Tag Archives: Buckeyes


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.


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!

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Well That Suck-eyed

Once again, the game is a distant memory and another game is coming up, and I still have not reported in.  Shame on me!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

A small part of me feared that Ohio State really was a top ranked team and would dispatch us like an annoying insect, easily covering the almost 20 point spread and then some.  They did not blow us out of the water.  That’s good.  I’m particularly proud that we hung in there and fought to the bitter end and were actually within 4 points of the upset of the year going into the fourth quarter.  WITH OUR BACK-UP QUARTERBACK!

But . . . there was also a part of me that thought perhaps the Buckeye$ were a bit over-rated, hadn’t played anyone as good as us, and we were going to manage to pull out a win somehow.  We did not.  That’s bad.  Too bad.

The Ugly?  Despite still being ranked 10th in the College Football Playoff rankings, there is almost no mathematical probability of the Lions actually getting to play in that play-off.  Is next year our year?  I always hate that kind of logic/hope.  I’d rather play now.  Too much can happen between now and then.  We had a chance THIS year, but couldn’t make the plays when we needed to make them.  Well, there’s always next year!

Could we hold our own against Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, or Oklahoma????  We didn’t do a bad job against the Buckeye$.  Consider this:  Ohio $tate was defeating teams by an average margin of victory of 41.7 points!  They beat us by 11.  In all their previous games, the closest margin of victory was against MSU–24 points.  We are the closest that Ohio $tate has come to losing all season.  WITH OUR BACK-UP QUARTERBACK!

And let’s face it.  They are as advertised.  Scary good at just about every position.   (The best team money can buy LOL! )


Make no mistake of it.  There are precious few stats that favored the Nittany Lions.  One in particular, though, kind of surprised me.  Although he had 25 more carries than Journey Brown, J.K. Dobbins only averaged 4.4 yards per carry, while Brown averaged 5.8.  Maybe we should have tried to run more?


Is there a luckier man on this planet than Ryan Day?  Urban Meyer retires amidst turmoil and this guy picks up a team that is almost incapable of losing.  I will be surprised if he doesn’t go undefeated in his first season as head coach.  Hell, I could probably be undefeated right now if I were the head coach of that team!


Yea.  Whatever.  We’re not in it.  Ohio State will probably win it.  Move along.


So we have a season where we are now waiting to see how good a bowl game we can get, but there is still one game left to play.


I’m sorry, but this isn’t worth my time.  Rutgers sucks.  Birthplace of BAD football.



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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.



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.


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!


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.


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

College Game Day was in State College.


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.


Bye week.




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What in the Hell, MI happened?

Four weeks ago, the Penn State Nittany Lions were on the top of the world.  Well, almost the top.  Number 2 to be exact.  They had just defeated arch-enemy Michigan at home, in primetime, under the lights in their trademark White Out.


And then the cracks started to appear.  A road trip to Columbus was low lighted by a fourth quarter comeback by the Bucks where Penn State snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Some people blamed it on sphincter ball.  Others criticized Joe Moorhead, who perhaps shoulder some of the blame, but quite frankly probably did not garner enough of the fame when Penn State was winning.


And while the Lions dropped to 7th in the polls, a shot at the national championship was still tantalizingly within reach.

But first, they had to get past a pesky Spartan team, themselves coming off a heart-breaking loss to Northwestern, and an earlier loss to Notre Dame, a team which seemed destined for the final four.

The weather was less than ideal.  The game was postponed.  And while the Lions sat in a locker room somewhere in East Lansing, the Buckeyes were getting pummeled by Iowa in Kinnick Stadium.

The Lions not only had an outside shot at the national championship picture, but a Buckeye loss might put them right back in the Big Ten Title race.

Apparently, we were tired of racing.

In the late hours of a long, weather delayed game–I was tired waiting–Penn State failed to convert a fourth and short–I liked the call, but not the execution.  With the game still tied, the Spartans marched toward field goal range.  And just when it looked like we stopped them short and could head to over-time, we made the critical mistake.  Roughed the passer.  Fifteen yards pushed them inside the makeable range for their kicker who split the uprights as time expired.

Game.  Set. Match.


This doesn’t mean Penn State can’t end with a 10-2 season and a decent bowl.  Given the events of the past five years, it is still amazing that we were even within sniffing distance of a Big Ten Title last year, or a chance at a National Crown this year.

So why were so many Penn State fans standing on the ledge?  Why are we so upset this season has taken such a turn for the worse?  How can we not be content to be ranked at all, and heading for a bowl game, when but a few years ago we weren’t even allowed to have such aspirations?

I think there are several reasons.

One, we really lost those games.  Teams win or lose.  Sometimes you get beaten.  Sometimes you play well and get upset.  Sometimes you make more mistakes than the other guy.  While the Buckeyes were picked by the odds makers to win (they didn’t cover by the way) Penn State was in command of that game until the final six minutes, and led up until the final 1:42.  I don’t want to take anything away from the other team’s effort, but Penn State really controlled that game for 3 and a half quarters.  It’s a tough way to lose a game.  Had we fallen behind by 14 in the first quarter and never caught up, so be it.  But to blow a lead like that was just devastating.  It’s not that we lost as much as how we lost.

