Tag Archives: Evan Royster

The all-time Penn State Nittany Lions leading rusher and current Washington Redskins running back.

2 Penn Staters drafted: Royster to Redskins, Wisniewski to Raiders

The Washington Redskins selected Penn State all-time rushing leader Evan Royster in the 6th round of the NFL Draft (Nationals Journal, The Post). Having watched 4 seasons of Royster as a Nittany Lion, I thought I’d share a few notes about Royster.

Royster has a great field vision and can find a hole better than most backs. He lacks speed though, but is not easy to bring down, especially after he gets going. The concern about Royster is his production was dropping the longer he was in the program. He was not a favorite of Joe Paterno either, though that was downplayed officially. He did not have the strongest offensive line in front of him the last two years.

As a sixth rounder, Royster isn’t a bad pick, particularly giving how many picks the Redskins had this year. He grew up in Fairfax County so between that and the inability to sign free agents due to the lockout, I wonder if Royster still would have been drafted in a normal year. Also, anyone who ever watched Royster play with the Nittany Lions may recall he was a highly touted lacrosse player at Westfields High School. I would be surprised to see Royster on the roster at the start of the season, but he can probably make the practice squad. I am pulling for him, but I am not expecting too much. Then again, if there is one thing Mike Shanahan knows how to do, it is find running backs who can rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

The only other Penn State player drafted, Stefen Wisniewski was picked by the Oakland Raiders (Oakland Tribune) where his uncle Steve Wisniewski is the offensive line coach after a long career in the silver and black. The younger Wisniewski played guard and center at Penn State with distinction, but I couldn’t stand his weak shutgun snaps.

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Outback Bowl: Florida 37 Penn State 24; Bolden wants out

This just in — Matt McGloin just threw another interception.

The Penn State Nittany Lions concluded their 2010 season with an interception filled Outback Bowl against the Florida Gators. Despite leading heading into the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions lost fairly big. McGloin, the walk-on quarterback showed why he was a walk-on and why his teammates dubbed in Brett Favre prior to the season. McGloin threw 5 interceptions and several other passes that could have been if the Gators could catch. Overall, he completed less than 50% of his passes. The big question is why was he on the field long enough to throw 5 interceptions? While there is no doubt in my mind that McGloin gets his teammates motivated, he has not shown in any games against superior competition that he can get the job done. It is unfortunate, because McGloin did inject some excitement into an otherwise dreary season and did provide some memories in the Michigan and Northwestern games. Otherwise, he was never more than solid and as we saw yesterday, he was often terrible. I think I have seen enough of Matt McGloin, starting quarterback — I certainly had by the 3rd quarter yesterday.

Why McGloin did not get the hook when freshman Rob Bolden got pulled for less is a mystery, one that Bolden does not want to stick around to solve. Yesterday, Bolden indicated that he was leaving the program (Patriot-News). Apparently, Bolden was planning to leave even before the bowl game (Altoona Mirror) because he believed that McGloin was held to a much lesser standard. I agree with Bolden on that front. I just wonder if the coaching staff knew that beforehand.

I have another theory, McGloin was Joe Paterno’s choice all along. Remember at the beginning of the season when Joe said he talked to all the coaching staff and got their input on the QB? I think they talked him into Bolden and he regretted it. BOlden isn’t out the door yet officially, but I don’t see Paterno trying to talk someone who went public about transferring into returning.

As for the game, my suggestion that the Nittany Lions use Silas Redd more was pretty poor. Redd could not get anything going, but Evan Royster could, rushing for nearly 100 yards. The defense was okay, but they got worn down late. Special teams were pretty bad too. Florida did not play great, but good enough to win. The biggest thing they did other than catch half the balls that McGloin threw right too them, was stop Penn State on third down.

Justin Brown dropped three McGloin passes that would have been first downs.

The pass interference call against the Nittany Lions deep in Penn State territory was a poor one. The defense never really recovered from it.

Oh and the Pitt job is now available because their new coach got arrested for domestic violence. Tom Bradley may be a stronger candidate than the first go round, because he’d be seen as a “safe” choice and a genuinely high character guy. Though being a lifelong Nittany Lion may ultimately hold him back.

It will be a very interesting month of Penn State football…

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2011 Outback Bowl: Penn State vs. Florida prediction

The run up to the Outback Bowl has been mostly about the coaches: Florida’s Urban Meyer, stepping down at age 46 and Penn State’s Joe Paterno, planning to return for his 46th season at age 84. Meyer is apparently off to ESPN following today’s game. Paterno and his family denied rumors that he had been in much worse health than reported.

