Oh, college football… How I love you!!
Well, that happened.
While a lot of people were saying that Alabama was ripe for a loss against a Texas A&M team that’s been playing really well over the past few weeks, most of this felt like lip service. You know, the kind of things that ESPN makes one person say on the Gameday set in order to appear unbiased.
And then- “Johnny Football”.
There are a lot of reasons why Alabama lost- coming off of an emotional win on the road in Death Valley, LSU’s offense showed a lot of people the issues that the Tide have in their secondary, Saban’s fear of the high speed offense is based on his knowledge of his team’s weaknesses; but the fact of the matter is that the Aggies outplayed Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, in several key areas of the game.
The Crimson Tide defensive front was stifled, for the most part, by the aTm offensive tackles. Combined with concerns about a quarterback’s mobility, the Tide were not able to mount the type of disruptive pressure that they are so used to.
Alabama’s offense made key mistakes and turnovers, and seemed out of rhythm all night long. The three turnovers didn’t help, particularly when the Tide defense couldn’t get any of their own… and the mental errors were even more egregious. On the final interception, it seems to me that the receiver on the end of the line of scrimmage did a poor job getting depth in the end zone, making it easy for defenders to cover both him and the primary target. In addition, with Bama’s defense stiffening and forcing a punt, to have a member of their punt return/block team create a neutral zone infraction for an automatic first down is an aggressive penalty, but one that is terrible to have happen in that circumstance. Again, the intensity was there for the student in question, but the lack of focus eventually cost them a final chance at victory.
But we can’t miss the point here- this game was won by Johnny Manziel’s continual ability to make plays and put the Tide defense on their heels.
After the third week in a row with this type of performance (Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State), the redshirt freshman has lifted himself into Heisman candidacy- and for good reason. Given the lack of a clear “star” this year, given Matt Barkley’s struggles, the game this weekend was his “Flutie to Phelan” moment; outstanding performance in high profile opportunity. I’ll leave the debate to others, but will certainly enjoy watching the electricity that all of these candidates provide.
Even if he doesn’t win this year, you’ve got to think that next year’s Heisman race is going to be something spectacular- Braxton Miller, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Everett Gholston, Tahj Boyd, DeAnthony Thomas… and those are just the ones I’ve got off the top of my head.
(And since I’m on the topic, I think that Marquis Lee needs to be included in this year’s debate. But that’s just me).
Does this loss end the run of SEC titles in the final year of the BCS? Well, not exactly… more on this in a bit.
That may have been the most satisfying win of the season.
The Buckeyes went into insanely hostile Beaver Stadium and shook off a tough first half to knock off the Penn State Nittany Lions 35-23 to take sole possession of first place in the Leaders Division. The 9-0 Buckeyes were led by Braxton Miller’s legs as he went 124 yards for 2 touchdowns on 24 carries. He also threw the ball 19 times for 7 receptions netting 143 yards and a touchdown. Carlos Hyde was relatively bottled up for the game, and only picked up 54 yards on his 20 carries, but he did pick up an important touchdown at the end of the first half. For his part, Matt McGloin had a good game throwing the football, picking up 327 yards and 2 touchdowns on 27/45 throwing.
It seems like this team is making baby steps in the right direction. They still struggle at times early in ballgames, but they did an excellent job continuing to chip away at the Nittany Lions defense. While things weren’t easy in the first half, they managed to go into the locker rooms tied at 7. Braxton and company then ran away with the game and did enough to hold off the inevitable Penn State 4th quarter comeback attempt. A great throw to Jake Stoneburner over the middle in single coverage with only 6 minutes left in the game basically sealed the deal as Stoneburner went 72 yards for the longest touchdown of his career.
I can’t say enough about how good the defense looked in this game. While they still gave up a few big plays, and they still struggle in coverage, they made good plays all over the field. Penn State had a very hard time running the football, collecting only 32 yards on 28 attempts for the game. It makes you wonder if the defense doesn’t sometimes “play down” to their opponents, and blow off games they expect will be easy at times. It could also simply be that Penn State’s offense plays better to our defensive strengths, but it’s hard to ignore that the two best defensive efforts this year have come against Michigan State and Penn State.
Kenny G. We talk about this a lot; implying that Ohio State should be ahead enough to get the backup some time. However, after Saturday’s performance, the “old right-hander” has deserved a series or two… mmmm, smooth jazz.
