Tag:Penn State
Posted on: October 2, 2010 10:35 pm

Penn State menacing, but Iowa still leads by 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The defenses have stiffened up in Iowa City, and Iowa's 17-3 lead has stood for the last 15 minutes of play. Penn State had the only appreciable offense of the quarter, driving to Iowa's one-yard line before Rob Bolden was stuffed at the goal line on a scramble by DT Christian Ballard .

Meanwhile, Penn State's rushing defense has absolutely swallowed up Iowa tailback Adam Robinson , who managed just 11 yards in the third quarter. With Penn State winning the field position battle, we could be in for an exciting fourth quarter.

Posted on: October 2, 2010 9:38 pm

Iowa takes 14-point lead into halftime, 17-3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa Hawkeyes may be leading 17-3, but the Penn State offense is finally showing signs of life. Freshman quarterback Rob Bolden found a wide open Brett Brackett down the sideline on Penn State's last drive, and Brackett made it down to the 3-yard line with six seconds left in the half. Penn State would get a field goal out of the situation.

Yet on the whole, this has been Iowa's game first and foremost. The line play has been primarily one-sided, with Rob Bolden consistently facing a rusher as he throws; Ricky Stanzi , on the other hand, is relatively unmolested, and the effects on their production are clear: Bolden is 7-17 for 123 yards, and Stanzi is 12-15 for 143, a score, and the armpunt pick mentioned earlier.

At the very least, though, this doesn't look like a potential blowout or anything. Penn State managed six first downs in the second quarter after not registering a single one in the first quarter, and for having constant pressure, Bolden has made some good-looking throws. He may be 7-17 on the day, but he's certainly not "the problem" for the Nittany Lions.

Posted on: October 2, 2010 8:46 pm

Iowa flexing muscles early, leads 10-0

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big Ten's marquee matchup of the evening is looking a little one-sided so far. The Iowa Hawkeyes have opened up a 10-0 lead here late in the first half, and there's really not much indication that Penn State can keep this game competitive yet.

Penn State's offense is at a virtual standstill, having failed to achieve a first down in the entire first quarter; they went three-and-out on their first two drives, and their third drive was at a 3rd and 15 on their own 21 at the end of the quarter, as PSU QB Rob Bolden had just been sacked by Iowa DT Christian Ballard . (UPDATE: Three-and-out again.)

On the other side of the ball, Iowa had two impressive, methodical scoring drives, and they've absolutely dominated the yardage battle. Iowa has 148 yards from scrimmage; Penn State has 1.

If there's any glimmer of hope for Penn State fans, it's that their Nittany Lions did force a turnover; Ricky Stanzi overthrew Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on Iowa's second drive, and Nick Sukay made an easy interception. But the throw was something of an arm punt, and Penn State couldn't take advantage from their own 12.

Something's got to change for the Nittany Lions soon, because after 15 minutes, they're totally overmatched.

Posted on: October 2, 2010 8:09 pm

Iowa, Penn State about to kick off

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Hello, friends, from the press box of Kinnick Stadium, where Penn State visits Iowa on a chilly autumn night. This is the last time I will mention the press box, because nobody cares about the press box. At all.

Iowa has won the toss, and will receive. I picked a 20-9 victory for Iowa, and let's all see exactly how wrong that prediction is.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Iowa, Penn State
Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:49 pm

The Saturday Meal Plan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Saturday in the bathroom.


Main Course - Clemson vs. #16 Miami - Noon - ESPN2

Okay, so once again breakfast has a lot of weak sauce in it this week, but we promise you that lunch and dinner are going to be a lot better.  Just remember what your mom used to tell you: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  So eat this up because you're going to need it to help prepare you for the rest of the day.

Just beware that while the Miami looks good using too much Jacory Harris in it can cause indigestion.

Side Orders: This morning we offer some sides that should fill you up, but will probably leave you hating yourself for eating it later.  There's Ohio State steamrolling Illinois, and our "Ninth Place in the SEC" special, Mississippi and Kentucky.   If you already hate yourself, try some of the Minnesota and Northwestern.


Main Course - #8 Oklahoma vs. #21 Texas - 3:30pm - ABC

Now that you've choked down your breakfast we can reward you with the real food for the day.  We're offering our Red River Rivalry this afternoon which is chock full of red meat deliciousness.   Just remember that the Longhorn can be somewhat tough and inconsistent. 

Texas has a lot on their plate this week, as they are coming off a rather embarrassing loss at home to UCLA last week, and a similar performance against Oklahoma this weekend could destroy the rest of their season. 

Side Orders: If you're not sure you can handle all the beef in our main course we do offer plenty of other options this afternoon.  There's Michigan State hosting Wisconsin in a game that will give us a better idea of what either team is really about this season.  There's also North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, or if offenses that set the game of football back 80 years are more your style, there's always LSU and Tennessee.   My advice is to just watch Patrick Peterson in that game.


