What in the name of sweet baby JoePa was that????!!!!!
Seriously. What the [insert word] happened?
Granted, we knew this team had some issues. The offensive line has been about as good as France when it comes to keeping the enemy out of its territory. Christian Hackenberg vacillates from Heisman hopeful to blind man chucking acorns at a cat. Our defense has traditionally (as in so far this season) started slow, allowing most opponents to score early on us or at least move the ball at will early, but has to date closed the door when the freaking door needed closing. It seemed like they not only left the damned door open Saturday, but put up signs to show the way.
This was a team effort loss, that no missed pass interference penalty could hope to save. Losing on Homecoming, 29-6? To Northwestern? Ugh!
Special teams were anything but special. A blocked field goal and a long punt return to give the Wildcats a short field were glaringly obvious, but what went through Grant Haley’s mind when he tried to run the ball deep out of our endzone on a couple of kick-offs. This game could have been a lot worse if Northwestern hadn’t kept trying to let us back into it, with missed field goals of their own and one decent punt return by Della Valle, and TWO-count em–PATs missed. And they still won!
This is worse than a 63-14 loss to a top ranked team. This was an unranked Northwestern team that although they played fired-up and inspired football against us, is a very pedestrian team. They will be will be lucky to become bowl eligible (and we appear to be in that location as well.) This was a match-up of two mediocre teams and we outmediocred the competition. There are no bowls for that kind of effort, unless you count your own toilet bowl.
I honestly thought this was going to be a breakout game. I hedged my prediction, knowing that we had the aforementioned “issues,” but I did not see this beat down coming.
I don’t know where to begin to pick up the pieces. Is it simply the sanctions? Is it coaching? I really like James Franklin. I love his style; his energy. I love his recruiting ability. But some of his game time decisions leave me scratching my head, although I don’t know for sure if he calls the offensive plays or not. He is not coaching a group of athletes that he recruited, so we must temper that with our criticism. Sanctions notwithstanding, he started from zero with this team. But just because the sanctions have vanished in the future, does not change the effect they had on this team to date.
And you can’t blame the coach for Hackenberg flat out missing a wide open Belton, or any other of the numerous really bad throws he had. But one wonders why we didn’t see Crook late in the game, when the chance of winning was really beyond what we had time left to do. Speaking of which, why weren’t we going no huddle in the fourth quarter? We needed scores, and instead were throwing pick sixes and taking our good old time failing at this one. I actually think Hack plays better in the hurry-up, pressure on, package–in general.
I’m not saying that Northwestern didn’t play a good game–so if you are a Wildcat fan, don’t get your panties all bunched up. Ya done good. Your coach was prepared for this game. Ours was not, for whatever reason. And maybe if you keep up that intensity week after week, you’ll make me eat my words. But until then . . .
I’m going to blame this on ourselves. The only reason we’re not 5-0 right now is because we did not execute, did not adapt during the game, failed to capitalize on our opponent’s mistakes, and played some of the most uninspired football I have personally witnessed since we lost to Iowa 6-4. And at least the defense played a great game then!
But this is not a sky is falling rant. We have another very beatable opponent coming up in the form THEM. They followed up their epic loss to Utah with an even more epic fail against Minnesota. Unfortunately, I think we could still outmediocre them as well, but at least we have an extra week to teach blocking, tackling, and kicking.
BY THE NUMBERS:
|NET YARDS RUSHING||103||50|
|Average Per Rush||2.7||2.0|
|Yards Gained Rushing||121||79|
|Yards Lost Rushing||18||29|
|NET YARDS PASSING||258||216|
|Average Per Attempt||7.0||4.7|
|Average Per Completion||12.3||9.8|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||361||266|
|Total offense plays||75||71|
|Average Gain Per Play||4.8||3.7|
|Average Yards Per Punt||37.2||35.7|
|Net Yards Per Punt||26.7||29.7|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||64.0||63.7|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||44.5||36.7|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||1-42-0||2-43-0|
|Average Per Return||42.0||21.5|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||2-56-0||4-67-0|
|Average Per Return||28.0||16.8|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||0-0-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||7 of 17||3 of 17|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||0 of 2||1 of 4|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||4-20||1-13|
|Points off turnovers||18||0|
Pick a number–any number. It’s bad. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Oh, we were okay in time of possession! And we actually held the Wildcats to around a 100 yards rushing.
The Drum Major stuck both flips, so we got that going for us.
The weather was perfect.
The Alumni Band performed–great to see the combined units playing together!
This is Franklin’s first loss.
PSU still owns the all-time record at 13-4.
And just what the hell is with the traffic going through Toftrees???!!! What a clusterf*ck! Been going that way for 14 years. Traffic usually doesn’t back up until you go under the 322 underpass going up Fox Hollow Road. Took me a goddamned hour from getting off the exit on 322 until we got to our parking spot (bumper to bumper from the first golf cart crossing!) I shouldn’t have to leave Altoona earlier than 8 am for a freaking noon game.
|The traffic at Toftrees . . .|
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
The Buckeyes struggled early but pulled away from Cincinnati, 50-28.
Likewise, Wisconsin started slow, but beat South Florida 27-10.
MSU soundly defeated Wyoming 56-14.
Rutgers defeated Tulane 31-6.
In conference action . . .
THEM lost to Minnesota 30-14.
Nebraska crushed the Illini 45-14.
Maryland defeated Indiana 37-15.
Purdue Outmediocred Iowa, losing 24-10.
1. For the Penn State Alumni–at least the tailgate weather was nice.
2. For Pitt–losers to Akron 21-10. Hey, didn’t we beat Akron???
3. Arkansas–lost to 6th ranked Aggies in OT
4. UMass–lost 47-42 to Bowling Green to go 0-5.
5. New Mexico State–lost 63-7 to LSU
Bye week. We’re not looking any further than that.