Sunday, October 08, 2006

Minnesota Game Review

State traveled to HHHHHHHHH Metrodome to take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota and like most road games Penn State plays of late, they played poorly. Minnesota made things even late in the 4th quarter with a long drive against the ever popular “prevent” defense as the Nittany Lions gave up large chunks of yards and the tying score. Minnesota scored first in overtime, but missed the extra point. The Lions were down to a 4th and 9 and Morelli’s pass sailed just out of the reach of Deon Butler but Trumaine Banks was flagged for interference, giving Penn State the ball at the 13 yard line. Three plays later, Tony Hunt punched the ball in from the 2 yard line and Kevin Kelley hit the extra point to end the game. I feel bad for Gopher fans because the interference call should not have been made. It was a pass interference, but hardly an egregious one and should not have been called in that situation, unlike fans of other unnamed Big Ten teams, I have no problem admitting when the officials help the Nittany Lions. If you’re counting, this is the first time I’ve ever had to do it, and probably the last.


Tony Hunt was the headline of this game; late in the game with Minnesota’s defense tiring, Hunt took over and almost single handedly won the game. For the day he had 31 carries for 147 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns and a receiving TD. Morelli continued his improvement from the Northwestern game completing 20 of 34 passes for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns. He spread the ball around as 7 different receivers caught passes. He still has the tendency to default to the deep ball when he gets in trouble, but he wasn’t forcing anything and didn’t make boneheaded mistakes. The offensive line could only be described as “patchwork” but they held their own, all things considered. The line gave up one sack and blocked decent enough to get Tony Hunt his big day, although Hunt was doing some of it on his own. An all around respectable effort, but they will have to play a complete game against one of the best defenses in the nation next week.


Paul Posluszny seems to be comfortable with his knee brace and with his new position as he was all over the place Saturday, leading the team with 9 solo tackles. Jay Alford was disruptive early on collecting 3 TFL with 1.5 sacks. The defense did well early on but tired and gave up way too many yards against an average offense. They will be facing a complete offense next week and will have to play much better if they want to win. Chad Henne is certainly not Bryan Cupito; giving up 347 yards to him was completely unacceptable.

Special Teams

After two good games of special teams play, Penn State took 3 steps back. Once again the field goal unit continues to drop snaps and miss undemanding field goals. Had this unit made one of the two botched tries, it would have been the difference in the game. This unit is going to lose a game if they don’t get their heads on straight. I can’t believe that there isn’t someone on this team that can handle the holding duties. The botched snap was very catchable but it was muffed nonetheless.


Again, the Penn State coaches continue to cause me premature aging with unbelievable stupid calls. In trotted A.J. Wallace, I said “reverse,” Penn State snapped the ball, gave it to Wallace and he was tackled in the back field because… apparently the coaches on the other side of the field who get paid to see these things also saw the same thing I did. Why must I continue to be subjected to the existence of Brendan Perretta? This team has at least 6 receivers better then Perretta yet here he is every freaking game. His stats: 1 catch no yards, 1 rush -2 yards. Yes 2 touches for -2 yards will get you far. That brings me to defense. Again, Penn State chose to rush 4 the entire game leaving Cupito plenty of time to sit back and pick them apart. Just for fun, let’s look back at Penn State’s opposing quarterbacks and how the faired against the Lions:

Luke Getsy: 160 yards
Brady Quinn: 287 yards*
Tom Zetts: 95 yards
Troy Smith: 115 yards*
Andrew Brewer: 157 yards
Bryan Cupito: 347 yards+

*Heisman trophy candidate
+Probably can’t spell Heisman

See the trend here? The two games Penn State played back and refused to bring extra men (Notre Dame and Minnesota) were the two games the opposing QB’s had great days against the Nittany Lion defense. Ever other game (including superman Troy Smith) the D blitzed, brought pressure and neutralized the opponent’s passing attack. Stats can sometimes be deceiving, but in this case they are not. Henne is a great quarterback that is prone to mistakes when you get pressure on him, letting him sit back in the pocket and wait for one of his receivers to get open is a recipe for disaster.


Steve said...

I want to throw out a question to you guys:
Does Tony Hunt deserve Heisman consideration? He's putting up huge numbers so far and is definitely one of the top 3 RB in the Big 10, if not the best.

Galen said...

Although I agree he is one of the top three RB's in the Big 10, I don't think he deserves Heisman consideration... yet. Now if he puts up these kinds of numbers against a D like Michigan and then continues his string of 100 yard games, then I might think differently at the end of the year. Right now he is just a workhorse and not a stallion, you won't see 80 yard TD's with Tony, he just pounds on people until they are tired. Right now he is 19th in rushing yards per game (nationally) and way behind the top guys.

Steve said...

I agree with your assessment. We need to beat Michigan and he has to have a big game on top of that and continue his streak of 100+yds per game to merit consideration.
It wouldn't be unprecedented for a "workhorse" type RB to win the Heisman though, Eddie George was a similar type runner.
Obviously Hunt needs to get his numbers up, but he could be an interesting, albeit an outside, consideration for Heisman.