No.1: Had plenty of opportunities in the first half
I mean, nobody is going to dog Penn State’s effort on Saturday. They made a game that shouldn’t have been close into a battle all the way to the end. That being said, the game was there for the taking for Penn State. It felt like Penn State had quite a few opportunities in the first half that could’ve changed the game. They weren’t able to take advantage, however, and that played a big part in the loss. When you hold the No.1 offense in the country to just 14 points in the first half, you need to have some life on offense and they simply couldn’t produce.
No.2: Give the defense all the credit in the world
This defense came into the game with a lot of flack following the past two games, and rightfully so. At times they struggled, but still deserve credit for their performance. It was by no means a great performance, but they gave the team a chance to win the game. Everyone they needed to see step up, and then delivered. Yetur Gross-Matos, Micah Parsons, and the secondary, all played well for the most part.
No.3: Great comeback effort
It’s safe to say that when Penn State was down 21-0, no one gave them a chance of making it a close game. However, Penn State had different plans. The Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points, and at one point it was a 21-17 game. But injuries eventually caught up with the Nittany Lions, especially missing Yetur Gross-Matos towards the end. Will Levis at times looked like a messiah for Penn State and then as the game went on, looked like a freshman. But I’m not sure how any Penn State fan can be upset with the performance of the team on Saturday. Did they have a chance to win? Yes, very much so. But they could’ve laid down and died, but they didn’t do that. They clawed their way into a game and once again showed why Penn State is the biggest threat to Ohio State’s Big Ten dominance. For another season, they pretty much took the Buckeyes to the brink.
No.4: Levis has potential but needs seasoning
As mentioned above, at times today Will Levis looked special but ultimately he looked like an unseasoned freshman when it got down to crunch time. That’s not his fault, that’s part of just having experience. That being said, Penn State has to like what they saw out of Levis. He played phenomenal for quite a good stretch and was a huge reason the game was close. He’s a tough runner and his arm strength is tremendous. Depending on Sean’s health and Will’s development, we could see a quarterback battle next spring and summer.
No.5: Parsons, Wade show how far Penn State has come but how far they still have to go
Penn State’s two best players on defense today by far was Micah Parsons and Lamont Wade. Both played like former five-star prospects and it almost culminated in an unreal comeback for the Nittany Lions. Parsons continues to show his future potential, and if you ask me, was the second best defensive player on either side of the field today. Wade, continues his breakout season and had 10 tackles with THREE forced fumbles today. For Penn State, Parsons and Wade represent where they’ve been and where they are as a program. They have a few guys with true star potential but they still don’t have near the talent that the Buckeyes have. If you look at the talent composite rankings that 247 has, you will see that Ohio State and Penn State share pretty much the same amount of four-star and three-star players. The big difference , however, Ohio State has 13 five-star players and Penn State has just four, 5-star players. I don’t think Penn State will ever get to that type of numbers but they need to make that gap smaller if they hope to overtake Ohio State any time soon.
No.6: Ohio State is who we thought they were...
I’m not sure how you can come away from this game and not think Ohio State is the best team in the country. For the majority of the game, Ohio State dictated that game and give Penn State credit on the comeback but the Buckeyes were still by far the better team on Saturday. They’re a ferocious group that is strong in almost all facets of the game. The defense will smother you and their offense will take advantage of your smallest mistakes. This Buckeyes team is my front-runner to be the national champs this season.