State, in which they trailed 10-7 in the first half. They previously beat Mercer 42-16, so we don’t yet know whether they are any good. Penn State represents their first major test of the year, and you can be sure that if PSU prevails, the Sanguinarians will instantly put Penn State in the playoffs.
I’ll be back mid-week for a look at Auburn and some out-of-the-ass predictions.