Blooming Ton of Crap

If you face palmed so hard that you’re now cross-eyed . . . you might be a Penn State fan.

TripleFacePalm

If you’re standing on a ledge, despite your team winning . . . you might be a Penn State fan.

I could go on and on, over and over again, repeating the same crap . . . but that would make me a Penn State fan!

Seriously!

33-28, and the Hoosiers not only recover an on-sides kick to gain possession for a possible upsetting score, but they do so because the Nittany Lions shot themselves in the tail–once again–with a penalty mistake.  How can you line up with too many men on one side of the field?  It’s apparently easier than it sounds.  I did not know that was a penalty.  But I am not being paid multiple millions of dollars to know that interesting, and possibly game changing, piece of trivia.

The Hoosiers won nearly every statistical category–total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, first downs, time of possession, better conversion percentages for third and fourth downs–yet still lost the game.  Glad I’m not a Hoosier blogger –I don’t have to recap that crap!

The only thing that saved us was Indiana had 7 penalties to 3 for us, and one more turn-over.  We also were 5-5 in the red zone (albeit only 3 TDs) while the Hoosiers were 3-4 in the Del Grosso Red Zone. And therein is the difference in the game.

Am I happy that we won?

Hell yes.

But could we just start playing–and coaching–a little smarter?

What did you think of the botched fake punt?  There have been times when we’re punting from the opponents 40 yard line where I thought, hey, the odds are you’re going to kick into the end zone for a touchback.  So you’re maybe giving up 20 yards if you fail.

But with the score tied in the first quarter, it seemed . . . rather desperate.  And it was poorly executed, like we had never even practiced it before.

Sure, if it had worked, and we went on to score, it could have looked brilliant.

But the coaching issue I fear goes a little more deeply.  What has happened to our offense?  Is it simply a product of facing defenses of better quality than Pitt and Kent State?

McSorley has been awful on the deep throws.  That is not coaching per se, but maybe it is time to switch things up.  Give the other guys a series or two.  My friend, who has watched more Penn State football than I in his lifetime, thinks McSorley had/has an injury.  The last three games, he certainly has lost his touch.  He has made up for it with his legs, but do we want to be a team that depends on its quarterback for most of our rushing yardage?  I guess if it works . . .

But again, I told you last week I’m not an x’s and o’s kind of guy.  I don’t know if the play calling really is different, or just the results, but my sense is that we have become predictable and bland.

We are Bob Ross, painting an offense.  Let’s put a happy little wide receiver over here.  There’s nothing wrong with having a tight end as a friend.  I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to footballs and pylons. That’s okay though; I have more fun than most people.  Lets build a happy little quarterback sneak.  Let’s get crazy and try a fake punt here, for no reason at all.  We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.

BobRoss

Penn State Football in a nutshell.

A happy accident.  That sums up the Indiana game in a nutshell.

STREAKING:

The Tide continues to roll, but the Buckeyes streak of wins ended at Purdue.  I don’t know what team Urban Meyer took to West Lafayette, but that was not the team he brought to Beaver Stadium.  Dude!  Someone stole his team!

Trace McSorley’s streak of games with a touchdown pass ended.  Tommy Stevens threw the only touchdown pass of the game.

We snapped a two game losing streak.

Nebraska snapped their own 10 game losing streak with a victory over the Gophers.

Rutgers extended their losing streak to 7.

The Big (Ten) Picture:

Michigan trumped Michigan State to take the mid-term lead in the Big Ten Polls.

Wisconsin beat Illinois 49-20.

The Haweyes shut out Maryland 23-0.  Sure hope we don’t have to face that defense.

The Cornhuskers defeated Minnesota 53-28.

Northwestern beat Rutgers 18-15.  Oh, Scarlet Knights, you were soooo close.

And living vicariously through the Boilermakers, Purdue downed Ohio State 49-20.  Read.  That.  Again.  49-20.  The Buckeyes looked lost.  Seriously, it was like the Keystone Kops on some of their defensive plays.  (Or, ahem, like Penn State’s defense at times.)

And if you are tracking the College Football Champion . . . Purdue now has that title, as Ohio State took it from us, and then lost it to Purdue.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Iowa comes to Beaver Stadium next week at 3:30.  The Haweyes are ranked 18th.  The home team is ranked 17/16.  (Appalachian State is 25th!)

They have a home loss to Wisconsin 28-17, but wins over Minnesota (48-31), Indiana 42-16–uh oh) and Maryland (23-0).  Their record is 6-1 overall with OOC victories over Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Northern Illinois.

The early betting line has Penn State favored by 6.  I am not making that up.. I don’t know why.  Don’t ask me.

