On a bright, sunny fall day, Penn State unleashed its weapons of “U”mass destruction on the Minutemen, ending in a 48-7 decision that could have been worse if the back-ups hadn’t taken over in the third quarter. Granted, this wasn’t Wisconsin, Alabama, or Oregon we were playing, but I think we got we expected. The Lions Shock and Awe featured four runners, seven receivers, two quarterbacks, and James Franklin in a pear tree. What’s to complain about?
The score could have been 66-0 without substitutions later in the game. It would have been more fun to pitch a shut out. The final score was still respectable and covered the point spread. In my weekly foe pause, I begged the team not to struggle. Didn’t look good for me in the first quarter, but the slow start was erased as the offense picked up steam. Field goals became touchdowns. No turn-overs by the blue and white, and the offensive line gained some confidence. We won’t know until they face better defenses if this has any long term effect. With the offensive line doing better, the run game did better. The officiating crew threw no egregious flags or over looked any egregious penalties. What more could you ask for?
Which begs the question . . .why was there only 99,155 fans? You can’t blame it on the weather. Unworthy opponent? Some pundits thought this might be a trap game. PSU has never played UMass before. Granted, not as exciting as a game against Ohio State, but a team can’t compete at that level every week anyway. The team needs a game like this now and then. And Nebraska brought in 91,082 versus McNeese State! Their capacity is listed at 87,000 on wikipedia with a record crowd of 91,585 against Miami this week. Look at those numbers again–that’s a difference of 503 fans between McNeese State and Miami (FL)! They apparently aren’t “competition snobs” out in Lincoln–they love their team no matter who they play!
Money a problem??? Even if you can’t afford season tickets, you could buy single game tickets. It was a great game to bring the kids–warm weather, fairly family friendly atmosphere (compared to a night game against the Bucks), and a fun game to watch. In fact I saw more kids and babies (one wearing big pink headphones to block out the crowd noise) at this game than any other I can recall. Seriously, park your STEP and administrative protests at home and get your butt down to watch these kids play. They may not be the greatest team in the country, but they are playing their hearts out. Don’t make a statement to the BOT by eschewing this team–make a better statement by showing up and packing the stadium. Let the BOT know that we fans are a force to be reckoned with! Make James Franklin smile!
I still can’t get over how eerily this team parallels some of the good (and later in the year, I hope to change that to great, but there is still a lot of work to be done yet to earn that adjective) teams of the vintage Paterno era. A 13-10 victory in primetime against Rutgers. Winning on a late field goal against UCF as an underdog. Mounting a comfortable halftime lead against an inferior opponent and then letting the back-ups have some fun and the second string D giving up a meaningless score in garbage time. It’s like Joe has been re-incarnated–his spirit is all over and around this team.
So we came out of this game with no turn-overs, no significant injuries, and a back-up QB that looks like he can fill in if duty calls. The O-line did better, but needs to keep improving. This team has a legitimate chance to be undefeated when the Buckeyes come to visit in mid October. They may even be favored to win the next two games.
BY THE NUMBERS:
|NET YARDS RUSHING||3||228|
|Average Per Rush||0.1||5.1|
|Yards Gained Rushing||59||247|
|Yards Lost Rushing||56||19|
|NET YARDS PASSING||263||236|
|Average Per Attempt||8.0||7.4|
|Average Per Completion||15.5||13.1|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||266||464|
|Total offense plays||61||77|
|Average Gain Per Play||4.4||6.0|
|Average Yards Per Punt||38.2||40.7|
|Net Yards Per Punt||36.8||40.3|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||65.0||64.0|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||40.0||39.6|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||1-1-0||2-7-0|
|Average Per Return||1.0||3.5|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||1-20-0||1-25-0|
|Average Per Return||20.0||25.0|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||1-7-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||3 of 13||10 of 17|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||1 of 4||1 of 1|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||2-10||3-25|
|Points off turnovers||0||14|
Penn State scored on EIGHT straight possessions after going three and out with a punt on the first possession of the game.
No turn-overs for PSU!
THREE YARDS total for Umass on the ground! Shoop there it is!
UMass won the toss and deferred.
The drum major hit both flips–the first perhaps one of the best flips ever.
James Franklin is 4-0 and the first PSU coach to start his career 4-0 since 1915.
Attendance listed at 99,155. WE CAN DO BETTER!
THE BIG (10) PICTURE:
Indiana upset Missouri 31-27.
Nebraska out-slugs Miami 41-31. Lots of off-setting penalties in that one.
Wisconsin rolled out the barrel all over Bowling Green, 68-17.
Maryland bested Syracuse 34-20, a bit of an upset with the Orange favored by 3.
Rutgers sank Navy 31-24.
Minnesota defeated San Jose State 24-7.
Illinois survived a scare and prevailed 42-35 over Texas State.
Iowa beat Pitt 24-20.
Purdue boiled Southern Illinois 35-13.
The Spartans crushed and spit out the remains of Eastern Michigan, 73-14.
Northwestern defeated Western Illinois 24-7.
Utah beat THEM 26-10 in a weather delayed game. They are the only BIG team to lose this week.
|Utah fans outnumber the wolverine fans in the Big House after a rain delay!|
1. Clemson–loses in OT to #1 F$U after missed field goals and fumbles
2. LSU–lost to Miss St. 34-29.
3. Hokies–drop two in a row after beating the Buckeyes
4. Cal–premature celebration but Arizona comes back on a Hail Mary
5. K-State– wasted opportunities to beat Auburn
Northwestern invades Beaver Stadium for a 12 noon start next Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off a 24-7 win over Western Illinois. This week is HOMECOMING.
Northwestern opened the season with a 31-24 loss to Cal, and then followed that with a lackluster performance and a loss to Northern Illinois 23-15.
Well pause for a foe pause later this week.