The following is Neil Rudel's report card from Penn State's 44-14 win over Youngstown State Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback A Better opponent will add challenges, but Bolden far exceeded expectations. Newsome came in late and showed he can play ... just maybe not at QB.
Running backs C+ Something's up with Royster, who lacked elusiveness and averaged 3.6 on just 11 cracks. Green (5.3 per) and Redd (3-20) hit holes quicker.
Offensive line B- Protected Bolden well. Didn't create enough running room early but got better as game went along. Gs Pannell and Troutman apparently rotating.
Receivers A Brackett (8-98, two TDs) led way with Moye (5-61) right behind. Justin Brown grabbed three. Zug shutout, surprisingly.
Tight end C Gilliam made first career start but didn't catch a pass and wasn't on the field that much because of multi-receiver sets.
Offensive coaching B+ Lot of screens, flares and safe passes helped build Bolden's confidence. Backs alternated with backups Green and Zordich appearing in first quarter.
Defensive line C One sack against Youngstown State? That's a glaring stat. Ogbu helped blow up a couple of short-yardage plays. He made six tackles, Stanley five.
Linebacker B- Colasanti was solid in the middle with 13 tackles. Stupar had 1.5 TFLs. He and Mauti both caught inside on long YSU touchdown.
Secondary B Other than the 80-yard TD, kept the game in front of them. Still hard to believe Youngstown QB was 21-of-25 with no picks.
Defensive coaching B Understandably vanilla scheme with Alabama lurking. Usual good job of keeping front seven fresh as backups got some early experience. But no turnovers.
Special teams A Good start for kickoff man Fera, PK Wagner and Powell's 100-yard TD return. Noticed three protectors in new punt formation - a reaction to Iowa in '09?
The other guy B+ YSU played with poise and spunk. Ran tough and had a scheme executed well enough to balance time of possession.
Officials B Didn't do Youngstown early favors with questionable spot that may have denied first down and borderline roughing the passer. Upheld Powell's TD on challenge.
Atmosphere B- Plenty of seats available and probably will be much of the season, perhaps save Michigan game. Musical staples still go over well.
Overall grade B Looked like very unimpressive opener until aggressive use of timeouts led to late first-half FG and Powell's subsequent TD blew it open.
Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will respond to brief comments in Gameday.