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BSD Mailbag 9.28.18

Is there a game or something on Saturday? Oh, I guess so...

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Does the Beaver Stadium whiteout at night currently offer the greatest home field advantage? Or is that title reserved for Iowa at night?—bearwithscarf

A few years ago, prior to Michigan losing in 2016, I would’ve given it to Penn State in a landslide. But going 2-2 in their last four big home night games makes me want to rethink that...though Penn State is 3-0 in home night white outs in that same time frame (and 2-0 against Iowa). Pretty sure that home streak comes to an end this week, though; last year, if we had played Ohio State (or MSU) at home, we would have won by multiple scores. This year, if it was at Ohio State, we wouldn’t even be close to victory. But this is 2018, and it’s in Happy Valley — so it’s going to be a good, competitive game.

How likely is it that we break last year’s single game attendance record? Also, how likely is it we break a decibel/loudness record? —swift_retribution

I think there’s a good shot. Last year’s game against Michigan set the record - a fact that continues to surprise me. With the game being sold out before the second day of single-game ticket sales to the Nittany Lion Club, and a number of key recruits using one of their official visits to come to the game, there’s a very good chance of it.

What is McSorley’s home record as a starter? 2. How big of a loss is Bosa to the Buckeyes? Isn’t that a pretty big blow to an already inconsistent defense and doesn’t the possible return of Simmons look to boost PSU’s pass rush with a fairly stationary QB?—BMAN13

Trace McSorley is 16-0 at home as the starter (and Penn State’s only lost one game at home from 2015 to present). His streak of 32 (and counting) games with a passing touchdown will continue, though.

Nick Bosa being out due to injury is a huuuuuge boon to the home team—though let’s be clear, Ohio State’s defensive line is incredibly, incredibly talented. But one doesn’t simply replace a player that would be the best one on the field practically no matter which team (including Alabama!) they face.

What kills me the most about this is there’s a ton of press about Penn State missing Saquon Barkley this season (though Miles Sanders is a more than capable replacement), but I’ve heard very little about them missing Bosa.

Do you think Ohio State fans are as nervous for this game as we are?—BlueandWhiteTangerines

I don’t know if they’re quite as nervous - but they’re definitely nervous. And they should be. Despite the fact they’re favored by most (and rightfully so!) crazy things happen at Beaver Stadium at night, and it really feels like many (fans AND pundits) are discounting this Penn State offense - with McSorley and the best PSU offensive line in likely a decade, this could very well be the best offense in the nation, not just the best scoring offense.

Ricky Rahne’s offense will absolutely score points. The question is, can the defense feed off the energy of the crowd enough to hold Dwayne Haskins and JK Dobbins to fewer scores than McSorley and Sanders?

Look for KJ Hamler to rip off a few big returns (even if no full TDs) as well.

Key mismatch in our favor = ? I think the key mismatch in our favor is Givens vs. their first-year center M. Jordan. Jordan was a solid guard last year, but he has struggled with low snaps and somewhat mediocre pass-blocking at center so far this season. Jordan’s problem is he is NOT a natural center, he is 6’7” at 314 pounds, i.e. he severely lacks leverage against the power ball that is Givens (who is 6” shorter with incredible burst and lower body strength). If Givens can consistently get in the OSU backfield, Haskins’ quick release and accuracy will suffer, which will be the key for our D success IMHO—lamgol

This is a good matchup - Givens being out for the Appalachian State game is a big reason, imo, that Zac Thomas was able to be as efficient as he was. Givens is the Lions’ best defensive tackle, and I’m not sure it’s close.

I actually think a better mismatch in our favor is our wide receivers versus Ohio State’s back seven. We have the talent and the quarterback to make the Buckeyes pay downfield, something they’ve been giving up - and our veteran WRs (Juwan Johnson, DeAndre Thompkins) have each looked much better after starting off the season looking pretty, well, pedestrian.

If anOSU struggled with TCU...and TCU lost to Texas, who lost to Maryland, does that make you feel better about the game this weekend?—bbsaxman

What makes me feel better about this game is the fact that it’s at home, and McSorley wills this team to victory at Beaver Stadium. It’ll be a tall task, but if the Nittany Lions are able to pull it off, it’ll because of the play of the veteran signal caller, and the offensive line.

