Tag:Rob Bolden
Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 4:17 pm
 

Patterson's Insane Predictions: Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely


Jordan Jefferson's utter distaste for the Auburn Tigers is fully revealed with a historic performance on Saturday.  Last season, Jefferson entered the contest with the Tigers having thrown interceptions in three out of the last four games.  He went on to stun the Auburn defense, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns.  Jefferson adds to his record against the Tigers by throwing (gasp) a perfect game as a quarterback.  Jefferson completes 30 of 30 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns with ZERO interceptions to lead LSU in the 35-31 victory in Auburn.  Cam Newton has a chance to win the game in the last minute but Les Miles' spies apprehend him with a planted laptop in his flack jacket.  TIGERGATE!

Severely Unlikely


Tennessee trots out the young Tyler Bray for some snaps against the Tide, and the freshman explodes for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two quarters of action.  Trailing 28-27 with four seconds left on the clock, Volunteers kicker Michael Palardy lines up a 34-yard field goal searching for some sweet redemption for the Tennessee faithful.  A rocking Neyland Stadium drops to silence as Marcel Dareus charges up the A-gap and extends his arm to pull off his best Terrence Cody impression.  History repeats itself and Dareus deflects the kick, celebration ensues on the Crimson Tide sideline.  But there is a flag on the play.  Twelve men on the field is called because Greg McElroy is standing on field, trying to sign language his cell phone number to a Tennessee cheerleader.  Palardy drills the second attempt to seal the upset, and Nick Saban sets McElroy's 'Bama Bangs ablaze with his eyes. 


Completely Ludicrous


While sitting out in a duck blind, former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster texts in every play call to his interim replacement/offensive coordinator Jeff Horton.  Interestingly enough, Brewster calling plays with no knowledge of down or distance is more effective than having him on the sideline.  The Golden Gophers succeed in knocking off Penn State 28-10, picking up their first conference win of the season.  Coach Joe Paterno tries to get some offensive spark by inserting freshman Kevin Newsome in a wildcat package.  Paterno paces his feeble fibulas up and down the Nittany Lions sideline but can't find Newsome anywhere.  He is back in University Park in Music Building 1, tickling the ivories.  




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Posted on: October 10, 2010 3:38 am
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Perhaps Denard Robinson's competition matters. Hey, we'll be the first ones to admit to falling in love with Denard Robinson's early-season performance. Sure, Michigan's opposition wasn't very good (at all), but lots of other teams were playing cupcake schedules at the same time, and nobody -- except maybe for Cam Newton -- was doing what Shoelace was doing. But Michigan State provided a pretty easy blueprint for containing Robinson: have a decent defense and don't do anything stupid with them. The Spartan defense, led as always by All-American linebacker Greg Jones, played disciplined defense against the explosive sophomore and forced him into three interceptions -- two of which came in Michigan State's end zone. Sure, Robinson ended up accounting for 301 yards (215 passing, 86 rushing), and those are good numbers, but remember: he's basically their entire offense. So while giving up 301 yards of offense to one guy isn't ideal, holding the entire team to 377 yards is much more palatable, and that's exactly what the Michigan State defense did. Next up for the Wolverines: Iowa -- and 60 more minutes of that defensive intensity.

2. Don't run up the score on Tim Brewster, please. The second-oddest thing about this week of Big Ten play was seeing Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster get into an arguing match with Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema after Wisconsin's 41-23 victory over the Golden Gophers. The oddest thing came about six minutes prior, when Bret Bielema elected to try a two-point conversion after the Badgers scored a touchdown to extend their lead to 41-16. The try failed, because not even Football God hates Minnesota that much, but Brewster certainly took it personally; the Minnesota coach said some very unprintable words to Bielema on the field, and used the word "wrong" to describe Bielema's decision about 15,000 times in his postgame press conference. Bielema said his little when-should-you-go-for-two card dictated that his team attempt the two-point conversion in that scenario. Even assuming Bielema's excuse is true, we have to wonder why Bielema didn't heed his card's advice 5:16 earlier, when his team scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to go up by 25 the first time. After John Clay's third touchdown of the game, Wisconsin led 34-9 with 11:55 to go, and Bielema kicked a harmless extra point then. Maybe, maybe Minnesota could have engineered 27 points in 11:55, but there was no chance of it happening with 6:39 left, so there's really no sense in kicking the extra point the first time but not the second. Bielema doesn't necessarily owe Brewster an apology; he's Bret Bielema, and he's kind of a jerk, and that's what he does. But at the very least, he owes Brewster and the rest of Big Ten fans an actual explanation of what the heck he was thinking going for two.

