Sunday, September 6, 2009

PSU vs. Akron: A Good Start, But Not Great

Yesterday's game was as expected:  a solid win against an opponent that doesn't have the horsepower to compete with a team of Penn State's caliber.  Quarterback Darryl Clark and his wide receivers put on a passing clinic.  We were especially impressed with his connections with No. 6 Derek Moye, who caught 6 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.

It was a good thing that the passing game went well. Akron basically forced Penn State to pass.  They stopped our running game in its tracks, and that's a huge concern.

Of our 515 yards in offense, 379 yards were through the air.  We achieved only 136 yards in rushing, and 37 of those were by a member of the punting team, Andrew Dailey, on a fake punt.

That play, by the way, woke up a sleepy crowd in our section of the stands.  We all turned to each other and said, "Hey, what the heck was that?"  Nice play and a complete surprise.  But resorting to tricks because you can't establish a run might work against Akron.  It won't work so well in the Big Ten.

There were times, too, when we thought that Darryl Clark's passes were dangerously close to being intercepted.  We thought he took some chances that fortunately worked out, as we breathed some sighs of relief.

We were impressed with Penn State's defensive performance.  Akron had a very experienced offense, and it was basically shut down for most of the game.    It was good to see Sean Lee back in action.  We were wondering what happened to Navorro Bowman -there was some confusion in the stands at first due to his change in number from #18 to #11 but then we didn't see #11 on the field after the first few plays.  Sorry to hear that he has a right groin injury.  But Nathan Stupar stepped up and had a great day.

Okay, we had a great first half.  But we didn't score in the second half at all.  Akron must have made some defensive adjustments.  Or our team fell asleep.  Or both.

The Penn State team has to learn to play 60 minutes, not 30. That was another dangerous sign.  It might be easy to hold a lead against Akron, but a 31-0 half-time lead can be quickly wiped out in a second half.  We've all seen it happen.  What seems like a "laugher" turns into a tight game at the end.

It was good to see Kevin Newsome take his first snaps and create some excitement. He put Penn State in the position to attempt another score at the end of the game, but they ran out the clock instead.

People in the stands had mixed feelings about this.  Some felt the score wasn't high enough to maintain our poll standings.  Others felt that running up the score isn't our style, so to heck with the polls.  I'm with the latter group.  The game was won and the score was never close.    I'll worry about the polls after October 3rd.

As for the crowd, the student section was full about 18 minutes into the game.  Probably due to a relentless sun in their faces, it was pretty empty by the beginning of the 4th quarter.  In fact the entire stadium appeared to make an early exit.  It took us about 15 minutes to get home after the game.  No traffic at all.

What are your thoughts about yesterday's game?


  1. Hi Carolyn,
    Not sure you remember meeting Pat and I at a Penn State game several years ago. Pat is John Laudenslager's(John & Janet from Florida) sister. After yesterday's Akron game, we linked into your blog. I must say, I thourougly enjoyed reading it and after viewing the game on TV, concur with your analysis. I've entered your blog into my 'favorite' website and will visit often. Viewing the stats from yesterday's game, I was a bit alarmed the Lions were only able to convert 8 of 15 3rd down conversions. Next week should be a better test to evaluate how the team's season will unfold. Have fun and enjoy all the games this season. Hello to Terry!!!

  2. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for contributing to this blog! I think I vaguely remember you and Pat at a game once, but can't quite picture you. It was great to see Janet and John yesterday.

    In any case, glad you like the blog. I'm new at this, and hope to build a lot of followers and get some discussions going.

    We're hoping for a good game this Saturday. Syracuse may be more worrisome than we all expect. They gave Minnesota all they could handle yesterday.

    Best to you and Pat! Carolyn

  3. I think PSU was trying to hide some of their gameplan from some of the big ten teams; especially clark. Granted he had a great day throwing the football, but he didnt run at all. I don't think the coaches want him to display this ability until the tougher games when his legs will give them more options on offense.

    And as far as our rushing attack goes...We didn't really try to get in a flow in that aspect. Royster only got 14 carries for 61 yards; which is still 4.5 yards per carry. If we give him twenty carries I guarantee he gets 100 yards rushing.

    My biggest concern is the pass defense. When Akron threw (they should have done it the whole game) they got decent gains. What's gonna happen when we play against Stanzi, Pryor, Williams?

  4. Hi Nathan,

    I agree with you. The thought crossed my mind as well that Joe Paterno often doesn't want to reveal everything that he has in the first games of the season.

    We have to credit Akron for making some good half-time adjustments, and for not quitting when they were down 31-0.

    They had lousy field position in the first half of the game. So Penn State offense played a short field the entire half. In the second half, Akron was able to move the ball. And had better field position. We didn't score again.

    We have a long way to go before we're competitive in the Big Ten! And we should learn more against Syracuse this week. They gave Minnesota all they could handle.


  5. Also a 31-7 win is fine even against Akron. With Virginia Tech and Oklahoma losing PSU will move up at least one spot. I think Oklahoma State will jump them; that's the only reason they don't move up two spots.

    I don't think we will have to worry about Syracuse. Minnesota's defense didn't look near as good as ours. if we put pressure on Paulus (who has been out of football for four years) we will be fine. I don't expect much trouble.

  6. Syracuse was pretty awful last year. In addition to Paulus they have a new coach. So they're sort of an unknown.

    We need a couple of good games to work out the kinks.