As for the game, Florida lacks a quarterback and pass rush. Penn State lacks a defensive line and the offensive line isn’t too great either. The Gators probably have an edge in special teams and since field position is crucial, good punting will make a difference. The Nittany Lions have to hope that Anthony Fera is healthy enough after an appendectomy to put, because his replacement as inadequate against Michigan State.

QB Matt McGloin is on the spot for PSU. He should get plenty of chances for throwing underneath — will he have the discipline to find Brett Brackett and Graham Zug instead of throwing long to Derek Moye often? In the running game, I think the Lions need to make Silas Redd, a true frosh, the feature back over incumbent senior Evan Royster.

Florida can run the ball well and Penn State has not been strong against the run. The return of Mike Mauti should help a great deal — the defense was a completely different team with him against Ohio State than without him. After he left, Ohio State was unstoppable against Penn State. I don’t know that Mauti’s presence could have been enough to win it for PSU, but I think it would have at least been closer.

It is a tough call whether Penn State, which is apparently retaining their coaching staff (though the Pitt job that Tom Bradley interviewed for my be reopened), has an advantage over the departing Florida staff. Paterno knows how to win bowl games better than anybody and I think he staff and team have had less distractions than the Gators, but Meyer may get a more fiery effort from his upperclassmen.

I couldn’t make up my mind on the outcome so I did a coin flip to see who would win 21-17. It came up Florida. Bah! I’ll do the homer pick anyway.

Florida 17
PENN STATE 21

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Michigan State Spartans 28 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 22

Football season is over.

Penn State played pretty uninspired football for 3 quarters today, falling to the Michigan State Spartans. The Nittany Lions could not get much going offensively after their first drive, when Evan Royster ran roughshod over Sparty. MSU adjusted and built up a 14-3 half time lead. The Nittany Lions seemed to be stopping Sparty for 1 yard gains on first down before giving up 12 yard plays on second down.

QB Matt McGloin did not have a strong game, only making plays late, for the most part. He looked cold throughout the game, and if I were coaching, I would have pulled him in the 3rd quarter for Rob Bolden. McGloin’s subsequent touchdown drives showed what he was capable of, but it was too little too late. As far as I am concerned, the quarterback position should be open going into the bowl game. Graham Zug had several important catches in his final home game.

WR Derek Moye gets the game ball for Penn State. He made several clutch catches, probably would have had a touchdown late if the replay did not have to be inconclusive, and then got one anyway after stripping a Spartan DB who inexplicably ran an interception out of the end zone.

The defense was not very good today and missed Mike Mauti, who got some playing time, but did not start. Bani Gbadyu had a couple tackles for a loss, which was a nice change. The defense could not get much pressure on MSU QB Kirk Cousins, and that was what they needed to do to win. The defense did make two big fumble recoveries in the 4th quarter, though.

Special teams were terrible for Penn State. They never got good field position based on kick returns and Alex Butterworth did not have much success punting, hopefully Anthony Fera is back for the bowl game. Two 2-point conversions failed, though one was not planned, but holder Brett Bracket had trouble with the snap and overthrow an open receiver.

A disappointing end to the 2010 regular season. Given where Penn State was after the Illinois loss, they recovered okay and gave us a couple of great games against Michigan and Northwestern, plus a zany one against Indiana in my back yard, but this team underachieved. Better leadership and a healthier Joe Paterno are needed if they will improve against a tough 2011 schedule. I am still going to miss football Saturdays though.

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OHIO STATE BUCKEYES 38 Penn State Nittany Lions 14

After a huge win in Columbus two years ago, the Penn State Nittany Lions reverted to their old ways in getting trounced by the Ohio State Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium. The story was different than previous ones as Matt McGloin led Penn State to a 14-3 lead with two first half touchdown passes. Those TD throws were the first by Penn State at the Horseshoe in nearly 50 years. Things were looking great for the Nittany Lions, but failing to convert 4th and 1 near the Buckeyes 20 yard line, after having gone 2 for 2 in 4th down conversions earlier in the game, was the beginning of the end. Watching with my dad, he thought it was the right decision, I disagreed. We both agreed that running outside was the wrong decision. Though the Buckeyes would not score before halftime, they got the big stop that got the crowd in it. I think a successful field goal would have helped Penn State, but ultimately, Ohio State took control early in the second half and those extra 3 points would not have meant much.

