Surfing the Internet and reading about Penn State’s upset win over the Badgers, I came across this post on Black Shoe Diaries . . .
In fact, the last time an unranked Penn State squad beat a top 20 squad on the road was….wait for it….November 21st, 1987: Penn State 21, #7 Notre Dame 20. And that PSU squad, one year removed from a National Championship, had been ranked #15 the previous week when they were shutout, 0-10, against an un-ranked Pitt to fall all the way out of the polls. Whoops – that game was at Beaver Stadium, and there was ice in the urinal troughs. Upon further review, the last time an unranked PSU squad beat a top 20 team on the road was November 7th, 1964. Penn State, led by Maxwell Award winner Glenn Ressler, traveled to Ohio Stadium and kicked the snot out of Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes, who had been ranked #2 in the nation, 27-0.
That was 26 49 years ago. None of the current players 99% of innernets users had not been born. This type of thing simply doesn’t happen very often. Since the 1986 season, Penn State had won just 12 games out of 44 when facing any ranked team on the road, no matter PSU’s rank. Today they’re 13 for 45.
I wish I had
Sorry, false start. Again.
I really wish I had written a pregame summary this week, predicting a win for Penn State based on a complicated formula of controlling the line of scrimmage, not turning the ball over, controlling time of possession and committing eight false starts. I would have looked like a freaking genius. Now, I just look like a freak. Such is life.
In their final game of the season, the team that just wouldn’t quit wouldn’t quit one last time, beating Wisconsin 31-24. They were over matched and under scholarshipped. The bettors were predicting a 24 point margin of victory for the Badgers. Penn State had already lost to Indiana for crying out loud.
Simply put, Penn State should not have been in this game.
Instead, it was the Badgers who played like they shouldn’t have been in this game. With a combination of poor throws by Stave (apparently pronounced Stavie–does that mean that the Packers were quarterbacked by Bret Favrie?), interceptions by Penn State, and big plays on offense (4 plays over 50 yards!) the Lions ended the season for the second straight year with a win over a ranked Wisconsin squad. Okay, they weren’t ranked last year, but they were headed for the Big Championship and ultimately the Rose Bowl. These were two quality season-ending wins dammit!
I thought last year that we benefitted from circumstance–Wisconsin had the title game already locked win or lose and didn’t want to risk any injuries. But that was not the case this year. They weren’t looking ahead to any championship game, and in fact, they were playing for a better bowl–perhaps a BCS game. They had everything to gain by beating Penn State.
Wisconsin seemed out of whack, especially on defense. Perhaps their shifting of players in and out was supposed to confuse Hackenberg, but in the end, it was the Badger defense that seemed confused.
But like so many other games this season, the Lions were unable to put the chokehold on their opponent when they had the opportunity. They actually led by three scores 31-14 in the fourth quarter, but had to survive a Hail Mary pass with one second left to avoid a loss or OT. Ficken missed a field goal that could have sealed the game, and had one blocked. With time running out, O’Brien called a time out with FIVE seconds still on the clock. Although Keiser intercepted Stave in the endzone to essentially end the game, there was still one second left on the clock that should not have been there. Better clock management, and that final play wouldn’t have happened at all.
But that’s being a little picky for a team that defied all odds to go 7-5 and quite frankly we should be thankful this Thanksgiving that we still have a football program at all.
I simply cannot find the words to describe how happy I am with the win. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as Zwinak broke free for 61 yards. These guys have played their hearts out all year and were so close to having a 10-2 season (but also close to a 4-8 one as well.) But to come out in this final game in a hostile environment with nothing to play for than pride and put on that kind of performance is simply amazing. Kudos to the coaches for keeping these guys motivated and focused! The energy level was amazing!
Hackenberg finishes the season with 2,900+ passing yards, 20 TDs and 10 INTs. The long ball looked good today. With more scholarships on the horizon, the future looks bright. I hope Allan Robinson sticks around for another year.
BY THE NUMBERS:
|PASSING YDS (NET)………….||339||339|
|TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS…..||58-465||85-459|
|Third-Down Conversions……..||5 of 13||8 of 17|
|Fourth-Down Conversions…….||0 of 0||2 of 3|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards……..||3-18||0-0|
Penn State outgained the Badgers by a small amount in total yards, but the Badgers had a slight edge in time of possession. A closer look at the total yardage, though, shows that PSU gained about 8 yards per play while the Badgers averaged 5.4 yards per play.
The attendance at Camp-Randall was 78,064.
Bill O’Brien has not lost to Wisconsin. The Badgers lead the series 9-8.
The Suckeyes “beat” THEM 42-41 as Hoke chose to go for two but came up short. I like his call to go for it. I don’t like the play he called. It is what it is.
Nebraska looked like crap (how did we lose to them?) against Iowa, falling 38-17.
Sparty struggled offensively, but nearly blanked the gophers, winning 14-3.
Northwestern finally won a conference game, beating Illinois 37-34.
Indiana beat Purdue 56-36.