GO STATE!  BEAT HAWKS!

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Trojan Lion

Those sneaky Greeks!  The Spartans snuck their best warriors into Beaver Stadium . . . we welcomed them amidst cheers and jubilation!–under the guise of a wooden Lion– a fake gift of a homecoming foe in the throes of a mediocre season.

And we fell for it.

What can you say after a 21-17 loss that saw PSU tumble from the lofty rank of 8th in the nation to 18th place in the AP poll (16th in the Coaches who felt sorrier for us.)

I don’t know what to say.  I don’t even know where to begin.

PatrickStar

PENN STATE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER

So I asked myself, as I pondered this dilemma . . . what do my readers want?  (I only have like 5 regulars, and I think a couple of them are on heavy medications.)  Jimmy might by 45 and living in his mother’s basement,  But I digress.

Do you come here for the brilliant analysis of a post game?  I highly doubt it.  I’m not an X’s and O’s kind of guy.  (I hate Tic-tac-toe.)  I know less about the game than the talking heads on ESPN that we all make fun of.  But at least most of them either coached the game at some level, or played the game themselves.  I have done neither.  If I’m no longer your hero, I understand.

Is it the humorous repartee that keeps you coming back?

A Michigan State fan walks into a bar.  The Penn State fan ducks.

Nope.  Can’t be that.

I’m not really sure I know why you come to this site, but I’m going to go out on a limb here.  It’s Fellowship.  Kinship.  An exchange of thoughts and emotions that only armchair quarterbacks and true fans of the game can understand.  Misery loves company, and celebrations are better with more than one person–your mother upstairs doesn’t count Jimmy.  My weekend is ruined–ruined Andre, we’re ruined!–when Penn State loses.  The sun may come up Sunday morning, but I really don’t give a flying fart if we lost.  I’d rather live a dark Sunday after a win, than a beautiful day that mocks my mood after a loss.

We can over-analyze the facts–the stats, the outcomes, until we’re blue and white in the face.  It won’t change what happened.  But there is a catharsis in the discussion; a cleansing of our football souls.

We should have won that game.  And the one before it, but don’t get me started about that again.

Are we over-rated?  Apparently.  Thank you Mr. Obvious.

After last week’s loss, Coach Franklin spoke about Penn State not playing at an elite level.  We were a great team, but not quite at that elite level.  Well, James, I’ve got news for you.  We are not a great team.  Whereas the Buckeyes can make a pretty sound argument for being an elite team, Michigan State?  Not so much.

We lost to a very pedestrian, very mediocre Spartan team on Saturday.  And while the score looked close, we were not very good and quite frankly, we deserved to lose.  I think we are capable of playing better than we did the last two games, but the results do not support that.

And therein lies the rub.

My anger, frustration, dismay, pain . . feel free to throw in whatever adverse emotions you felt as you watched that game play out . . . really comes down to a mismatch between my perception of reality . . . and reality itself.

I thought we were a great team.  I thought we had a chance to go to the play-offs.  I thought this was going to be a special season (and I’m sorry if you are one of those fans that thinks 10-2 is a special season, because IT IS NOT.)  There will be no Big Ten Title.  There will be no play-off game.  No National Championship.

At Penn State, we fans have been spoiled by our school’s historical success.  In any given year, there is only ONE team (in the past before the BCS and play-off committees, there could be multiple titles based on different polls) but even if you allow 2 teams per year to win, the odds of a school winning a title are pretty dismal.  If there are 120 Bowl Division teams, that chance is one in 120.

Yale has the most titles–18–but has not won a national trophy since 1927.

Alabama is second with 15.  Five have come within the last nine years.

Only 60 colleges can claim at least 1 national football title.  Only 43 have more than one.  In addition to Yale and Princeton, that list also includes these schools that either no longer play football, or won’t be considered for a title ever again:  Chicago, Centre, Washington & Jefferson, Detroit, Dartmouth, Lafayette, and Colgate.

Winning a championship is special.  My oldest child was born in 1994.  She has never seen Penn State play for a national championship.

And when a 10-2 season comes down to five points, that is really too close to just dismiss off-handedly.  (I am assuming we win the rest, but hey, don’t bet your money on my predictions.)

Dammit, we were so close.  And with Georgia, Washington and West Virginia losing, we really could have moved up in the world.

As it is, we are what we are.  And it’s not special.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Out of 15 drives by MSU, 7 drives were less than 5 plays.  For PSU, not counting the knee to end the first half and the 13 second “drive” to end the game, the Lions had 14 drives, with only FOUR going for more than 4 plays.

