Sure, it was a weak opponent, but Penn State looked very good in almost every facet Saturday.
There must be some concern about the Nittany Lions' secondary, which did nothing to disprove the theory that it could be the team's weakest link this season.
The Lions allowed 198 yards passing to a Division I-AA team and totally botched a pass play that led to Coastal Carolina's lone touchdown in the 66-10 shellacking. The guilty party appeared to have been safety Mark Rubin, whose missed assignment gave the Chanticleers an easy 33-yard TD over the middle.
We'll know a lot more about the PSU secondary in a week, after the Lions play an Oregon State team that threw for 404 yards in its opener.
Granted, Beavers quarterback Lyle Moevao was facing Stanford's traditionally soft defense, which doesn't stack up in any way to Tom Bradley's unit. Still, Moevao completed 34-of-54 passes and tossed three TDs in the 36-28 loss, so he has to be a major concern for the Lions.
''That Oregon State kid is a good quarterback,'' said Joe Paterno, who stayed up well past his bedtime Thursday to watch the Beavers play.
The coach also noted Oregon State has ''good wideouts, and they put that freshman back [Jacquizz Rodgers] in there that can run.''
The Lions started Lydell Sargeant at cornerback over A.J. Wallace, who missed significant time in the preseason with a hamstring injury. Sargeant struggled last season and lost his starting job, and he didn't get off to a good start this year with soft coverage and poor tackling.
The scheme also continues to be a problem as the coaching staff allows the D-backs to play well off the receivers. That's fine if the guys in the secondary have great closing speed and are good tacklers, but aside from Anthony Scirrotto, PSU's D-backs aren't particularly strong in either of those areas.
If Oregon State sells out and throws the ball 50 times again, the Beavers could pull off the upset Saturday. Then again, this is the type of game where the Lions' strong defensive line can shine as PSU should win the battle in the trenches and get a strong push.
This game poses some challenges and will be a good early season test for the Lions' secondary and other units. However, don't be surprised if Penn State's array of offensive weapons batter the Beavers' defense, which gave up 36 points to Stanford and will be lucky to keep PSU below 40.
SUBHD: Afterthoughts ...
n Penn State opened up as a 13-point favorite over Oregon State Sunday. That's a big number. The guess here was 8-9 points.
n Everything Penn State did Saturday has to be taken with a grain of salt considering the competition. Regardless, the offense's 594 yards was the most since 1995 against Rutgers.
n Josh Hull, the former walk-on who was given a scholarship in the preseason, is a great story as he's earned the starting middle linebacker job. However, Hull did virtually nothing Saturday with just two tackles and looked slow attacking the ball. Paterno wanted to give the kid a chance, but it's more important to have the best player on the field, and that player may be Chris Colasanti.
n The Big Ten had a bad opening weekend, with Michigan losing at home to Utah and Illinois giving up 52 points in a loss to Missouri. Those are good signs for Penn State, which conceivably could be playing for second place in the conference when it visits Wisconsin on Oct. 11.
n Really, Pitt? Bowling Green? Wow! That's a bad, bad loss for a program that believes it's primed for a breakout season. Still, that loss won't ruin the Panthers' season if they keep their heads up and bounce back. The Big East schedule is the most important thing for Pitt, and it has three weeks before a conference game at Syracuse to figure things out.
Cory Giger is at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.