Daryll Clark Will Pay: Penn State Played Dead in The Trenches

Pete DymeckAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Daryll Clark #17 of the Penn State Nittnay Lions is tackled by Karl Klug #95 and Jeremiha Hunter #42 of the Iowa Hawkeye's on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive season, Penn State's hopes of bringing Joe Paterno another national championship were dashed by Iowa.

Blame it on the rain; blame it on anything except for Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark.

As a matter of fact, the blame needs placed on the offensive line.

Penn State has allowed seven sacks this year but more importantly, Clark has been pressured on nearly half of his drop-backs.

Clark's inability to throw and check down his targets is caused by an offensive line chock full of new faces that aren't quite ready to play college football at a high level, obviously. 

The offensive line has a gaping hole at the tackle position where Dennis Landolt's struggles have continued since the Syracuse game.

Both guards are being beat off of their assignments and neither have showed sound fundamentals in that they are not getting set into a low center of gravity.

Games are won in the trenches. Although the play makers on offense may get all of the credit in highlight reels and game recaps, offensive and defensive line play makes or breaks a teams chances at winning on the gridiron.

Anyone not slighted by "blue and white homerism" could see that Penn State was bound to have a disappointing season after being ranked as high as No. 5 heading into their showdown with Iowa.

The trend of bad passer protection upfront coupled with a lack of push on rushing plays will definitely dampen encouragement on offense.

Clark is a mobile quarterback that can use his feet swiftly and intelligently, but when his pocket is collapsing as soon as the ball is snapped to him, there is not much he can do with his feet since he is being swarmed by defenders.

As mentioned previously, Penn State has already allowed seven sacks through four games. In 2008, the Nittany Lion offensive line allowed just 17 sacks through the entire season.

The Nittany Lions are on pace to allow 28 sacks this year. Since 2004, the most sacks the Nittany Lions have allowed in a single season was 23 in 2006 when the indecisive Anthony Morelli played "statue" in the pocket.

Before the dust had even settled last night, fans were booing Daryll Clark's third interception, which basically hammered the last nail into the coffin for Penn State.

What fans should be doing, instead of booing, although that is their right, is boisterously voicing their displeasure with the offensive line.

One would think, that while game planning, Penn State would have changed things up after letting their quarterback get pressured from all angles against Syracuse and Temple. After all, Iowa does have a better defense than the Owls and the Orange.

Instead, Joe Paterno and his offensive line coach Dick Anderson looked puzzled once again while their precious "Spread HD" offense was obliterated by the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Penn State still has a good team, but they are far from being a national championship contender.

The best thing for fans to do now is hope for the best, wish for changes upfront on the offensive line, and have faith that their Nittany Lions will fare better against the rest of the Big Ten opponents they face.