It's a busy Sunday (side note: let's go Royster!), so let's get straight down to business. Some stats following yesterday's more-dominant-than-the-final-score game against Temple:
- Penn State has still not given up a first half touchdown, and has outscored opponents 35-0 in the first quarter so far this year.
- The offense set season highs of 491 yards, 27 first downs, and time of possession (36:52) yesterday. They also had a season-best seven plays over 20 yards, and registered the longest scoring drive of the season (7:03).
- The defense had its best showing, holding Temple to the fewest total yards and first downs of any opponent so far in 2012.
- Michael Zordich had career bests in rushing (15 carries for 75 yards) and receiving (4 catches for 39 yards), as well as career longs for both a reception (27 yards) and a rush (16 yards).
- Once Zordich went down with a slight knee injury, Zack Zwinak filled in admirably with a career-high day: 18 carries for 94 yards, and a 12 yard catch.
- Matt McGloin had his third career 300+ yard game (now second in the PSU record books, behind only Kerry Collins, who had four 300 yard games in his career). McGloin was 24 of 36 for 318 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception (off the hands of the intended receiver), and also logged two rushing touchdowns. McGloin currently leads the Big Ten in passing yards (1,006, 251.6 ypg), completions (83), and is tied for touchdown passes (9).
- Allen Robinson still leads the Big Ten in receptions (7.2 per game), receiving yards (101.1 per game), and TD catches (5).
- Michael Mauti, for the fourth straight week, led the team in tackles. His 42 tackles for the season is #2 in the conference, and he's 2/3 of the way to his career-best season total (67, in 2010).
A switch to a more traditional running back position wasn't expected, but it seems to have worked out for Zordich:
It isn't the prettiest thing when a career blocking fullback starts carrying the football on a regular basis, but you got to hand it to the redshirt senior: For a guy who only gained 30 yards on 15 carries all of last year, he certainly is taking advantage of his moments in the bright lights.
Or, just maybe, he should have been on center stage a little more in the past.
"I remember my true freshman season, he was a linebacker and got switched to fullback for bowl practice," Urschel said. "He got the ball a couple of times and he ran just hard as could be. I had no clue he had it in him. He was just running people over. From then on, I just knew he was a hitter."
The Nittany Lions, once written off, still have something to play for this season: a division championship.
Though it may be premature to be talking about division championships, Penn State has an opportunity to make a statement to what is the weaker of the Big Ten’s two divisions. Ohio State is undefeated but was a late touchdown away from playing a one-score game with Alabama-Birmingham Saturday in Columbus.
Wisconsin is having quarterback struggles and lost to Oregon State. Illinois, Indiana and Purdue don’t exactly strike the fear of God into anyone.
Penn State hasn’t exactly been perfect this season either. In fact, the Lions have been far from it, but there’s no shortage of confidence on this team.
Count head coach Bill O'Brien amongst those who've been happy with the way McGloin has played over the past few weeks:
"You have to give (McGloin) a lot of credit," Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said. "To this point in the season, he’s a much improved quarterback. He’s making good decisions with the ball...I really like the way he keeps his poise. That was really good to see. It was a good ballgame by Matt."
Fisher remembered those spring workouts. In the last 10 or so, McGloin changed. Even if he looked beat up on the outside, he started to realize that he needed to forget the problems, the criticism, the mistakes. He needed to move on quickly.
Fisher saw McGloin make better decisions while throwing and noted the determined way he called plays at the line. McGloin had begun developing a different persona.
He's also inspired the entire offense, and his confidence is contagious, according to ESPN.
It seems like bloggers weren't the only ones who noticed some trash talking from the Temple faithful before the game (warning: Giger alert):
"Temple was kind of like running their mouth, saying how last year we got away with a win and this year how they were going to steal one and how the streak was going to end," Nittany Lion cornerback Stephon Morris said.
"Coach O'Brien definitely made us very aware of everything that was said with the media and how Temple was supposed to beat us this year and how our team was supposed to be weak."
"You kind of roll with the punches I guess," said Ficken, who connected on all three extra points and a 21-yard field goal Saturday against Temple. "I did miss four kicks. I understand fans being pretty upset, but you gotta move forward. You can’t really say anything about them being negative about me."
Over on ESPN, the Big Ten bloggers think Penn State could play spoiler.
After Penn State dropped its emotionally charged season opener against Ohio and kicked away a sure win at Virginia, many felt the Lions had reached their breaking point after a nightmarish offseason. Predictions of three-win seasons rolled in. Instead, Bill O'Brien's squad has made a nice turnaround and recorded convincing wins against Navy and Temple.
ICYMI on BSD: Devon's instant take on the victory.
Lastly, from our friend Temple Football Forever...there's no such thing as garbage time touchdowns. Can't wait for 2014, y'all!
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