Following is Neil Rudel's report card from Penn State's 28-7 win over Syracuse Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback B+ Clark had another strong game. Not buying JoePa's blame of Wisniewski on the fumble, though. Backup Newsome got two series and was sacked twice before McGloin appeared for final two handoffs.
Running backs C Still not much running room there, but it seems to be more of a problem up front than with the backs. Royster scored twice when he got some daylight. Three tailbacks, though, only averaged 3.4 per carry.
Offensive line C- Protection for Clark was again decent as he wasn't sacked, though it broke down for Newsome. Guards Eliades and Stankiewitch were replaced in first half by Troutman and Barham. Stay tuned.
Receivers B Not quite as good as last week's dazzling debut. Zug
emerging as go-to guy with six more catches for 79 yards. Moye had a shot at the bomb over the middle but was outscrapped. Powell limited to one catch and Brackett missed one.
Tight end B Solid day and improvement over first week. Quarless caught four for 35 and Mickey Shuler chipped with a 1-yard TD. Duo also responsible for more run blocking, though, than unit has escorted so far.
Offensive coaching C We're confused. Last week the Nits were successful in the red zone by spreading out and freeing Royster for short TD run. This week, they were bunched up in old electric-football tactics. Failed on three cracks early from inside SU 2.
Defensive line B+ Unit only managed two sacks, but Odrick got key deflection. Still made three stops. Latham (44) and Latimore (56) contributed to TFLs and true frosh Sean Stanley (90) appeared at end.
Linebacker A Lee made 13 tackles, and Stupar and Hull made
interceptions. Not bad given that Bowman (groin) was in street clothes. Bani Gbadyu saw time at inside and outside spots.
Secondary B Astorino made six stops, four in one-on-one situations. Timmons missed a tackle on the first play and was pulled in favor of Wallace, who appears tentative on run support. Lynn played most of the way at the other corner.
Defensive coaching B+ Two weeks and just two touchdowns allowed, none in the first half of either game. Credit staff for mixing in backups, at least in the front seven.
Special teams C Wagner kicked off well, and Boone was tremendous. But what is with this kickoff coverage? Akron broke a 42-yarder, and the 'Cuse's Mike Jones had returns of 38 and 39 (and five for 144).
The other guy B Given where Syracuse has been lately, the Orange played very hard and put forth a great effort, winning more than their share of battles at the line. QB Paulus has good feet and poise. Overall, a pretty impressive showing.
Officials C The Big East crew (last year's game at the Carrier Dome was worked by Big Ten zebras) seemed lost on a couple of spots and had Moye for phantom interference on the ball that was intercepted.
Atmosphere A OK, there were some empty seats in the upper right corner of the student section, but the throwback theme and the tie-dye shirts were a huge hit. Pre-game scene, with band and traditions, is a true show.
Overall B- The Lions are having trouble with their offensive line and running game that will have to be fixed by the Big Ten season. Need scheme to back eight out of box.
Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will respond to brief comments in Gameday.