The Buckeyes adjusted well at half-time and got their offense going with Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron picking apart the visitors on the read-option. It was essentially a play-action run that got the Penn State defense to hesitate every time. It seemed every time they ran it, OSU got 8 yards. The 14-3 lead quickly became a 14-10 lead and then a 17-10 deficit. Then, as happens so many times in Columbus, the Penn State quaterback throw interceptions for touchdowns. Twice, Ohio State bated McGloin into making bad throws that went for six the other way. After playing so well in the previous two games and the first half, McGloin was Morellian in the second. He did not have much help either, the playcalling was not quite as a aggressive and he was without Evan Royster and Stephfon Green in the backfield, both felled by leg injuries. Silas Redd has thus far been an exciting change of pace back, but against a powerful Ohio State team, he was unable to shoulder the load. A cut on his hand may have also limited McGloin’s effectiveness. Then of course there was the “Dan Persa’s mom treatment” he was getting from ESPN. If you had played a drinking game based on the times west Scranton or moxie was used in the first half, you would have needed your stomach pumped at halftime. It was as excessive as the many shots of Northwestern’s quarterback’s mother the week before. Oh and too bad about the Achilles tendon, Persa. I am sure the Buckeyes fans were just frothing at the mouth in the second half, loving every McGloin miscue after the “televised deification” he did not seek ruled the first half.

Penn State also struggled on defense when Mike Mauti injured his shoulder. Hopefully, he’s back soon, because he had really emerged as a leader and a force. He’s got future captain written all over him. Ultimately, though, Ohio State won because they have a better team right now and as much as I hate to say it, a better program. It is just the way it is and something we have to reluctantly and angrily accept until Joe Paterno moves on or the NCAA catches up with Jim Tressel.

Oh and did anybody notice that Ohio Stadium sounds just like Beaver Stadium? Guido D’Elia must be thrilled that he’s succeeded in making the Penn State football experience completely generic.

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PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 35 Northwestern Wildcats 21

I missed the first 10 minutes or so of this Saturday’s game. It was poor planning to think we could run an errand on Route 7 out of Alexandria on a Saturday afternoon. In the end, it probably worked out rather well given how poorly Penn State was playing. It was already 7-0 in favor of Northwestern when we arrived at my parents house in Vienna. It got worse as Northwestern went up 21-0 with only a minute left in the half. Then, it got a lot better in a hurry. Former walk-on Matt McGloin, who replaced true freshman Rob Bolden at quarterback after two ineffective series had been equally ineffective up until that point. In fact, the stats flashed on the screen after two drives were almost exactly the same. Being late in the half though, no sense of changing back to Bolden. Staring at the 9 yard line with under a minute to play, McGloin drove the Nittany Lions down the field. With under 10 seconds to go and no timeouts, one having been needlessly burned seconds earlier, McGloin found Brett Brackett in the back of end zone for Penn State’s first score. They went in down 21-7 at the half. I’m sure I remarked that Michigan State had fallen behind 17-0 to the Wildcats before coming back. I was hoping for the same.

At halftime, I built a fire in my parents fireplace and the Nittany Lions did the same to Northwestern defense. The crowd, on fire itself after the late first half touchdown, was starting to hurt Northwestern. The momentum continued as McGloin lead Penn State on 4 consecutive 2nd half touchdown drives. Evan Royster and Silas Redd tore apart the Wildcats defense as well, both rushing for over 100 yards. McGloin was calm and made much better decisions than the week before against Michigan. For whatever reason, the team responds when he is behind center.

McGloin is kind of a throwback quarterback — he has no economy of movement when he’s playing. While most college quarterbacks have sturdy pocket presences and a strong economy of movement, McGloin is moving his arms, shoulders, head and legs seemingly needlessly, but completely in control at the same time. It brings an sense of urgency and excitement to most plays. Thus far, it has worked, especially on third down which seems to be McGloin’s strong suit. He’s earned the job.

The defense adjusted quite well at half-time. After playing in nickel for the first half, the Nittany Lions came out with a standard alignment for the second half which neutralized Northwestern QB Dan Persa who had run all over Penn State in the first half. Persa is a talented signal-caller, but as soon as Penn State focused on his running more than his throwing, he was not very successful. LBs Mike Mauti and Chris Colisanti both had 11 tackles, but Mauti was a beast, getting behind the line of scrimmage and pushing people back. Mauti it would seem will be the next great Penn State linebacker if he can stay healthy. He is the soul of the defense and a future captain. he plays with a fire has been lacking this season.

Some other thoughts:

Seeing Redd get more carries is good news for the Penn State offensive attack. He has great moves and better speed the Royster, who still excels and yards after contact.

Once McGloin started throwing to people other than just WR Derek Moye, the offense started moving.

WR Graham Zug continues to improve.

My 2 year old was really into the game. He is beginning to understand it, or at least that when his parents go nuts, he can too. He was jumping around, screaming and running all over the place. The entertainment he provided really made the game more fun.

