The Altoona Mirror headline read: Ho hum . . . still won. My fellow blogger, the Nittany Turkey, fell asleep.
Rutgers may be the birthplace of college football, but Saturday afternoon, it was deathbed of college football relevance.
Penn State, a 28 point favorite and ranked somewhere around 14-16, came to High Point Stadium (pretty much an oxymoron there) to face the 1-9 (now 1-10) Scarlet Knights, in a battle for virtually nothing. And both teams played like it.
To give Rutgers credit for hanging in there and trying, undermines how little enthusiasm and effort the Nittany Lions displayed in this game. Had their quarterback not dropped a wide open pass in the end zone–a terrific trick play with a half back pass, which guess what? worked against our defense–AGAIN–the final score could have been 20-14. Maybe worse.
Let’s make note that Alabama and The Citadel (that’s THE Citadel in case you are wondering) were tied at 10 at the half. Of course, Alabama actually played the second half, ultimately winning 50-17.
After intense coaching adjustments and renewed play-calling, we managed to score a whole 7 points in the second half, which basically offset the 7 points Rutgers scored in the fourth quarter as well.
How can I make this write-up any more interesting than the game itself?
I did manage to stay awake for the whole game, a combination of fear that we would actually lose to Rutgers, and choosing to watch the game from the bar in Champs.
There were three young women–hell, they all look young to me!–sitting around the corner of the oval bar, one a blonde, facing me, the other two were obstructed by other patrons–my sister and her boyfriend. I figure they must be at least 21 to be sitting at the bar, but I’m pretty sure they were under 30. I’m old enough to be their father. But Luke, I am NOT their father. Probably doesn’t help my argument here. But quite frankly, they were still more interesting than the game, especially the blonde who was facing me.
The first half, they looked kind of bored. Little conversation. Checking their phones. No smiles. Kind of hoping the blonde would make serious eye contact with me at some point, but secretly scared to death she would. Actually just hoping she wouldn’t catch me staring at her.
We just intercepted the Scarlet Knights in the second quarter. A few plays later we scored. They play Zombie Nation at Champs after scores and big plays–it’s just like being at Beaver Stadium. Well, NOT. But in this case, there was all the enthusiasm in the bar you might expect if the organist were to play Kernkraft 400 at a funeral. O-o-o-o-oh, o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh. O-oh. O-oh. We Knew Dead Guy! O-o-o-o-oh . . .
The dynamic changed after half time. Not the game. What are you thinking!? We played the same shitty football we played in the first half. Maybe worse. At least the D shut Rutgers out in the first half.
No. At half time, some young stud–they all look young!–came over and stood between two of the girls. Thin but good build if you notice things like that. Full head of black hair. Neatly trimmed beard. Much closer to their age than moi.
So the second half of the game became an exercise in who would score first–the young dude, or Penn State. He stood there the whole time. His dedication and perseverance were phenomenal!
I did notice the girls were now smiling. Laughing. Having a good time–because they were interacting with young stud and not the game.
I don’t even think he offered to buy them drinks! What the hell is his secret? (Youth.) I don’t want to hear that! I can’t handle the YOUTH!
I wonder if he scored after the game?
We have steadily declined since the Pitt game, as if defeating them were a curse on us. And to make matters worse, Pitt is going to the ACC championship game. Oh, the humanity! As God as my witness, I thought panthers could fly!
We have Maryland coming to Beaver Stadium next Saturday, at 3:30, so we won’t be able to blame a loss on the early start time. The Terps almost upset the Buckeyes, finally losing in OT 52-51, which does not bode well for us. Maryland is also not bowl eligible. Very, very bad for us. They have much to play for. We’re playing for, well, pride maybe? We’re going to show up. In body if not spirit. We’re just coasting to that late December Bowl Game yet to be named after a yard tool or a fruit.
Trace picked up another milestone–30 wins as a starting QB, passing the previous mark of 29 shared by Todd Blackledge and Tony Sacca.
I hope we play better next week. Or I’m going to have to find a cute blonde in the north end zone to keep me awake.