Blog mob . . . ASSEMBLE!
The Fabulous Fryers - Bringing Home The Roses (via BLP1261)
This week, the Amateur Blog Mob heads back to Beaver Stadium where Penn State and Iowa continue to...ahem...run for the roses.
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 Michael Sedor, Bill Engel, Michael Canzoneri, Ali Soheilian, and Thomas Knauer from PennLive's 50-Yard Lion!
Are we about to see the second coming of the 6-4 spectacular?
WFY: I anticipate more scoring by both sides - that 6-4 game was something else. An amazing defensive effort by Penn State wasted by a simply incompetent offense. That being said, I'd take either 2004 Zack Mills or Michael Robinson over the current options.
I expect Penn State to get in the end zone once or twice on Saturday and the same for Iowa.
The Underdogs: Nothing can be that bad can it? Oh wait... SEC SEC SEC.
Rowlff Dogg: Mrs Rowlff Dogg missed the 6-4 game and won't be there for this game. She also has a strange ability to miss safeties, so I predict we will see at least one. Iowa's passing attack is too good to not exploit the holes in our soft zone. In typical fashion, once the Hawkeyes score a touchdown, we'll play with our tails between our legs. Therefore, no, it will not be a 6-4 snoozefest. But it won't be significantly more entertaining than that.
Engel: No way. When you look at Iowa, their defense is not as strong and experienced as the one that held Penn State to 6 points and their offense is much better having scored more than 30 points in every game. This combined with the fact that we are banged up at cornerback and linebacker means Iowa comes out of Beaver Stadium with well more than 6 points. Offensively, the Nittany Lions have played much better at home, particularly the line. Penn State will be able to move the ball and will put points on the board if they limit the untimely mistakes.
Soheilian: There is no way in hell that we are going to see the second coming of the 6-4 spectacular. For one James Vandenberg is one hell of a quarterback for the Hawkeyes, and Marvin McNutt will at least get into the end zone one time. It's almost a guarantee with those two guys on the same field. The other good news is that Iowa's defense is not the same beast of the past. The defensive line and linebackers are rebuilding, but their secondary is always strong. I think both teams will score at least 13 points.
Most misleading statistic ever - Penn State gained over 400 yards against Indiana. What can they do to put the ball in the endzone this week against the Hawkeyes?
McGuire: Penn State had two turnovers in the red zone last week, so I think it is pretty simple as far as an answer here goes. Protect the football!
J Schnauzer: I don't know about misleading. The yardage was real, but 4 trips in the red zone led to 6 points. It reminded me a lot of last year's offense. What will it take to get in the endzone? An offensive line that is sync, assertive and clear coaching, and excellent QB to receiver timing on short passing routes.
Rowlff Dogg: An offensive line that can actually knock people off the line of scrimmage would be a good start (fire Anderson and Kenney). Using your personnel to take advantage of their skill sets wouldn't hurt (fire Hall, Paterno, Paterno). Sprinkle in a little creativity (wake up Hall, fire him again). And maybe a few clumsy Iowa defenders (keep the turf guys, they do an excellent job)
Knauer: It's not a misleading statistic. PSU had 5 trips into the red zone last week, and managed 3 FGs and committed 2 TO's with those opportunities. They also had a TD called back on a holding penalty prior to Bolden's INT. If you erase the holding penalty and Redd's fumble on the 2 yd line, 14 additional points shed a far more favorable light on the game.
We were effective in moving the ball between the 20's, but self inflicted mistakes thwarted the finish to practically every drive. We also possessed the ball for a staggering 38 minutes. But, it's all about finishing drives, and that's where the team is currently at its weakest.
Sedor: Since it isn't an actual question this week, my response is that I think one quarterback has to be named the starter. Fingers crossed this will solve the consistency, leadership and red zone nervousness issues.
As rough as the passing game has been, is it possible that the running game has managed to be worse? What can Penn State do to free up some room to run for Silas Redd?
Canzoneri: The running game has regressed since the first game. Maybe, just maybe, the line could be aggressive and figure out their assignments instead of giving each other a confused look while as a defensive lineman un-mounts himself from a running back in the backfield? That would be a good start.
The offensive line isn't being aggressive enough. They aren't physically outmatched. Even during down years, Penn State could always run the ball. Last week the offensive line just looked lost.
WFY: Penn State ought to try running Redd outside every now and then, maybe even pitch it to him. Let him use his speed! I think a big part of the running frustrations are due to playcalling. Would I like an offensive line that just runs over people? Of course, but until that happens, play to the backs strengths.
