The following is Neil Rudel's report card from Penn State's 23-18 victory over Purdue on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback C McGloin has thrown bad interceptions in the end zone on consecutive weeks. But he was also terrific most of the second half, going 6-for-7 for 123 yards. Bolden OK on one drive, then regressed again. And he doesn't sense pressure at all.
Running backs B Redd (28-131) starting to be a workhorse with his third straight game of 28-plus carries. Plus he finishes runs. Crowd now chanting "Dukes." Zordich looked good on 16-yard reception. Green got first carry of season.
Offensive line C Protection was just OK as both QBs were flushed from pocket and hit. A couple of third-and-shorts were blown up, and Stankiewitch was nailed with a holding penalty. Farrell got some RT snaps. Troutman nicked late in the game.
Wide receiver B+ No Moye? No problem, at least not this week. Justin Brown (4-86) had his best yardage game of season, and one-hander was gem. Smith (2-34) making yards after catch but Bolden has trouble seeing him. Moseby-Felder (2-40) did a nice job.
Tight end F Hope they stay with Szczerba because he at 6-6, 266, he looks like an NFL specimen. Now he just needs to learn to catch and play with poise. Dropped a TD and fired off about four seconds early for false start/alarm. Haplea replaced him in second half.
Offensive coaching D Seriously, the reverse has worn out its welcome. Smith has fumbled it twice. But the worst call was the first-down pass, into the wind, from the Purdue 23 that was picked. Glad they keep calling early screens. Maybe eventually Bolden will complete one.
Defensive line C Purdue went up the middle surprisingly well, especially early in gaining 115 yards on the ground in first half. Still had one TFL and two deflections and Stanley, though credited with just two stops, hurried Boiler QBs a couple times. Other DEs unimpressive.
Linebacker C Stupar, with two picks, showed his nose for the ball. Fortt had two stops, including stuff of 2-point conversion. Unit overpursued. Hodges got caught inside a couple times and came back to pack a bit from last week. Purdue tailbacks averaged 5.5 on 26 cracks.
Secondary B Sukay closed on the ball well with breakup and interception off deflection. Lynn left his man on Purdue TD pass but supported run well in successful return from scary neck injury three weeks ago. Morris fumble recovery was nearly monster play before being overruled.
Defensive coaching C Bradley said D was a bit flat to start the game so he gets black mark for that. Didn't think he applied enough pressure, but he said it's tough to blitz QBs who use the three-step drop. Unit toughened on Purdue's last two posessions.
Special teams B+ Won the game. Fera was 3-for-3 in FGs in the wind and his 69-yard punt was key play. Return units blocked well. Powell's 92-yard kickoff return was huge, and Brown's 33-yard PR marks team long. Morris hustled to save Purdue TD on kickoff return.
The other guy C+ Put up better fight than expected in spite of themselves. Committed six penalties, including 12 men on defense twice, threw three interceptions, missed an XP and a makeable FG.
Officials D The unsportsmanlike vs. Powell was laughable. Also appeared Sukay's interception, which was reviewed, hit the ground and should have been waved off. Needed review to overturn fumble return, which was correctly ruled incomplete.
Atmosphere C Did not feel like Homecoming with announced crowd of 100,820 or at least 9,000 shy of capacity. Noon start contributed to plenty of holes in the student section. Liked the alumni band, though.
Overall grade C The Lions may not be impressive, and they're keeping both teams in game, but they've been poised enough to win the close ones so far. If their passing game improves, they have a chance to win nine-plus games, which few predicted.
Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com. He will respond to brief comments weekly.