Monday, September 14, 2009

PSU Review: Syracuse

TNL said: 38-10 (PSU)
Actual Score: 28-7 (PSU)
So I thought we would see a little more offense from Penn State but a three touchdown win is ok in my book. Syracuse was just a replay of Akron: good passing, great defense and horrible ground game. As a team, Penn State averaged just 2.2 yards rushing. The secondary did another admirable job as the defense held the 'Cuse to just one first down in their first three drives.

It was the Daryll Clark show once again as the QB threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns.
Just like last week Penn State came out of the gate fast converting the opening kickoff into seven points on a 49 yard touchdown pass from Clark to Evan Royster who was used as a wide receiver on the play. It looked as if PSU was going to maul Syracuse when they took the ball on their next drive on their own 4 and drove 94 yards in 8:57 but could not punch the ball in from the 2 yard line. Daryll Clark fumbled the ball on fourth down on the one and Penn State's running problems looked even worse.

Graham Zug led the Lions hauling in 6 catches for 70 yards with a touchdown. The coaches seem to be trying to get Andrew Quarless in the game plan as the tight end caught four passes but none more than 11 yards.

The running game? Green and Royster combined for 69 yards on 20 carries. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sean Lee doesn't prefer spread offenses.

"Last week I was out in (pass) coverage a lot against a spread offense," Lee said. "I like being in the box. I like grinding it out. This was a little bit more of my type of game.

Yes he really likes being in the box, so much so that he led the team with 13 tackles with 3 TFL and a sack. Josh Hull had another steady game getting 11 tackles and an interception and Nate Stupar filled in for an injured Navarro Bowman admirably pulling down the D's other INT.

The defensive line pretty much had a repeat performance from a week ago contributing to 2 TFL and a sack. Not much else to be said here, for the second straight week the defense held an opponent to seven points and no one is talking about the secondary right now, and that's a good thing.

Special Teams
The kick coverage still leaves much to be desired. Mike Jones returned a third quarter kickoff 39 yards to the Orange 41. Part of that is the kickoff itself and part of it is poor coverage, in fact Jones averaged nearly 29 yards per return. Meanwhile Penn State cannot seem to block for Devon Smith when they get the opportunity for a return. PSU has yet to find a return man that can scare opposing special teams' coaches. Collin Wagner's services were not needed (other than kickoffs), he didn't have to attempt a field goal all day.

On the bright side, the few times Penn State had to punt Boone made the most of it averaging 50 yards per punt with two of his three landing inside the 20. Boone will save Penn State's ass one of these days, you mark my words.

Look, it's fashionable to bag on the running game and by extension the offensive line right now and there still are problems but I'm not worried… yet. I've read some pretty stupid things about Penn State recently.


No. 7 Penn State. Despite easy wins over Akron and Syracuse, the Nittany Lions don't look like a top-10 team. How about shutting out Temple next week, fellas?

Really, this is what college football has come to, not only are three touchdown victories not enough but it has to happen with style? So holding two overmatched opponents to 7 points and under 200 yards of total offense isn't enough, PSU has to shut them out too? Bullshit.

The running game will take time to develop and the coaches rotated in Johnnie Troutman and Quinn Barham at guard to try and get the right combination, it will come they just need some more experience. Also the defenses have been stacking extra guys in the box and they've been doing a lot of stunting and scheming, not everyone on the schedule is going to let Daryll Clark have man coverage while they try to stop the run. The opportunities will eventually be there it's just going to take some patience. If this team does come together they could be something great, let's hope that happens before they get fat on cupcakes.


jd said...

after this game, i actually think it's more that the opposition is running the same defensive gameplan on us, rather than the PSU o-line being deficient.

but like you said, let's just be patient here. i'll wait 'till after iowa to see where it is.

good rundown.

Galen said...

I just think with one more week the o-line will be ready for Iowa. At least that's what I'm blindly hoping for.

M1EK said...

A good offensive line by PSU standards would have been able to run the ball against Akron, at least, with more success, no matter what they did to try to stop it.

Clark is looking anywhere from good to great - that's a plus; and the receivers look very good to great. I don't know if this is going to be enough to beat Ohio State or (shudder) Michigan.

jd said...

or i'm just closing my eyes, plugging my ears and screaming LALALALALALALALALAL so i don't have to deal with a PSU team with a real offensive problem.

Galen said...

Ohio State and Michigan will be completely different games, we all know that. If the defense keeps this pace up I feel pretty good about them.

M1EK said...

no, I mean this offense with this running game gets blowed out against those two, as in, not even competitive. Here's hoping it's just a work in progress and not fundamentally broken.

Anonymous said...

just food for thought here does anyone remember a ton of option plays from clark last year now do you remember any this year i think maybe psu is not showing all there cards in the running game to aviod losing clark with only true freshman newsome waiting in the wings also have not seen any quarterback draws

joepadon said...

I have to say this is the one time I had no problem with them trying to run it up the middle every play when the were on the goal line. Usually I'm pulling my hair out but I completely understood what the staff's thinking was. Challenge them to man up and punch it in there, the game was never going to be in doubt. The result on the other hand was very discouraging.

Eventually these teams are going to have to respect Clark's passing ability and play some honest D, when that happens I think the run game will open up. Although I could be completely wrong which is most likely the case.