Sunday, October 27, 2013

Awwww Nuts!

First of all, there is probably not another fan out there who wanted Penn State to win more than me.  I trained in Ohio for four years in the heart of Buckeye country (Akron--not Columbus, but no less overzealous or rabid) from 1991-1994--the start of our Big Ten association with the Buckeyes.  Our victory in 1994, ironically enough a 63-14 beat down of the Buckeyes was AFTER I had graduated in May and moved back to Pennsylvania and the comfort of Lion Country.  I used to write a blog for PennLive--I am the founder of the 50-Yard Lion Blog--but was fired unceremoniously from that position after a BUCKEYE FAN complained about a personal email exchange that he initiated.  At the time, that cost me $2400 per year.  If your story of Buckeye misery can beat that--leave it in the comment section.  Perhaps I'll reward the best "worst" story with tickets to a game sometime.

But the above emotion notwithstanding, I am curiously not as enraged as I normally would be.  I have been known to break things after losses.  (I broke our front door off the hinges slamming it after Lloyd Carr stole a win from us in 2005.)  I have not broken a TV . . . yet.  Give me time.  I rode a bus from hell from Ann Arbor after a 14-9 loss and I swear, with God as my witness, had I had a gun, there would have been some dead THEM fans that night, and I would be rotting in a jail cell in Ypsilanti or some other God-forsaken Michigan town.  Probably bankrupt Detroit.  But I digress.

We got our helmets handed to us by the fourth ranked team in the nation.  The Buckeye roster has more stars on it than some small galaxies.  There is no shame in playing your heart out, making mistakes, defying the odds and coming up short--no matter how short that might be.  Even SEVEN touchdowns short.  I really don't want to see the Buckeyes win a National Title, so we must pray that all three (just to be sure because you never know what those BCS computers will do!) of the teams ahead of them continue to win, so we won't have to suffer that.

This is not the first time we were not competitive against this team.  24-6 in 1993.  38-7 in 1996 (when we were ranked 4th and they were 3rd!)  28-9 in 1998.  45-6 in 2000.  28-6 in 2006.  37-17 in 2007.  24-7 in 2009.  38-14 in 2010.  35-23 in 2012.  Despite our 63-14 win in 2004, this series has been lopsided, and our wins have often been by a touchdown or less, while the losses have been ridiculous.  In the Big Ten Era, Ohio State has outscored Penn State 551 to 367 in 21 games.  Ohio State leads the series 14-7 over that span.  That breaks down to 17.5 points per game scored by Penn State, while OSU scores 26.2 per game.

Fans are focusing on the fact that Penn State has given up over 40 points the past three games.  And they have.  Tru dat. 

And so the Sunday Morning Quarterback club has determined that we need a new defensive coordinator.  Perhaps even O'Brien isn't right for the job.  Should he be his own offensive coordinator, or should there be a separate play caller?  The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!

Take a step back from the ledge.  Look around.  Think about this for a minute.  We lost to Lehigh 106-0 in 1889.  Joe Paterno (who?) went 5-5 in his first season.  Thank God we didn't panic then!  We used to have a three-headed monster calling plays based on whoever won the rock-paper-scissors game.  Our defense used to keep us in 6-4 losses!  There are some things I don't miss.

If you fire OB, who is going to take this job right now????  Bill O'Brien (with the help of people like Mike Mauti and company) likely SAVED this program.  No likely about it.  He saved this program with a capital S.  Without these coaches AND players who stayed and committed, we could be losing 63-0 to Temple.  Or Eastern Michigan.  Seriously, dudes.  Get a grip.

We have been spoiled by the Paterno era, and the high standard of SUCCESS WITH HONOR that he brought to and BUILT THIS program with.  But that Chapter in Penn State history is over, with only some minor editing work left to do, such as restoring the victories to Paterno.  Bill O'Brien seems committed to keeping HONOR.  The success, if you so believe, will follow.  It will.

We will never be the same team again.  Deal with it.  It doesn't matter who you plug in as head coach or defensive coordinator.  It will never be the same.  I saw a JoePa sticker on a Cadillac.  A little voice inside my head said "Don't look back you can NEVER look back" I thought I knew what love was, what did I know? Those days are gone forever, I should just let them go.

This is John Butler's first year as DC.  Is that really the standard now?  Seven games and it's hit or quit?  Is that success with honor, or is it win at all costs?  To my knowledge, and according to his bio, he has never been a DC before at the FBS level.  Can we at least give him a chance through the end of the year? Of the sanctions even?  Might it not be helpful to recruit players that fit their system?  Won't they be able to recruit better athletes AFTER the sanctions are over?

We played a solid Buckeye team that, to their credit, played a nearly flawless game.  All the pressure was on them and they rose to the challenge.  There obviously was incentive for the Bucks to "run up" the score, but I honestly don't think they did that.  Braxton stopped playing with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.  They even brought in a third string QB in the fourth. 

