Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on Penn State VS Illinois, Updated Throughout the Game

Post 1 - So each team has now had the ball twice and the score stands 14-7 Illinois. After a sluggish and weak 1st drive, Penn State woke up on the 2nd and handed it to the Illini D. Unfortunately the PSU defense didn't get the message. The defense has looked abysmal, allowing Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn to handle them. The rush defense has been poor. Josh Hull, as great as his story is, does not belong as the starting MLB at 'Linebacker U'. Please try Chris Colasanti. Tom Bradley needs to wake this defense up or it will be a loooong night.

Elsewhere, Alabama is CRUSHING Georgia, 24-0 in the 2nd quarter. Ouch.

Post 2 - After the booth overturned a fumble call, Penn State kept the ball on their 3rd possession and drove down the field. It was capped by a B-E-A-UTIFUL zone read pass from Daryll Clark to Derrick Williams. Clark faked a hand off to Williams who ran a wheel right down the right sideline and caught the ball right at the goalline. Fantastic. Tied 14-14 at the end of the 1st quarter. Looks like a good game. The PSU defense needs to make a stand. LET'S GO STATE!

Alabama now leads Georgia 31-0. THAT'S a beatdown! Back with more later...

Post 3 - Penn State just lucked out for the 2nd time this game (1st being the overturned fumble) when it looked as though Illinois was going to get the ball back on a punt return. The ball appeared to hit Nittany Lion Knowledge Timmons on the punt that Derrick Williams waved off. Luckily it actually hit the Illini defender first. Phew! Illegal touching, PSU ball. And Penn State drove down the field again! Clark saved the drive after a snap went over his head but he recovered and got it back to the LOS. A few plays later, from the Illinois 5, PSU ran an end around to Williams for the TD. 21-14 PSU with 9 mins. to go in the half. The defense played well the last time they were on the field (with some help from Illini penalties). KEEP IT UP!!! Picture below from There Is No Name On My Jersey.

And INT Anthony Scirrotto!!! Penn State is in business again! WE ARE...

Post 4 - Penn State did nothing after the turnover. Kevin Kelly faked a FG and did a pooch punt to the 6. The PSU defense stopped Illinois and the offense then drove down to the Illinois 31. A 3rd and 8 screen got the team to the 31 but Royster left the game with an arm injury. So with the scatback Stephfon Green in PSU decides to go for it. With the success of the zone reads, Clark's scrambling, and the screens, what do you think they call? Yep, a dive to the smaller back. Green gets stuffed, turnover on downs with 1 minute left in the half. They were in Kelly's range and had a much better arsenal of plays than a dive with your small back. That could be the difference in the game. I can't question the coaches on anything except that play call. What were Galen Hall and Jay Paterno thinking? Unacceptable.

Post 5 - Halftime. With 1 minute left in the half Illinois tried to muster some offense, something they hadn't done all quarter. Didn't work. On 3rd and long Maurice Evans made his presence felt. The junior, returning after a 3-game suspension, sacked Illinois QB Isaiah "Juice" Williams. The Illini punted and PSU ran out the clock. 21-14 at the half.

The Penn State 'D' stepped it up after the first 2 series. They are still weak up the middle, mostly because of Hull. I hate the big cushion the DBs always give but that's a PSU staple. Ain't gonna change. The offense has looked great for the most part. I hate the 4th down play call. That still stings. Time for halftime adjustments. Hopefully the coaches have an ace up their sleeves. Time to run up the score boys!!!

Post 6 - Illinois started with the ball in the 2nd half. The defense was stiff once again and shut down Illinois at their 48. On 4th and 1 The Fighting Zookers went for it...and didn't get it!!! Penn State took over on downs and drove down to the 5. Unfortunately they stalled and settled for a 25 yard FG. 24-14 PSU. Illinois mounted a nice drive after the FG and got down inside the PSU 25. Fortunately the defense, which was being handcuffed by different option formations, clamped down and stopped them when needed. Then the Illini kicker missed the FG! Still 24-14 Penn State. Let's shove the ball down their throats and go up by 17! Penn State has had trouble finishing their drives ever since they tied the game. Buckle up your chin straps boys, time to make a statement!

Post 7 - Penn State is not taking advantage of their opportunities. Stephfon Green fumbles and Illinois starts in PSU territory. Luckily the 'D' stepped up again and forced them into a 3rd and long, which they didn't get. Their kicker did nail the FG this time, a 43-yarder. 24-17 at the end of the 3rd. Penn State has controlled this game since the 2nd quarter. The scoreboard doesn't show it and they are still at risk of losing. They need to hold on to the ball and put up another 7 points. And then another. And another. :-)

Post 8 - Well there's one of them!!! The 4th quarter starts with a bang as Derrick Williams continues to have a stellar game. Williams returned the opening kick 94-yards for his 3rd TD of the night. Penn State leads 31-17. Come on Lions, 2 more! 2 more!

In Athens, GA, after a minor comeback the Bulldogs were within 14 of the Crimson Tide. However Alabama has added 10 more points and the score stands at 41-17. Comeback dashed. On another Georgia/Alabama note, come 2011 two NFL teams will be lucky enough to draft Julio Jones (Alabama) or A.J. Green (Georgia). RIDICULOUS talents they are. Wow.

Post 9 - Speaking of young stud WRs... how about Illinois' Arrelious Benn. The Illini sophomore burns the Penn State defense on broken coverage (thanks Mark Rubin) and scores his 2nd TD of the game. Illinois cuts the Penn State lead to 7, 31-24. Not to be outdone, the Nittany Lion offense storms back and eats up some clock. In a few plays Penn State is threatening again when Clark finds TE Andrew Quarless in the end zone wide open. TD PSU!!! The Lions are back up by 2 TDs with under 9 minutes to go. Clamp down defense! Score again offense! 38-24 PSU.

Post 10 - And Illinois responded by... fumbling! Emerging sophomore LB Navorro Bowman made a textbook play on the option, chased Illinois RB Dufrene to the sideline, and stripped the ball on his tackle. Textbook. Unfortunately PSU did nothing with it and Kelly proceeded to pooch the ball. Illinois ball with 5 mins. to go.

I found it funny when the game was cut to 24-17 that the sideline reporter for ABC said that Illinois felt they were outplaying Penn State. What game were they watching? The PSU offense has scored when needed and the defense has stopped them when needed. Illinois playing better? Um, no. Oh and Alabama ended up beating Georgia 41-30. Kirk Herbstreit said that he will rank Penn State #6 this week. 6!!!

The End - Illinois turned the ball over on downs and PSU ran out the clock for their 5th win of the year. A few things by the broadcasters over the final 5 mins. of the game:

  • Kirk Herbstreit reiterated that this [Penn State] is his favorite student section in the country.
  • He also will rank them 6th in this weeks AP Poll.
  • Herbstreit says not only will PSU contend for the Big Ten championship, they are "serious National Title contenders".
  • Brent Musburgur says that "coming in he thought Penn Stat was a really good team" but after tonight he thinks they are "a great team".
  • Penn State won this game by 14 on the scoreboard, in reality they were much better than that. They ran out the clock at the end and were conservative on offense after they went up 38-24. They should have covered the spread.
Well that's it from Happy Valley and that's all from me. Derrick Williams was the star of the game but Honorable Mention must go to Daryll Clark. Great performances by both of them. 'Night all.


No comments: