Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries has questions and I HAVE THE ANSWERS
BSD: Northwestern’s offensive output against the Penn State defense was rivaled only by Alabama. What made the Wildcats so effective? What adjustments did Penn State make in the second half?
Getting the ball in the red zone 5 seconds has a way of increasing the opposition’s effectiveness, no? A big factor is Northwestern is very good and taking advantage of Penn State’s soft coverage, especially early. Also, Dan Persa is a really good QB and he completed something like 80% of his passes, many of them quick ones. The Wildcats have matched up well against Penn State for years and usually score a bunch of first half points.
Half-time adjustments certainly helped Penn State, so did Jordan Hill getting that big arm up in the path of a pass that Gerald Hodges intercepted off a deflection. Additionally, Northwestern’s offense left it all on the field…in the first half. They don’t have the stamina/talent to go 60 minutes this season.
BSD: Illinois also features a mobile quarterback and an option style attack. How helpful is it to have played Northwestern one week before facing Illinois?
I think Northwestern is a good primer for Illinois to a degree, but hopefully the Nittany Lions defense has recovered sufficiently. If this were a noon kickoff in Champaign, I’d be pretty concerned.
BSD: Welcome back, Stephfon Green. How large of a role do you see him playing for the rest of the season?
I think Green will get a big role because he’s a better pass blocker than the other guys on the depth chart and that is why he got so much time last week. I don’t see him taking any plays off either, he’s got precisiou few games left and he’s got to be hungry after being off the team. That being said, just because he was successsful running up the middle against Northwestern does not mean he should be called on to run that play ever again.
BSD: Gerald Hodges has emerged as the playmaker he was expected to be coming out of high school. Can he continue his streak of exceptional play against the Illini?
I think asking anybody to duplicate their performance from Northwestern game is asking an awful lot. He had about 13 tackles and that interception. That being said, he’s a force and a pleasure to watch. Illinois might try to go a different direction than the one he’s in which is also highly desirable.
Joe Paterno will have more sideline and game awareness than Ron Zook. The Illini will wear pants that appear to be stolen from the Denver Broncos. The Lavar Leap will be replayed at least once during the game. The defense will be angry after last year’s embarrassment. The weather will be awesome (I’ll probably watch the game from my parents house with a roaring fire). In a shocking development, Jay Paterno will be on the sidelines. Penn State fans will read nothing into it, that’s a lock. Amish Buggy Alumni will become a beloved and endearing term. There should be a bye week roundtable; probably a Northern Virginia/DC BSD bye-week happy hour (can’t confirm I could attend though). I will pronounce the opposition as “eely nwah” because StrongBad (remember him?) did once. Oh yeah, Penn State wins a physical game that will be extremely stressful and leave the Nittany Lion desperately needing a bye week. Of course, they could also score a few times early and demoralize the Illini, but that would isn’t the way things go this year. PENN STATE 27 Illinois 20