MSU had 25 first downs.  We had 14.  I just shake my head.

Which explains the lopsided time of possession, which the Spartans won by 34:12 compared with our 25:48.

The Box Score listed only 6 penalties for PSU for 41 yards,  It seemed like a lot more than that because some of them were key penalties that kept MSU drives alive without actually yielding much yardage.  MSU had 3 penalties for 20 yards, and two of those were false starts possibly related to the crowd noise.  None of the reviews went in our favor.

Michigan State out gained us 418 to 397 yards.  Just incredible.

INTANGIBLES:

There was not one single intangible that did not favor PSU.  Home game.  Homecoming crowd of 106,685.  Stripe out.  Saquon Barkley and Michael Mauti on the sidelines.  Revenge for last year’s late loss.  The drum Major stuck both flips.  Ranked freaking 8th in the nation with an outside shot at making the play-offs.

We should be glad the NCAA doesn’t penalize us for wasting our advantages.

And to the “next year is our year crowd” . . .  Bull.  Shit.  THIS WAS OUR YEAR!!!  Senior QB.  Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan State at home with Michigan being the only road game of any contention.  Next year’s home schedule is Idaho, Buffalo, Pitt, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana and Rutgers.  Woo freaking hoo.  If you are a season ticket holder that likes to sell their tickets, I wouldn’t bother buying next year.  There’s only one game there you’ll be able to sell for any real money.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

The F*CKEYES are still number one.  You don’t need to waste any more time worrying about it.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Indiana.

That’s all I got.

Fighting for a place in that Taxslayer Bowl.  Or maybe James Franklin will take us to the Franklin American Mortgages Music City Bowl.  Cocktails at Mike Reid’s house.

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Bye Week Blues and News

Although Penn State did not play this past weekend, the Lions surged into the Top 10, garnering the 8th spot on both polls.

What happened?

In the Red River Rivalry, Texas upset the 7th ranked Sooners on a late field goal, 48-45.  It was not an easy task as the Longhorns watched in horror as a 45-21 fourth quarter lead morphed into a 45-45 nightmare.  But unlike the Nittany Lions, the Texas offense was able to gain just enough yardage to make a game winning field goal possible.

And then there was #5 LSU.  The Tigers lost to the Gators, 27-19.  The upset caused LSU to tumble to 13th in the AP poll and 12th in the coaches.

And if that carnage were not enough, Auburn was defeated by Mississippi State 23-9.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

In conference play, Michigan (THEM) manhandled the Terrapins 42-21.  It is mind boggling that the only loss Texas has so far is Maryland.

Northwestern upset Michigan State 29-19.  More on this later.

Wisconsin handed Nebraska their fifth loss of the season, 41-24.  That’;s NINE losses in a row for the Huskers.

The Buckeyes rolled over Indiana 49-26.

Iowa beat Minnesota 48-31, highlighted by four interceptions and five sacks by the Hawkeye defense.

Illinois defeated Rutgers 38-17.  The Scarlet Knights are 1-5 with a sole win over  Texas State.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Last year, Penn State suffered a one point loss to Ohio State before losing to Michigan State, after the Spartans were upended by Northwestern the previous week.

photo posted on post-gazette.com

The Infamous Land Grant Trophy.  Shouldn’t the Loser have to keep this for a year?

This year, Penn State suffered a one point loss to Ohio State before playing Michigan State who was upset by Northwestern the week before.  The difference this year?  Well, hopefully we don’t lose to Sparty again.  But this year we had a bye week to regroup.

MSU has lost to Arizona State 16-13 and Northwestern 29-19.  They have wins over Utah State 38-31, Indiana 35-21, and Central Michigan 31-20.

The Spartans are currently unranked.

Game time is set for 3:30 on BTN.  This is homecoming for Penn State.  And a Stripe Out.  Check your ticket to see if you are BLUE or WHITE.

GO STATE!  BEAT SPARTANS!

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What the Buck was that?

Did that seriously just happen? Again?

27-26????  One point?

Like a bad remake of Groundhog Day, Penn State fans relive the same scenario over and over.  They watch their team dominate an opponent for three quarters, only to watch helplessly as the other team mounts a late comeback as James Franklin snatches defeat after defeat from the jaws of victory.

This was supposed to be Back to the Future.  Dr. Emmett White was supposed to go back to 2016 and bring back a Penn State victory over the Buckeyes.  But the DeLorean never made to the requisite 88 miles per hour, as the PSU offense sputtered to a mere 26 points.

EWhite

GREAT SCOTT McSORLEY!

There were at least four plays that conspired to hand Penn State it’s first home loss since 2015.

