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Success With Hyperlinking Likes Wheel Routes

And special teams. #puntingiswinning

Big Ten Championship - Penn State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

ESPN’s Penn State blog has their season in review (including grades), and it’s no surprise what their play (or players) of the year is. The surprise to me? The grade for special teams - a B.

I get Josh Moyer’s reasoning (“This was the hardest unit to grade because, some weeks, this was the reason Penn State won. Other times, it statistically ranked among the nation’s worst”) but this by far was the unit that got Penn State to 11 wins. Without such vast improvements on special teams, this was an 8-win team at best.

Richard Johnson over at the mothership does an excellent breakdown of the wheel route and its effectiveness (and his first real-life example is Saquon Barkley’s score against Iowa), but my favorite wheel route this season was one I had to put in tweet form.

We (and Dennis Dodd) aren’t the only ones who think Trace McSorley deserved Heisman hype—Dave Jones climbed aboard the bandwagon too:

And that's what McSorley has brought to this Penn State team. He's been the winking toast of the evening, the guy who looks up from the bottom of a pile smiling. You might beat him up. But there's always that feeling he's gonna getcha, sooner or later. If any game showed that, it was the crazy comeback win over Wisconsin in Indy. The Badgers almost broke him into pieces in the first half. Didn't matter.

Of course, this being a Jones piece it can be about him (and he didn’t put McSorley on his ballot, unlike Dodd), but the quarterback should be getting a ton of hype headed into 2017.

Not to alarm anybody, but women’s basketball is actually pretty darn good this year. After handily knocking off then-#13 Tennessee in November (to the tune of a 14 point victory), the Lady Lions have amassed an 8-2 record, good for first in the Big Ten. Their latest victims? A Suzy McConnell-Serio-coached Pitt squad, which PSU dominated 91-62.

And it’s not just off the hands of one scorer, a la the Maggie Lucas years:

Penn State’s bench outscored Pittsburgh’s bench 34-14, and head coach Coquese Washington said her team can be dangerous with everyone contributing.

“I think we can be pretty good,” Washington said. “I think our bench is key. We’ve got a lot of firepower when they come in. I think Sierra Moore gives us a lot, Jaida Green can give us a lot, Peyton Whitted can come in and give us a lot.”

Presented without comment, just because.

Quick hits: The mothership ranks all of the bowl games in terms of watchability, and PSU-USC comes in tied at #2...Mike Watkins has been good if inconsistent for shootyhoops (oh, if only he could have played last year)...Men’s futbol has some players going to the equivalent of the combine for MLS...the NCAA released the GSRs for the top 25 teams, and to the surprise of no one, PSU was in the top five (Temple was #3)...Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre narrowly edged out Franklin for Coach of the Year...Stephen Godfrey breaks down how Army was able to break Navy’s winning streak...Even though they lost last week to the #1 team in the nation, a pair of Penn State players still made women’s volleyball’s All-American squad...President Barron, uber driver?