Following is Neil Rudel's report card from Penn State's 34-0 victory over Kent State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback CHackenberg seemed to struggle with the wet conditions, badly missing receivers, especially deep, and fumbling. Also had difficulty getting Robinson (3-43) involved. Kudos, though, on the pooch punt. Ferguson mopped up the last series, going 0-1.
Running back B+Lynch (14-123), Belton (13-90) and Zwinak (15-65) each ran tough and each had 20-plus gain. Belton also caught TD. Most of Lynch's yards came in second half. FB Zerbe surfaced. Backs picked up blitzes.
Offensive line B+Blew open holes for the run better than it has all year. Just two sacks in 36 pass attempts. Smith and Mangiro hustled to recover fumbles. Gress hit with false start. Backups Mangiro, Shrive, Alosi saw action.
Wide receiver CAfter 19 receptions to the wideouts vs. Syracuse, slipped to seven vs. Kent. Robinson had two drops and didn't get usual separation. Felder (3-35) and frosh Anderson (1-7) accounted for other WR catches.
Tight end BCarter caught a slant and turned it to 29-yard gain and just missed a couple others. He was also involved in more running plays as his elbow injury is healing. James (3-20) and Breneman (1-27) caught four.
Offensive coaching BLions' 7-0 lead - on good call to Belton - marked first time they scored first this year. That can't continue. Three-headed tailback worked. Clearly, O'Brien was clearly giving Hack mucho chances to find range. 7 of 18 on third down better.
Defensive line ABarnes (six stops) had his best game. He had a TFL along with Baublitz and Olaniyan. Jones (two stops, half sack) drawing more attention. Kent managed a mere two rushing first downs.
Linebacker B+Carson had seven stops and two TFLs. Obeng stepped in as starter along with Wertman as Hull (knee) missed another game, his second and third if you count much of Syracuse game. Kline had a few snaps.
Secondary BUnit bounced back strong and improved after allowing Kent to go 3-for-3 on third down early. Keiser (four stops, sack, pick, three breakups) had best game, CBs Williams in better position and Lucas (four passes defensed, one fumble forced) had strong game.
Defensive coachingAButler had secondary better prepared and adjusted to loss to Hull. Lions forced 10 punts, which will win almost every time. Kent ran 26 plays on first four series, 34 on next 10.
Special teams B+Ficken's 54-yarder longest by PSU player in Beaver Stadium history. The ones as long - three 55-yarders by Chris Bahr and Herb Menhardt's 54-yarder that beat N.C. State 9-7 in 1979 - all on road. KO coverage leaked 35-yarder.
The other guy DKent State started OK on offense but wore down. Did cover Robinson well and forced Lions into other options. Punter bombed 54- and 55-yarders. Flashes have now been outscored 58-0 in their last two trips here. Scheduled for return in 2016.
Officials BGot Belton non-TD correct. The most interesting situation came when zebras reviewed a Penn State punt and determined Kent State had 12 men on the field. Took a while, and then the Lions declined the penalty.
Atmosphere C Attendance generously listed at 92,371. Rain provided a fun element for students who braved the weather. They were also rewarded with return of "Sweet Caroline," previously scratched from fallout/overreaction to Sandusky scandal.
OverallBLions could have named score by staying on the ground, but it was important to let Hackenberg work through first tough game. Defense will be tested more in October than it was, save UCF, in September. Upcoming open date first of two in next four weeks.