How many false starts does Isaiah Prince have for OSU? Is that over/under 10% of the times he actually false starts without getting called?—C.McKean

Prince was the best player (perhaps not named Barkley) on the field last year in this game, after having a pretty abysmal start the year before at Penn State. He’s a more veteran player this year, and likely won’t have those issues - I think it’s more likely that their center will be thrown off a bit (though he’s played the last few years, he’s new to the center position) and guys like new left tackle starter Thayer Mumford will be called for it.

Which former Nittany Lion football player has had the most surprising current NFL career?—Gerry Dincher

An obvious choice here would be Cameron Wake, who went undrafted and played in Canada for a few years prior to his name change and pro-bowl career in the NFL.

But honestly? I’m way more shocked that Jack Crawford, now with the Falcons, is still in the league. Crawford was drafted pretty late in 2012 by the Raiders after a stint at Penn State where it felt like we were always talking about how he was going to break out, but he never quite did. After two years in Oakland, he played three season for Dallas (& with former teammate Sean Lee) before going to Atlanta last year—and seeing time in each game so far in this young season.

How big of a bullet did Penn. St. dodge by Brandon Wimbush going to the Irish? Or would CJF have developed him better?—LionfanAllan

I don’t think we dodged a bullet at all, but not necessarily because James Franklin and Co would have been able to develop him better (though they likely would have) - any time you have great players that challenge each other at a position, there’s a real opportunity for all players to be better because of the competition.

Would we have flipped Tommy Stevens away from Indiana had Wimbush kept his commitment? No, of course not. And because of the superstar status of Trace, Wimbush might not have been the teammate that Stevens clearly is, and may very likely have transferred at the end of 2016 or 2017.

But you can’t just not take a very talented player simply because you don’t want him to transfer down the road if he gets beaten out for the starting position - that’s a horrible way to recruit. And I’d say Franklin knows this - being the snake oil salesman that he is.

Do you think Urban remembers when we beat them in 2016? Or were the meds kicking in that day so he thinks ano$u is undefeated against us?—BlueandWhiteTangerines

Unlike some other things, Meyer seems to have not forgotten about how tough it is to play (and win) in Beaver Stadium. But for players like Haskins and Dobbins, both of whom weren’t yet Buckeyes in 2016, this will be a new experience, and as much as you can try to replicate it in practice, the full weight of the moment isn’t something that can be prepared for.

At least this game and atmosphere is basically how Ohio State would have handled it, though.

QB Confusion: Has Urban Meyer forgotten what QBs in his system are supposed to do? I am really having trouble processing an o$u QB who just stands there looking for an open receiver. It’s unnatural.—Paebr332

It’s really strange to me. Meyer’s teams, back to his Power 5 days, have all thrived when they utilize the strength and speed of a dual-threat quarterback - and Haskins is anything but. That being said, he is a truly, truly great player (so no wonder he didn’t end up in College Park) and with special players like that, you scheme around them, rather than forcing that square peg into a round hole.

We’ll see how much pressure the Penn State d-line gets up front; if they succeed, it’ll be a long night for a quarterback that checks down on third and short, rather than tucking and running.

don’t you hate it when receivers “shush” the crowd after a TD? Juwan did it, and AJ Taylor of Wisconsin did it against Iowa.—Dinsdale Piranha

I don’t really care one way or the other.

I think it’s tasteless when you score and are still down by double digits and gesture to shut the crowd - that’s ridiculous (so of course, if memory serves, that’s what Pitt did last year). But it can be effective - especially in Kinnick. And I’m not talking about 2017.

a personal foul call, well worth it (and one I saw coming a mile away after that Bill Belton score early on in the game), on the way to an absolute rout of the Hawkeyes in one of the funnest away games I’ve ever been to.

Worse than that is the DB that gives the “incomplete pass” gesture after doing really nothing to cause it. Even after being beaten on an overthrown pass.—TiogaCounty

Yeah, this is just stupid. If you catch a TD pass or rush for one, I’m all for celebrating - and I love when cocky offensive players hop up after they’ve been tackled and give the first down gesture. But if the ball is three feet above a wide out’s hands, or the receiver flat out drops a pass when the defensive back isn’t even near him, don’t make a gesture. You’re just being silly.

