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Grading the Offense Against the Iowa Hawkeyes

(AP Photo by Charlie Neibergall) 

This isn't going to be pretty. Let's just get to it.


Daryll Clark had his game of the season. There is no other way to put it.

vs Iowa / 11.8.08 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rush Yds Avg TD
Daryll Clark 9 23 39.1 86 0 1 5 6 1.2 0

From the opening series he seemed tentative and unsure of himself. He seemed like he was struggling with his reads, his timing was off, and he often overthrew his receivers. This is a problem that has plagued him all season. This week it finally bit him with the interception in the redzone. Jason Avant had an eleven-foot-tall imaginary friend named Tacopants. Derrick Williams must have an eleven-foot-tall imaginary friend as well. Any ideas on what we should call him?


You have to feel sorry for the kid. It was hard to watch him being interviewed after the game. He manned up and took all the blame for the loss. You have to admire him for that. Sadly, he's correct in that his play was a large part of the reason we lost.

Final Grade: F

Running Backs

It's hard to really find anything wrong here. Royster did the most he could with what he was given. There were some plays where the offensive line completely broke down and there was nothing he could do. He just buried his head and got what he could. At least he didn't fumble the game away.

Stephfon Green was a pleasant surprise gaining 31 yards on 3 carries. Makes me wish he had more. And of course Derrick Williams looked good gaining 53 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

vs Iowa / 11.8.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Evan Royster 26 90 3.5 1 0 0 0 0
Stephfon Green 3 31 10.3 0 1 9 9.0 0

Derrick Williams

12 53 4.4 1 4 43 10.8 0


Final Grade: B


You can't help but feel bad for Derrick Williams. Since the day he committed to Penn State back in 2005 no player had been more committed to this program. He promised to bring Penn State a national championship and everything he did on and off the field was committed to that end. He played his heart out last night, and he deserves better. His name won't be plastered all over the record books when he leaves, but he should go down as one of the greatest Penn Staters of all time.

Everyone else sucked. Butler couldn't get open. Norwood dropped the few opportunites he had. And then he walked back to the bench like he didn't care. If I don't see Andrew Quarless on the field again I'll be ok with that. I don't think there is a player on this team whose performance has failed to live up to their God-given athletic ability like Quarless. He's a waste of a scholarship as far as I'm concerned. Mickey Shuler does three times as much with one-third of the physical gifts.

Final Grade: F (except for Williams who gets an A for his all-around performance)

Offensive Line

They just looked out of sync all night. Gerald Cadogen looked slow on his pulls. Shipley and Wiz were releasing their men and advancing to the second level too quckly leaving Royster to get swallowed up in the backfield. Ohrnberger was getting pwned by Mitch Kin. Landolt and Ohrnberger each got called for holding that killed two PSU drives in Iowa territory. The run blocking was ok in the first half, but Iowa adjusted at halftime and we had no answer for it. The pass protection was terrible all day. Iowa had seven tackles for loss (one sack) and seven QB hurries.

Final Grade: D

Offensive Coaching

I'm still trying to figure out what our gameplan was. I'm sure they were on the field before the game started, so they must have known they were starting out heading into a 34 degree 25 mph wind. So why do we come out trying to throw the ball on the first three plays? It was a colossal failure to observe the conditions and adapt. We came in with a script and by-Gawd we were going to stick to it.

All day long I couldn't figure out which part of the Iowa defense we were trying to attack. We came out throwing. Then we ran the ball with success, but kept stalling in the redzone. In the second half we got away from the power running game that worked in the first half and started throwing the ball again. It was like they spent the bye week just putting in gimmick plays for Derrick Williams instead of examining Iowa and developing a game plan to attack their defense. This wasn't the Penn State offense we saw all year long. When Williams wasn't taking the snap they ran up the middle and threw to the sidelines. Where was the originality? Why did we limit ourselves?

The decision to switch Stefen Wisniewski and Rich Ohrnberger on the offensive line completely backfired. Mitch King was owning Ohrnberger all day. I don't understand why they didn't adjust and try switching them back. I'm also disappointed they didn't pull Clark in the fourth quarter and give Pat Devlin a shot. It was pretty obvious Clark was struggling and the offense needed a spark. Maybe Devlin could have provided that. I certainly doubt he would have overthrown Williams that horribly on our final drive.

Final Grade: F