The box score doesn’t always tell the whole story, but let’s see what the numbers say as Penn State defeated Georgia State to move to 3-0 on the season.
Eight different Penn State players scored a touchdown Saturday night — Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, Miles Sanders, Daesean Hamilton, Tommy Stevens, Saeed Blacknall, Brandon Polk, and Andre Robinson all found paydirt. After two weeks of leaning on Barkley and Mike Gesicki for touchdowns, it was a welcome sight to see everybody get involved in the party.
Having four receptions for 142 yards, Barkley had a big day catching the ball. Unfortunately, it was a quiet day on the ground for No. 26, who averaged only 4.7 yards per carry behind some mediocre blocking. Obviously, the Georgia State team was selling out to stop Barkley on the run, but the point still stands — the offensive line needs to do a better job of opening up lanes.
One very easy way to dominate the teams you are suppose to dominate: Win the turnover battle. Penn State did just that against Georgia State, with Marcus Allen, Grant Haley, and Tariq Castro-Fields all picking off passes, while Yetur Gross-Matos and Kevin Givens recovered fumbles. It also helped matters that Penn State’s offense didn’t have a single turnover.
Former defensive coordinator Tom Bradley would be proud because the Nittany Lions’ defense may have bent, but it never broke. Georgia State’s biggest play went for a gain of just 22 yards. If the Penn State defense can continue to keep the cap on offenses and not allow explosive plays, good things will usually happen.
The defense allowed zero points, but there’s still work to be down for Brent Pry’s guys. One area that could use some improvement? Getting off the field on 3rd downs — Georgia State converted on 52.3% of its 3rd downs. Heading into Big Ten play, better teams will be able to capitalize on the extended drives.