Main Course - #1 Alabama vs. #7 Florida - 8pm - CBS

We didn't lead you astray with our Alabama and Arkansas last week, and we promise you that this week's Florabama won't disappoint either.  Alabama has already faced it's first real test of the season, but this week they are the test.  Florida is 4-0 but didn't wow any of the critics until last week's Trey Burton-centric dismantling of Kentucky.

If the Gators can manage to get past the Tide they'll officially be back in the national championship picture.

Side Orders: It's not a bad night when your second choice features another two top ten teams.  If fowl is more your taste, then try the Oregon and Stanford.   The Pac-10 doesn't have a championship game, yet, but this game basically is just that.  Two high-scoring offenses finally get to test two defenses that have proven sturdy thus far.  If you prefer something a bit more old-fashioned we're also offering Iowa and Penn State.

Late Night Snacks

Nevada and Colin Kaepernick are two things you'll probably be hearing about quite a bit in the coming weeks, as they're essentially the last thing standing between Boise State and an undefeated season.  So why not check them out when they travel to Vegas to take on UNLV?
Posted on: September 27, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 11:53 pm

For the Big Ten, the fight begins this weekend

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Big Ten Conference play begins this weekend*, and the race for the conference title is either already over (Ohio State) or wide open (the six other teams seemingly capable of winning the conference). We'll quickly find out whether many of the presumptive challengers to the Buckeyes' supremacy have what it takes to put together a great season. Considering the questions surrounding so many of them, the answer seems to be "maybe, but it's unlikely." In no particular order ...

Michigan (4-0): On one hand, Denard Robinson is a near-lock for Heisman candidacy this December; his stat lines are other-worldly, and there are few defenses in the conference that seem capable of containing this Michigan offense. But that defense. Ye gods, the defense. Michigan allowed 37 points to FCS stalwart UMass, and has given up more points thus far than every Big Ten team except Minnesota. Can Robinson and his teammates outscore enough conference opponents to justify the team's No. 19 ranking? They'll find out soon enough against Indiana this weekend; the Hoosiers have scored more than 40 points a game this season and have talent everywhere on offense.

Iowa (3-1): The good news: the Iowa Hawkeyes look materially better than last season, as wins that were close last year are blowouts now. Ricky Stanzi is far more efficient as a passer, and the only interception he's thrown all season came on a deflection. The bad news: the Hawkeyes have three kickers, which is to say they have none, and their cornerbacks are still rather suspect. And good heavens, that Arizona game. Iowa committed mistake after mistake in the first half, found themselves down 20 points at the break, then imploded on the offensive line with the game on the line. So what's there to make of the Arizona game? Was it an aberration, or is Iowa merely a bully of plainly inferior competition? Penn State comes to town this weekend, and intends to find out exactly how good the Hawkeyes actually are.

Wisconsin (4-0): No undefeated Big Ten team is more of an enigma than Wisconsin, who looks like it should be a Rose Bowl contender on paper -- and may very well be so -- but has underwhelmed against FBS competition. The Badgers needed a blocked extra point and a miraculous tackle at the 1-yard line at the end of the first half to help preserve a 20-19 win against Arizona State, and only beat an unimpressive San Jose State team 27-14. Yes, they won 70-3 over Austin Peay. Whatever. Wisconsin has the hogs up front and the stable of running backs (led by All-American candidate John Clay) to run over just about anybody in the conference, and Scott Tolzein is having another impressive and efficient season. Their defense isn't a weakness, and they get Ohio State (whom they've usually given fits) in Madison. But lo and behold, they face Michigan State in East Lansing this week, and it's basically a toss-up. Which Wisconsin will show up this Saturday -- and this season? 

Penn State (3-1): Joe Paterno made waves when he installed true freshman Rob Bolden at quarterback to begin the season, and for the most part, the decision has worked out; Bolden hasn't looked great, but he's playing with a maturity beyond his years, and he's certainly not a weak link in the offense. That weak link, however, would be the offensive line; Penn State hasn't blown anyone off the ball with any regularity yet this season, and that includes the likes of Youngstown State and Temple. That Penn State is still ranked after its somewhat underwhelming non-conference schedule demonstrates the deep level of trust voters have in JoePa to field a competitive team, and that's a trust that's rarely betrayed. Still, the Nittany Lions had better start playing like a quality team very soon, or they could find themselves in line for something like the Texas Bowl.

