Penn State dropped to 0-2 on the year after a loss to Ohio State on Saturday night. The result wasn’t a huge surprise for anyone who has paid attention, but the lack of preparedness by the Nittany Lions was. We’ll once again who saw their stock rise and who saw theirs fall in week two.
1. Jahan Dotson
It certainly appears like the Nittany Lions have themselves a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver in Jahan Dotson. After a strong showing in week one, including a would-be game-winning touchdown, Dotson set the world alight against the Buckeyes. The junior from Nazareth, Pa. caught eight balls for 144 yards and three touchdowns, including back-to-back circus catches, the second of which came over projected first-round pick Shaun Wade. In fact, Dotson got the better of Wade (seems to be a trend) for most of the night.
In his second season as a starter, Dotson appears to be turning into a legitimate top target and with the slow emergence of freshmen Parker Washington and KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Penn State has some good things going at the position. Despite backlash after the hire, from myself included, Taylor Stubblefield has had a nice start to his PSU coaching career both on and off the field.
2. Journey Brown
“But Clay, Journey didn’t even play against Ohio State?” Exactly. Devyn Ford was solid enough, averaging 4.5 yards per carry on just eight touches, but the Nittany Lions desperately need a game-changer on offense right now and Journey Brown was supposed to be that guy. Brown presses and gets through holes as good as any back in the nation and Kirk Ciarrocca’s offense would be much more dynamic with him in it. It appears like Brown won’t be able to return this season, so hopefully he can either come back next year and have a huge showing or prove to NFL scouts this offseason that he’s healthy and worth a high-round pick.
1. Lamont Wade
Look, I’m not going to belabor the point here. You guys already know how I feel, but Wade had a nightmare against the Buckeyes. He’s regularly out of position. He’s a sieve in man coverage coverage, and he gave Marquis Wilson absolutely no help when he should’ve been over the top on a back-breaking third-quarter touchdown. In addition to the conspiracy theory nonsense and the transfer portal entry in the offseason, I find it hard to believe that PSU doesn’t have a better option back there. At least Jy’Ayir Brown and Tyler Rudolph could gain useful experience for next year and beyond.
2. Sean Clifford
Look, Cliff’s stat line was actually pretty good. He went 18 of 30 for 281, three touchdowns and one interception. But much of those numbers came with the Buckeyes in cruise control and he’s also never seen a pocket that he likes. I’m not as low on Clifford as others, he’s generally fine enough, but he’s not good enough to get the Nittany Lions where they want to go. It’s as simple as this, if you flipped the two quarterbacks on Saturday night, Penn State probably turns a 13-point loss into a victory. Granted, Fields is a future NFL superstar in my book, but these are the types of guys you need, particularly at that position, to put your program in a position to compete for national championships.