Blog mob . . . ASSEMBLE!
John Mellencamp - Authority Song (via JohnMellencampVEVO)
This week, the Purdue Boilermakers (and Indiana native son John Mellencamp) roll into Beaver Stadium to fight the authority of Penn State football.
Say hello once again to our panelists - our own Ben Jones, Kevin McGuire from the Nittany Lions Den, William F. Yurasko from William World News, all of the D-O-double-G's from JoePa's Doghouse, and Bill Engel, Michael Canzoneri, Ali Soheilian, Bob Smith, and Timothy Johnson from PennLive's 50-Yard Lion!
How satisfying was that win against the Hawkeyes?
Rowlff Dogg: After some crushing defeats, it was great to get the Iowa monkey off our backs. Our struggles with the Hawkeyes epitomize the dissatisfaction with Penn State's middling status since joining the Big Ten. Back in 1993, who would have thought that Iowa, IOWA?!?!, would give us fits for an entire decade?
While beating Iowa was fantastic, the 4th quarter in particular was a thing of beauty. Pounding the rock down their throats. Defenders with their hands on their hips. Their white quarterback getting picked off twice. Pinning our ears back and knocking Iowa backwards on their last gasp drive. Awesome. Simply awesome!
WFY: That was an extremely satisfying win, perhaps the most so in several seasons. From my recap:
It has been a long time since a Penn State football game was as fun as the one on Saturday. The Nittany Lions reverted to crog-magnon football - fun the up the middle over and over again. They did it for the best reason, because they could. The PSU offensive line had perhaps its best game since the 2007 Outback Bowl when the stream-rolled over the Tennessee Volunteers. Late in the game, the Lions pounded the ball down Iowa's throat 10 straight times before a McGloin 2 yard touchdown pass to TE Kevin Haplea. Slias Redd, Curtis Dukes and Joe Suhey combined to have only run less than 4 yards as the Hawkeyes were worn down. It was beautiful.
Jones: I enjoyed the hell out of it, but not so much because it was Iowa, but for the sole fact that for the first time in about a year Penn State looked like it was playing football. Great defense, good enough offense. Penn State is far from perfect, but I enjoyed the game which means almost as much to me as winning it.
Soheilian: To be honest, I thought I'd be more satisfied than I was. I guess it was different because I knew that we were the better team this year. They lost way too much from last year's team and are very young in the trenches.
Canzoneri: It was the best game so far this year and a great stepping-stone for the team. We saw two important things. First, the offensive line showed the same aggressiveness that they showed during the Blue White game. They established the run game and kept it going. That is a big deal for the coming schedule. Second, the blitz packages used showed how good the defense actually is. You can't throw those blitz packages in without a really fundamentally solid and athletic squad.
Rob Bolden played two series during the Iowa game. Has the staff actually settled on a QB? Do you expect to see Bolden off the bus first against the Boilermakers?
McGuire: I think this is the week Matt McGloin finally gets to step off the bus first, and I anticipate it will go to his head rater quickly. While McGloin will get the majority of the snaps this week, I still believe we will see Bolden get a few opportunities. Who knows. Maybe Bolden comes out on fire without the "pressure" of being the starter.
I may not be a huge fan of McGloin, after half a season it is painfully obvious that McGloin gives the offense a better chance to do something. I also say that McGloin will also cost the team in games against Nebraska and Wisconsin (Ohio State is a wild card right now) and if Derek Moye is not on the field I think everyone should be concerned about what McGloin will do
Smith: It seems pretty clear that McGloin is the guy. However I expect Bolden to keep getting the start because the team really doesn't need that opening drive. It is more important to keep Bolden happy. I actually heard conversation on the post game about how if Bolden does not start, he might be lost mentally for the game. If this is true they should get someone else ready to play backup and move on.
Johnson: At this point I really don't understand what the coaches are thinking. If you aren't going to play Bolden consistently, why even bother starting him? That said, it'll probably be the same situation going forward until the floodgates finally open and one of the QBs finishes a few drives in a row.
