PENN STATE 31 NOTRE DAME 10
Ah, victory over a rival always feels good, no? This was a good, not great, win for Penn State. The Nittany Lions played pretty much the way I expected. They simply dominated a Notre Dame team that really isn’t any good. I would have liked to see better execution on offense though. The defense sure looked good though. After the first two Irish drives, how many times in a row was it three-and-out for the visitors? At least five, I think. As is customary, they went to prevent defense late and againist custom, it kept the opposition off the scoreboard. Granted, Notre Dame is really awful, but still an impressive outing by the defense.
In yesterday’s CDT Jeff Rice had a good column about the Lions needing to have some adversity. I’d say the obliged in the first quarter.
MLB Dan Connor and OLB Sean Lee are just a joy to watch. They create all sorts of havoc and make tackles on both sides of the line of scrimmage. We have a progression of linebackers that is just unbelievable.
Perhaps committing a personal foul against LB/DE Jerome Hayes should be removed from the “best practices” documentation. He got fired up and caused all sorts of problems. I think he was being held on every play as he blew his way into the backfield.
CB Lydell Sargent is still a little green, but the secondary really didn’t get too tested last night. CB Justin King probably got his only interception of the year in the end zone.
QB Anthony Morelli was good enough without being very good, save for the laser he threw to Chris Bell. That’s the kind of throw that pulls you into believing in Morelli, even though he made two stupid turnovers in the first half. He has to play better than he did last night during the conference schedule.
Erica painting her nails wasn’t nominated for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance, so Derrick Williams punt return TD will have to do.
I continue to be skeptical of Williams as an elite wideout, but that punt return TD was electrifying.
RB Austin Scott didn’t have a very good first half, putting the ball on the ground and getting very little yardage. It was great to see him and the line establish itself in the second half against a tired Irish defensive line. I just love watching it when the Lions dominate a team like they did on the last scoring drive. they pretty much could have said, “we’re going to run it in the same spot every down and you can’t do anything about it for the first seven yards.”
I was really happy to see Penn State go after Jimmy Clausen, but I don’t know why they didn’t from the start. By the way, Clausen is going to be a good one, he showed a lot of poise in a very hostile environment. I think the playcalling by “genius” Charlie Weis was too safe. I can see the pragmatism of starting off with safe, high percentage passes, but I think continuing it as long as Weis did was ultimately defeatist.
I’m pretty happy with the special teams, K Kevin Kelly had some good kickoffs and made of all of his kicks. P Jeremy Boone continues to show promise. KR A.J. Wallace’s runback of the second half kickoff was great as well, even though I was hoping Penn State could get an 80 yard TD drive.
Mike Patrick made at least five errors, including using “ironically” incorrectly, in the first half alone. He also didn’t pick up on the proper lingo for grilled stickies.
Todd Blackledge did a good job, but what else would you expect from him? I enjoyed his trip to The Diner for grilled stickies. He also pointed out the reason (the arrogance of his signing day press conference) everybody outside of Notre Dame doesn’t like Clausen, something Patrick was apparently not understanding.
Dick Vitale wasn’t too bad as a guest in the booth though he kept calling The Ledge, Tom.
Regis Philbun introduced the Notre Dame lineups for TV. Penn State had the much more respectable, Spider Caldwell do the honors.
They talked about Notre Dame too much for my taste, but that is to be expected.
Just to remind you…
PENN STATE 31 NOTRE DAME 10