In a mistake-laden performance reminiscent of bad high school football, Penn State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) prevailed over Indiana (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten) 16-10.
The Nittany Lions’ performance flat out sucked, following a disgusting pattern that has long afflicted them in road games, particularly noon starts.
The team came out flat but managed to threaten early. Classic red zone ineptitude ensued. Rob Bolden threw what looked to be a touchdown pass from the eight yard line, but it was nullified by a holding penalty. So, this Turkey was thinking, they’ll probably wind up settling for three in the worst case. What happens? Bolden throws a damn interception in the end zone and State is denied the opportunity to draw first blood. That’s road game red zone ineptitude. Epic fail!
Indiana would draw first blood with a 49 yard field goal on the ensuing series. Midway through the second period, Penn State would come back to tie. Ho hum.
I was beginning to feel that my crystal ball was a bit off. Recall that I predicted a 35-20 game. This one was likely to finish 6-3, setting football back 100+ years to that first game between Princeton and Rutgers, which ended with a 6-4 score, which was the identical score to the Penn State-Iowa game that previously served as the prime example of Penn State retrofootball. But I digress. Although the Nittany Lions won, taking the “over” would have been a mistake, as the Las Vegas books were taking over/under action at 48. The final total was a mighty 26. However, as expected, PSU did not cover the spread. (What else is new?) No one ever went broke in the 21st Century betting against Penn State covering the spread.
The half wound up deadlocked at 3-3, as Anthony Fera missed a 52-yard field goal at the gun. Joe Paterno limped off the field and would spend the second half in the press booth. If he gave the boys a chewing out in the locker room, it had no effect as they came out flat again in the second half.
They managed to squander an opportunity to get a quick six points on a Hoosier fumble at their own 13 yard line. Against a rushing defense ranked #97, you would think that Silas Redd could quickly hit paydirt. Well, for that, he would have to be given the ball. He wasn’t. Two crappily incomplete Bolden passes and a Bolden 3 yard run was all this low powered offense could muster. The Lions finally took a 6-3 lead on a 27-yarder by Anthony Fera.
After an IU three-and-out, Bolden rode the legs of Silas Redd and Curtis Dukes sown to the Indiana three yard line in the only sustained drive of the game thus far. Could this finally be an elusive touchdown? Nope. Redd fumbled the ball away at the Indiana 2. No points.
On the next Penn State series, Matt McGloin threw a 74 yard touchdown pass to Derek Moye, the only brilliant play of the game, which would give the Lions all the points they would need to win this slopfest. They added three for good measure at the onset of the fourth period on a 33 yard Fera field goal. The Hoosiers staged a comeback attempt and seemed like they might be able to actually accomplish it, scoring a touchdown with about four minutes remaining. They made one more try at the end of the game, managing to drive down to the PSU 40 and throwing a hail mary at the final gun, which failed. Final score, Penn State 16, Indiana 10.
Penn State was good enough to put twice as many points on the board against the worst defense in the Big Ten. They had 464 yards overall, which could have been many, many more had their two-headed quarterback been able to connect with receivers. This time, it was not the receivers’ fault. Both Bolden and McGloin seemed to be throwing at receivers’ feet. Together, they were 16-36 for 271 yards, one touchdown and one interception. In addition to the INT, Penn State lost two fumbles and were penalized five times for 60 yards. Mistakes’ll kill ya.
There is no winner in the quarterback competition. They both suck. The offensive line is truly offensive, in the deodorant commercial sense of the word. There is no fire, no animation in these guys on either side of the ball. Mauti’s loss was a big one, as now, Drew Astorino is the only PSU defender who shows any emotion. It will truly suck to watch these clowns the rest of the year.
Silas Redd should be pissed off at his inept offensive line for making him have to do all the work. He could be seen frequently moving his own blockers’ bodies out of the way in order to gain some running room. As predicted by this Turkey, Redd had a breakout day, with 29 carries for 129 yards. Curtis Dukes ably handled the backup chores with 54 yards of his own.
Derek Moye led all Penn State receivers with six catches for 158 yards and a touchdown.
OK, now look, boys and girls. This Turkey is going to tell you something. This team sucks with a capital “S”. Given this performance and its portent for things to come, the road gets very rocky from now on. Without stretching things too much, I can see them going 1-6 from here out. If they can’t even handle fundamentals, I’m not even going to enjoy watching them. It’s been a long time since I’ve missed a Penn State game on television, other than to attend the game live, but I’ll miss at least one of the forthcoming games, because frankly, I have better ways of wasting my time.
I’ll be back later in the week to preview the loss to Iowa.