First, the fumble by Sanders late in the second quarter.  Penn State had smothered the Buckeye offense to this point, and was poised to take a 13 (or possibly a 16 or 20 point) lead into the locker room.  Instead, the Buckeyes took advantage of a short field and pulled within a score before the half.

Second, was the inability of the offense to convert prior to the punt which ended up at the Buckeye 2 yard line.  A first down and few more yards could have put PSU in a position for a field goal.  Penn State was 100% in the red zone this year, but just couldn’t get the ball there.

And while the punt to the two yard line (in the shadow of the student section) should have made a comeback more difficult, play #3 was the defensive let down that allowed the Buckeyes to move the ball to midfield on one play.

And then there was the fourth down play.  WTF???!!!  Two time-outs and that was the best we could come up with?  I’m sorry, James, but this is not about the semantics between a great program and an elite program.  This is about a coaching staff that took the ball away from their best player–a possible, but likely no longer Heisman candidate–and put it in the hands of a player that was having a bad night.

The much heralded return of Tommy Stevens and the Lion position, was well, disappointing.

You may have noticed that I have given no credit to the Buckeyes.  Had they dominated us and deserved to win, I would.  But that is not the game that transpired.  The Buckeyes were pwned for 3 quarters, we gifted them the first score with a fumble and we gave the game away in the fourth quarter by shooting ourselves in the foot numerous times and making poor coaching decisions.  Go on Bucks.  Add another Big Ten trophy to your case.  Get your asses handed to you by an SEC or ACC team.  It will be like Groundhog Day all over again.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Penn State out gained the Buckeyes 492-389 yards.  We also held a small edge in time of possession, 31:39.  Just.  Not.  Enough.

McSorley led the team with 175 rushing yards on 25 carries (7 yards per carry.)  Meanwhile, Sanders had 43 yards on 16 carries (2.7 yards per carry.)

Sooooo, when you need–HAVE TO HAVE–5 yards to keep your play-off and Big Ten Title dreams alive, you would go to . . .

Hello!  McSorley!

INTANGIBLES:

White Out.  110,889 fans (a new Beaver Stadium record.)  Drum Major stuck both flips.  Did not matter.  You still have to play FOUR quarters of football.  You still have to coach FOUR quarters.

EWhite2

McSorley keeps his streak of games with a TD pass intact.

College Game Day was in State College.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

At least we’re not Nebraska.  Still winless, the Huskers were shucked by Purdue, 42-28.

The wolverines had to come back from a 17 point deficit to beat Northwestern 20-17.

Indiana managed to beat Rutgers 24-17.

The Spartans defeated Central Michigan 31-20.

Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin all failed to schedule games this weekend.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Bye week.

EWhite3

 

 

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Monochromatic Mayhem

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Lions Beat the Nois

So what can you say about a 63-24 victory?

No pinch, no stink, no sweat?  Oh wait, that’s Duluth Underwear.

It is hard to believe, but early in the third quarter, the Illini were actually leading this game 24-21.

But in what has become a signature script for Penn State in the Franklin Era, Penn State played an uninspired first half complete with poor tackling, turn-overs and missed opportunities, then followed that dismal performance by a magical turn around in the second half thanks to defensive adjustments and multiple offensive weapons.  The Lions held the Illini to one touchdown on a trick play in the third quarter, and then powered up their high octane offense for 42 unanswered points, including 35 in the final quarter.

The only thing less inspiring than Penn State’s first half was the crowd at Memorial Stadium.  I suspect a fair number of their fans forgot the game was on Friday, and showed up Saturday wondering when the game was going to start.

A friend of mine went to the game and said he counted six—SIX—fans standing along the Illini Walk to support their team.

Is there any need to break this game down further?  While our special teams on kick-offs and punts (on both kicking and receiving sides) are perhaps the best we’ve seen at Penn State in ages, our field goal kicking leaves much to be desired.  Like, maybe actually making a field goal.  But . . .

Fortunately the red zone offense for Penn State is amazing.  Our red zone scoring percentage for 2018 is 100%.  Of course, so is Tulane’s.  They only had one opportunity against the Buckeyes but made the best of it.  They missed the PAT.  (In case you are wondering, Ohio State’s red zone–in Columbus they call it the Scarlet Zone–scoring percentage is 87.5%.)

Did I say the kicking team was doing well?  TWO out of bounds?  But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln liked the play and said she’d “definitely” see it again.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Trace McSorley extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 32.

Miles Sanders ran for 200 yards on 22 carries.

Penn State rushed for 387 yards as a team.