Future members: Maryland beat NC State 41-21 while Rutgers lost to UConn 28-17.
Michigan State will face the Buckeyes for the conference title. Pray that MSU carries the day.
1. Alabama–lost to Auburn on the final play of the game as the Tigers ran back a missed field goal–yes, you read that correctly–to break the tie and probably send Urban F-in Meyer to the title game.
2. For Brady Hoke–big balls, but a little bat.
3. For Duke–the good news–you won your division. The bad–now you have to face F$U.
4. Oregon State–one point short of Oregon in the Civil War.
5. Georgia Tech–lost to Georgia in 2OT
The Blue-White Game in April.
What day is it?
Come on Mike, I know you can hear me!
A little Hump Day Humor . . . from the Florida Gators, who lost to Georgia Southern this past weekend.
Last season, Sam Ficken missed a PAT and FOUR field goals, as a floundering Penn State team in Bill O’Brien’s second game as PSU head coach fell 17-16 to the Virginia Cavaliers. But Sam Ficken rebounded from that effort, set a Penn State record for consecutive field goals made, and won the Wisconsin game in OT last year with a successful kick.
But Saturday, against the Cornhuskers, it was déjà vu all over again–or déjà VA as the case would be.
Penn State scored first in a game which gave new meaning to a whiteout, as snow sprayed across the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field Beaver Stadium at times yesterday. I don’t know if that was the coldest game I have ever sat through, but it is certainly in the top 2 or 3 if not the coldest. I don’t know what the coldest game ever at Beaver Stadium was. I guess you’d have to ask Lou Prato.
But the euphoria of a touchdown melted quickly, which was incredible in itself that anything could melt yesterday–did I mention it was COLD?–when Ficken dinked the extra point off the right upright leaving the scoreboard showing a 6-0 advantage.
Some fans are quick to point out that that miss “cost us the game” as it seems painfully obvious that a 21-20 score would not have gone to OT. Au contraire. I am just full of the French-y references today. That little bit of rocket science presumes or assumes that Nebraska would have kicked said field goal down 21-17 with a fourth and goal at the PSU one yard line. They might have just punched the ball in for a 24-21 victory and no OT to miss another field goal. Or they might have got a PI and a new set of downs. Perhaps they would have still taken the three with the hope of getting the ball back, but WE DON’T KNOW THAT. Mark Twain wrote, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
I ain’t sure we win that game if Ficken makes the PAT. I ain’t sure we win if Ficken made the FG in OT. Our chances certainly would have been better–but not guaranteed. Likewise, our chances would have been better if Hack had simply RUN for the freaking first down instead of throwing a low uncatchable ball on third down. Maybe the outcome would have been different if he hadn’t thrown another rackin, frackin, hackin, berging INT when we just moved the ball from the shadows of our goal out to midfield and seemed rolling for a score.
It is what it is. That’s my new philosophy of Penn State football.
It has become tedious each week to dissect the mistakes and try to lay blame for each loss on some entity. As I mentioned in the past, Penn State fans are spoiled from the glory years of the 70′s and the 80′s. Back then we EXPECTED to win every game. And when we failed, there must be some reason–the weather, the refs, the coaching (esp. over-used in the 2000′s), the 85 scholarship limit (now the 65 scholarship limit), the phase of the moon, the turf, the lack of sideline heaters, the B1G conference (who in some way must be responsible for all this), etc. ad nauseum.
In the final analysis, it is what it is.
We are simply not a very good team. And that conclusion is supported by the facts of the season, and not derived from any reading of tea leaves. Good teams don’t lose games like that. Or to Indiana. We can sugar coat how much better Indiana is now than they used to be, but the Hoosiers have lost to the better competition in this conference, but BEAT US badly.
It wasn’t Sam Ficken that lost the game yesterday. It was Sam Ficken and Christian Hackenberg and Allan Robinson (who dropped a catchable pass by the way) and Bill O’Brien and all his coordinators, and the guy who fills the Gatorade bottles. It was a team effort. And it is not for lack of trying or a lack of heart–I have seen Penn State teams in the last 15 years give up. This team doesn’t give up. They just don’t have what it takes right now to be competitive week in and week out.
Nebraska made one fewer mistake than Penn State. We were on the other side of that equation against THEM. Thank God we had some bright moments to celebrate this season. We could be wallowing around at 3-8 like 2004.
I want to thank our seniors for an exciting game on a cold Senior Day. I really hoped to extol about how O’Brien was undefeated in OT games and make some snarky analysis that he should treat the other four quarters like OT. I really wanted to tell some corn jokes and make fun of Nebraska, but well, they’re stuck out there and I guess that’s punishment enough.
It is what it is.