The Underdogs: It would be awfully tough to not hand the ball over to McGloin at this point. Not that either has won the job outright. Rather, one is losing the job more slowly than the other. Bolden is clearly pressing. Either the pressure he's placing upon himself or the coaches having him think too much has him in a bad place mentally on the field. He's making up his mind too soon, if not pre-snap. Only Pey Pey can do that. Because Pey Pey knows what the defense is doing pre-snap.
I'm beginning to wonder if that buzzer the coaches use to train the QBs to get the ball out of their hands within 2 seconds is partially to blame. The conditioned response shouldn't be to simply get the ball out of your hand by a set time, despite that time being a rough average for when big angry men start converging on your position, but rather to make the best play possible. And sometimes that requires extending the play, improvising. And that is missing from Bolden right now. You can bet bottom dollar this is at the core of his regression as a football player.
Moving forward, I would give up on the set quarters for each QB. Name McGloin the starting pitcher, but be ready with a quick hook if he's showing his Favre-ish tendencies. I'd pin his eyes open and make him watch game tapes of John Shaffer for 24 hours straight until he got the message.
J Schnauzer: Apparently the offensive staff has not settled on anything. Although I think McGloin should operate this offense, I'm still a big Bolden fan. Like a big leaguer going to AAA for a few weeks, Bolden needs a few weeks as the designated back-up to McGloin. It would do more good than harm. He needs to have fun, fire up the offense on the sidelines, watch the game, and try to support McGloin on the field. If he gets in for a few drives in the 4th quarter, he should play with as much energy as possible. He's still the best long-term option in my opinion.
Curtis Dukes. Discuss.
WFY: Great chance of pace from Silas Redd - I love the thunder and lightning of the two. Sometime, I would like to see Dukes start and see Redd as the change of pace back.
The Underdogs: The most successful football for this Penn State team will not be pretty. It will be brutal, violent. It will not be jazz, but a relentless and persistent drum beat winning the 11 on 11 game of field positional tug of war. And that's not a man you want sailing in your direction at full speed. Rammingggggggg Speeeeeeeeeeeeed.
Jones: Besides the fact he looks like Ron Artest? Good back, Penn State has about 400 good backs though.
Engel: When I first saw Dukes' high school film I thought we were getting a great one and now he is starting to live up to that promise. He runs down hill and is extremely quick to the hole. He is a perfect complement to Silas Redd. I like Beachum but I would rather see Dukes in there when Redd needs a break. Dukes is averaging 7.0 yards a carry. How can you not get him the ball?
Rowlff Dogg: Great combination of size and speed. I love watching Dukes put his head down and take on a defender. It's just a shame he's not from Hazzard Country.
Purdue comes into Beaver Stadium off of a big win against maybe the worst team in major college football. We know they're capable of running the ball. How much trouble do you expect them to give Penn State's vaunted defense?
McGuire: If Purdue's biggest asset is running the football, then they are doomed this weekend because Penn State's defense will limit the damage done on the ground and force Purdue to use their 16 quarterbacks to throw the football and make something happen. Even without D'Anton Lynn, that is good news for the Boilermakers.
Soheilian: I'm not expecting any problems against Purdue, but if I'm thinking that way then the players are thinking that way. Combine that with a noon kickoff time, and it looks like we're headed for another ugly game. They'll probably start off with some moderate success that will have Twitter oozing with Blue & White pessimism, then we will settle down and take this team apart in the second half, which is coincidentally when Joe leaves the field to report to the press box.
Jones: They're still Purdue. Until Robbie Hummel comes out and plays I'm not worried.
J Schnauzer: Purdue is a paper tiger. The Makers of Boilers have played against one mediocre defense (Notre Dame) and some of the worst run defenses in the country. Their passing game isn't highly efficient, and their defense allowed 287 rushing to the Fighting Irish. Can they keep it close? Of course. Can they win? Only if Penn State routinely turns the ball over.
