Ok, I admit it, I may have gone overboard just a tad the other day but you have to understand that this loss has cut deep. The last time I felt this bad about a Penn State loss was the 1989 'desperation' blocked field goal game against Alabama (by the way I still say to this day that Blair Thomas was in the endzone before they attempted that kick). Not even any of the nine Michigan losses hurt as bad as this loss did. I'm still ticked and I'm still hurt but I guess the only thing to do is move on and try to forget about it, although that's totally impossible, that's like trying to forget the last chick that broke your heart, the pain just doesn't go away for a while. I think I need a hug. It's funny though I try to entice a response from you the reader (that's why I have this blog) in a lot that I do and it took a lunatic driven rant to get people to say something. Anywho… mistakes were made, I was wrong, let's move on.
Before we look ahead to Indiana we need to discuss the issues at hand with this team. The most important thing that needs correcting is Daryll Clark. It's been two bad games in a row for him. Now, one could speculate that the concussion is still bothering him, heck the coaches used D.W. in running situations last week to try and limit the number of hits Clark would take, but he says that everything is fine.
Asked if the effects of the concussion had any impact on his play, Clark said: "No, not at all. As I said to someone after the game, I felt like I was ready to play."
So if it's not his noggin then something else is wrong because 9 for 23 passing isn't going to cut it. Either the coaches have to start keeping guys in to help protect him and give him more time to throw or maybe it's time for Devlin to see some meaningful playing time.
I stand by my thoughts on the wide receivers, if they don't drop those balls Penn State wins. I will give Norwood the benefit of the doubt but it's high time Andrew Quarless hits the bench, not only did he drop passes but his blocking was somewhere around horrific.
Let's just all admit that the defense is suspect. There are holes in this team specifically up the middle, and the coaches love to run the bend and then break our hearts defensive scheme at the end of close games. Luckily Indiana doesn't pose a potent threat on offense and I like their chances against Javon Ringer more than I did against Shonn Greene. Let's hope that this team comes out with the attitude that they have something to prove and play with a chip on their shoulders. Now for the Hoosiers.
Penn State won't know if they will face quarterback Ben Chappell who was knocked out of the Wisconsin game or Kellen Lewis who has a nagging ankle injury. Lewis was the team's entire offense early in the year leading the team in passing and rushing but since has been surpassed in both categories by Chappell and Marcus Thigpen. Thigpen has a respectable 6.7 yards per carry average but has only rushed the ball more than 9 times in a game once. The Hoosiers are averaging 16.5 points in six Big Ten games, which ranks 105th in the nation.
Then there's the defense. The 38.7 points per game they've given up in conference play rank 106th. They rank 100 or worse in pass efficiency defense, total defense, and scoring defense for the year. If Penn State can't rack up 35 points on these guys there's something wrong. Defensive lineman Jammie Kirlew is second in the Big Ten with 6 sacks but this team doesn't force too many turnovers. Penn State is still 9th in the nation in points scored, just sayin'.
Punter Chris Hagerup (now there's a punter's name) is averaging 42.57 yards per punt and trust me he's had a lot of practice punting (49 attempts). RB Demetrius McCray is second in the Big Ten and 30th in the nation in kickoff returns, so the kick team will have to be on their toes. Kicker Austin Starr (who is bound to end up a Dallas Cowboy if there is a God) is only 9 of 16 on field goals but consider that 4 of those misses were from 40+ yards out.
One of two things is going to happen in this game, Penn State is going to come out flat go through the motions and make the game much closer than the fans want, or they will come out pissed off and steamroll Indiana. Clark has got to get himself back on track both physically and mentally and the Hosiers are just the team to do it against. Look for Penn State to win by at least 3 touchdowns.
Penn State 45