Knightmare Nova

Gary “turNova” threw five interceptions while the Penn State defense shut out the Scarlet Knights in the second half, to key a 13-10 win over our newest “rival.”  This game is probably the most hyped, yet unimportant game outside of these two programs, that I have seen in a while.  (The Ohio State-THEM game is the perennial over-hyped game which generally most other fans could care less about.)  But I digress.

Hackenberg passed for over 300 yards, setting a new school record of 7 games in his career of 300+ yards.  Despite a 10 to nothing deficit at the half, this Penn State team did not give up.  They may not have the best team.  They may not have the biggest stars.  We may not have the “best” coach.  But this team gives 110% of itself for a full 60 minutes of every game.

It would appear that Mr. Hackenberg operates best under pressure.  And I’m not talking about defensive pressure, because he saw a lot of that in the first half from the Scarlet Knights.  They were stunting, blitzing, and magically appearing in the backfield to help with the hand-off on nearly every down.  Credit Penn State with making second half adjustments that allowed Hack to have more time.

We still have an annoying problem.  No running game.  Yes, but that is not the annoying problem to which I allude.  We seem to amass large quantities of yardage–mostly through the air, but fail to convert said yardage into points on the scoreboard.  We are totally smashing the stats sheet (and the win column!!!!) but we can’t seem to light up the scoreboard.  Granted, at 3-0, it’s an annoyance.  But with BIGger prizes to play for now, it could become a real pain in the loss column later on.

We can nitt-pick all day about having Hackenberg punt (did not work) and running the wild cat with Hackenberg out as a receiver (which hasn’t worked).  Are we trying too hard to be gimmicky?  I don’t know.  I kind of like seeing new wrinkles.  And with a little better execution, these plays could catch some people by surprise (such as the toss back to Hack at wide receiver for a pass.)  Had we lost, well, then these things might be more important.  But for now, they are just more nuances that other defenses have to prepare for.

What was the deal with Witvoet’s mike?  They didn’t replace it at half time.  He looks like he’s a hundred years old.  Maybe that’s his natural voice!  And to his credit, he and his merry band of misfit zebras called a great game–perhaps the fairest game I have ever seen a Big Ten crew officiate.  Okay, the two holding penalties that called back big plays annoyed me, but I have to admit, they were correct calls.  Now, it’s not like holds like that always get called in our conference, but in the final analysis, they were correct calls.

I’ve seen various estimates of the Penn State crowd (8-10,000) and one poster went so far as to guesstimate 25%.  I think that’s a bit over the top, but it sounds like we were well represented.

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Sorry about that. WordPress won’t properly embed the video like Blogger.

I will also give the Scarlet Knight fans some credit.  They sold out their puny little stadium for this “rivalry.”  And the game noise sounded loud and might have contributed to one false start penalty.  I doubt Beaver Stadium would have been full had this game been played there on this weekend, but I could be wrong.  But when your highest sell-out is still around what the other team pulls in for a spring scrimmage, I wouldn’t spend so much time crowing about it.  That don’t impress me much!

I will also give the Scarlet Knight players kudos.  The emotion in the first half was unbelievable.  You actually played hard enough to win.  But in the end, emotion only carries you so far, and your best just wasn’t good enough.

Some reports have trickled in about bad experiences from RU fans.  These things will happen.  Late start.  Lotsa alcohol.  Every fan base has their black sheep.  People say things.  People throw bags of urine.  Whatever.  But at the very heart of the matter, I understand your pain.  You thought this was YOUR YEAR.  Penn State is perhaps at it’s worst because of the residual of the sanctions.  I saw this in the eyes of Temple fans two years ago when they came to Beaver Stadium in 2012 to face a struggling 1-2 Lion team led by new head coach Bill O’Brien.  You (the opposition) have one of your better teams.  It looks like the stars are aligning.  Then it blasts apart in a super-gary-nova of interceptions and blown opportunities.  And at the end of the knight, you are no closer to that Holy Grail than you ever were before.  Oh well.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:

 

