Sunday, October 12, 2008

Penn State destroys Wisconsin, "still untested"

It appears I underestimated Penn State and overestimated Wisconsin. My prediction of Penn State 31, Wisconsin 14 was not even close. How about 48-7? Good guys, of course. The Nittany Lions controlled the entire game in "hostile" Camp Randall last night. As has been the case in many of PSU's games this season the starters didn't last the whole game.

QB Daryll Clark went 16 of 25 for 244 yards with a TD and INT. After his INT he was visibly distraught and angry with himself; you could tell he wanted to come out on the next drive to redeem himself. It wouldn't happen. With less than 10 minutes to go in the 4th and a commanding 34 point lead at the time, Clark's day was over; it was Pat Devlin's turn.

On the ground Evan "Rolls" Royster (check out his fans at Beaver Stadium named Blue "Royster" Cult) rushed 14 times for 60 yards and scored an easy TD on an option play in which Clark was leveled by Wisconsin's DeAndre Levy. RB Stephfon Green had 7 attempts for a meager 15 yards. Clark also added 6 rushes for a paltry 12 yards but did score on the ground on 2 occasions.

Eight different players caught passes from Clark or Devlin. WR Deon Butler lead the way with 3 for 70 yards and a TD. WR Jordan Norwood, back from a hamstring injury after missing 2 games, had 3 catches for 59 yards. WR Derrick Williams had 4 for 26 yards but his biggest play came in the return game. After the PSU 'D' made Wisconsin go three-and-out again, Williams took the punt 63 yards to the house to give Penn State a commanding 17-0 lead, one which they never relinquished.

Aaron Maybin is a beast. He had at least 2 sacks and caused 2 fumbles, one of which Penn State recovered. He is a dominant pass rushing DE, one that belongs on the All-Big Ten team. If he keeps this up he could be an All-American. The defense overall played a sound game and kept their opponent concealed and out of the end zone on all but one occasion, much like last week versus Purdue. CB Lydell Sargeant had a wonderful game, picking of a pass from both Wisconsin QBs (Allan Evridge and Dustin Sherer). The defensive line got a lot of pressure all night, lead by Maybin, and the linebackers were able to stuff the Badgers dynamic RB trio of P.J. Hill (15 carries for 58 yards), John Clay (1o for 43), and Zach Brown (1 for 11). They had some trouble containing Evridge on scrambles and designed runs, but this may be because they weren't practicing contain nor had a LB or safety spy (like they most likely will against Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State). Evridge scrambled for Wisconsin's only TD all night.

After the game was over and Mike Patrick and Todd Blackledge had been convinced this Penn State team was for real, ESPN studio analyst Mark May disagreed. May went on record to say that Penn State has yet to be tested in 7 games. Funny, he picked Wisconsin to win the game and yet, when Penn State blows them out, they still haven't been tested? OK.

Moving away from the douche that is Mark May, Penn State head home for their annual homecoming game against hated Big Ten rival Michigan... who lost to Toledo yesterday. Yeah. The Wolverines are 2-4 and are struggling without the likes of Lloyd Carr, Mike Hart, Jake Long, Mario Manningham, Shawn Crable, and Chad Henne. New Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is painfully installing his offensive system and is basically giving up on this season for a head start on the next one. How will the Michigan faithful respond to that? Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan since November 16th, 1996 (29-17 in Ann Arbor). Michigan has won the last 9 meetings.

Back to the Wisconsin game. With the victory, Penn State improved to 7-0 for the 11th time under Joe Paterno (first since that disappointing 1999 season). This is only the 2nd home loss in 3 years as head coach of Wisconsin for Bret Bielema. The Badgers hadn't lost back-t0-back home games since 2002 and this was their worst home loss since September 9th, 1989 versus Miami, FL (51-3). In Penn State's last 2 games at Camp Randall, they had scored only 3 points in each contest. They scored 16x that many in this game.

From Sporting News Today on October 12th, 2008.

With the 7-0 start people around the nation are wondering if Penn State could play for their first national title in the history of the BCS and be in the hunt for the first time since 1994. They will more than likely be ranked #3 after losses this week by Oklahoma, Missouri, and LSU. Looking ahead (note to players, please don't do this) leaves many to believe that if Penn State beats Ohio State in 2 weeks, they are bound for Miami on January 8th. Not so fast. I say what about Michigan State in week 12 (November 22)? Luckily the game is in Beaver Stadium.

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