In a game where Penn State was looking to come out with a dominating performance to shake off the tough loss against Alabama last week, they came away with some good and some bad.
The Lions started in promising fashion with two touchdown drives to start the game. The first drive featured some nifty running by Evan Royster who carried the ball five times for 23 yards. Robert Bolden finished off the drive with a one yard touchdown plunge behind Stefen Wisniewski.
The second drive was sparked by a 55 yard completion from Bolden to Derek Moye. Royster scored on a five yard touchdown run four plays later.
Royster was looking like the Royster of old with 31 yards and a touchdown on his first seven carries. But his production tailed off after that and he finished with just 38 yards on 11 carries for the day.
The Penn State defense pitched a shutout, but they were once again plagued by sloppy tackling and poor angles. Jacquise Terry torched them for 32 yards on a 3rd-and-1 midway through the first quarter. But the Penn State defense stepped up by intercepting Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith twice in the first half. D'Anton Lynn recorded the first interception on the Flashes' first drive, and Derrick Thomas recorded his first career interception as Kent State threatened to score just before the half.
Robert Bolden has flashes of brilliance, like his 55 yard connection to Moye and a 48 yard touchdown pass to Devon Smith in the fourth quarter, and he also had times where he struggled. Like when he threw an interception just before the half, fumbled a handoff to Royster to start the third quarter, and threw another interception on a slant pass intended to Moye.
Sensing the need to calm Bolden down, Penn State turned to the running game midway through the third quarter. Stephfon Green carried the ball five times for 42 yards on a long drive that ended in a field goal to give Penn State a 17-0 lead. Evan Royster did not see another snap after that.
Overall it was a good performance by Penn State, but there are still too many mistakes being committed by this young team. Bolden is still learning how to protect the ball, the offensive line is still struggling with consistency, and the defense is still struggling to tackle consistently. Penn State has plenty to work on before Big Ten season rolls around, let alone before the upstart Temple Owls come to Happy Valley next week.