Saturday, September 8, 2012

Penn State Vs. Virginia Game Review "Missed Opportunities And Kicking Game Prove Costly For Penn State (Highs & Lows)

     Just like last week, Penn State started off strong and this time scored on their opening possession. Matt McGloin showed great composure and lead the offense on a slow but methodical drive that they capped off with a TD pass to Kyle Carter. Not only that, but Penn State was able too burn time off the clock with 75 yards, on 17 plays, with a time of possession of 6:27. On Virginia's following possession, it looked as if Penn State was going to take complete control of the game as Virginia fumbled the ball.  Mike Mauti stripped the ball from the receivers hands and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong returned it inside the 20 to give Penn State great field position and a great opportunity to quickly make it a two possession game. However, just like last week, Penn State again shot themselves in the foot.

    So with that lets take a look at the Highs and the Lows from today's game.

    Penn State Offense- The Nittany Lions don't really have a problem when it comes to moving the ball. As evident by their first possession of the game. Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lions were able to cap off a 16 play 75 yard scoring drive for a touchdown. Unfortunately that was the only time they scored a TD once they got inside the red zone. Penn State's Defense (as I will talk about them momentarily) gave the Offense numerous opportunities by forcing Virginia into making four turnovers (three of which were inside Virginia's 20) As mentioned, Penn State doesn't have a problem moving the ball downfield, but once they get inside the red zone the offense suddenly stalls and has a breakdown. There were bright spots in the game, especially the running game. Much improved from last week and that was without Bill Belton. Derek Day (A True Freshman Walk On) had a solid and productive game and was able to move the chains. Fullback Zach Zwinak and Michael Zordich were also productive in short yard situations. Matt McGloin continues to impress me as he is gelling real well into O'Brien's system, but I would like to see him put a little more touch on his passes as he tends to overthrow his receivers from time to time.

   Penn State Defense
     The Nittany Lion defense that we have come to know were back to their old ways and improved greatly from last week. I will say that one reason they weren't fatigued like they were against Ohio was because Penn State's offense put together long drives which allowed the defense to remain fresh and on the sidelines. Nonetheless this is a solid defensive team. They forced four turnovers (3 fumbles and 1 interception) 3 sacks and held Virginia's star running backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones to 40 yards combined! Despite Penn State's defense giving up a touchdown in the last minute to give Virginia the lead and eventually the win, if Penn State's offense took advantage of the turnovers their defense gave them, it would have just been another meaningless touchdown.

       Penn State Special Teams
    Last week I had said I really couldn't form an opinion on special teams(though I forgot to mention the blocked punt) my only question was why they had Gerald Hodges returning kickoffs. After today I have a better understanding of Penn State's kicking game. I can't help but feel bad for Sam Ficken, but unfortunately he needs to be held responsible and hold up his end of the bargain. Even if Penn State were only able to manage field goals on the four turnovers by the defense, that would put Penn State's total at 28. Ficken's most crucial mistake was arguably his PAT that was blocked, as it turned out all Virginia needed at the end of the game was a TD and an extra point. Ficken did get one last chance from 42 yards out with just one second remaining, unfortunately like most of Ficken's kicks, he ended up shanking it.

   Penn State played fought and played hard today and you can't take that away from them. Overall as a whole, I would give the team a C+ They still need to take advantage of turnovers and convert them into points. The defense was much improved from last week, the only thing I want to see more of is Deion Barnes. As a Redshirt Freshman, he has a great potential upside and I look for him to be one of the leaders for the Penn State defense in the future. As for the kicking game, the only advice I can give Ficken is to practice all week and every day work on your accuracy by doing a total of 100 kicks (40 from the 10, 30 from the 20, 20 from the 30, 10 from the 40) that way he can concentrate first on his accuracy before he worries about kicking long field goals. But win or lose WE ARE AND ALWAYS WILL BE PENN STATE!

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