Another week, another offensive deluge, and another opponent held to under 15 points for PSU. Since that's the consistent part, let's head to the mostly wild and unpredictability of yet another AE vs. BigD take on the game.
Daryl Clark vs. Devlin & Evan Royster vs. Green Pt. 2 wasn't nearly as exciting considering Devlin couldn't really generate much against an actual major conference opponent...but circumstances were different, and play calling was noticeably more conservative for Green and Devlin...but besides that, has Clark's 3 TD, 276 total yard game cemented him as the starter? And has Royster's consistency vs. a big time opponent also cement his solid 4 quarters of playing time in a tight game? Also evaluate their performances.
AE: Well Daryl Clark and Evan Royster are the starters. I preached and praised this before the season opened up. I think Devlin will sit barring a blowout game like this one...I just don't think his arm is that more dangerous than Clarks if you add his legs to the equation. I just don't see Devlin starting or playing any real signifcant role this season. Green on the other hand, will work hand in hand with Royster, but obviously it will be similar to the Tony Hunt Rodney Kinlaw situation...Tony Hunt (Royster) will get the big carries, and Kinlaw (Green) will come in for a change of pace, or to relieve Hunt (Royster). It will be that kind of thing. And I like that kind of thing...solid starters, solid leadership, solid team. And their performances? Stellar. Right now it is obvious that Penn State and Wisconsin are the cream of the Big Ten. Well that is if OSU doesn't have Beanie Wells available...but OSU minus Wells leaves PSU and Wisc. as the cream of the crop of the Big Ten.
BigD: Obviously, Clark's play yesterday shows that he should be the starter. Devlin didn't really get the same opportunities, rarely throwing the ball. He could run this team very well himself, but Clark's abilities running and throwing the ball guarantees him the starting spot for a while, unless he completely falls apart in the next few weeks. Now you definately can not write off Stephfon Green. He is the more talented of the two backs. However, Royster does deserve the starting spot, and he looks like he could become a legitimate Heisman candidate by the time he leaves State College. Green was given the ball for runs up the middle every time he touched it, and that isn't the way that he should be utilized. He is possibly the fastest man in college football, and they need to get it to him on sweeps. Royster definately solidified himself as the starter, but Penn State still needs to find a way to get Green at least ten touches a game against conference opponents, and possibly more.
PSU's defense man handled the Beavers early, but wore down over time, especially at the D-line. How big were those suspensions off the line?
AE: Well obviously they were huge. Depth is a problem...how big of one we found out today. I mean the D-Line wore down quickly, but Josh Gaines definitly made up for whatever short comings the line had, because he was all over the place. But they were only game suspensions I think, and the line shouldn't be a problem after that.
BigD: The only problem that I really saw with the defense was the fact that they gave up a lot of short passes. The problem was clearly that they didn't get as much pressure on the QB as usual. There is plenty of depth to make up for anyone on the line outside of Maurice Evans. He is a top five defensive end, and there was a big enough drop-off between Evans and Aaron Maybin to notice the difference in QB pressure. The good news is that Josh Gaines really stepped up. Even without Evans, opposing offenses still have plenty to worry about in the front seven. As long as Evans and Koroma are back by the Illinois game, it really won't make a huge difference.
Evaluate the defense as a whole.
AE: Great Linebacker play, Josh Gaines=Sick Nasty, corners were very effective in stopping the touted 3 WR set from Oregon St. The points they gave up were given while the game was well in hand, so for me I have to grade it a shutout. A- performance!
BigD: The unit definately deserves an A. The line was good enough, and the linebackers played great. Josh Hull seems like he will pick up enough of Sean Lee's performance to keep this unit one of the strongest in the Big Ten. Davis, Sargeant, and Wallace played the run well, as well as providing very good coverage. The rest of the defense was excellent as well, but I didn't feel like Scirrotto brought the presence that he needs to bring every game.
Any play that stuck out to you?
AE: Daryl Clark's electryifying run for the TD. It definitly sealed what we all knew and wanted to see more of. Clark running the ball.
BigD: Obviously Clark's beautiful touchdown run stuck out, but their were two plays that stood out to me more. First was Hull's interception. It was just a beautiful play, and it was the main play of an excellent game for him, where he showed the world that he can really play. The other play was Mickey Shuler's touchdown, and Penn State's second score of the game. Not only did Clark put the ball in the only part of the field where it could have been caught for the touchdown, but Shuler went up and made a fantastic catch. He looks like he will be the best tight end we have seen at Penn State since Kyle Brady.
Evaluate the team as a whole, and how they look for next week's crucial road matchup at yet another major conference opponent, Syracuse.
AE: The team as a whole gets an A+ performance. I can't stop fawning over the offense, and our tough and underrated defense. They will be ready for anything Syracuse throws at them next week. They are much more disciplined, and take care of the ball much better. This team needs to face adversity, and next week's road game should do it.
BigD: The team as a whole has to be given at least an A. Everything just seemed to click so well. The defense did its job. Clark and Royster might have shown one of the best backfields that we saw yesterday in all of college football. The line opened up huge holes, and the receivers were getting wide open all day. Jordan Norwood showed that he has a case to be the best wide receiver on this team, outplaying Williams and Butler.