WFY: Greeks will get new windbreakers. Penn State will come out flat. Everything the alumni Blue Band plays will be better than what Guido D'Elia pipes in. Bolden will start. Mike Zordich will get really fired up after a short run. The Nittany Lions will be intercepted. Sorrority pledges will sit on a cold sidewalk Thursday and Friday. Penn State wins 24-16. Adam Tailiaferro will be an awesome Grand Marshall.
McGuire: Penn State should win this one rather easily. Purdue romped against Minnesota so they may feel as though they have some swagger, but this is also a team that has lost to Rice and needed to block a field goal in the final minute to defeat Middle Tennessee State by three points. Purdue, quite simply, is not very good. At. All.
Penn State 32, Purdue 9
Canzoneri: I think a lot of people have amnesia and selective memory. Indiana was only two weeks ago and Iowa really didn't help their own cause with a number of dropped passes in the final three or four drives. Some people are acting like the rest of the season is a breeze already. If Penn State's defense can keep Purdue under 10 points and the Penn State offense score over 28 points, I will have much more confidence in the rest of the season.
Engel: This week it all comes together and Penn State wins going away. Penn State 37 Purdue 13.
Soheilian: I'm going to go with Penn State having some more success in the red zone in this one. I'm a little hesitant with the score prediction that I am making because both teams love to run the ball, but I think we'll finally get some flashy scores. I'm going with Penn State in a "Big Ten Blowout" with a score of 27-13.
Smith: I see this as a little more offense than last week. How about Lions win 24 to 10? Two TD passes from McGloin and one running by Beachum.
Johnson: Purdue lost to Rice, so they suck. 31-13.
The Underdogs: 19-6.
Rowlff Dogg: PSU 29-13. This highlight of the day will be Urban Meyer bursting out of the World's Largest Drum, sprinting across the field, and kicking Jay Paterno in the nuts. The crowd goes wild!!!!
J Schnauzer: Penn State 23, Purdue 13. PSU has been extremely lucky with turnovers outside the red zone. I think the Lions will rack up a lot of yards and have some success in the red zone, but Purdue can keep it close by capitalizing on some mis-timed throws.
And from our BSD regulars . . .
Jones: Penn State 28-10
Slow start again with Bolden under center but Silas Redd has a special day. Purdue isn't going to win the battle in the trenches on either side of the ball which could lead to a long day for the Boilermakers. This could be the game the offense comes together, but I've said that more than once already this season.
Mike Pettigano: I've seen one too many noon kickoffs against Purdue to forecast anything but a sluggish, uninterested start from Penn State. The last three times these teams have met, it's been 12-0 ('06), 26-19 ('07), and 20-6 ('08). In each of those games, Penn State didn't put the Boilers away until late in the second half, even in the Big Ten title season three years ago. There will be pretty strong winds, some rain, and about 15,000 empty seats in Beaver Stadium this Saturday. The quarterback situation will remain technically the same. And Penn State will once again beat Purdue in a "meh" performance by both teams. Penn State 21, Purdue 9.
Jeff Junstrom: Penn State 17, Purdue 6. Matt McGloin solidifies his role as starting QB-in waiting, though the over/under on McGloin Bonehead Plays is set at 1.5.
Peter Gray: Penn State 27 - Purdue 10. The offense breaks out a little bit, as Purdue's front seven don't offer a ton of resistance. Redd and Dukes do their thing, and McGloin looks good on some plays, terrible on others.
Adam Collyer: Last week, I said that I was going to be pessimistic until further notice. I suppose Saturday was the beginning of further notice. The Lions played well against Iowa and put together two crucial drives in the second half. Even though one ended with an interception, I was very pleased. I don't think we'll come out "flat" this week, but I don't think we'll score all that much either. Purdue will do nothing against this defense. Penn State wins 23-6. Happy Homecoming!