Assuming Sanders continues to dominate and finishes with 1500+ yards rushing and 15+ tuddies; what is the likelihood he declares early?—psualum9931

I was gonna be surprised if he came back when he didn’t look like the elite player he did last week at Illinois. I think he can improve his draft stock by a lot behind a line that’s been his best asset so far this year - though this play is simply baller:

A Rogues Gallery: Rank the following football coaches from least disgusting human being to most disgusting human being: Urban Meyer, Brian Kelly, Bobby Petrino. —Paebr332

Petrino’s the best of the bunch, because no one was physically victimized around his scandal (except himself of course).

If you you could suckerpunch one coach and one coach only, would it be:

1) Urban Meyer

2) Brian Kelly

3) Pat Fitzgerald

4) Someone I am forgetting.


It would either be #3 or Tom Ryan. The’d both deserve it, too.

When did you first know, in your heart of hearts, that tO$U was evil incarnate and should be banished from the face of college sports? And, in the future can we just refer to them as They Who Must Not Be Named?—Smee

I actually never hated Ohio State. In terms of their NCAA “scandal” under Tressel, I think they got caught doing something that many (if not most) programs actually do - they just got tagged for it. Their program is great year in and out, and churns out good talent in multiple sports - I was just so excited I could root for Kyle Snyder openly last year after Bo pinned Myles Martin and the team race was done.

Heck, I even liked Cardale Jones after his “we ain’t come to play school” business, during their 2014 title run - because it’s so rare that you see a quarterback who’s barely played all season come in and lead their team to not only a rout (or three) but a national title.

I didn’t even hate Urban Meyer...until this summer. And I still don’t hate Ohio State, but some of their fanbase (naturally, mostly people who didn’t even go to the school) are simply unsufferable. You get bad apples in every fan base, of course (and Penn State is far, far from an exception here) but right now, my ire is directed towards Meyer. Their program inspires envy from me, though, and I’m sure you lot’ll let me have it for admitting that in the comments.

Would you rather take part in an OSU ”Blackout,” or eat a Tide Pod?—StronglyTyped

This is a real sophie’s choice for me.


What would you rather do?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Be a participant in Ohio State’s "blackout"
    (51 votes)
  • 81%
    Eat a Tide Pod
    (224 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now

If you can pick a player from every opposing team we’ve played this year and put them on our team, who do you take? Are they your new starter or just depth? Do you even take a player from a school like Kent State?—skarocksoi

App State: DB Clifton Duck (in addition to being on the “all-name” team, he’s the preseason Sun Belt DPOY, so yes please)

Pitt: It’s gotta be Qadree Ollison (especially now that Mark Allen is out for the year)

Kent State: Sean Lewis (yup, I’m taking the coach)

Illinois: Del’Shawn Phillips (because we are in desperate need of linebackers, and a senior leader is the best kind of LB)

How long is it going to be till we’re the team to beat in the B1G and not anOSU? Two years, three, more?—RWReese

As long as Meyer is in Columbus, they’ll be the team to beat - though for some reason, it seems like Harbaugh’s up there perception-wise. I guess there’s something to be said for continually competing for third place your division?

Can you name ONE historically important event that took place in the state of Ohio? And don’t answer about the Wright Brothers and powered flight. Ohio sucks so badly the Wright Brothers had to take their plane to another state to get it off the ground.—Paebr332

When was the last time you saw such hilarious commercials, which were the Dr. Pepper Commercials?. This one, too.Dinsdale Piranha

I actually don’t find the first one funny.

But the second one? Holy hell. I hadn’t seen that before - it’s a doozy. That cheerleader is my idol.

The Creamery is debuting “White Out.” Popcorn-flavored ice cream with white chocolate. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is your favorite food ever and 1 is Coors Light, where on the flavor scale do you predict this stuff will land?—NittanyPUMA

Negative something. The idea of popcorn flavored ice cream makes me want to vomit, and when it comes to ice cream, you should, you know, actually want to try it. This new flavor makes me want to run in the opposite direction - a far cry from sticky bun, which came out recently as well.

Do you have a cutoff day for questions to be posted and qualify for consideration in your answer posting?—48-14

I decided to pop this one in here because I’ve gotten it (or variations on it) a few times recently.

For your edification, I typically write these mailbags on Thursday evening - so anytime before around 6 or 7 on Thursday means you have a good shot at making it to the mailbag.

In addition to my fanpost where I take questions, you can also tweet at me (or DM me) if you have a question you think of prior to the questions post going up.