BEFORE WE GET TO THE ACTUAL MMQB ARTICLE
I just want to point out that I could have copy/pasted the entirety of last week’s MMQB, titled “Why is Targeting,” updated it to instead point out that an Ohio player literally tucked all of his limbs in midair, lowered his head, and porpoised into Drew Allar’s chest with the crown of his helmet but somehow was not ejected for targeting, and walked away from this week’s MMQB satisfied.
But I won’t, because I’m not a petty, small-minded man. I mean, call me small-minded if you will, because hand on a Bible I could not define targeting if you asked me to. So, call me a simpleton, an imbecile, an ignoramus. You know, a moron.
Because apparently this is not targeting:
And I still don’t know what targeting is.
Onto your actual MMQB article.
Hello fellow Penn State fans, and welcome to another edition of MMQB!
This week we’re going to discuss everyone’s favorite part of the game of football: kicking!
Yes, yes, I know, you all want to talk about Drew Allar and Nick Singleton and Chop Robinson and Joey Porter, Jr. But no, those topics have been beat to death already (and will continue to be in the coming weeks, months, and years, when Penn State doesn’t lose a game until 2025).
For now, I want to talk about kicking. Most specifically place-kicking.
Because I think Penn State could have a storm brewing when it comes to that aspect of their game, and it has to do with fifth-year senior Jake Pinegar.
Jake has been with the Lions since 2018, where he posted an okay 66.7% FG percentage on the year.
In 2019 Jake was muuuuch better, tallying a 91.7% FG percentage.
2020: 69.2% FG
2021: 50% FG (in fairness, he only attempted 2 all year, and one of them was over 50 yards)
2022: 50% FG
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s only been 2 games, why are you hootin’ and hollerin’?!
Because I care.
Because Penn State left four points on the field yesterday, in an otherwise routine day at the office.
A 42-yard field goal was missed on the first drive of the second half, Sean Clifford’s last drive of the day, which would have put the Lions up 29-7. Later, with the game firmly in hand, an extra point was missed that would have put the Lions up 47-10.
Neither of those kicks cost the Lions the game.
But let’s rewind to 2021, shall we? Let’s take a look at the one-score games that Penn State lost:
- Iowa 23, Penn State 20
- Illinois 20, Penn State 18 (9 OT)
- Michigan 21, Penn State 17
- Michigan State 30, Penn State 27
I want you to look me dead in the eye and say “it’s just 4 points, it doesn’t matter,” when adding 4 points to the above games swings the Lions from 0-4 to 3-1 at worst, depending on how OT with Michigan goes.
Tell me that Penn State going 10-2 instead of 7-5 in 2021 because of 4 extra points per game isn’t a huge deal.
Go on, I’ll wait.
While you’re telling me about it, tell me why a veteran like Sean Clifford gets raked over the coals for his errors, while Jake Pinegar’s get hand-waved away.
Why everyone is calling for Clifford to be benched in favor of the 5-star freshman Allar, while Pinegar gets to simply coast along while the 5-star freshman Sander Sahaydak languishes on the bench.
At the very least, I think it should be a question. Because in 2021, 4 measly points would have been a gigantic swing in the perception of the program, postseason bowl destinations, etc., particularly after how poorly the 2020 COVID season went. Sitting around and shrugging about the kicking game, while tearing the coaching staff apart for not playing freshman elsewhere seems like we should be doing better as fans.
Hopefully Pinegar gets these yips sorted out, and gets back to his 2019 ways. But if he continues to putter along, or costs the team a win, Franklin absolutely should put Sahaydak out there instead.
Play the younger, more talented players. Let the best man win.