Final Score Penn State 37 - Youngstown State 3
There was an uneasiness in Happy Valley in the hours and minutes leading up to the game. Coming off the humiliating loss to Notre Dame before, the confidence of Nittany Nation was clearly shaken. Nobody knew what to expect from this team going forward. Everyone was mostly hoping to see a mistake free game and an easy victory. Let's hope one out of two ain't bad.
The Lions came out moving the ball well, but kept stalling once they got into Penguin territory. In the first quarter the Lions blew their only scoring opportunity when Kevin Kelly shanked a 30 yard field goal. YSU was contained well in the first quarter only getting two first downs and never getting out past their own 30 yard line. The first quarter came to an end tied 0-0, and the Penn State crowd was getting frustrated.
The second quarters started off with YSU backup quarterback Mike Schneider leading the Penguins out to midfield. But Ed Johnson registered one of his two sacks on the day killing the YSU drive. Penn State got the ball back and put together a good drive highlighted by a 16 yard run by Tony Hunt and a 16 yard pass from Morelli to Butler. But once again the Nittany Lions stalled at the YSU 32 yard line. This time Kelly nailed the field goal from 49 yards and the Lions were on the board.
On their next possession, the Lions forced the Penguins to go three and out. On the punt return, Derrick Williams returned the ball about 70 yards to the Penguin 5 yard line, but the run was called back due to a penalty which gave the Lions the ball back on their own 24 yards line. But on the next play freshman A.J. Wallace got the ball on a reverse and took it all the way to the house and gave Penn State a 10-0 lead. From that point the route was on. Penn State went on to dominate the rest of the game and put another 27 points on the board while holding the Penguins to only 3 points.
Offensive Player of the Game
The rushing game was a big concern after the Akron game. Penn State ran the ball much better against Notre Dame, and this game showed even more impressive. Tony Hunt punished the Penguins all day long in racking up 143 yards on 18 carries. He also caught a pass for 16 yards and rushed for one touchdown and is BSD's Offensive Player of the Game.
One of these guys ended up on their back on this play. He wasn't wearing a blue jersey.
Defensive Player of the Game
All week long the Penn State message boards were full of idiots saying Paul Posluszny was too slow. On Saturday he was all over the field it seemed. On critical running plays there he was stuffing the hole. On critical passing downs, there he was hitting the quarterback forcing him into an early throw. He led all Penn State defenders with eight tackles, but his play disrupted the Penguins offense on every drive. For that, Paul Posluszny is BSD's Defensive Player of the Game.
Somebody looks like they need a hug
Play of the Game
The offense struggled to put points on the board after moving the ball well in the first quarter. Just as the fans were beginning to think Youngstown State had a chance, freshman A.J. Wallace took an end around and rushed up the sideline for a 76 yard touchdown. The play ignited the crowd and the Penn State offense and started the route to an easy victory.
Averaging 45 yards per carry. What's yours?
What Went Well
The rushing game was awesome averaging ten yards per carry on the day and making it into the endzone four times. After struggling against Akron and doing ok against Notre Dame, the offensive line is showing signs of coming together.
The defense dominated the Penguins holding them to three points and 184 total yards offense and 47 yards rushing. The Lions also forced two interceptions, two fumbles and sacked the Penguins four times. The Penguins really only put together one good drive all day to start the second half.
The Lions were able to get significant playing time for a lot of young players including Andrew Quarless who caught two passes for 12 yards, A.J. Wallace, Jared Odrick, and Maurice Evans who finished with three tackles.
What Needs to Improve
The Lions came out of the gate flat. They can't afford to keep waiting until the second quarter to execute. Ohio State will put them down by a couple scores quickly if they don't come out strong.
Anthony Morelli had a horrible game only going 11-27 for 154 yards. He didn't throw any interceptions, but he made some questionable decisions throwing into coverage. The timing between he and the receivers wasn't there. He underthrew a few deep balls by basically holding it in the pocket too long. He needs to heave it out there and let his guys run under it faster.
I also felt he ran a poor two minute drill before the half. On second down at the YSU 11 yard line with 20 seconds to go, he elected to scramble and make something happen rather than throwing the ball out of the back of the endzone and regrouping. He almost ended up taking a sack that would have left Kelly a more difficult field goal. Fortunately he kept his balance and was able to throw the ball away. Things like this are the mistakes of a rookie quarterback. I'm confident he will get better.
The kicking game was shaken up with a new longsnapper and place holder, but the results were similar. While the snaps and holds looked good all day, Kelly shanked one kick badly and just plain missed two others. If we're going to win close games, we have to make fieldgoals.
The Lions have to do a better job of finishing off the drive and punching it in the endzone. Too many times they drove fifty or sixty yards and stalled themselves with a penalty, a missed block, or an incomplete pass only to watch another missed field goal.
Did You Notice...
with 12 minutes to go, up 30-3, Penn State kicked a field goal on 4th and 5 on the YSU 21? I wonder what Charlie Weis would have done?
This from the post game press conference.
A: Not quite. Not yet.
Q: But it could be?
A: Yea, it could be, and I could be God.