What I do think was weenie, and worthy of a douche bag award, was challenging the spot on Penn State's fourth down attempt.  I don't feel the video evidence was INDISPUTABLE but the wonderful Refs of Oz felt otherwise.  BTW--it was another poorly officiated game, with OSU holding at will and not being called, but to be honest, it wouldn't have changed the outcome much.  Maybe 49-14.  Big deal.  It's just the principle--why bias the officiating at all, let alone when the winning team doesn't even need the help.  Everyone's human, but even my non-Penn State friends have noticed that the officiating always favors OSU and UM.  Wisconsin.  Iowa.  I think we did benefit from a questionable PI call against Minnesota a few years ago.  Woo freaking Hoo!  Sometimes we can overcome the bad calls, like two weeks ago.  Other times, we're just screwed.

Seriously?  You're winning 56-7 and you CHALLENGE a spot?  I never liked Mr. Meyer before, and I like him even less now.  He has joined Lloyd "drive-by handshake" Carr, Bret "I'll keep kicking off-sides all night long because the rules allow it" Bielema and Mark "Ima gonna call a needless timeout in subzero temps just to piss your crowd off" Dantonio on the list of B1G DOUCHEBAGS.  Congratulations Urban!  Come on down and collect your year's supply of Massengills.


From the GoPSUsports site:

FIRST DOWNS...................2032
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............40-12051-408
PASSING YDS (NET).............237278
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........34-19-226-20-0
Fumble Returns-Yards..........0-00-0
Punt Returns-Yards............1-00-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........5-711-49
Interception Returns-Yards....0-02-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............6-37.03-46.7
Possession Time...............26:3933:21
Third-Down Conversions........8 of 167 of 10
Fourth-Down Conversions.......0 of 10 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......1-25-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........1-84-21

What can we say?  We all knew we'd have to score some points to win this game.  We failed.  We knew we'd have to create some opportunities (such as turn overs.)  We failed.  We knew we'd have to control Braxton.  We failed.  We knew we'd have to limit our own mistakes.  We failed.

What's funny . . . if you look just at the Penn State side of the stats sheet and ignore the turn-overs, it doesn't look that bad.   Three hundred and fifty seven total yards and 50% on third down conversions isn't bad for a game against the Number 4 team in the country. 

Unfortunately, there is a second side to the stat sheet.  And giving up 686 yards and 70% on third down isn't going to win many games, regardless of ranking.

But to pin this all on the defense is absurd.  The turn-overs put the defense into a hole early on.  The inability to maintain possession offensively, even when they don't score, hurts field position and doesn't give the D much time to catch their breath.  But that doesn't explain or atone for WIDE-OPEN receivers in the secondary or poor tackling which has been a problem all year.

Head Nut of Columbus

The Blue Band travelled to Columbus . . . no word on whether urine was involved or not.

Penn State won the toss and deferred.

A largely blood-red crowd of 105,889 watched the massacre.  The fans at home at least could flip over and watch the Penguins lose 4-1 to Toronto.  If a leaf falls on the ice, does anyone hear it?  IT WAS JUST A BAD NIGHT ALL AROUND.  Even Notre Dame won!

Pope Urban is undefeated as THE O$U head coach.  We are not amused.

But if you look at the programs he left behind, Florida is 4-3 with Georgia, South Carolina and F$U left on the schedule, and Utah is 4-4 with Arizona State, Washington State and Oregon left to play.  We can only hope that Urban leaves the Buckeyes in a similar state.  History repeats itself.  Hence the 63-14.  Karma has a way of biting one in the derrier.


The Nuts of Columbus lead it all.

Michigan State whipped the Illini 42-3.

Nebraska got cornholed by Minnesota, losing 34-23.

Iowa defated Northwestern, who has yet to win a B1G game, by the score of 17-10.

Future members lost as well, with Maryland falling to Clemson 40-27 and Houston had no problem defeating Rutgers 49-14.


1.  Pitt--defeated by the Midshipmen!  Anchors Aweigh!
2.  UConn--taken behind the woodshed by UCF 62-17.  Go Knights!
3.  Texas Tech--no longer unbeaten as they fell to OU 38-30.
4.  Missouri falls from the ranks of the unbeaten as well, losing to South Carolina 27-24.  Mizzou dinked a FG off the upright to lose in OT.
5.  UCLA lost to the Quackers 42-14.  GO DUCKS!
6.  Wake Forest came up short as Miami won late in the game again to go to 7-0 on the year.


The Lions travel to Illinois to take on the Illini (3-4, 0-3).

Here's the Illinois season to date:

W 42-34 over Southern Illinois
W 45-17 over Cincinnati
L  34-24 to Washington @ Soldier Field
W 50-14 over Miami (OH)
L  39-19 to Nebraska in Lincoln
L  56-32 to Wisconsin at home
L  42-3 to Michigan State in east Lansing

The Illini are looking for their first B1G win.  Penn State must regroup--this is where the coaching and leadership will be tested.  Good teams will rebound from a loss like this.  Not so good teams?  Well, they fold up the tents and start talking about next year.

Nothing has changed.  Penn State cannot go to a bowl game.  They cannot go to the B1G Championship game.  They are playing for pride and to hopefully sway and/or keep recruits. 

I don't want to say this is a MUST win game, because quite frankly, it is not.  But it is an important game nonetheless.  Purdue may be the closest thing to a "sure" win left on the schedule, and a loss to Illinois will probably foretell losses to Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin as well.  If Penn State wants to have a winning season--which is not an unreasonable goal at this point--I think they need to win this game.


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