Coming up with a pithy title for each game is sometimes the hardest part of blogging. The rest just kind of flows, like the Force within Luke. This is what you got. Check my flow, uh.
And while it was certainly not the BUST we expected, it was still a loss, leaving us bloggers to sort through the broken pieces and ashes of what had been a promising season just a month ago, trying to find answers and portents of the future.
This was not the same team that folded against Illinois in NINE over times.
But in many ways, it was the same old, same old. Same shit, different sideline.
We cannot run the ball. We knew that was a problem. Has been a problem. Aside from the occasional Saquon blip, it is becoming a standard of Franklin coached Penn State teams. The lack of a ground game is glaring when the QB is not able to run.
Is it the offensive line? The running backs?
Who is going to put the R back into the RPO?
This team demonstrated a lot of heart and moxie on Saturday night albeit in a losing effort. A 33-24 loss is actually pretty respectable giving the starting point of being 23 and a half point underdogs to THE mighty suckeyes. And if not for a few bad breaks–a fumble scoop and score by THE Ohio D, and a general plethora of turn overs that were uncharacteristic of this team coming into this game, the result might have been even closer. Many fans were expecting a repeat of 2013 when THE team from Columbus smashed us 63-14 amid a flurry of Bill O’Brien ill-fated fourth down attempts. James Franklin was not to be out done in that regard. Maybe it’s a Pennsylvania thing–had to watch the Steeler’s play an entire half of football without a placekicker due to a head scratching fake field goal call that not only blew up and scored no points, but saw Boswell sidelined with a concussion. But I digress.
Aside from the loss, it was actually a fun game to watch, and the outcome was still in doubt up until late in the fourth quarter. Kudos to the men in white. The good guys.
It was a good loss as opposed to a bad one. In the end, though, STILL a loss.
Is there hope for the rest of the season? Depends on what you are hoping for. I think we can hope for a bowl game in some obscure location that is not conducive to a “vacation.”
We might match up well with Michigan. We do have the home field advantage in that one, and let’s face it. If there’s a coach out there that can go toe to toe with James Franklin in mismanaging game day calls, I think that would have to be Hairball, um Harbaugh.
I’m pretty sure we’re not going to win a game if we have to run the ball. I’m pretty sure we can’t rely on a long field goal to save any day. And our defense should keep us in all the remaining games. You know, despite giving up a ton of yardage on the ground to the Illini, we still only gave up 10 points in regulation. And the Suckeyes were averaging almost 50 points per game before we stifled them–and 7 of those points were scored by their D!
What exactly was that thing hanging on the back of his jersey? Is it a vanity license plate? A WWE belt buckle? Wide Load? Is that even legal to have that on the uniform?
Championship caliber defense with an intramural offense. No offense, offense. It can’t all be your fault. Seriously, how many offensive coordinators have we had under Franklin? With the exception of the 1994 team, Paterno coached teams were NEVER known for explosive offenses. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Hey diddle diddle. Run it up the middle. When was the last time we had a great offensive line? Hell, when was the last time we had a good offensive line?
We have talent. Have had talent. We just can’t seem to get said talent to reliably produce results on the gridiron on the offensive side of the field.
I thought early in the season that we turned a corner. I liked how things were progressing. The injury to Clifford obviously set us back. Decades. We might be bordering on dark ages. And it is just simply unfathomable that we don’t have any depth at the QB position, arguably the most important position on the team–both sides. But then you can ask how is that a pro team has no one else on the roster that can kick a football? So much head shaking, so little time.
Final conclusion: well played game with a few key mistakes on our part. But we played hard. Played tough. It just wasn’t meant to be.
VARIOUS OTHER THOUGHTS:
We managed to cling to a Top 25 ranking, coming in at 22 with three straight losses.
Villanova is still ranked 13th in the FCS Coaches Poll. Does anyone have a tougher schedule this year than Penn State?
Ohio State extended their win streak to 5 over us, leading the all-time series 22-14 (or 23-14 if you throw in the vacated game of 2010.) We have not won in COLUMBUS since Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. No wait. Not so fast. NOT SO FAST! We won there in 2011. It just seems like we never win there. We will not beat them here or there. We will not beat them anywhere. We cannot beat them in a box. We cannot beat them with a Fox! The Scarlet and Gray have won 9 of the last ten, with the only loss in 2016 on the Kick Six. Tyler Durbin was super reliable inside of 40 yards. But that was not his night. And it is Franklin’s only win over the Columbus Scarlet Jackets.
The Lions travel to Maryland to take on the mighty Terrapins. 3:30 game start on FS1.
The season started out promising for the Terrapins after a big win over West Virginia in the opener. Undefeated until the played Iowa. Then three straight conference losses including one to Ohio State. I’m having de ja vu all over again! And PTSD!
These two teams have had eerily similar seasons. Penn State is picked to win by 10.5. In common opponents, they beat Illinois, but loss by more to THE Ohio team and Iowa.
It all depends which Penn State team shows up–the Illinois PSU or the Ohio State PSU. The latter will win this rather easily. The former–all bets are off! The win would make us bowl eligible, for whatever that’s worth–but the same can be said for the Terps!