Knee Jerk Reactions: Penn State

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Knee Jerk Reactions: Penn State
Without the benefit of watching the game again today, the following are my observations and musings from the stands.
  • The defense played its best game in a long time. At this point, it is safe to say that Penn State has a potent offense and to hold them under 300 yards was very impressive.
  • I was super disappointed with the OSU run game. In the first quarter, and throughout most of the game, the pass blocking far exceeded the run blocking. Part of the reason was Penn State’s focus on the run, but the pass blocking was consistent even on obvious passing downs.
  • Shaun Lane is killer on special teams. He has been the best special teams player all season, slightly better than Sabino. This is a nice way for him to finish his career.
  • Better scoreboard! I ranted frequently at the beginning of the season about the horrible scoreboard and I missed the Purdue while I was out of town but I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of the dreaded first down cheer. I am not sure if this was the first game without it, but I am hopeful that it is gone for good.
  • Thad Gibson was a monster in the first quarter, and he was living in the backfield. He seemed to overpower the Penn State lineman without having to use any extra moves.
  • The scoreboard would not show a replay of Robiskie’s catch in the second quarter, which was ruled incomplete after review. While not necessarily a momentum shifter, it kept OSU mired in the poor field position they had a for a few possessions…
  • However, AJ Trapasso launched a 59-yarder into space on the next play. AJT kicked a couple of 50-plus punts when the Buckeyes really needed it. Unfortunately, AJT’s lone below-average kick was in the fourth with the Buckeyes down 10-6.
  • Ray Small took years off my life with his unnecessarily difficult catch on his first punt return. I am not sure what the coaches said after that one, but his failure to field the next punt resulted in the Buckeyes starting at the 3-yard line. Ohio State’s field position was not remedied until the Sanzenbacher catch and run.
  • Does anyone else notice how, on the home side of the field, the official that marks the line of scrimmage has to run up and down the sideline prior to the first snap after a change of possession? Why does this happen? I do not see it at any other stadium. Can anyone explain this phenomenon?
  • While at the game, I did not know that Clark left because of an undisclosed head injury, but I was not totally surprised to hear that considering the number of hits the Buckeyes were putting on Clark.
  • Lamaar Thomas has been very productive on kickoff returns for the last few games. And, with Mo Wells' muffed return in the fourth, I think we can all agree that his does returning kicks should end. There are only three games left and I am all for putting Thomas back there with Small on punt returns as well. Hartline offers little on punt returns and Thomas has an obvious role in the return game for the next few years.
  • I will not speak to Browning’s entire game, but he really struggled during the 2-minute drill at the end of the first half with a false start on third down and then allowing Maybin to blow by him two plays later.
  • The total yardage was remarkably similar all day with Ohio State holding the edge 147-144 yards in the first half and 287-281 at the end of the game.
  • For an extended period of time, Brewster struggled with shotgun snaps sending them low and to the sides.
  • Correct me if I am wrong, but that was Pryor’s first fumble of the year and considering how long he holds the ball in the pocket I am a little surprised it took this long.
  • Count me in as a fan who thought OSU should have gone for it on fourth and four with less than 5 minutes to play. I know they were inside their own 30, but the defense had just given up a TD on a short field when Penn State 7 straight rushing plays. They were obviously worn out. I think Tressel and company should have taken the chance.
  • Tackling cost Ohio State on the final drive. Penn State was not going to let Devlin throw it late in the game and OSU still could not stop Royster. It was strangely reminiscent of Illinois last year and very frustrating.
  • Clock management? Without too much analysis, I thought Ohio State's timeout before PSU’s 2 and 1 was a little odd, and the timeout before the following first down seemed equally bizarre.
  • PSU had zero penalties. Really? They were flagged for one offensive pass interference in the first half but the Buckeyes declined it.
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