Monday, September 17, 2007

Pennsylvania Football Roundup - aka the War of Buffalo

I guess to make this a complete PA roundup I would have to wait until the Eagles play the Redskins...but I'm not an objective journalist, I'm a partisan blogger! My prediction is that they will win 24-10. McNabb will throw for 3 td's despite having a low per attempt average, and people will start talking about how good the Eagles are like they do in September every year (oh wait nm they lost to the Pack).

The major story of the weekend was both my college (PSU) and NFL (Steelers) teams played home. Saturday it was the U of Buffalo Bulls, Sunday it was the Buffalo Bills. I'd imagine the odds of this happening on the same weekend were astronomical. The last PSU/UB matchup was 107 years ago, and the Steelers last played the Bills in 2004, and not in Pittsburgh since 1996. Having them appear on both schedules during the same year would be impressive enough, but the same weekend? I may have to play the lottery soon.

Here ya go, with the teams I do (and don't) care about:

Chartiers-Houston: The Buccaneers beat the Bentworth Bearcats 19-7 (on the road...!) for their first win of the year. 5 years ago, I would have given a crap. Nah, I wouldn't have then either.

Pitt: Played at Michigan State and did better than this blogger expected, losing by only 17-13. Of course, if I was still dating a Pitt fan I would have to hear about how because they played Mich State close they could give PSU a game....but I'm not so thank your higher being of choice for that! 2-1, play UConn next week at Heinz Field, which means the field will be in horrible condition for the Steelers/49ers game the next day.

Temple: Gave undefeated UConn a good test, but ultimately fell 22-17. So...yeah good for them.

Penn State: Battle of Buffalo Part I. Overall, an uninspiring effort by the Nittany Lions, but that could have been expected due to a number of factors:

1) Still hungover from last weekend's craziness with Notre Dame
2) Noon start and insignificant opponent meant students were late arriving, and not as much energy
3) Looking ahead to next week at the Big Toilet where we have a legitimate chance to beat Michigan for the first time that I can really remember.

Offense, much like the first two games, started very sluggish. Austin Scott fumbled on his first two carries, one setting up a UB field goal and a 3-0 deficit. Scott was pulled for Kinlaw and he seemed to have much more energy (not to mention he could hold on to the ball). Morelli was way off with his throws in the 1st and much of the 2nd quarters, but improved as the day wore on and wound up with 4 TD's vs. no picks. First TD was a nice throw to Quarless, then a quick turnover put us in the red zone again, leading to the most amazing catch I've ever seen in person, by Jordan Norwood. I won't describe it, just click here and go to about the 1:20 mark.
So it was 17-3 at halftime, and Morelli chalked up 2 more TD's in the 3rd quarter to make it 31-3. That score would have been satisfying, but Buffalo played a full 60 minutes, scoring 3 TD's in the 4th quarter (mostly against our reserves). Luckily we countered with two more TD's, and the final score was 45-24. Give the Bulls credit for coming in and playing hard. Especially QB Drew Willy and the receiving corps, which played an amazing game. The defense played hard as well, and they actually rushed for positive yardage (because there weren't many sacks). This team is clearly on a different echelon from Florida Intl or Temple, and I bet they could even give Notre Dame a game.
Next: Michigan. First game in the Big Toilet since :01 (aka "The Squeal" - inside joke) in 2005. We'll be favored going into this one, but it looks a lot more scary now that the Wolves have a convincing win under their belt. We will probably have to play better than Saturday if we definitely want to win that game. Should be fun...

Elsewhere in college football: There's a clear 4 team argument for #1 right now, between USC LSU Florida and Oklahoma. Everyone else (including PSU) is on a lower level at this point.

Steelers: At least 100 Steelers fans around the country had strokes or heart attacks when the team came out wearing their 75th anniversary "throwback" jerseys - including gold helmets and white pants. The team also had some problems adjusting to the new/old look, managing to get only 4 field goals in the 1st half despite having a significant advantage in yardage against the Bills. At halftime they all put some sunglasses on (for protection from the helmets glare) and dominated in the second half. Matt Spaeth caught his second TD in as many career games and Fast Willie had a nice jolt to finish off the scoring. (Parker got over 100 yards for the second time this season.) Big Ben played well, with one TD and one punt pick. The offense was efficient moving the ball, as we only punted once; and the defense was dominant for the second straight game, although they got plenty of help from J.P. Losman. I seriously think that Drew Willy from the UB Bulls would have a better game against the Steelers than Losman. Final score: 26-3.

Elsewhere in the NFL...Browns shock the Bengals 51-45, making the Steelers' performance in Week 1 look that much better (though I'm sure Anderson over Frye made a difference). The Ravens rebounded from their Monday Night loss, with a predictable win over the Jets and their backup QB. Regardless, the Steelers have sole possession of first place (and a common opp in hand over the Bengals). The Patriots were disgustingly good, and you cant blame it on stealing signs since the Chargers have a whole new coaching staff. Colts won survivor pick Broncos did just that, beating the Raiders in OT....the Lions and 49ers are both 2-0, and are my nominees for the worst 2-0 teams ever...and HOW ABOUT THE HOUSTON FREAKING TEXANS??? The most amazing stat from that game was that their 34 points was the most EVER by the franchise. Sorry, but that's just pathetic. That's all notable that happened.

If you want a post about the Eagles after tomorrow night...just watch the game and save me the trouble.

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