Penn State isn’t perfect, but knows how to respond
The Nittany Lions did some things well, but were far from perfect against Central Michigan. There were too many breakdowns in fundamentals that kept CMU in the ballgame for the first three quarters. There were missed blocks, missed coverages, Clifford misfiring on open targets, a blocked extra point, drops, missed tackles...you get the point. There was far too much slopiness that prevented a breezy afternoon victory against an overmatched Central Michigan squad. To their credit however, Penn State shows resiliency, not allowing missed opportunities to turn into momentum swings. They approach each play the same, recovering from mistakes and showing discipline to stay in control regardless of what’s happening. It would have been preferred to see the team hitting on all cylinders and blow past CMU, but it’s good to know this team has some grit and resiliency when push comes to shove.
Brenton Strange might be a Mackey Award contender
Strange obviously put in some major work during the offseason. He’s been a reliable part of the offense since 2020, but this year has seen a completely different player. He has become a frequent targer of Clifford, and his ability to shake off defenders to pick up yards after the catch has been a tremendouly valuable asset in the passing game. His blocking ability is also why the run game has seen a resurgence in the first four weeks. This a strong year for the tight end position in college football, but Strange may have a shot if he keeps playing at this level with several high-profile games on the way.
The run game still has work to do
Last week’s performace by the offensive line was the best we’ve seen in several years. But it will take more than one game to turn the corner. The offensive line struggled to open lanes against a Central Michigan defense that has looked very poor against Oklahoma Staet and South Alabama. There’s much to be excited about when considering the explosiveness and potential of a strong running game, but they will need to prove much more consistent - against much more stronger defensive fronts coming around the bend.
4 Other unrelated thoughts:
Between Barney Amor, Chop Robinson and Mitchell Tinsley, the staff made masterful use of the transfer portal this season...the kickoff team will need to do their jobs this year without Jordan Stout blasting the ball out of the back of the end zone on nearly every attempt...it’s troublesome that this team can’t depend on a field goal that should be automatic...as a Browns fan I absolutely despised Joey Porter Sr., but it’s nothing but love for the Porter family now.