Ohio vs. Penn State: Positives Nittany Lions Can Take from Disappointing Loss

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Head coach Bill O'Brien of the Penn State Nittany Lions leads his team onto the field before the start of their game against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium on September 1, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Penn State Nittany Lions didn't start the 2012 season off on the right foot, but their loss to the Ohio Bobcats doesn't come without positives.

It was a tale of two halves. The Nittany Lions led 14-3 at halftime, but the Bobcats stormed back with 21 unanswered points in the second half.

Penn State will face Virginia in Week 2, hoping to put a tally in the win column.

Bill O'Brien will have a few things to work on in practice this week, but he also has some things he can use as building blocks. Let's take a look at three positives Penn State can take from Saturday's disheartening loss.


Matt McGloin's Performance

McGloin was one of the most worrisome parts of the Penn State offense entering the season, but his Week 1 performance was encouraging.

He finished 27-of-48 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. He did have one interception, but that pales in comparison to his positives.

For anyone who watched him last year, McGloin looked like a totally different player. He made good reads, spread the ball around and looked extremely comfortable in O'Brien's system.

Even though Penn State lost, McGloin's game was an extremely bright sign for the Nittany Lions moving forward.


Allen Robinson

Penn State doesn't have any wide receivers with legitimate experience, but Robinson proved his worth early and often on Saturday.

He wound up with nine catches for 97 yards. The Bobcats were giving him an ample cushion on the outside, and McGloin made sure to exploit that consistently.

Robinson's lanky frame makes him a vertical threat in an offense that lacks any other option. He was one of the most impressive players on the field, and his line would look even better if McGloin hadn't missed him for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Penn State needed to find a consistent target in their pass game on Saturday, and Robinson quelled some of those concerns.

Giving McGloin a dangerous No. 1 option will make the Nittany Lion offense better than expected.


Tight End Play

Kyle Carter was an unknown commodity entering Saturday's game, but he was exceptional against the Bobcats.

He had six catches for 74 yards, and he was used in exactly the way you would expect O'Brien to use his tight ends.

Nevertheless, Carter wasn't the only encouraging sign.

Matt Lehman scored a touchdown and perfected a bunch formation on his way there.

We expected O'Brien to use his tight ends in multiple ways, and he was on point. He lined Carter up all over the field, including the backfield, and Carter excelled.

Expect to hear his name a lot more before the year is over. Athletic tight ends are tremendous mismatches in today's game, and Carter appears to have what it takes to exploit that.