Lions come back to earth
After the past twelve months, Penn State fans needed so badly to believe in something good. Such as this 2012 team could continue its transformation into a very modern offensive powerhouse under Bill O’Brien.
Five straight wins, including a pummeling of Iowa on the road last week, gave reason to believe.
Then came Ohio State.
The best team Penn State has played so far, a legitimate top ten squad, with a game changing player, quarterback Braxton Miller.
The Lions defense, always thought to be the strength of the team, simply couldn’t handle the Buckeyes over four quarters. The defense didn’t play badly, but eventually wilted under the pressure.
The offense was expected to have a better night against a less than stellar OSU defense. But the Lions netted only 28 yards rushing. While Matt McGloin had a decent statistical night, he couldn’t handle the pressure. Some of this is on the O line, too. And receivers that didn’t make catches they needed to.
Maybe more than anything, Penn State missed opportunities it couldn’t afford to miss against a good team.
On the first offensive series, McGloin misfired on a touchdown pass when Allen Robinson beat his man deep. Twice in the first quarter defensive backs dropped what could have been pick sixes. When PSU got to the 20-yard line with a second and seven, they ended up getting no points. With a first and goal on the three, they settled for a field goal. And, when the forced Ohio State to a three and out to start the second half, with the game at 14-10, a holding call turned the ball back to OSU, which drove for a game changing touchdown.
It was good to see a sold out Beaver Stadium rocking with a white out again. While Lions’ fans are surely disappointed today, they should not despair. Penn State is still on track to have a good season, and keep things rolling for the future. The recruits on hand for the game last night still saw a quality team that can battle the best in college football, a raucous 100,000-plus crowd, and a coach who can give them as good a shot as any at the NFL.
All in all, that’s pretty good.