With Penn State’s 33-14 win over Pitt in the books, we take a look back at the contest and some of the top takeaways from the win.
1. Penn State, is good, but there’s work to be done.
Despite beating the Panthers and looking in control for much of the contest, the Nittany Lions struggled mightily on offense for much of the contest. Trace McSorley had one of his worst games since Michigan in 2016 and the receiving corps struggled to create separation despite getting a number of 1v1 matchups. While the Penn State defense has unquestionably been a bright spot thus far, the Nittany Lions need to improve upon Saturday’s performance if they want to compete with the big dogs of college football.
2. Saquon Barkley needs to see the ball early and often, in every game.
Heisman candidate and more-than-likely alien Saquon Barkley carried the ball just four times in the first half for Penn State. That can’t happen. Penn State scored just 14 points in the half and generated less that 125 yards of total offense. Again, for a team that predicates its success on the success of its offense, that’s not a good sign. Barkley finished the game with just 14 attempts for 88 yards rushing but also added four receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. He scored two total touchdowns in the ball game and showed that when given opportunities, he’s bound to make plays.
3. Penn State’s secondary is one of the best in the Big Ten and maybe in the country.
Despite losing all-Big Ten candidate John Reid for the season due to a knee injury, Penn State’s secondary has kept on rollin’ in 2017. The Nittany Lions held the Panthers to 187 yards passing on 41 attempts Saturday, an average of 4.56 yards per attemps and held their opponents out of the end zone through the air. Grant Haley made an early, tone-setting interception and Troy Apke added one of his own in the second quarter. Amani Oruwariye and Christian Campbell continued to prove their worth and Marcus Allen, when in the game, showed that he’s still a force against the run.