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Nitt Picks Is Somewhat Articulate But Does Not Kill

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After an impressive 31-7 victory over the Akron Zips, Nittany Lion fans still found plenty of areas that need work. Namely, the running game. Penn State only managed 136 yards against a defense that was one of the worst in the nation against the run a year ago. But Evan Royster is convinced things will turn around.

Royster did not meet with the media after Penn State's 31-7 win four days ago, fueling speculation he was upset with his lack of production or workload. He denied that yesterday.

"I always want to get my hands on the ball," said Royster, who ran for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns last year behind a veteran offensive line. "I wasn't frustrated because we were winning the game. Hopefully, we'll play against some teams that are going to try and shut down our passing game, so I'm sure it's a give-and-take thing.

"I definitely don't look at it as disappointing. It was kind of in our game plan to throw the ball. We knew Akron was going to give us some problems with the running game.

"But, if you look at the film, you see a lot of plays where just one more block and we're out of the gates and we're running downfield for 60 yards. It's all going to come together with time."

FOS does a tremendous series where they break down key plays frame by frame. Normally this is a premium article only for their members, but today they are showing you one for free. In it they break down three plays from one formation to show you the different weapons Penn State has to work with. This is what the Spread HD is all about. Definitely check this out.

The new AP Poll is out and Penn State jumps two spots to No. 7. But in the USA Today Coaches Poll, which is the one that really matters in the eyes of the BCS, Penn State jumps to No. 5 behind Florida, Texas, USC, and Alabama.

Frank Bodani of the York Dailey Record goes over what we know about Penn State so far.

What we do know is the staff will be patient with kicker Collin Wagner, for now. He will be given every opportunity to succeed, but this isn't like other years. Scholarship freshman Anthony Fera is waiting and will get a shot if needed.

What we do know is it's awfully early for the team's top three tight ends to be banged up. All may play this weekend but at what level?

What we do know is unless Iowa finds an offense and Illinois finds a defense and Minnesota figures out how to do something other than throw to one receiver, the Lions may not be tested hard until late October and that trip to Ann Arbor.

David Jones takes a shot at Terrelle Pryor today and asks Penn State fans, "Aren't you glad you didn't get this guy?"

OK, Penn State fans. Remember how many of you felt two years ago when Joe Paterno wouldn't take his son's advice and kept playing Anthony Morelli over Daryll Clark? The quarterback position was in disarray and you thought the future of your team rode on the successful recruitment of the wonderboy from Jeannette?

How do you feel now? Aren't you glad Clark represents your team instead of the other guy?

I would be.

Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to hold up the thoughtful, introspective Clark as the embodiment of the Penn State brand.

Instead, you'd be attempting to defend comments like this one after Saturday's Navy-Ohio State game when Terrelle Pryor was asked why he Sharpied the word VICK on one of his eye-black patches:

"I'm not going to talk much. I'm just going to be very short and sweet with it. I just feel that, I mean, [Michael Vick] made his mistake and I think he needs more support.

"Not everybody is a perfect person in the world. Everyone does .... kills people, murder people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I just feel that people need to give him a chance. I always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will. I still think he's one of the best quarterbacks to me. I love Mike Vick."

Jones questions Jim Tressel for not questioning his star quarterback about the message he's sending and whether Pryor has considered how he will answer the questions sure to arise. Which prompts Jones to add:

More likely, if you're a guy like Tressel, you're afraid of such a tyrannical coach's demand as "Lose that eye patch" getting around the locker room and causing the real distraction you don't want -- a player insurrection. So you ignore it.

That is the choice you must make if you recruit a kid like this in the first place.

Which, if you're a Penn State fan, should make you really glad that Clark is your guy. Not because he might not have views you and other fans could find controversial. But because, if he did and felt compelled to express and then defend them, he could do so with cogent intelligence. Sort of like an actual student-athlete.


Looking ahead to Syracuse

It's getting harder and harder for me to stomach the media anymore. I'm looking around all over the place for some intelligent analysis of the upcoming game with Syracuse. And all I get are fluff pieces talking about Greg Paulus and Paterno reliving games from the 1950's.

Syracuse has played Penn State 69 times, more than any other Orange opponent. Penn State is 41-23-5 against Syracuse since the first meeting in 1922.

Paterno's favorite moment? A game in 1954 or 1955, he recalled, when Nittany Lions running back Lenny Moore dueled with Syracuse great Jim Brown.

Then there was a time when another standout Orange running back, Floyd Little, burned Penn State on special teams.

"I still remember Floyd Little running by me three times for three punt returns," said Paterno before smiling and mimicking a wave. "He waved to me."

Great story, but can someone please tell me what to look for in THIS GAME? It's days like this that remind me why I got into blogging in the first place.

Around the Big Ten

This is a huge weekend for the conference as Michigan faces Notre Dame, Purdue plays Oregon, and Ohio State plays USC.

In these cases, even bitter rivals like Michigan and Ohio State root for each other.

A Big Ten team hasn't beaten USC since 1996 (Penn State).

While Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said representing the Big Ten isn't necessarily a "rallying cry," the team is conscious of making a statement for the league.

"We certainly do feel we are carrying the flag of the Big Ten whenever we line up out of conference," Tressel said.

The Wisconsin Badgers may have had their team infected with the swine flu.

And with week one in the books, a favorite feature of mine returns with This Week In Schadenfreude. This week bloggers from Ohio State and Illinois are prominently featured. So if you're upset that Penn State only managed 136 rushing yards in a 24 point blowout, go read this and be glad we aren't those guys.

In Scores of Other Games

If you like Ben and Jerry's Icecream (Heath Bar Crunch is my favorite), you may be interested to know the frozen fat kings learned their craft through a correspondence course at Penn State.

Verizon Wireless is taking steps to address the increased cell phone usage during Penn State home games.