Pick Six U. It’s a legacy for the Lions, and even something McGloin has been a part of. PSU loves to work the short passing game, it would be amazing to continue this part of the “curse” that we have on their season.
Silence. OK, you can’t really “see” silence, but taking the crowd out of this game will be important.
Poise. Maybe if I write it this way, the offense will focus enough to not have any you know whats.
Linebacker? You. On the first play Saturday, Ohio State’s LB corps put them in a difficult hole with poor play. The Lions run a no-huddle offense that looks to get a lot of plays on the board- over ninety for the past two weeks. Having the players at this position step up and own it will go a long way to slowing down PSU’s short passing game.
Fast Start. Hit the ground running and do not look back. This team has started slow in virtually every game this year. Let’s put it all together from the beginning.
Silence the Crowd. Nothing more obnoxious than 106,000 PSU fans all dressed in white…and I’ll be right there in Beaver Stadium among them proudly wearing scarlet and gray. Take them out of the game early, please.
Pick Six University. I’d hate to see such a wonderful tradition come to an end, so let’s not let it. Looking at you, secondary. Don’t let me down.
Just win, baby! Most of you know that I have a personal aversion to Penn State, and I’m going to be in Happy Valley for the game this weekend as I said. I don’t care if it’s by one point, by ten, or if it’s a blowout (although I’d really enjoy seeing a blowout), just WIN.
Our friend Janelle checks in with a unique perspective on the school in Happy Valley.
I hate Penn State.
No, really, I loathe Penn State.
Now, when I tell people this these days, I’ll get responses telling me to have a heart and to have some sympathy for what they’ve been going through the past nine months.
They don’t realize that I grew up in Penn State territory, about an hour and a half away from State College. My dad is a Penn State fan. My grandparents are Penn State fans. My brother and sister-in-law are Penn State alumni. My mom and I are the lone ones that wear scarlet and gray in a sea of blue and white on football Saturdays in the fall.
As a kid, my dad used to take me to Penn State games to try to convince me to become part of “Nittany Nation.” It never worked. I was destined to be part of Buckeye Nation from day one. But I never imagined I would end up hating Penn State like I do.
Recently, I’ve spent time trying to find out where exactly my hatred for the Nittany Lions comes from.
It isn’t their players (although players like Moxie McGloin add fuel to the fire). It isn’t the school itself (I mean, it’s a school in the middle of nowhere…and since I go to Ohio State, The Best D&%# School in the Land, all I can do is feel sorry for students who end up in Happy Valley and not in Columbus). Up until recently, it wasn’t the coaching staff (although, even before this Sandusky scandal, I was never a Joe Paterno “fan”…as the rest of the world is finally starting to see, he was held in an almost god-like light by his supporters, and had way too much power over an entire town and even state). It’s not the new coaching staff.
No, my hatred comes from Penn State’s fans. It honestly has to be one of the worst fan bases in the entire country. Read More
Tim checks in again looking at the guy behind the guy behind the guy across the B1G
Throwing the forward pass is a big question mark for the majority of Big Ten quarterbacks. Their athleticism, though, is not.
Many of the 2012 Big Ten starting quarterbacks are doing everything they can to fight the stereotype of “game manager.” For a conference usually classified by others as boring, I see only four of the 12 projected starters as “pro-style” quarterbacks; the rest can be classified as “dual-threats” or “athletes.”
With that said, I give to you my 2012 Big Ten quarterback rankings.
12. Matt McGloin (Penn State): McGloin has started ten games in his Nittany Lion career, but just hasn’t gotten any better. However, he’s far and away PSU’s best option at quarterback. Last year, McGloin threw for 1,571 yards with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. With the Penn State program in such turmoil, it would be nice if they had a savior at quarterback. Matt McGloin is not that.
11. Tre Roberson (Indiana): Although he was just a true freshman, Roberson struggled as Indiana’s starting quarterback last year. His rushing ability can make him a dangerous player for defense to account for. And in Roberson’s defense, he plays for Indiana.
10. Andrew Maxwell (Michigan State): Maxwell sat behind Kirk Cousins for two seasons, not getting many opportunities to show off his talent. Inexperience is the reason why I have Maxwell ranked where I do. He’s got the physical skills, but just simply hasn’t played in enough games yet for me to rate him any higher than ten.
