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.