This must be what Michigan fans felt during the Rich Rod era. Your offense gains nearly 500 total yards, pausing only when it stops itself. And though you fervently hope for a defensive stop of some kind - any kind, really - you're not getting one.
UCF head coach George O'Leary, with his arms folded across his chest as if he was bored, watched QB Blake Bortles lead the Knights up and down the field. The end zone was the only thing that stopped them. Bortles threw for 288 yards and 3 TDs, completing 74% of his passes. Storm Johnson ran 17 times for 117 yards. Four UCF backs averaged 4.0 yards per carry, with someone named Jeff Godfrey taking the prize at a cool 3 carries for 50 yards - 16.7 ypc. Godfrey could have done better, if he hadn't tackled himself at the PSU 30 yard line.
Penn State's defense won the Syracuse game, and thoroughly dominated Eastern Michigan. But Saturday night, before 93,000 engaged fans, there were zero answers to be found. For every perfectly thrown ball by Bortles - and there were a few - there were three missed tackles, one broken coverage, and a frustrating lack of fundamentals, particularly against the run.
UCF finished with 219 yards rushing, including Bortles' minus 14 yard, two second runoff to end the game. Yet as unfathomable as that number is to Penn Staters, we've been here before. Actually, we've been here a lot. Penn State has allowed more than 200 yards rushing in a game at least one time every year since 2007. Saturday night's flop doesn't even make the top 5 most ignominious performances, and barely makes the top 10 (it places 9th, "besting" 10th place 2007 Illinois by 3 rushing yards allowed - miss you, Zooker). As painful as it might be for the next six days, it doesn't compare to the 314 rushing yards PSU allowed the Buckeyes in 2010, or the 282 the Fighting Zookers gained on Homecoming that same year.
BOB will rally the troops. He'll get it addressed, and the team will improve. And we'll take it out on Kent State next week.
Three Completely Unrelated, Probably Useless Thoughts
1) If redshirt junior Blake Bortles is a pro prospect, what's that make true frosh Christian Hackenberg? Hack completed 75% of his passes while averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt. And he finished his first turnover free game.
2) Still don't feel better? At least you're not a Nebraska Cornhusker. The 23rd ranked Huskers allowed 31 points in the second half, while managing to simultaneously get shut out, all after jumping out to a 21-10 lead in the first half. And that's one of the best aspects of Big Ten membership - no matter how badly we might feel on any given Saturday, somewhere across the league, someone is much, much worse. Thank you Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota, and Illinois. With some rare exceptions, you've always been there for us.
3) The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide, with "genius" defensive mind Nick Saban at the helm, and the best minor league players money can buy, just allowed 628 yards and 42 points to the Aggies and ass clown Jonathan Football. Even when you cheat, you still have "those" games.
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