Time of Possession was almost equal:  PSU=29:55 to ILL=30:05.

INTANGIBLES:

I believe I wrote that this was Penn State’s first ever Friday night game.  The last time Penn State played on a Friday was 1982 versus Pitt.  Used to be a Black Friday staple back in the day.  But I don’t think those games were played at night.

Sean Clifford is 5-5 on the season.

The series record is in PSU’s favor, 19-5.

Penn State is ranked 9th on both polls.  We are ranked third by Sagarin.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

The Buckeyes trounced Tulane 49-6. Urban Liar made his triumphant return.

THEM outmatched Nebraska 56-10.

Wisconsin edged Iowa 28-17, but the final score was late and the Badgers were trying to run out the clock and ended up running into the end zone.

The Boilermakers upset the BC Eagles 30-13.  BC had just broke the Top 25.  Well, so much for that.

The Spartans defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 35-21.

Maryland took care of business, defeating Minnesota 42-13.

And Rutgers continues their impressive losing season with a crushing loss to Buffalo 42-13.

MEANWHILE . . . IN . . .

Norman, Oklahoma, the fifth ranked Sooners survived a scare from the Black Knights of Army, winning 28-21 in OT.

Blacksburg, Old Dominion upset the Hokies 49-35. The Hokies were ranked 13th.  Unlucky, huh?

Boone, NC, Appalachian State took Gardner-Webb out to the woodshed.  72-7!

Kentucky, the Wildcats knocked off Joe Moorhead’s Mississippi State Bulldogs 28-7.  Wow!  I wonder if that might be the fewest points one of his offenses have ever scored.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Can you smell what The Lions got cooking?

Apparently, the Buckeye Fans were chanting “We Want Penn State” to Kernkraft 400 during their game against Tulane.

I was not expecting a rival today, yet here we are.

The Buckeyes are 4-0 and their head coach is back.  Bosa is out.

The season so far for Ohio State:  Oregon State 77-31, Rutgers 52-3, TCU 40-28 and Tulane 49-6.

It’s early in the season, but Ohio State’s opponents are a combined 5-11.  Our opponent’s are a combined 7-8.

Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I am going to predict a Penn State win by at least two scores.  Why?  Because I’m an idiot is the easy answer.  But if you want some method behind this madness . . .

Night game.  White out.  We beat them in 2016 when they arguably had the better team.  We should have beaten them last year–when they still arguably had the better team.  I am not sold on Dwayne Haskins–I don’t think he is as good as JT Barrett was at this point.  TCU took advantage of an up-tempo offense that seemed to throw Ohio State off.  If we can replicate that tempo . . . with better offensive weapons than TCU has . . . well, you do the math.  Carry the one.  Divide by pi.  Whatever.

Now, that said, if we start out slow like the Appalachian State or Illinois game . . . or don’t play four quarters (we only played three last year against the Bucks) and we turn over the ball more than they do, then all bets are off.

I just have this feeling we have been holding back.  We haven’t seen much blitzing on defense.  We have given up some yardage, but we always seem to lock things down when we need to (fourth quarter vs. App State the exception, but I really think we underestimated them greatly.)  We will not underestimate OSU.

GO STATE!  BEAT BUCKEYES!

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Memorial Stadium–RIP

The Chicago Tribune ranked the Big Ten Venues for their football experience.  Is it any surprise that Penn State is #1?

1. Penn State

More than 100,000 fans descend into a cozy Pennsylvania town every home football weekend and transform it into one of the grandest parties in college sports. Lots open on Thursday night as a pop-up town of white tents and RVs clusters around Beaver Stadium. Students set up camp for first-come, first-served seating in their section, helping build anticipation before game day. Stroll through the tailgating area before kickoff and you’ll likely be invited to share a beer or brat under someone’s tent. It’s hard to beat the raucous atmosphere of a whiteout during a night game in State College with fans chanting: “We are. Penn State.” The downside? Traffic is miserable with a two-lane road in and out of town.

And our current opponent today?

#12.  Hey, at least they beat out Rutgers and Maryland!

12. Illinois

Give Illinois credit for working to enhance its game-day experience in recent years. The self-dubbed “Littyville” includes a new Grange Grove, an “Illini walk” of fans cheering the players as they march into the stadium and a pregame fan fest with local bands and bouncy houses for kids. That’s the good. The bad: Memorial Stadium is one of the deadest venues in the Big Ten. The student section is rarely full, with many opting for the bars — or maybe even the library — instead of the stadium.

That is not what you want your review to ever say . . . THE LIONS DEN is one of the DEADEST VENUES . . .

GO STATE!  BEAT ILLINI!

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