The Underdogs: Throw the ball effectively.
McGuire: I am surprised at how much the running game HASN'T picked up the offense in recent weeks. I don't think the offensive line has been particularly good, getting pushed around by defenses they have no business being shoved around by. They need to dig deep and set a tone early on, and do so against a defensive line that ha manhandled them in recent years.
Rowlff Dogg: It all starts with the offensive line. For a group with 4 seniors (when Pannell is in) their performance has been pathetic, yet completely expected. Secondly, there is no vertical threat. Sure we've connected on a few deep passes, but do you think a team with a pulse is scared of our QBs hitting our WRs deep? Heck no. Our WRs aren't physical enough to get off jams and thus tight coverage is enough to nullify our deep patterns. So, why wouldn't the remaining teams stick 8 guys in the box and dare us to beat them with the pass? It's not like our stubborn coaches are actually going to adjust to the defensive tendencies anyhow.
Soheilian: Here's a thought, calling running plays that play to each running backs strengths. Redd does a great job of running stretch plays, counters, and cutback plays. Stop running him through the tackles and get him on the edge, use one of those tight ends to block down and free up some space. Maybe, just maybe, use Dukes/Beachum to run it between the tackles and up the gut when we need tough yardage, they are faster, and run better than Zordich/Suhey up the gut.
Sedor: A better strength and conditioning program for the offensive line. That said, anyone notice that the much-beleaguered PSU o-line staff produced the NFL rookie of the week in Stefen Wisniewski?
Even with the random drops, Derek Moye has been a fantastic wide receiver. Where does he rate amongst Williams, Butler, Norwood, and Bryant and Tony Johnson on your all-decade list?
Sedor: Derek Moye is often judged against other PSU receivers by what he is not. He's doesn't have Williams' leadership, Norwood's hands, Butler's speed, Bryant Johnson's strength or Tony Johnson's, really, I couldn't tell you. But Moye's numbers might even be better than the rest. He's behind Williams, Butler and Norwood right now but he should be at least No. 2 by season's end.
WFY: The drops really bother me - I think he drops more of Bolden's passes because Bolden throws harder which says his hands are not that good. I also think he's not strong enough to be elite, he has trouble at time fighting for balls that DBs get their hands on (the Temple game comes to mind). I would put Moye only ahead of Tony Johnson on the all decade list.
Soheilian: I would say that he's the last one on that list. Not hating on Moye, but the truth is that all those guys didn't nearly receive as many targets as Moye does per game (14-16 a game the past two seasons alone). I mean Norwood, Butler, and Williams had to compete with each other for touches on a consistent basis. He's a great receiver, but if he didn't have all those drops, he could very easily be at the top of this list.
McGuire: Moye is a testament to hard work and perseverance. He does not have the great skills or talent that previous greats to wear a Penn State uniform have had but he prepares well and can be mentally tough. He may be overshadowed by a number of wide receivers years from now when we think about the best of the best, but his efforts should not be forgotten.
Rowlff Dogg: Ask Rob Bolden that question, I'm sure he'd get a chuckle out of it. When Matt McGloin is in there, Moye is all-world.
On that list, I can only put Moye ahead of Tony Johnson. Bryant was a 1st round draft pick. Both Butler and Williams have better bodies of work. Norwood was always my favorite because he was tiny but never shied away from contact.
Not one of those guys belongs in the same paragraph as Bobby Engram. Hence my spacing.
J Schnauzer: Isn't this a new decade? Moye is great, but he's not memorable yet. He's had too many dropsies to get above anyone on that list. Except Tony of course. He's not that dropsy.
The Hawkeyes will have better Steelers uniforms than the Steelers. The Nittany Lions will keep it close enough for at least the first half to make it hurt. The Ombudsman will have post-game bourbon regardless of outcome, since it will be his birthday. Penn State will have to burn at least one timeout due to sideline confusion. Guido D'Elia will still play piped-in music instead of the Blue Band at inappropriate times. Joe Paterno will coach the whole game from the sidelines. Matt McGloin will remain shorter than Rob Bolden. ABC will show the field goal that ended the 2008 game and that blocked punt from 2009 more than I can handle. I will have at least one flashback to the rainy 1996 game that I'm still bitter about 15 years later. I'll wish Anthony Morelli was quarterback again. Iowa 24 PENN STATE 13
The Underdogs: 13-12.
Rowlff Dogg: Iowa 24-12. Same coaches = same results. JoePa has drained me of all optimism. Until this team shows some life, I simply can't envision success against a real opponent. On the bright side, the weather looks awesome! We will have fun no matter what happens, and that's very frustrating to type. The game should be life-or-death, but sadly, it is not.
