I guess we could all pick out one play, one situation or coaches' decision, and say that we could have gotten three more points yesterday to make the difference. No play sticks out to me more than that horrible, hapless, unworthy of scholarship, player who had no business on the field in the first place. Sam Ficken. He needs to go.
I have to admit, I haven't seen a single game since last years' Virginia game, but I can't believe PSU is still giving this bum a chance.
OK, all kidding aside. In a loss like this, we need to be able to grow, learn to appreciate, and see the good in a loss. Sam Ficken missed his first fg of the year...that was AWESOME. It was great because last season he would not have attempted the 47 yard fg that he had made earlier in the game due to his own ineffectiveness. It's great because from 57 yards, no one expected him to make it, except himself, his mom, and maybe Ryan Keiser. But Fickens' 47 yarder would have been good from 57 yards, everyone saw that.
So Ficken lines up to kick the 57 yarder, knowing he can make it. Ficken doesn't shank the ball, as many kickers may do when trying to get maximum power. He gets a good kick off, stays within himself...good tempo, good trajectory, the kick was just a little shorter than his 47 yarder. It was a good kick, and Ficken knows it. He also knows that he missed. What a great way to end the longest made fg streak in the country. No one really counts that fg as Ficken's miss except Ficken, his mom, and maybe Ryan Keiser. But on paper, Ficken now has a miss.
Had Ficken made that kick, which he could have, we would be talking about him, with the streak still going, as being a candidate for the Groza award. He still may be, but had he made that kick, he would be on the short list for sure.
But he missed. Part of me is glad he did. It wasn't a routine kick. It didn't cost us anything, even with the game ending with a three point spread. But now the pressure of the streak will not be there later in the year when he lines up for a 42 yarder for the win against Ohio State with time running out. Now he won't be asked about the streak. He is no longer perfect, and never really was, unless you ask his mom and maybe Ryan Keiser.
Ficken is not a perfect kicker, but he is better then Anthony Fera is, right now, and last year after the Virginia game. Fickens' worst kick of the night, a kickoff, almost went out of bounds at the four, but stayed in, and the returner failed to get to the 20.
Another play sticks out to me in this game as a huge positive. Fourth and 1, on our own side of the field, early in the game, after a time out. We choose to throw a pattern that will be good for maybe 2-3 yards, enough to pick up the one yard. It is a quick pass from untrue freshman Hackenberg to another untrue freshman Brenneman. The fact that this play was the call coming out of the huddle, with all the other options that PSU has, says a lot of the confidence in our coach to call the best play, no matter the age or experience of the players involved. The play went for about 8 inches more than we needed. A great throw from Hack, put the ball where it needed to be, followed by a great catch by Brenneman. Brenneman catches the ball, leans across the marker and then gets smashed back behind the first down yardage. A fourth and 1 pickup by two untrue freshmen. And that was the call out of the huddle after a timeout. Wow. To think that both of these players have to stay here at PSU for two more years after the rest of this season, or sit out...something they didn't want to do as untrue freshman...is great.
THE REASON WE LOST
Slow start on offense.