BY THE NUMBERS:
|PASSING YDS (NET)………….||192||217|
|TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS…..||77-360||77-387|
|Third-Down Conversions……..||3 of 17||2 of 14|
|Fourth-Down Conversions…….||0 of 0||0 of 0|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards……..||1-1||2-22|
Penn State gained more yards, both rushing and passing, than Nebraska, forced three fumbles and recovered two of them, won time of possession by a small margin, yet lost the game. Our defense held the Huskers to 3 of 17 third down conversions, but our offense only managed 2 of 15 conversions. It is what it is.
|I went to Happy Valley and they stole my head!
How am I going to eat this huge ear of corn?
Did I mention the game was cold?
The 98,517 listed attendance definitely included people there in spirit as well. It was a disappointing crowd, but can you blame them? Did I mention it was COLD?
The Drum Major stuck both flips. He was lucky his arse didn’t freeze to the turf!
Penn State won the first coin toss and deferred. Nebraska won the one that mattered and went on defense to start OT.
Nebraska now lead the series 9-7. I don’t give a rackin, frackin, hackin, berging twit about vacated wins, as you probably already know.
By the way, it was COLD.
THE B1G PICTURE:
Buckeyes rolled all over the Hoosiers like a good team should, winning 42-14.
Iowa defeated THEM 24-21.
MSU pounded the Cats 30-6.
Wisconsin rolled out the barrel and buried the Gophers 20-7.
Illinois finally won a game. Purdue hasn’t. The final was 20-16, so I guess neither team really wanted the win that badly.
Michigan State and Ohio State have clinched their berth in the title game, with the Buckeyes having one more meaningless game against THEM, and Sparty facing the Gophers next week.
1. Idaho–lost 80-14 to F$U.
2. Baylor–lost to Okie State 49-17. No BCS Title for YOU!
3. Oregon–lost to Arizona 42-16. Wow. That’s just Quacked.
4. Florida–lost to Georgia . . . wait for it . . . Southern. Ga Southern won 26-20.
5. Arkansas lost again. Woo Hoo! Bret’s da Man. For the all you can eat smorgasbord that is.
6. Johnny Feetsball lost to LSU. Price for his autograph fell as well.
One game left. The Lions travel to Wisconsin to face a team that would be tough to beat with 85 scholarship players. The Badgers are 9-2 with losses to Arizona State and the unbeatable Buckeyes.
We’re going to lose. It is what it is. I feel like a Temple fan.
By Thursday, I’ll have come up with a few insane reasons why we could and might win this game, but I’ll just be full of my usual bullshit and a lot of turkey by that point.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Nittany Nation!
And thank you to Charles Shultz–a comic genius that somehow knew Penn State football!
It’s Thursday night and the Golden Knights are beating the Scarlet Knights 38-14 early in the fourth quarter.
This weekend, Penn State hosts Nebraska . . . .
|They are Farmers, bum ba dum bum bum bum bum!|
This appears to be a game that could go either way for either team. Penn State opened a two-point favorite and is sitting around 1.5 points as I type this. Nebraska’s offense is ranked 45th in the country and fields a defense ranked 42nd. How’s that for balance? On our side of the ball, the Lions are ranked 50th offensively, and a surprising 46th nationally in defense.
The intangibles, though, lean toward Penn State . . . home game, senior day. I think if PSU can get the running game going and minimize the mistakes (is it even possible to play a game without a fumble anymore?) they can and will win this game. But if the defense is on the field a lot, and we make mistakes that give the Huskers field position or cost us points, senior day may not be so happy in Happy Valley.
My prediction: Penn State wins by a touchdown. Unless the refs review it.
IN THE B1G TEN:
Ohio State is a 34.5 point favorite over Indiana. Can the Hoosiers make some magic? I really doubt it, but we can dream can’t we?
Illinois faces off as a favorite over Purdue, neither of which has won a conference game yet. That will change this weekend. Personally, I’d like to see Purdue get the W, but my Gawd they look awful. I don’t think they could beat an egg, in a bowl, with a mixer. Of course, there’s no chance of that happening–they won’t be in any bowl this year.
The Spartans travel to Evanston to face a Northwestern team that also has not won a conference match-up yet. MSU is favored by 7. Barring a breakdown on the green and white side of the ball, I don’t think that will change this week. GO SPARTY!
Wisconsin is a 16.5 point favorite over Minnesota. Really don’t care who wins this one. We’ve already mucked up the Minnesota game, and have a theoretical chance of beating the Badgers, so GO GOPHERS! (I have a theoretical chance of winning the lottery, so keep that in perspective.)
Iowa is a 6 point favorite over THEM. I’m okay with that. GO HAWKEYES!
Future members: Rutgers is losing to UCF tonight, and Maryland is a pick against Boston College. GO TERPS!
IN OTHER GAMES:
Alabama plays Chattanooga (no line). ROLL TIDE ROLL!
F$U is heavily favored (57 points) over Idaho.
Baylor is favored by 9.5 over Oklahoma State and hopes to jump O$U in the BCS bonanza. The Buckeyes could beat Indiana by 1,000 and the BCS won’t care. Sucks to be them.
Notre Dame and BYU are a pick. GO COUGARS!
And that’s a wrap!