Monday, November 24, 2008

PSU Review: Michigan State

Ok, it wasn't the national championship birth that we were all so hoping for but it is the Rose bowl and it is a Big Ten Championship… that's at least good enough to break out the dancin' monkey!

Before we move on to the game let me just pass along that Mr. Joseph Vincent Paterno had successful hip replacement surgery Sunday.
"Dr. Sebastianelli reports that all objectives were accomplished and that Paterno is resting comfortably and anxious to get home," the statement said.

By "anxious" I'm sure he means grumpy and a pain in the ass to the nurses but I digress. Good luck Joe, hopefully you'll be back on your feet for the bowl game.

On to the game: really is there anything we can say negatively about the smack down Penn State put on Michigan State Saturday? Ok, the kick coverage wasn't very good but at this point I'm just nitpicking. Penn State played solid on offense, defense, and most of the special teams. Daryll Clark had a career day and Penn State played "seniors get a touchdown" all day long as fullback D. Lawlor, Deon Butler, and Derrick Williams all scored in their final regular season game.


16 of 26 for a career high 341 yards and 4 touchdowns… now there's the Daryll Clark fans were hoping for. It was a good enough performance to land Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for Clark. All three of Deon Butler's receptions went for touchdowns as he averaged an Xbox-like average of 44.3 yards per catch. The offensive line was a complete wall for Clark and he used that protection well, standing tall in the picket and waiting for a receiver to get open, and open they were.

Pardon us but there's approximately 600 pounds of human coming your way and they’re not very happy

Evan Royster had another workmanlike day rushing for 79 yards on 12 carries for a decent 6.6 yards per carry average. It was especially great to see Lawlor get his touchdown as a reward for all the great blocking he's done this season. Penn State pushed out to a 28 point lead and every time it appeared that Michigan State was regaining momentum the offense kept the foot on the gas and demoralized Sparty. It was one of those games that Penn State could have scored 100 if they needed to but not with this defense, which brings me to:


With the exception of the touchdown drive right before half, all of Michigan State's scores came late in the fourth quarter with Penn State heavily substituting players (I think some of the seniors on the band got to play). The touchdown drive before half was another example of the wonderful "bend and then break our hearts" prevent defense. God I love the prevent.
Javon Ringer was held to just 42 yards and averaged a mere 2.5 yards per carry thanks in large part to a defensive line that dominated Michigan State all day. MSU right tackle Jesse Miller was abused by Aaron Maybin and Mo Evans, getting called for false starts on several occasions trying to get a jump to match the speed of the ends. Jared Odrick was, once again, a force on the inside and Lydell Sargeant had one of his better days at corner intercepting a pass and breaking up 2 others, one in the end zone. Penn State's plan was simple and effective crowd the box, stop Ringer, and make Hoyer beat them. The team's two leading tacklers were Rubin and Astorino which is indicative of the focus against the run. No one player's stats jump out at you because this was truly a team effort.

Special Teams

Kick coverage is still sporadic at best. Jeremy Boone had a solid day downing two of his punts inside the 20 and averaged 46.7 yards on three punts. Kevin Kelly was bored all day with the exception of the 8 kickoffs he had to trot out to do, he didn't attempt a field goal all day because the offense was 4-4 in the red zone all of which went for TD's.


It was a great day and it was wonderful to see most of the seniors contribute in big ways. Penn State came out on fire and never let the foot off the gas. Lord knows I was disappointed with the loss to Iowa but I'm over it now and if Penn State can pull out a win in the Rose Bowl this will be a very memorable season in my mind. It's a great way to end a lot of great careers for the seniors on the way out. When they came to Penn State they were at the tail end of the "dark years" and these seniors are responsible for bringing Penn State back into the conscience of college football. Penn State wasn't picked to finish in the top three in the Big Ten by most of the AP writers, how'd that work for ya guys? This team definitely overachieved with huge wins on the road at Wisconsin and Ohio State and knocked that gigantic Michigan monkey off their backs.
Thank you Seniors

Go State beat [insert Pac-10 champ here]!!

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