The Nittany Lions won their first game under the Bill O’Brien era on Saturday by a score of 34-7. After the incredibly disappointing losses to Ohio and Virginia, it is good to see the program experience something positive after the most difficult off-season in program history.
- Allen Robinson- This young man has put in the time to become a legitimate weapon at wideout for the Lions. A 2-star recruit who went to the same high school as former starting QB Rob Bolden, Robinson earned a small role as a receiver last year and showed some promise. Today he had 5 catches/ 136 yards /3TD’d. Through three games his numbers are ridiculous: 24/322/4. Let’s put this into perspective. Justin Brown, the supposed best WR on the roster who transferred to Oklahoma, only had 3 TD catches in his 3 year career. Amazing.
- Curtis Dukes- As this young man was being recruited, coaches referred to him as a "5 play guy." Translation: After watching 5 plays, you gave him an offer. With ridiculous speed and a massive build, some thought he could come in and be a version of a Brandon Jacobs. The problem for Dukes is he never played much. He sat the bench under the Royster/Redd combination, but most would have thought he would be the next man up coming into this season. After Bill Belton moved from WR to RB, nobody really knew if he would ever get his shot. Today he received 11 carries for just under 50 yards and lit up a few would be tacklers in the process.
- Defense- It is taking the fan base some time to adjust to the new D-Coordinator Ted Roof. The guy has some big shoes to fill. However, the Lions played well today. The D-Line unit dominated and the LB’s thrived. It is a good thing BOB (Bill O’Brien) kept D-Line Coach Larry Johnson around. Jones, Hill, Stanley, and company took care of business. Mike Mauti had 12 tackles plus a sack, Gerald Hodges punished the opposing quarterback with hard hits and an interception, and Mike Hull took back a fumble return 74 yards. If they can improve on 3rd down, an area where they came into today’s game as one of the worst on all of FBS football, this unit will create trouble for those on their remaining schedule.
- Kicking Game- See below.
- Tipped Ball- Regardless of whether the tipped ball resulted in another TD for Allen Robinson, it is troubling that a ball right in the chest of Trevor Williams ends up in the air. Tipped balls have never been good for Penn State (See Ohio 2012, Northwestern 2004, Minnesota 1999). I am not about to go celebrating a tipped ball now.
Are You Serious?
- I have rarely seen Penn State go for it on 4th and 12 from just outside the 30 yard line.
- I have never seen Penn State go for it on 4th and long on the 8 yard line with a commanding lead. Wouldn’t it make sense to give a struggling kicker some confidence heading into a schedule that will demand an adequate performance from the kicking game?
- Sam Ficken missed another extra point today. He is the reason for the aforementioned "never seen" scenarios. I hope the poor guy can get it going, but the Anthony Fera transfer is looking like it will cost the Nittany Lions significantly moving forward.
Did You Know…
- Sam Ficken, the struggling Penn State kicker, attended Valparaiso High School in Indiana? This is the same school attended by former Purdue star Robbie Hummel and former Notre Dame starter and Purdue transfer Scott Martin.