 Team Totals  PSU  RU 
FIRST DOWNS  19  15 
   Rushing 
   Passing  13 
   Penalty 
NET YARDS RUSHING  64  102 
   Rushing Attempts  33  31 
   Average Per Rush  1.9  3.3 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing  91  126 
   Yards Lost Rushing  27  24 
NET YARDS PASSING  309  192 
   Completions-Attempts-Int  25-44-1  15-31-5 
   Average Per Attempt  7.0  6.2 
   Average Per Completion  12.4  12.8 
   Passing Touchdowns 
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS  373  294 
   Total offense plays  77  62 
   Average Gain Per Play  4.8  4.7 
Fumbles: Number-Lost  1-0  1-0 
Penalties: Number-Yards  5-40  9-75 
PUNTS-YARDS  8-217  7-272 
   Average Yards Per Punt  27.1  38.9 
   Net Yards Per Punt  27.1  36.0 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Touchbacks 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS  4-246  3-173 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff  61.5  57.7 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff  38.5  45.7 
   Touchbacks 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD  1-0-0  0-0-0 
   Average Per Return  0.0  0.0 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  2-36-0  2-42-0 
   Average Per Return  18.0  21.0 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD  5-3-0  1-26-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  0-0-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time  33:23  26:37 
   1st Quarter  9:17  5:43 
   2nd Quarter  5:37  9:23 
   3rd Quarter  9:28  5:32 
   4th Quarter  9:01  5:59 
Third-Down Conversions  9 of 20  5 of 14 
Fourth-Down Conversions  0 of 0  0 of 1 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  3-4  2-2 
   Touchdowns  1-4  1-2 
   Field goals  2-4  1-2 
Sacks By: Number-Yards  3-19  5-17 
PAT Kicks  1-1  1-1 
Field Goals  2-3  1-1 
Points off turnovers 

 

Our third down conversions rate was about 50%, compared to about 33% for RU.  The turn-overs are, without a doubt the key.  Poor QB?  Better D?  I lean to the latter.  Rutgers fans might disagree.

Another interesting number–  1:13.  UCF scored their go-ahead touchdown with 1:13 left on the clock.  They ultimately lost.  Penn State scored leaving 1:13 on the clock.  Rutgers ultimately lost.  Nothing special happened in the Akron game at 1:13.  Penn State ran out the clock and ultimately won.
INTANGIBLES:

Rutgers won the toss and deferred.

Is that you, Octavius?

Rutgers filled their stadium–53,744.

Franklin is the first Penn State coach to go 3-0 in his first season since 1930.

Penn State leads the all-time rivalry 23-2.  PSU has never lost to Rutgers in New Jersey.

THE BIG (10) PICTURE:

THE LOSERS:

Purdue lost to Notre Dame 30-14.

Indiana lost to Bowling Green 45-42.

Maryland lost on a last second, 47 yard field goal to West-By-God-Virginia, 40-37.

Iowa lost their requisite non-com game to Iowa State 20-17.

Minnesota was horn-frogged by TCU, 30-7.

Washington embarrassed Illinois 44-19.  Not really that hard to shame them, though.

THE NON-LOSERS:

Urban Meyer made himself feel better by rolling up the score on Kent State, 66-0.  He overcompensated his teams weakness by taking advantage of a team with greater weaknesses!  Brilliant!

THEM beat Miami(OH) 34-10.

Nebraska bull-dozed the Fresno Bulldogs 55-19.

Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan State were off this week.  I heard Northwestern still lost.  And oh look, Gary Nova just threw another interception!

2014-15 Football Standings

EAST DIVISION
Overall Conference Division
W-L % W-L % W-L %
Penn State 3-0 1.000 1-0 1.000 1-0 1.000
Maryland 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Michigan 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Ohio State 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Indiana 1-1 .500 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Michigan State 1-1 .500 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Rutgers 2-1 .667 0-1 .000 0-1 .000
WEST DIVISION
Overall Conference Division
W-L % W-L % W-L %
Nebraska 3-0 1.000 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Illinois 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Iowa 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Minnesota 2-1 .667 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Wisconsin 1-1 .500 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Purdue 1-2 .333 0-0 .000 0-0 .000
Northwestern 0-2 .000 0-0 .000 0-0 .000

 

Through all games of September 13.

 

Penn State and Nebraska are the only undefeated teams in the conference!

 

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Georgia–is there ever a more over-rated SEC team year in and year out?

2.  USC–lost to BC 37-31.

3.  Hokies–after beating the Buckeyes, they fall to unranked East Carolina 28-21.

4.  MD–last second loss on a long field goal.

5.  Texas–lost to UCLA 20-17.  They apparently screwed up the coin toss, giving UCLA opening possession in BOTH halves.

 

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium next week to face the UMass Minutemen with a 4 PM kick-off.  Coverage will be the Big Ten Network (BTN.)

The Minutemen are 0-3 coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, who scored 14 in the final quarter to pull out the win.

The season to date:

L  30-7 vs. Boston College

L  41-38  vs.  Colorado

L  34-31 vs. Vanderbilt

Priorities:  WIN!  Work on the running game.  Some reps for the back-up QB.

GO STATE!  BEAT MINUTEMEN!
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