J Schnauzer: 7-6 Penn State. Two safeties and a field goal put PSU over the top.
McGuire: Get ready for another frustrating day everybody, because this could be another ugly game. I'll say Iowa sneaks out of State College with another win against Penn State. Kirk Ferentz just has a knack for coming up with a winning formula against Penn State and if Penn State's quarterback carousel is in full operation, I don't see any way Iowa loses this one. Iowa 17, Penn State 13
Knauer: I'm trying to be optimistic. This team has been hanging by a thread for a few weeks, and I fear that a loss could start a downward spiral which will last the remainder of the season. We could realistically lose 6 of our last 7 games if the staff loses control of the ship. A loss against Iowa, a team that only a handful of current players were even in the program when we last defeated them, would be potentially devastating.
On the other hand, crossing the Iowa hurdle could be the momentum changing moment to propel us to a decent finish in a less than stellar conference. This game is definitely a fork in the road. While I want to believe that we somehow redirect this season, logic and history pull me in the other direction. Iowa 17-13.
Engel: Outside of the Bama game, the Nittany Lions have not been playing with intensity which I place squarely on the coaches. I believe for a 3:30 game, the crowd will be fired up to beat Iowa which will translate to the players and we will see a little better performance from the offensive line. So it will be up to quarterbacks and receivers to make plays. If they do not, it could get ugly early because as good as our defense has been playing, they are banged up and Iowa is going to score some points.
If the passing game clicks, things will open up and the Lions will score some points as well. I am going to go with my heart and say Penn State 23 - Iowa 20.
Soheilian: I actually think that both of these teams will play some good football this weekend. Iowa has had our number, but I think this is the year we tag them back ( I know, I'm the only one who thinks this is a possibility this week). I think the QBs manage to get the offense going a little more efficiently this week, especially since the players will finally be focused to play an opponent. I think Penn State gets the win in a close one 24-17.
Sedor: Iowa +4 and the 45-point under but Penn State ekes out a close win. Thinking the intensity of the crowd will be at Alabama-first-half levels and will light a fire under the heretofore cant-be-bothered Nittany Lions.
And from our BSD regulars . . .
Kyle Martin: The streak continues. But this is the closest game since the 08 loss.
Tim Aydin: PSU gets a safety, FG, and TD (failed 2 point conversion). Despite their best efforts, Iowa somehow manages to overcome this onslaught of points and ekes out a 13-11 victory.
Peter Gray: 20-13, Iowa, after a late interception sets up the go ahead score. Penn State's going to struggle to get into the end zone, despite moving the ball reasonably well between the 20s. In the end, I'll believe Penn State beats Iowa when I see it.
Mike Pettigano: 38-13 Penn State. Oh, it's on! The past five weeks have been so utterly depressing, it's time to just say "f@ck it" and shoot myself up with a strong dose of optimism. I'll say this game will resemble the 2004 Michigan State game. Both teams will dance around each other, in a low-scoring borefest until the second half. Silas Redd breaks 140 yards, while the quarterbacks throw for more touchdowns than interceptions. The defense holds Iowa to 50 rush yards (-30 on sacks), but allows 300 pass yards to a one-dimensional attack. A tight game through halftime, Penn State gets two big turnovers and a long return to suddenly lead by 21 by the fourth quarter. Iowa mounts some threats, but since Penn State actually avoids leaving its defense on the field for 40 minutes, it's able to shut down the Hawkeyes through the final 15 minutes to seal the win. Will this actually happen? Probably not how I just described it. Then again, how many games ever go the way they are predicted to go?
Adam Collyer: I'm pessimistic until further notice. This game is going to be relatively low scoring, but the question is whether that's because of fantastic defensive play or utter offensive incompetence. I see everything playing out in pretty typical fashion. Iowa will go up 3-0 in the first quarter and a nice return into Penn State territory midway through the second quarter gives them a short field and a Marvin McNutt touchdown. Penn State responds with a touchdown drive to pull within 10-7 at the half.
We open the second half with the ball and miss a 40+ yard field goal, giving Iowa decent field position yet again. They convert on a time consuming drive to go up 17-7 near the end of the third quarter. Penn State fumbles and Iowa turns that into 3 points. One of the QBs throws a backbreaking pick in the 4th quarter, and while the defense can stop the Hawkeyes, it's too little, too late. Paterno tacks on a field goal late in a weak attempt to save face, but Hawkeyes win 20-10.
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