About those “Strengths”
Entering the season the offensive line and secondary are supposed to be two strengths of the program. On Saturday, both units were underwhelming to say the least. The offensive line was weak up the middle throughout the game and the move to make Connor McGovern a guard and Michal Menet a center did not pay off on Saturday. The secondary throughout the game allowed too many big plays and left a few receivers wide open, including several that lead to an early fourth quarter touchdown. You could chalk up the poor play to it being the season opener but it certainly did not create any confidence for either of those units. They’ll need to quickly find some answers next weekend against Pittsburgh.
These Freshmen Can Play
In parts of the game there wasn’t too many bright sides for the Nittany Lions. One bright side throughout however was how well the freshman played throughout the game. Micah Parsons and Ricky Slade were among the top freshman performers. Parsons when on the field looked pretty natural at linebacker and was great at diagnosing plays and finding the ball. Slade has his ups and downs in the run game but overall showed off his speed and power including a third quarter touchdown. Redshirt freshman KJ Hamler made a tremendous catch in the fourth quarter that lead to a Penn State touchdown- and that kickoff return may have been the turning point to prevent a massive upset. We’ll look more into each freshman’s play next week.
Slow Start/Second half team?
To say Penn State got off to a slow start on Saturday would be putting it nicely. The Lions offense never got it going on the first half until their final true drive and was reminiscent of 2016 and the team’s famous slow starts. The special teams in the first half was pretty bad in the first half including a kickoff return for a touchdown on App State’s first kick return of the afternoon. The defense had it’s shaky moments throughout the game while also looking rather impressive in other moments. If the game is any indication of how the season is going to be a whirlwind for the Lions.