Time to take a weekly look back at Penn State's past competition. So how bad is Akron anyway?
BEAT Kent State 28-20
Holly crap, Akron won a game! And they did it with an offensive explosion that saw the Zips score a TD in every quarter. Patrick "throws the ball" Nicely had a good game completing 19 of his 34 passes for 261 yards and 2 TD's as Akron rolled up 429 yards of offense. Problem was they gave up 415 as Golden Flashes QB Spencer Keith completed 30 of his 59!!! attempts for 377 yards. But Keith's big day wasn't quite enough as the Zips beat Kent State for the ninth time in ten tries.
Next up: That juggernaut from the east - Temple (7-2, bitches)
Got demolished by Shitsburgh 37-10
Pitt's Greg Williams returned a 51-yard interception for a TD with 1:20 left in the first half to start the Panthers rout, a play that blew open a slim 6-3 lead. Pitt woke up and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half mostly on the back of freshman RB Dion Lewis who ran for 110 yards and a TD, his sixth 100 yard game. 'Cuse QB Greg Paulus was ineffective throwing for only 120 yards with 2 picks. It didn't help that Syracuse was without their best receiver Mike Williams, who quit the team on Monday after averaging 106.6 yards receiving per game. The Orange came into the game with the 106th ranked offense in the nation.
Next up: Equally unimpressive Louisville (3-6)
Beat Miami (of the Ohio variety) 34-32
Matt Hayes had this to say in his Big Ten Conference call yesterday:
Penn State: Go down the schedule and find a marquee win for the Nittany Lions this fall. The best so far: Northwestern. Yet somehow, this team will win 10 games.
Ok, his brutal honesty aside (he is absolutely right, PSU has beat no one of any substance), I would argue that Penn State's best victory is Temple. They've won seven in a row, are undefeated in the MAC in first place in their conference and get Akron and Kent State, whom Akron just beat, before the final showdown with Ohio. Temple is going to be 9-2 going into the Ohio game and will most certainly be bowling this year. What an improvement for Coach Al Golden.
As for the game it wasn't easy, Temple blew a 31-13 fourth quarter lead when they gave up three unanswered TD's to the RedHawks to fall behind 32-31, but Brandon McManus kicked an 18-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to give the Owls the lead for good. RB Bernard Pierce ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns as Temple outgained Miami 224-52 on the ground. Let's put this all in perspective here people: Temple hasn't had a winning streak like this since they won 8 straight way back in 1973… the year I was born. They won seven games total from 2002-05. Winning is contagious and I'll let Coach Golden say it best:
"Three years ago, our team couldn't win these games, and if they did it was an anomaly," coach Al Golden said. "Now the team has some toughness, some mental toughness and character."
Temple is actually thinking MAC championship. Amazing.
Next up: Akron (2-7)
Lost to Northwestern 17-10
All the close victories, all the fourth quarter comebacks, all the Stanzi-ball miracles all came crumbling down on Iowa. Stanzi was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and Iowa could not recover. After Stanzi went down, Freshman James Vandenberg took over and could not muster a single point the rest of the game. Northwestern scored two TD's in the second quarter off of two Iowa turnovers: a recovered fumble in the endzone on the play where Stanzi was hurt and a 4 yard TD pass after an interception on Vandenberg's first pass attempt. It was finally too much of a hole for Iowa to climb out of. Stanzi's injury is most likely a severe sprain after X-ray's came back negative but he'll probably be out of the big showdown next week at the Shoe. With all the injuries mounting, the showdown for the Big Ten title against Ohio State, who is playing the best ball of their season, looks like a one-sided romp.
Next Up: Ohio State (8-2)
Beat Minnesota 35-32
Juice Williams' nightmare senior season continues as he sprained his ankle after starting the game on fire completing all five of his passes, one for a TD. His replacement, Jacob Charest, came in and threw for 185 yards and a touchdown as the Fighting Zookers used a furious pass rush and some bad decisions by Gophers QB Adam Webber for the victory. Webber, after throwing for 415 yards against Sparty, threw a pick six, fumbled, missed open wide receivers, and held the ball too long on his way to dreadful first half. Webber completed just 5 of 17 passes for 174 yards in the opening two quarters and finished just 14 of 31 for 221 yards.
Next Up: Northwestern (6-4)
Eastern Illinois (7-2)
Next Up: UT Martin (4-5)
Next up: South Dakota State (7-2)
Lost to Purdue 38-36
Talk about your teams going in different directions, after starting 4-0 Michigan is looking at 5-7 with games against Wisconsin and Ohio State while Purdue, after starting 1-5, could squeak into a bowl if the beat Michigan State and Indiana. Purdue QB Joey Elliott threw for a career-high 367 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another. Purdue overcame a 24-10 halftime deficit when they scored on the aforementioned Joey Elliott TD run with 10:28 to play to take a 38-30 lead. Michigan answered with a Brandon Minor TD run, who finished with 154 yards and 3 touchdowns, but Michigan's two point conversion was no good and Purdue recovered the onside kick. It was a game of offense as the two teams combined for 921 yards of total offense. Michigan's defense has been a total wreck lately, in the past three games, the Wolverines have been outscored 75-12 in the second half by Purdue, Illinois and Penn State.
Next up: Wisconsin(7-2)
Beat Iowa 17-10
Next up: Illinois (3-6)