With Michigan State, who knows what went wrong.  They too are a good team.  We did not play our best.  The weather was less than favorable, but both teams endured the same conditions.  We did not dominate the game.  And we did not make the plays when we needed to make them.  We made the mistake (roughing the passer.)  We might not have prevailed in OT.  Who knows?

Then, on top of losing games we really had legitimate chances to win, we essentially took ourselves out of an undefeated season and a chance to play in the playoff and the Big Ten title is off the table unless Ohio State loses TWICE to Michigan this weekend.

We were in the driver’s seat and we lost control.  Crashed and burned.

Maybe Penn State fans are spoiled.  We have had a lot of success when it comes to undefeated seasons.

According to Wikipedia, Penn State is 8th on the list of schools with undefeated seasons.  That list includes games from the 1800’s, so teams like Yale and Princeton lead the list, followed by Michigan, Notre Dame and  USC.  Harvard is on there, and Oklahoma edged us out.

If you further distill this data to the Joe Paterno era and beyond (1966-present), there have been 56 undefeated teams over basically 50 years.  You won’t see Harvard or Yale on that list, but Boise State and Utah have 2 unblemished records, Toledo has 3, Alabama has 4, but PSU leads the nation with FIVE.  Consider also that Penn State was a yard away from possibly a sixth in the 1979 Sugar Bowl, and a couple seconds in Ann Arbor away from an undefeated season in 2005.

Perhaps we expect to go undefeated, when the odds are really against teams running the table.  Statistically, about one team a year (there are currently 130 schools in the College Football Bowl Subdivision) goes undefeated.  Even if you assume two teams can go undefeated in a season, that is only a 1.5% chance of any given school being unbeaten.

Or maybe, since we have been there before, we do appreciate how precious and rare an undefeated season is, particularly in the era of football that allows forward passes!  Pitt has 8 undefeated seasons overall, but only 1 in the last 50 years.  Of Michigan’s 23 undefeated records, only ONE occurred in the last 50 years (1997.)  For the Irish, 22 overall undefeated seasons with only two in the modern era (1973-Ara Parseghian, and 1988-Lou Holtz!)  Joe Paterno alone has more undefeated seasons (5) than all but 37 schools in their entire history, which includes teams no longer in the Bowl Subdivision.

Regardless of the setbacks and disappointment, this program has come a long way, baby.  With only Maryland on the horizon, a 10-2 season is reasonably expected but not guaranteed.  With the 56-44 victory over the Cornhuskers, Penn State is now undefeated at home for two straight years . . . the last loss in Beaver Stadium was on November 21, 2015 (lost 28-16 to #12 Michigan.)  PSU is 20-1 at Home over the last 21 games!

Penn State is currently 10th in the College Football Playoff Rankings. (12th in the AP.)  Unfortunately, I don’t see any possible way for us to move up 6 spots.  Of course, If Michigan beats Ohio State, who then beats Wisconsin badly to drop them below us–Auburn could lose to Bama.  Clemson and Miami will face-off in the ACC Championship. I believe Oklahoma has a championship game as well . . . . Stranger things have happened.


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Lions Come Up Short

There is no pithy title.

There is no joy in Mudville.  Or State College.  Or here.

The Lions came out of the gate as expected.  Opening kick-off returned for a touchdown.  Another score.  14-3 at the end of one.  28-17 at the half.  We took a FIFTEEN POINT lead into the fourth quarter dammit.

How did this happen?

Did we not learn anything from the Rose Bowl loss?

I am disappointed beyond words.  I know that Ohio State was favored.  I know that FN Urban Meyer is 21-1 coming off a bye week.  Ohio State is a good team.

None of that mattered until we gave up 19 points in the final quarter.


We are still farther along as a program than we should be after the last five years.  Doesn’t matter when you lose like that.

We finally scored more than 14 points in Columbus (that was our previous highest point total since joining the Big Ten in the Shoe.)  Doesn’t matter when you lose like that.

They made adjustments.  They made plays.  They won.

The question is, why didn’t we?


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Anticipation . . .

Remember this commercial (OK, I’m dating myself a bit here):

I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to a Penn State football game like I am looking forward to this weekend.

Maybe 2005?  Or 2010 when Joe Paterno won victory #400 over Northwestern?

Since the sanctions in 2011, however, PSU football changed.  No matter how well they performed on the field, there was no ranking.  No polls.  Who cares who won the Ohio State-Michigan game?  Or if Washington wins?  I didn’t even pay much attention to the polls the past five years–until a few weeks ago.

Bill bless-his-heart O’Brien made watching the games fun.  He might go for it on fourth down on his own twenty yard line.  You might be elated by a 4 OT win over the wolverines.  But you might witness Penn State’s first and only loss to Indiana in football.