Northwestern (4-0): The Cardiac 'Cats have the inside track to a 6-0 record right now; they're two-thirds of the way there at 4-0, and their next two opponents are absolute doormats Minnesota and Purdue. Quarterback Dan Persa is one of the highest rated passers in the NCAA, and he's also Northwestern's leading rusher. That's sort of a bad thing. In fact, Persa and his stable of running backs all average less than 4 yards per carry, and they haven't even faced great rush defenses: of their three FBS opponents, only Central Michigan is in the top half of the nation's rush defenses. Let's face it: if you can't run on Vanderbilt (143 yards on 46 carries most certainly does not qualify), you can't run on most of the Big Ten. Can Persa keep up his efficient passing in the conference season, or is that 6-0 start going to turn into 8-4 and a mediocre December bowl bid?

Michigan State (4-0): Here's what's scary: The relatively underhyped, unheralded Michigan State squad could end up being better than all the teams mentioned above. Kirk Cousins is 17th in passing efficiency in the FBS. True freshman Le'Veon Bell is a dynamo in the Spartans' backfield (and pancaked two defenders at once on MSU's game-winning fake field goal). Also, unlike Michigan, MSU doesn't have a giant honking RED ALERT attached to its defense. Oh, and the Spartans miss Ohio State on this year's schedule. Ten wins or more for Sparty? It's happened all of once (1999) since the NCAA went to 11-game regular seasons, but it could easily happen this year. Or MSU could revert to its usual self and drop four or five games in the conference. We'll start finding out when the Spartans and Badgers lock horns -- if, y'know, ancient Greek warriors and badgers had horns -- this Saturday.

So who's legit and who's not? To be honest, right now, nobody really knows. That's why this weekend's going to be vitally important for all the teams mentioned above. No more excuses, no hiding behind cupcake schedules; it's Big Ten season now.

*It's worth pointing out that the Big Ten is still something of a dinosaur in this respect; it's the only conference with an eight-game schedule that has yet to begin conference play. Sure, thanks to bye weeks, Indiana and Illinois each still have a non-con to squeeze in during the conference slate, but that's it; for the rest, it's the tried and true formula of out-of-conference, in-conference, bowl. A bit stale, to be sure, but it's somewhat nice to not have your conference title hopes completely ruined before it's even October; Georgia, after all, has already gone 0-3 in the SEC. Hopeless in September. That's no way for a fan to be, is it?

Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 12:53 pm

Penn State's offensive line takes a hit

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following it's narrow escape against Temple at home on Saturday, I wrote about the struggles that Penn State has been having on offense all season.  It's no one area of the offense's fault, though it would be a lot easier for the Nittany Lions to put some touchdowns on the board if the offensive line could begin opening holes for Evan Royster on a regular basis.

Something the line started to do against Temple, as Royster finished the game with 110 yards -- his first 100 yard rushing day of the season.

Well, just as the line started to find some rhythmn, it's taken a hit.  Reports out of State College say that Penn State is going to be without starting right tackle Lou Eliades for the rest of the season.

Coach Joe Paterno said Eliades suffered a torn right ACL in the third quarter of Penn State's 22-13 victory against Temple on Saturday. Junior Chima Okoli replaced Eliades, but Paterno wouldn't name a starter for next week's Big Ten opener at Iowa. Also, coaches used Mike Farrell as an occasional replacement for Quinn Barham at left tackle. Penn State came into the season with no offensive lineman in the same position he played last year.

Whoever replaces Eliades, they won't have an easy assignment on Saturday.  "Hey, welcome to the starting lineup kid, now go out there and block Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns and any other monsters Iowa throws out there on its defensive line. "

Having some concern on an offensive line that just started playing well together is always going to be a problem, but when the timing coincides with the start of conference play for Penn State, it's magnified a bit.  Especially when the game is being played at Kinnick Stadium, a place that has already been hard enough for Penn State to pick up a win.

Posted on: September 25, 2010 7:02 pm

Penn State offense continues to struggle in win

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Penn State may have come away with a 22-13 victory over Temple on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, but the offensive struggles that have plagued the offense all season were still in full force.  The Nittany Lions needed five field goals from Colin Wagner to take the lead 15-13 in the third quarter before finally breaking the plain of the end zone in the fourth quarter to ice it.

On the day the Lions started five offensive possessions inside Temple territory.  Those five drives resulted in two field goals, a missed field goal and two turnovers on downs.

The inability of the Penn State offense to put the ball in the end zone is nothing new this season.  Of the team's 93 points through four games, 30 have come on 10 field goals from Wagner.  Penn State has managed only eight offensive touchdowns this season and four of them came in the season opener against Youngstown State.

A lot of this can be attributed to new starters on the offensive line along with a true freshman starting at quarterback in Robert Bolden , but if the Nittany Lions are going to make any noise in the Big Ten once conference play begins next week, they're going to need to see a marked improvement.  The good news is that some signs of it happening are already there.

Evan Royster had only 110 yards rushing through Penn State's first three games, but he had his best game of the season against Temple, finishing with 187 yards on 26 carries.  Royster is going to need a lot more games like the one he had on Saturday if Penn State harbors any hope of playing in Pasadena this January.
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