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October 9, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode
Blogger’s note: We’re done with the quarter-by-quarter game summaries. Twitter has made that kind of thing obsolete. Wisecracks and snappy analysis can be delivered now in real time so if you’re not using Twitter, you should start. You can check out our wisecracks and snappy analysis from Saturday’s game by visiting www.twitter.com/15MinutesBlog. What we’re going to do moving forward for both PSU and Steelers games is a quick-hitting postgame blog that focuses on analysis.
PSU throttled in one of the ugliest losses of the Paterno Era
It was over when:
Penn State opened the second half with the same off tackle run to Evan Royster that they opened the game with. We’ll say it ‘til we’re blue in the face: You have to throw at least half the time on first down when you have a young quarterback. Penn State ran on five of its first seven first downs. One of the two first-down passes went for an 80-yard touchdown.
Play of the day:
Nate Bussey’s athletic Pick 6 at 9:39 of the second quarter put the Lions in a two-possession hole from which they’d never recover. After two ineffective running plays, Bussey was able to diagnose the predictable swing pass Bolden was trying to throw on the third-down play.
@15MinutesBlog: Like the #PSU season, my phone is dying.
@YDRPennState: Time to move Chaz Powell to the defensive line?
@NotCarlotta: Off to drink myself into a stupor, not a Stupar.
Rob Bolden has unquestionably regressed. But the situation is exacerbated by the fact that the Penn State offensive coaching staff is clearly incapable of putting Bolden in position to succeed. Consider the Lions’ first trip into the red zone Saturday, which was going swimmingly after a nice quick pitch to Silas Redd went for eight yards and set PSU up with a 2nd-and-2 at the Illinois 5. Another run by Redd was clearly the safe call and what Illinois expected. A play-action fake to Redd with some rollout action would certainly surprise Illinois and perhaps give Bolden an opportunity to pass or run for a touchdown. Instead, the Lions did what everyone expected them to do, handed the ball to Redd for no gain, leaving themselves a 3rd-and-2, which is a predictable passing down, which is exactly what they had Bolden do, surprising no one and resulting in Bolden throwing the ball away when no one was open.
We were right:
Does Ron Zook read this blog? One week after we championed the halfback pass as an essential part of any red zone offense, the Illini cashed in a crucial touchdown on a perfectly executed halfback pass. Now, if only we could get Galen and Jaypa reading.
We were wrong:
Obviously, our hunch that Penn State was going to play a good game could not have been more off the mark.