Well, let’s just go ahead and rip this band-aid off...
Yes, Sean Clifford did throw for 205 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 61 yards, but he also misfired on some throws that could’ve gone for big gains or TD’s and was sacked seven times (some of it being Cliff’s fault for standing in the pocket too long, but mostly his offensive line not doing squat to help him out). Granted, there were other passes of his that were on the money but his receivers dropped them. Not good, but not terrible either, so B-minus feels appropriate
Running Back: C
Keyvone Lee should be the starter and main ball carrier going forward. 20 carries for 90 yards (4.4 yards per carry) is once again a decent performance compared to how generally bad this unit has been this season. Let’s see if Lee can finally eclipse the 100-yard mark next week against Rutgers.
Wide Receiver: B-
Parker Washington led the way with 92 yards on four catches while Jahan Dotson had nine catches for 61 yards, himself (including a two-point conversion). There were way too many drops from this unit, though (KeAndre Lambert-Smith being the biggest culprit) which was truly unfortunate.
Tight End: B-
How about Tyler Warren catching PSU’s only TD? Definitely did not see him being the go-to guy in a 4th and goal crunch time situation. Theo Johnson also caught four balls for 28 yards. It was good to see these guys get targeted a little more this week.
Offensive Line: D
In a cruel twist of irony, the run blocking was halfway decent, while the pass blocking was downright atrocious, allowing seven sacks on Cliff, and getting him further banged up.
Defensive Line: B
Arnold Ebiketie was once again a beast, with his two sacks, including the forced fumble that led to PSU’s go-ahead field goal with six minutes to go in the game. Would’ve liked to see a little more consistent pressure on Cade McNamara, but AK’s performance keeps this grade good enough.
Ellis Brooks and Brandon Smith were the most active on this unit with a combined 26 tackles. Michigan however, was able to run the ball with some reasonable success, and the crossing routes over the middle were open all day, so perhaps I’m being generous with the B grade, but going lower than that wouldn’t sit well with me.
It wasn’t a god-awful day, but this felt like one of the more “meh” performances from the secondary this season, especially considering Cade McNamara threw for a hat trick of TD’s. When the defense absolutely needed to get a stop after PSU re-took the lead late in the fourth quarter, Kalen King and Joey Porter Jr. accidentally “picked” each other, which allowed Michigan tight end Erick All to run free down the sideline for a TD.
Special Teams: B
Jordan Stout nailing three of his four field goal attempts, including a 52-yarder was nice, as were his kickoffs all going for touchbacks, and him averaging 51 yards on four punts (including a long of 51). He even threw a lovely pass on a fake punt early in the game, on a drive which ultimately ended disastrously with a fake field goal attempt in which he couldn’t make a clean catch and got nailed hard enough to fumble the ball from Michigan 2-yard line, only to see it bounce all the way to Michigan’s 30 before someone landed on it.