Posted on: October 10, 2008 1:57 pm
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2 tests down, 3 to go

Penn State jumped another hurdle last week, traveling to West Lafayette to take on Purdue for an early game.  While it wasn't a blowout, I think the team can still be happy with the win.  The offense wasn't as high flying as usually, but the ground game was excellent.  Running has always been and will still be the bread and butter of a Penn State Offense (even though we have the Spread HD now).  Royster behind that O-line is averaging almost 8 yards per carry.  Daryll Clark got done what he needed to get done to win the game, and when this game was sandwiched between an emoitonal Illinois game and a looming game at Wisconsin, I think we can be happy with the offense.

Our defense on the other hand looked excellent.  Josh Hull responded to the criticism and stepped up his game, our secondary contained a powerful passing attack and our line looked good as usual.  I think now, all the pieces are there.  We've seen all of our units have good to great games.  More importantly, we've seen units step up when they needed to step up.  That's what makes a team great.  Going into Camp Randall tomorrow will answer some more questions, but the Lions have passed every test so far.  I think the more traditional offense of Wisconsin will make it easier for our defense to stop.  On the other side of the ball, our spread will be matched up against a defense that struggled to contain the spread offense of Michigan (and we have more weapons in our arsenal than they do).  I wouldn't be shocked if this was another decisive victory for the lions.

Predicition:  Penn State 27 Wisconsin 10
Posted on: October 2, 2008 11:45 am
 

Moving on up to Number 6

After 4 decisive victories and a close, but solid victory over number 22 Illinois, the Nittany Lions have found themselves 1 spot away from the Top 5.  But how good of a team is this really?  They've passed all their tests up to this point, but the next 4 weeks should be very telling.  With the two toughest games of the season on the road (Wisconsin and Ohio State), and early game at Purdue coming after an emotional week, and a home game against the dreaded mental block that is Michigan, who looks better than expected after that Wisconsin victory (although Wisconsin is not the best road team).  But lets take a look at some highlights and what can be learned from last weeks game:

1. This is a typical Penn State running game.  Royster looks excellent, the O-line is opening up holes for him, and Green provides a nice mix up with his speed, even though he fumbled.  I do have to question why we gave the ball to Green on 4th and 1.  QB sneak it, or give it to the powerful Royster.  Its fine to run Green between the tackles sometimes, but never on 3rd or 4th and short.  Just plain stupid.

2.  When Derrick Williams touches the ball, good things happen.  I realize his career has been a disappointment for most, but I only give him partial blame.  With a good QB freshman year, he did great things until he was injured.  The past 2 years, he hasn't gotten the touches he needs and deserves, and he had Morelli throwing the ball to him.  I loved seeing him line up in the slot, at wideout and in the backfield.  That's how we have to use him.  If we continue to do that, our offense will continue to roll.

3.  Its almost time to begin comparing this offense to the '94 offense.  The O-line is great, we have 3 great wide recievers, a powerful running attack, a versitile QB and 2 good TEs.  There are so many weapons on this offense.  We looked good the first 4 games, but that wasn't the best of measures.  We still looked good againt Illinois.  There were a few errors, but the offense should learn from them and improve in the coming weeks.  Illinois doesn't have the best defense in the big ten, so at this point I'm still calling it a good offense.  But with games against OSU and Wisconsin it can become a great offense, comparable to the '94 Offense.

4.  Our defense needs some work.  For the first time in a while, the offense is the stronger unit.  The loss of Dan Connor and Sean Lee were evident in the game against Illinois, especially at the beginning.  Our secondary did a pretty good job as well as our d-line, but our LBs need to play better coverage and do a better job of filling in the holes on the run.  I give them a lot of credit for stepping up their game after the first 2 scores, but there is definitely some work to be done.  I think they are a very talented unit, but they need some experience.  I have faith that they will continue to work hard and gain that experience in the coming weeks.  By the end of the season they should be looking like a typical Penn State defense, but for now, there is a lot of room for improvement.  Bradley does an excellent job and he will get them into shape.  It is a little weird having more faith in the offense though, I think its mainly a carry over from Morelli.

5. The fans are amazing.  That whiteout looked awesome, the fans were loud, and it was a great experience overall.  Keep up the good work Nittany Lion's faithful, because you are making Beaver Stadiums one of the toughest in the country for opponents. 

Looking ahead to next week, JoePa needs to keep his team focused.  Jumping up to number 6 is always a bit scary, and coming off a pumped up emotional game might be tough.  I would be surprised to see Purdue get the lead at first, especially since its a noon game.  Our offense will wake up though and continue to roll leading PSU to victory.  Should be a good matchup between Curtis Painter and our secondary.  Look for a pick from Scirotto to either seal the victory or gain some big momentum.  Dwill should have a solid game, but last game will be tough to top.  He's a big time player, and I'm sure he'll have at least a big 3rd down conversions or 2.  Hopefully Norwood is back in action.  Not that we should need him to beat Purdue, but its always nice to see a reciever of his caliber in ther.  If he plays, he'll be sure to find the endzone.  Prediction: Penn State 35, Purdue 17.

For the Glory,
Scott
 
 
 
 
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