In case you're wondering why this post is only going up now: I virtually quit watching about halfway through the third quarter and not too long afterwards, ended up meeting a friend to see a movie, forgetting about the fact that I had forgotten to write this damned thing. So, in the words of the late, great, Bill Hicks - bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this shit one more time...
Christian Hackenberg threw a pair of touchdown strikes to Chris Godwin and when he wasn't being rushed or sacked, looked pretty poised in the pocket. However, his interception thrown on a deep ball to the end zone on the game's opening drive when PSU was driving down the field, looking to draw first blood was a momentum-killer, not to mention the tipped screen pass returned for a pick-six blew the floodgates open in the second half in a game that was already getting out of hand. Trace McSorley also saw some duty in garbage time, going 5-for-8 passing for 39 yards and rushing once for -3 yards.
Running Back: B
After getting mostly bottled up by the Michigan defense the previous week, Saquon Barkley put on a solid 17 rushes for 103 yards, including a scamper on 3rd and 20+ that nearly got PSU a first down (PSU would convert on the ensuing fourth down). Brandon Polk also ran a nice 25-yard jet sweep.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: C
Chris Godwin was the star of this group, catching 11 balls for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and DaeSean Hamilton also was rather involved catching 8 balls for 78 yards. Saeed Blacknall had only one grab, but it was a 77-yarder that helped set up one of Godwin's TD grabs. The tight ends were non-existent once again, and Kyle Carter's lone catch ended up going from a nice first down grab in Michigan State territory to becoming a momentum-killing fumble that was scooped up and taken back for a TD by the bad guys.
Offensive Line: C
Yes, they allowed Hackenberg to get sacked a handful of times, but this certainly wasn't their worst performance of the year. Once again, a different starting lineup was used which moved Angelo Mangiro back to center and bumped Wendy Laurent back to backup center. This is obviously not a unit that will be an overnight fix.
Defensive Line: D
The losses of Carl Nassib and Garrett Sickels could certainly be felt as this unit struggled to get a consistent pass rush on Connor Cook, which allowed Cook plenty of time to hit his receivers in stride. Run support was only marginally better.
Missed tackles, being out of position on a regular basis, and poor pass coverage marred this unit. Backup center Jack Allen's 9-yard touchdown scamper in the game's final minutes just added insult to injury for this unit.
Save for a few plays here and there by Grant Haley, this unit was virtually non-existent, as Cook and the Sparty receivers, most notably Aaron Burbridge and R.J. Shelton had a field day against them.
Special Teams: D
Tyler Davis nailed a field goal and Daniel Pasquerillo was quite serviceable in the punting game, but the return game was non-existent and kickoffs once again failed to come anywhere close to hitting the back of the end zone for a touchback, opening up the possibility of a big kick return.