Fresh Legs On The Defensive Line
One of the nice things about Penn State’s first half of the schedule is that while it hasn’t been/isn’t a total cakewalk — three Power Five teams in the first four games — it certainly won’t be confused with the most taxing of schedules. Part of that is that the Nittany Lions have taken care of business during the first three quarters of the games. Against West Virginia, they went up 31-7. Against Illinois, it was a similar story at 30-7. With the outcome in hand, the first-team on both sides of the ball weren’t forced into snaps deep into games.
While that might not seem all that important, those snaps build up as the year goes on and ideally, you’d want to save the “heavier” snap loads for the bigger games. Ohio State and Michigan for sure, but a White Out against Iowa? Pretty big too.
That’s why when I look at the snap counts post that Colin has been putting out every Wednesday, it’s been a welcomed sign that playing time has been managed across the entire roster. This is especially true along the defensive line, where the snap percentage through three games has been:
- DE Chop Robinson: 52.7%
- DE Dani Dennis-Sutton: 48.9%
- DT Hakeem Beamon: 45.7%
- DT Zane Durant: 41%
- DE Adisa Isaac: 38.8%
- DT Jordan van den Berg: 37.8%
- DE Zuriah Fisher: 36.1%
- DT D’von Ellies: 35.1%
- DT Coziah Izzard: 13.8% (one game)
- DE Amin Vanover: 10.6% (one game)
That’s a really nice spot to be in after three games, and with a Northwestern-Bye-UMass stretch coming after this Saturday, the Iowa game feels like the perfect time to let the starters get a bit more run.
Drew Allar’s Ball Security
I realize that I am jinxing it in a sense, but let’s commend Drew Allar for not turning the ball over yet this season. While I understand that three games might not seem that impressive, the list of Big Ten quarterbacks with over 50 pass attempts and no interceptions or fumbles is as follows:
- Drew Allar
- Gavin Wimsatt
Although I don’t think there was a big concern that Allar would be a turnover machine, he fits the bill of someone who would have an adjustment period: inexperienced, young, and a big arm. That’s usually a recipe for learning the hard way that not every play will be a SportsCenter Top 10 moment.
We’ll see what happens this Saturday. Obviously, Iowa is quite good at generating turnovers so I don’t know how much longer Allar will keep his streak up. But provided he doesn’t go Matt Schaub on us, it’s a fantastic sign that Allar is extra smart with the ball.
Week 4 Slate
Last week, we talked about a Week 3 schedule of games that lacked some juice. One week later, and boy oh boy, do I have good news for you: we get all the juice our little college football loving hearts desire.
- No. 4 Florida State at Clemson (12:00)
- No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon (3:30)
- No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah (3:30)
- No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 13 Alabama (3:30)
- No. 14 Oregon State at No. 21 Washington State (7:00)
- No. 6 Ohio State at No. 9 Notre Dame (7:30)
The only downside to this is Penn State/Iowa being on at the same time as Oregon State/Washington State and Ohio State/Notre Dame. Honestly, FOX should option OSU/Wazzu to a 10:30 kick so we all have a game that will take us deep into Sunday morning.
Iowa’s Skill Position Health
Iowa’s offense received some bad news earlier this week, and folks, I’m not just talking about the fact that Brian Ferentz is still their offensive coordinator. Instead, it was bad news on the players front, with Kirk Ferentz confirming to the media that the Hawkeyes will be without starting running back Kaleb Johnson, his backup Jaziun Patterson, and tight end Luke Lachey against Penn State due to injuries.
While the running back news isn’t that big of a bummer for Iowa — third string back Leshon Williams should be capable — Lachey is a rather large loss. He leads the Hawkeyes in receptions with 10, and although they still have Erick All at tight end, the loss of them as a duo is going to be a tough one to overcome. It certainly makes Manny Diaz’s life a little easier this week.
JJ McCarthy Being Perfect
If you are still on Twitter like the rest of us losers, you would know that through two games, Michigan fans were basically describing JJ McCarthy as a cross between Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Michael Vick, and Bo Jackson. He was perfect and could do no wrong.
That is, until he faced the vaunted Bowling Green defense.
Please do not share this video of JJ McCarthy throwing an interception. pic.twitter.com/CRychYRBcY— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) September 17, 2023
Also please do not share this video, which is JJ McCarthy throwing his second interception of the game.pic.twitter.com/R4d0P2i32V— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) September 17, 2023
Oh no, JJ McCarthy threw his THIRD INTERCEPTION of the night against a MAC school! Please DO NOT retweet this! Trying to delete it from the internet.pic.twitter.com/79YFKHc0sR— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) September 17, 2023
Three interceptions. Against a MAC school. Please, whatever you do, do not share those videos. I’m trying to delete them from the internet.
“One word” offenses against West Virginia.
Drew Allar vs West Virginia (2023)— College Football Report (@CFBRep) September 3, 2023
• 325 Passing Yards
• 3 Passing TDs
• 86.0 QBR
• 11.2 YPA
Drew Allar showed out in his first career start pic.twitter.com/WVLXFHXNJd
“Real” offenses against West Virginia.
Phil Jurkovec today in Pitt’s 17-6 loss— BC Football by Eagles Daily (@EaglesDailyFTBL) September 17, 2023
8/20, 81 yds, 3 INT; 11 rush, 35 yds