You know what would have been nice? A single shot of Persa’s mom in the stands. The succeeding 16 shots of her were excessive. Seriously, I was ready to call ABC and complain.

Somebody (a motor oil brand, I think) finally used “Moving in Stereo” in a commercial. All I could think about was Phoebe Cates.

The comeback was reminiscent of Joe Paterno’s 324th win, which broke Bear Bryant’s record, in 2001. This one tied for the biggest come from behind win by Paterno. Seeing him hit 400 wins was awfully special, he’s unique and I’m cherishing him being there because it won’t last forever.

Of course, I was thinking that when I was a student which is longer ago than I might care to remember.

I did not expect this three game winning streak, but happily take it. The season has rebounded well since the disaster against Illinois. Next week is a HUGE challenge though, playing Ohio State in Columbus is a lot different than playing Northwestern or Michigan at home.

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Penn State vs. Northwestern prediction

It was my freshman year that Northwestern made its shocking run to the Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have been respectable ever since, having some bad seasons here and there, but overall representing the Big Ten conference well. That the program with the toughest academics and lowest enrollment can hang in their against enormous Land Grant schools is something they should be proud of in Evaston. The Indiana Hoosiers wishes they were as good as Northwestern.

The Wildcats who come to Happy Valley to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions tomorrow are 5-2, but it is a soft 5-2. I think it was the Slow States podcast (Tipper Gore thinks you should listen with headphones if you are at work) that mentioned Northwestesrn being the second worst 5-2 team in the country. That’s good to know and not entirely surprising. They don’t have much of a defense, but quarterback Dan Persa is effective in the Northwestern’s short yardage passing game. That could give the Nittany Lions a lot of trouble since the linebacking is not up to the usual Penn State standard.

As for Penn State, Rob Bolden returns at quarterback (I think) after missing last week following his concussion in the Minnesota game. He wasn’t missed as Matt McGloin had the game of his life against Michigan. While it is tempting to start McGloin again and ride the hot hand, I think going with Bolden is the right decision. He has more tools than McGloin and technically more experience.

Penn State’s offensive line had a breakthrough game against a terrible Michigan defense last week. Can they build on that and open up holes for Evan Royster and Silas Redd? A strong ground game tomorrow is Bolden’s best friend as he gets back into action. If Royster has turned the corner on this season, the Nittany Lions could put a nice little run together.

One thing about Northwestern, I suspect they have smarter football players than say, Michigan, but they are not the caliber of athlete as Penn State or the upper half of the Big Ten. They may prove to be more challenging than the last two defenses that Penn State faced.

Given that the Nittany Lions must be feeling confident, plus a 3:30 start, I think it is going to be a happy day in Happy Valley. Joe Paterno will win his 400th game and Penn State will reach bowl eligibility.

Northwestern 24
PENN STATE 34

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Northwestern

Two bloggers from JoePa’s Doghouse provided this week’s questions. First off, Rowlf Dog:

1) Congratulations to Evan Royster for breaking the all-time Penn State rushing record. Where do you rank him compared to the PSU running backs you have seen play live?

Despite all the yards, I’d put Evan Royster below Curtis Enis, Larry Johnson (the 2002 version) and Tony Hunt, but above Eric McCoo, Larry Johnson (1999-2001 version) Cordell Mitchell and Rodney Kinlaw. Royster’s greatest strength — field vision compensates for his lack of burst at the beginning of runs.

2) Okay, I guess we need to have one QB question. Will we see Kevin Newsome get any significant playing time this year? Where do you think he will be in 2011?

At this point, I don’t expect to see Kevin Newsome getting any significant playing time — if he does it is probably a bad thing. Looking into his future, I see him enrolling at a FCS school.

3) Against Michigan, Nate Cadogan was used as a “TE” in some goal line situations. What other outside the box ideas (offense or defense) can you come up with to provide additional sparks?

Brandon Ware to the hands team for on-side kicks.

I think necessity has forced a little outside the box thinking already with Chaz Powell in the secondary and Chima Okoli (looking good by the way) on the offensive line.

4) Which lifted curse was most satisfying: Royster converting a 4th & 1, Graham Zug making big-time catches, offensive success in the red zone, or PSU winning as underdog? Do you think it will carry over for the remainder of the season?

Seeing offensive success in the red zone is quite refreshing and I expect some carryover, particularly this week and two weeks from now. I am glad Zug was a contributor though, I suggested that would be one of the keys to winning last week, though he wasn’t as big a factor as I thought he would need to be. I still can’t over how bad Michigan is now. Royster getting a first down in short yardage was alo delightful.