3. Penn State just isn't very good. Okay, we sort of knew coming into this season that Penn State would be taking some more lumps than usual on account of their true freshman quarterback, Rob Bolden, winning the starting job in Week 1. And sure, their 24-3 losses to Alabama and Iowa were disappointing, but not really shocking; 'Bama and the Hawkeyes are both pretty legit programs with pretty legit defenses. But 21-point losses to top-15 teams are one thing; a 20-point loss to middling Illinois is another altogether. Illinois controlled the action on both sides of the ball Saturday, shredding Penn State's vaunted front seven for 282 yards on the ground. Mikel LeShoure was a workhorse with 119 rushing yards and a 32-yard reception, and Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase was both efficient (15-19, 151 yards, 1 TD) and mobile (eight carries, 61 yards). Meanwhile, Bolden had one of his worst starts of his nascent career, going 8-21 for 142 yards, a score, and a pretty bad pick-six to Nate Bussey that pushed Illinois' lead to 14-3. It was a freshman mistake, of course, and one he probably won't make next season and beyond. But it's that sort of thing, coupled with a general lack of special talent on the rest of the offense, that dooms the Nittany Lions when their defense isn't perfect. The Nittany Lions are 3-3 (0-2) now. Right now, it's pretty hard to guarantee they're going to a bowl this season.

4. Northwestern is also not very good. Going back to 2008, Northwestern's habit of winning games by close margins -- which is to say, playing both up and down to the competition -- has never really come back to haunt them; coming into Saturday's game the Wildcats were 14-4 in one-possession games since '08, a streak that's both remarkable and completely doomed to come back down to earth sooner or later, and that's where we find the Wildcat today. Two special teams disasters in the fourth quarter -- a blocked field goal and a poorly-kicked game-tying attempt with a minute left -- effectively kept six points off the board for the Wildcats, and a Dan Dierking rush from 7 yards out sealed the 20-17 upset for lowly Purdue. It's a bummer of a loss for the Wildcats, but the type of inexplicable upset that besets them pretty much every year. Their benchmark game is likely their next: Michigan State comes to town, and a win would put Northwestern back on the map. But it would take the Wildcats' best performance of the season, and any time the prerequisite for respectability is something a team hasn't yet shown itself to be capable of doing, odds are that the fans will go home disappointed.

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 2:23 pm
 

Penn State getting handled by Illinois, 30-13

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Happy Valley? No no, not today. Penn State is hosting Illinois this afternoon, and the Illini are positively rude guests. Illinois leads 30-13, having just completed a 41-yard field goal.

There's been no gimmick to Illinois' success; they're just grinding out drive after drive, primarily on the ground. Mikel LeShoure topped 100 yards early in the third quarter, and Nathan Scheelhaase has been efficient on the ground and through the air.

Meanwhile, Penn State has only four first downs to Illinois' 19, and Rob Bolden just isn't effective enough as a passer to get Illinois' defense to stop keying on Evan Royster; Royster's dinged up and at only 35 rushing yards after three quarters.

If Illinois hangs on, perhaps this won't be considered an upset after the year's over; Penn State's just not very good, and it wouldn't be a terrible surprise to see both teams at 3-5 in the conference when it's all said and done. For now, though, yes, the Upset Alerts tag rides again.

Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:14 am
 

Iowa's defense excels in 24-3 win over Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa 6, Penn State 3. That's the score if Iowa's offense or special teams didn't contribute a single point today, and the defense was left to score for itself. Score it did, as an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Shaun Prater late in the fourth quarter perfectly punctuated a 24-3 victory for the Hawkeyes.

When asked if it was the defense's best performance of the season, senior safety Brett Greenwood seemed to think so. "Emotionally, we feel like it was. I know we gave up a few throws there that we need to correct, but right now, it might be."

The defense was led by Adrian Clayborn , who broke out of a slump -- or at least what would qualify as one for the All-American defensive end, anyway -- with 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. Clayborn was at his most dominant in the fourth quarter, registering 2.5 TFLs and the sack on a forced intentional grounding by quarterback Rob Bolden .

"I had to get back to the basics. That's how [defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski ] told us to be, just play [ticked] off," Clayborn said. "You have to get after it; you can't be a nice guy on the field, and I think that's how we played as a defensive line."

That line made Bolden's evening the worst, though, on a 4th and goal from Iowa's 1-yard line. Bolden lined up in the shotgun and scrambled for the goal line, a run that was stretched out by end Broderick Binns and then snuffed out by tackle Christian Ballard inches from the goal line.

"I saw a little bit of green left, and I knew I had to make a play," Ballard said of his touchdown-saving tackle.

Senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi was a rock for his offense, completing 16 of 22 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. Stanzi also scored on a sneak from a yard out to give Iowa a 17-point lead late in the first half. Stanzi attributed his efficient game to the game plan put in by offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe .

"They're short passes, they're dump-downs, the checks are built in, and we're able to get the ball downfield if we want to," said Stanzi.

For the Hawkeyes, the win's nice, but so is what comes next: a bye week. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said he ran running back Adam Robinson 28 times and said "he could have gone 50" because of the bye week, and Robinson, who gained 95 yards on the ground Saturday, said he's never been sorer after a game.

The bye week will also help the Hawkeyes get their linebacker corps healthy; middle linebacker Jeff Tarpinian ceded his starting role to Troy Johnson , and both players left the game with minor injuries. From there, the Hawkeyes depended on true freshman James Morris , and Morris was tied for third on the team with seven tackles on the day.

"He was ready to go when called upon," Ferentz said of Morris. "First thing you hope he doesn't do is blow something, leave something just wide open, give them an easy big gain. It didn't seem like he did that, and that's a real credit to him."

What's more, the bye week gives Iowa an extra week for arguably their defense's biggest task of the season: find a way to shut down Michigan and Denard Robinson .

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.

 
 
 
 
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