Following is Neil Rudel's report card from Penn State's 19-17 win over LSU Friday in the Capital One Bowl:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback B+ Clark took the ESPN talk about his legacy personally, and he played like it: He put the team on his back in the fourth quarter with accuracy, decisiveness.
Running backs B Staff ably mixed Green in effectively (7-36, 5.0) to spell Royster, who gained 65 yards and scrambled to recover his red-zone fumble.
Offensive line B+ Wisniewski and Clark had some exchange issues, but the line provided exceptional protection as Clark had plenty of time most of the day. G Troutman returned to split time with Pannell.
Receivers B Unit improved as game went on. Moye got loose for game's first TD and drew key late interference. Zug was tough in the second half. Powell caught 12-yard laser, setting up FG.
Tight end A Quarless made five catches in the first half and wound up with eight, a PSU bowl record. Shuler helped with protection. Position will miss them both.
Offensive coaching B- Lot of varied packages and formations, but somebody must take hit for red-zone blues. Too much finesse at the end of half, especially trying to pass from shotgun on third-and-goal from 1.
Defensive line A Totally stuffed run and kept consistent pressure on Jefferson. Odrick a beast, especially when not doubled. Still started for tardy Ogbu. Latimore active at DE.
Linebacker A LSU coach Miles said it seemed as if the Nit 'backers were "never out of position." Bowman likely ended career with great game. Lee, too. And did you catch Hull's burst shooting gap?
Secondary B Couple of key breakdowns by Lynn (missed tackle) and Sukay (blown coverage on first LSU TD). Wallace came up with alert pick.
Defensive coaching B+ Did nice job adjusting to LSU speed and forcing Jefferson to beat Nits with the pass. He almost did. Then again, had offense played better early, Nits could have been up at least 21-3 by half.
Special teams B+ Credit field-goal operation (snap, hold, kick) on lousy turf.
Confidence builder for Wagner. Boone's first punt was partially blocked. Good coverage. Nice to see No. 19 Brown, finally, become PR.
The other guy C+ After rough first half, Tigers showed character to come back and take the lead. Still, 10 penalties, even if a couple were questionable, is way too many and late playcalling was brutal.
Officials D The Pac-10 guys were hilarious. Could they have taken more time to manage the game? They lost track of the downs at one point. PSU successfully challenged a spot, and the personal foul vs. LSU should have been a no-call.
Atmosphere C Rain put a damper on things and the field has to be addressed in order for this bowl to maintain a strong reputation. Plenty of tickets were available.
Overall grade B+ Winning a bowl game, especially against a solid SEC opponent in comeback fashion, should help nip some of the recent criticism about PSU's big-game performance.
Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.