9. Kain Colter (Northwestern): Colter may not be the best natural quarterback for the Wildcats, but he’s definitely their best athlete. In addition to quarterback, he also spent time playing running back and wide receiver for Northwestern. In 2011, Colter threw for 673 yards and six touchdowns, ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. For Northwestern, it is simple: Get him the damn ball.
8. Caleb TerBush (Purdue): From everything I’ve heard, Purdue doesn’t even know who its starting quarterback is going to be. It’s a race between TerBush and Robert Marve, who has been playing college football for about fifteen years now. My guess is the Boilermakers will go with TerBush, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns last year.
7. MarQueis Gray (Minnesota): Gray has all of the physical tools to be an All-Big Ten selection. The 6’4” 240 quarterback has a deadly combination of size and speed, but he hasn’t lived up to all of his hype—now entering his senior season. He did take major strides last season, though, under coach Jerry Kill. Gray threw for nearly 1,500 yards last season and ran for 966, scoring 14 total touchdowns. But, like Roberson, Gray does not have much help as he plays for a team that finished 3-9 last season.
6. Nathan Scheelhaase (Illinois): Illini fans were left wanting more from Scheelhaase in 2011. After a very promising freshman campaign in which he threw for over 1,800 yards, ran for 868 yards and scored 22 total touchdowns, Scheelhaase showed little improvement in h is sophomore season. In fact, many Illinois supporters say he took a step backwards during his sophomore campaign. He threw for just 13 touchdowns and ran for 624 yards. Losing superstar wide receiver A.J. Jenkins won’t make things easier for him either, but Scheelhaase is another dual-threat quarterback that has the ability to drive opposing coaches crazy.
It was a memorable Senior Day in Columbus, although not the memories that Buckeye fans were hoping for. Ohio State’s offense continued to struggle against a solid PSU defense, and the Buckeye D were unable to effectively stop the big plays as Penn State moved to a Wildcat package to have success running the ball.
After returning from his 10 game suspension, Devier Posey received a warm welcome at his introduction during the Senior celebration; there was speculation that the fans might not have responded well to the last member of the Tat 5. His presence helped in the game, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Ohio State deferred to the second half, and PSU started on the OSU 20 after a huge kick. However, on the first play, Howard committed pass interference after biting on the play action. OSU’s D managed to shut out the Lions on first and second down, but gave up a slant for the first. PSU went to the wildcat, with Drake taking the snap and handing off to Green; who burst up the middle (and past Ryan Shazier) and ran 39 yards for the early PSU touchdown.
Ohio State’s Offense started with a run up the middle. Surprise, right? Miller took a sack on second down, and completed a pass to DeVier on a broken play. A pass to Herron on first down fell incomplete, but Miller’s keeper on the option look picked up eight yards; Boom picked up the first down off tackle. Boom was tripped up after a three yard gain on first down, but picked up nothing on the second. A fumbled snap on third down, and Buchanan came out and punted into the endzone.
Today, our long time friend Mike Pettigano from Black Shoe Diaries swings by the clubhouse to give us insight on the Penn State season as well as some of his thoughts about what might be next for the Nittany Lions. We also talk about fair media coverage… and agree that it’s not happening. Mike was the one that brought PSU’s efforts with RAINN to our attention… worth your time to get involved.
Penn State spent a good portion of the early part of the season struggling to find an offensive identity. Has the coaching staff worked out some of the kinks, or is the PSU offense still a work in progress?
The offense suffered a pretty big hit this past week losing Mike McQueary’s services on the sideline. He was the guy running the show, calling in the plays, substitutions, personnel packages. Granted, the reasons for his absence dwarf the problems on the field last week. But it’s the football-related answer to your question. Silas Redd has become the offense since late September, but he suffered a minor shoulder injury this week that kept him out of practice so far. He should be ready to go for the game this weekend, as he’s the most physically well-conditioned player I’ve seen in a long time. The guy was averaging 28 carries over three weeks in October, yet still churned out 100-yard games like it was nothing. However, Redd hasn’t been able to win games on his own. The quarterbacks have to be at least functional. And whatever the view on Matt McGloin may be, he’s the starting quarterback now. As long as McGloin avoids stupid mistakes, he can be a decent game-manager. That’s all Penn State needs in a quarterback, but hasn’t gotten much of it against decent opponents this season.
Whispers are that Silas Redd may not be healthy enough to play on Saturday, and it was announced that McGloin will be the starter (rather than sharing time with Bolden) – How does that impact the Lion Offense against Ohio State? Read More