I was getting tired of the old argument . . . the sanctions.  No depth.  Not enough talent.  Will take time to get back on top.  Anticipation . . .

Yet, here we are.  Tied at the top in our division.  Almost to the Big Ten Championship game.  Perhaps even a few lucky breaks away from a bigger prize . . . .

Spartans.  Spartans.  Spartans.  Focus, Todd.

Must.  Beat. Michigan State.

One game at a time.

The team that really has the conundrum is Michigan State.  I may be going out on a limb here, but even despite the ugly Land Grant Trophy that is up for grabs, a win over Penn State this weekend would be bittersweet.  The Spartans aren’t going anywhere in the post season regardless.  And a Spartan victory would send Michigan or Ohio State to the title game, and possibly a national championship.  I may be wrong here, but I doubt Michigan State fans loathe Penn State as much as they loathe their in-state rival, or the long history with Ohio State.  If I were a die-hard MSU fan, I might actually root for Penn State this weekend.

Of course, a Michigan win over the Buckeyes will put a considerable damper on things, but all will not be lost.  I almost feel kind of dirty rooting for the Buckeyes.  But these are strange times we live in.  I’m no fan of the wolverines either, and I can enjoy a victory over Harbaugh as much as one over Urban Meyer.  In this case, I could really enjoy it.  A happy Meyer begets a happy Lion.

So . . . .



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Buckeyes Go Down Again!

How sweet it is!

Urbie’s win streak at THE ohio state went down to MSU and tonight, his undefeated record in BCS games went down as well.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy and fan base!

Of course, Urban showed remarkable restraint in not punching out any Clemson players.

Clemson wins the Orange Bowl 40-35 with #5 throwing a pick to seal the deal.  Fine job!  well played, sir!


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URBAN MEYER GOES DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Weekly Game Guide: The Bucks Stop Here Edition

Another week of college football is upon us, as Mississippi State leads Kentucky 21-10 at the half.

Cow bells ring . . . can you hear them?  During the game . . . can you stand them?

They’re clanking in cheer, now I’m deaf in one ear

Cheering in a Southern Football Land.

Sure–Penn State has it’s own Cowbell Man.  But that’s one cowbell . . . in 108,000 fans.  Not a whole gaggle of clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk!  But I digress.

Penn State travels to Columbus, OH to take on the Nuts of Columbus in a late brawl on Saturday evening.  Penn State is hoping to build on it’s emotional, if not pretty, win over the wolverines in their last outing, while the Bucknuts need a marquee win to improve their BCS ranking, which is currently fourth, behind Alabama, Florida State and Oregon.

Let’s face it . . . . the Big Ten is not impressive this year.  Both Iowa and Northwestern are at 4-3 and NW has not won a Big Ten game yet.  Wisconsin is 5-2, and that was a respectable win.  Buffalo is also 5-2, but this was the University they beat, not the Bills.  They beat Cal, who is now 1-6, with a lone victory over Portland State.  Did you know Cal was that bad?  The bucks defeated Florida A & M by a score of 76-0, but FAM is 2-5 and Ohio State is the only FCS team they have faced so far (they beat Mississippi Valley State and Savannah State.)

Maybe a 4-2 Penn State team that somehow lost to Indiana for the first time ever won’t improve their rankings, but struggling to beat a Penn State team that lost to Indiana will likely hurt them.  And if they lose, well then you can probably kiss a date with the national championship game good bye.

And it would be Urban Myers’ first loss as THE head coach at THE Ohio State College.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I want to blog about Urban’s first loss this Sunday.  I’d give up a Klondike Bar to see that happen!  Aside from winning the lottery, I can’t think of anything I want more right now than a win over the Buckeyes this Saturday.

But enough about me.

In the Big Ten Conference this weekend:

The Hawkeyes are favored by 4 over the Wildcats.  GO HAWKS!

Michigan State is an 11.5 point favorite over the Illini.  I still can’t bring myself to root for Illinois after their little recruiting expedition to Penn State in our darkest hours.  GO SPARTY!

Minnesota hosts the Cornhuskers, who are favored by 10.5 points.  This is a hard game to pick.  We have to play both teams, so from a strength of schedule point of view, it’s a wash.  Nebraska is ranked, which makes a win by us look better, so we’ll have to pick the Huskers here.  GO BIG RED!

THEM, Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue are all off this week.

Future Big Member Rutgers is favored by 8 over Houston.  GO KNIGHTS!

Future Big Member Maryland will try to upset the reeling Clemson Tigers, thought Clemson is favored by 13.  The game is at Maryland.

And in games of interest outside the Big Ten:

Notre Dame (favored by 19.5) plays Air Force.  GO FALCONS!

Alabama is favored by 28 over Tennessee.  Interesting.  ROLL TIDE ROLL.

Oregon is favored by 21 over UCLA.  GO DUCKS!

Florida State is a 29.5 point favorite over NC State.  GO NOLES!

UCF is a 22.5 point favorite over UConn.  GO KNIGHTS!

Until Ohio State loses, I have to keep rooting for Alabama, Oregon and F$U.

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