Grading The Penn State Defense Against Syracuse

Another sub-par offense, another week of shutting them down.  Missing Navarro Bowman to a supposedly minor injury, the linebacking corps picked up special teams all-star Nate Stupar.

Defensive Line

Last week this unit was on fire and earned a flat A from Mike. We knew the middle with Ogbu and Odrick would be tough going into the season and so far they are living up to the expectations. Odrick is either incredibly good at run stuffs or has some type of predictive spider-sense because throughout the first half he found himself behind the line of scrimmage and one-on-one with the poor ball carrier.

B+

Linebackers

Lee's awesomeness cannot be measured. When he wasn't all over the ball he was cleaning up for the mistakes of the rest of the defense. I'm telling you all of this but you knew it anyway. He finished with a team leading 13 tackles, 3 for a loss.

Stupar played a mixed bag, but I like how he's coming along. His knack for getting to the ball (both on the ground and apparently while in the air) in incredible and I think a large part of what made him so deadly on special teams. The problem is he sometimes over-pursues. He has some form to work on and too often whiffed on tackles, but the fact that he's there in the first place speaks to his potential.

B+

Secondary

You can't be too upset with holding a defense to 5.4 yards per passing attempt. I still feel like we know almost nothing about this unit, however, because the defensive line has been tearing apart opposing blockers.

While the first half was quit, ‘Cuse was able to pick up some yards on short screens and had a sure fire drop in the end zone to a wide open receiver on 4th down. The result was comforting, but the play was not.

Incomplete


Did we learn anything from Akron?
Hard to say here, with they facing the Morgan State Bears, but Jacquemain played well: 13 for 22, 162 yards and a 3/0 ratio. The team that struggled mightily to even earn a first down against Penn State picked up 436 yards and won 41-zip.


Where it's at. We know very little through these two games, but the defense can only smother the cupcakes they are given, and in doing that they've earned the 10th ranked rushing D, 28th ranked passing D and stand 9th in first downs allowed.

One more pre-season game to work things out, get Bowman healthy, and teach a young secondary before we actually get to see what this unit is made of against Iowa.

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