Penn State Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 2 Game vs. Virginia
Penn State dropped to 0-2 with a nail-biter of a loss Saturday at Virginia, but you can make the case there was some improvement on the team from their Week 1 setback against Ohio.
Now the key will be to see if Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff can find a way to put it all together next week when Penn State returns home to play Navy, who comes to Beaver Stadium following a bye week.
Here is a look at a few of the winners and losers from Saturday's 17-16 loss to the ACC's Cavaliers.
Loser: Sam Ficken, Kicker
When things go well, nobody says a thing. When things go poorly, everyone pins the game on you. Such is the life of a kicker in football.
Ficken missed four field goals and one extra point on Saturday, making him an easy goat for the Nittany Lions in a one-point game. The sophomore had a rough day, but his teammates have his back through thick and thin.
Winner: Michael Mauti, Penn State Linebacker
The senior leadership of linebacker Michael Mauti cannot be underscored enough for Penn State. He speaks for the team and is not afraid to rally the team himself when needed. On Saturday, Mauti led the defense with nine tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery to help spark some energy in the defense and team.
Winner: Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver
As Penn State's youthful offense looks to see some players rise to the challenge of becoming dependable fixtures in the offensive system, it seems as though Allen Robinson is coming along nicely.
Robinson led Penn State with 10 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown Saturday, his second decent outing of the season in as many games. Is he a go-to receiver? It is still a long season, but he has emerged as the top option in the passing game for now.
Loser: Jordan Hill, Defensive Tackle
Jordan Hill did come up with one of the four turnovers forced by Penn State, so he should be given credit for his efforts, but through two games of the season, this year's high-profile defensive lineman has failed to create much of an impact.
On Saturday, he recorded just three tackles, including one solo. Opposing offensive lines are showing him respect by planning to slow him down, but his inability to stuff the line and break through in the early-going has been a bit of a disappointment.
Winner: Ted Roof, Defensive Coordinator
Ted Roof was far from a home-run hire for Penn State's new coaching staff and one that required some selling to the fans. On Saturday, you had to give some credit to the new defensive coordinator.
A week after playing soft and letting Ohio come back and pull away in Beaver Stadium, Roof's defense forced four turnovers and did a solid job in shutting down Virginia's running game by allowing just 32 rushing yards.
The defensive secondary gave up a good chunk of yardage, but the signs of improvement were evident on the defensive side of the football in Week 2, and the credit for that starts with Roof.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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