There are a lot of undercurrents swirling below the calm level of a 31-7 victory. Perhaps saying the Lions cruised to win number six (bowl eligible baby!) is a bit of an overstatement. Yet, despite missing another field goal, having a punt return for touchdown called back for yet another holding call on a punt, and having our Heisman candidate running back post minus yardage in the first half, the scoreboard still showed a dominant victory over an opponent that has recently given us
Thank you defense!
The Wildcats scored with less than two minutes to go, ruining what could have been a third shutout on the year. Penn State entered the day ranked 3rd in the country in scoring defense. Thanks to an Epic Sooner Fail that would have made Bob Stoops proud, the team will now be ranked #3 in the polls.
And despite averaging -0.1 yard per carry in the first half, Saquon did finish the day with 75 yards and another highlight reel 53-yard run for a touchdown.
When did scoring 31 points become a defensive game? Because we didn’t score fifty, the offense sucked????
This teams finds a way to win. Missed field goal–no problem. Can’t run? McSorley completes 15 straight passes (a school record by the way.) Last guy to complete 14 passes in a row? Kerry Collins. Undefeated in 1994. Could history be repeating itself?
This team is fun to watch.
How would you like to be a Pitt fan right now? Saturday comes and you have to decide whether to watch them lose to Syracuse or go see the My Little Pony movie. The half dozen fans that chose to watch Pitt probably regret not going to the movies now.
Oklahoma may have a good offensive line but Sooner fans aren’t happy. Michigan is able to kick field goals, but their fans aren’t happy.
Could our relatively short list of problems cost us a game in the future? Maybe. Could our plethora of playmakers on both sides of the ball overcome these problems? I think so.
Now, let me take a moment to complain about a rule. Holding on a punt that goes out of bounds? What? Why is pass interference waved off for an “uncatchable ball” but holding (or block in the back) on a return isn’t waved off when the BALL ISN’T ACTUALLY RETURNED and worse yet, sails way out of bounds AND CANNOT BE RETURNED. Now I’m not saying you still can’t have unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike penalties, or cheap shots called . . . but how does a hold on an unreturnable ball make any difference? Just complaining. I will now return you to our regularly scheduled drivel.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The stat that I think stood out the most was 8 penalties for Northwestern. And more surprising . . .TWO players ejected for targeting. Not what you would expect from a Pat Fitzgerald team.
Another great stat: zero turn overs for PSU. Two interceptions and a fumble for the boys in purple. And this is all defensive–the defense created those turn-overs
This is James Franklin’s first win over Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern in three tries, once as a Vanderbilt coach.
Penn State leads the all time series between these schools, 14-5.
Saquon’s Heisman chances weren’t hurt much by the poor first half showing, with Penn State winning easily, a highlight reel touchdown run, and his next best competition failing to secure a win for Oklahoma.
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
I’m sorry. Maybe Michigan State beating little brother in Ann Arbor will hurt us down the road, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Harbaugh lose. Any Harbaugh, but especially the one in Ann Arbor. And does the 14-10 loss and subsequent drop in the polls by the wolverines really hurt our chances if we win out? Michigan State is now ranked, so that helps our overall schedule strength.
If we don’t win out, conference losses by Michigan and Ohio State will be critical in winning the Big Ten East. I may be wrong, but I cannot imagine a scenario where an undefeated Penn State team (and Big Ten Champion by extension) will be excluded from the playoffs.
Indiana crushed Charleston Southern 27-0. Someone, somewhere, cared.
The Badgers beat da Huskers 38-17.
Purdue went all Carl Spackler over the Gophers 31-17.
Iowa defeated the Illini 45-16.
The Buckeyes made Turtle soup out of the Terrapins, 62-14.
Rutgers was off and nobody noticed.
Next week the Penn State Nittany Lions have the day off.
Then, October 21st . . . WHITEOUT at Beaver Stadium. 7:30 Kick-off on ABC.
The Wolverines are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Spartans, and have a road game at Indiana before coming to Happy Valley. The Vegas line favors the Wolverines by 7 at this point.
Regardless of their record, the boys in ugly helmets will bring their A game to Beaver stadium. They always do. They can play like crap against Appalachian State and then beat us like an old drum.
But not this year. Not this time. Not on our turf. Not during a white out.