5) Whether you were at this game or not, we’ve all had to put up with douchebag Michigan fans. Give me your best encounter with such a jerk.

I really haven’t had any problems with Michigan fans. The only people I know from there don’t like Michigan either — they go with Sparty.

Kibbles N Bits

1) If you had to choose, would you rather have JoePa get his 400th win at home this Saturday against Northwestern or next week in front of stunned Buckeyes?

Shouldn’t the Nittany Lions being playing Bowling Green this week?

This is college football, you want to win every week.

I would much prefer Joe Paterno’s 401st win come at Ohio State than his 400th. Win #324 against Ohio State in Beaver Stadium was quite satisfying (and freezing). Win #400 is a milestone and not a recordbreaker, merely a record extender.

2) Northwestern has given up more sacks than any team in the Big Ten. Penn State has recorded the second fewest. I’m setting the over/under at 1.5. What say you?

I say over.

3) You have to admit that Northwestern has a pretty ugly color combination. Let’s throw them a bone. What’s your most prized purple possession?

I think the only purple thing I own is a shirt and I only wear it when the other shirts are dirty. Almost everything I have is blue or white.

The Roundtable

Linebacker U
Nittany Whiteout
2 the Lion

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PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 41 Michigan Wolverines 31

Okay, Penn Staters, can you remember the last time that watching the Nittany Lions was so much fun? It has been a while. Saturday night’s Penn State victory over Michigan was a shockingly satisfying victory over a long-hated rival. I did not think the Nittany Lions had it in them.

Several performances highlighted the 41-31 win over the Wolverines. Evan Royster ran with determination not seen since last year on the way to nearly 100 yards in the first half, 150 overall and the all-time Penn State rushing record. The offensive line paved the way for only the second time all season. I had not anticipated the line being able to push Michigan around as it did which was why I suggested in my prediction that Penn State would have to throw the ball and hope to keep up with Michigan’s quarterback Denard Robinson. I am pleasantly surprised to be wrong, the Nittany Lions had the ball for over 37 minutes which kept Robinson off the field. I am thrilled Penn State could execute that strategy.

The other big Nittany Lions storyline was Matt McGloin’s first start. Now, we are all predisposed to like McGloin because he’s a walk-on with spunk and so forth, but I am even more predisposed because he wears my favorite number — 11. Penn State has never had a quarterback in my memory that wore that number, so I was pulling for him there too. My concern was his inexperience and tendency to throw caution to the wind would lead to some poor throws and interceptions. I was proven wrong Saturday night with McGloin playing within himself, making lots of smart decisions (like his scramble for a first down early in the game) and good throws. He did make a few bad throws, but the Wolverines were ill-equipped to capitalize. McGloin further endeared himself during the post-game remarks by mixing humilty and bravado while talking with sideline reporter Holly Rowe. Congratulations McGloin, on the best night of your life, you are now a folk hero.

McGloin’s opposite number, Robinson, came as advertised, an incredible football player. Robinson had an “off” night of running for 191 yards and passing for 190. His completion percentage, over 65% headed into last night, was below 50%. Penn State’s defense has a lot to be proud of in “containing” him. Even with the off-night, Robinson led Michigan to 31 points. He’s scary good and really the only player Michigan has on their roster. Seriously, I should have titled this post Penn State 41 Denard Robinson 31. He’s that good and not having to see him again (in all likelihood) is surely a great relief to the coaching staff. I can only imagine how good he’d be on a team with a real offense or defense. His talent is being actually wasted at Michigan. It is amazing how bad the Wolverines are in every part of the game that does not involve Robinson.

It is quite satisfying to see Michigan this bad. The followers of Wolverine football will never admit it, but their coach Rich Rodriguez is just a perfect Michigan man. He’s all hype and arrogance, but his resume is hollow as a sewer main, just like Michigan. What better for a program that brags about their all time wins constantly, but lacks national championships? Half a national championship in 50 years is something the world is supposed to be awed by? Really Michigan, BYU has twice as many national championships as you! Winning the Big Ten and losing the Rose Bowl every other year for 30 years is not nearly as special as you think. You deserve such a poor tactician and leader as RichRod. Oh and by the way, ESPN really should have put a camera just on RichRod’s face for the whole game. Every time he saw him in the first half, he looked utterly defeated or as if his cat just died. In the second half he started yelling all the time, probably at the poor officiating, but it should have been directed at himself for running a football team so poorly. Just a joy for this Penn Stater to watch!

Next week, Penn State plays Northwestern at 3:30 on ABC or ESPN2 (depending on where you live) as Joe Paterno goes for his 400 career win. Few were as fun as his 399th.

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