Lions will roar this week against finesse Hoosiers
We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback the past few years about this weekly point-counterpoint feature, in large part because sports fans love to take sides and debate.
That’s why clowns — yes, I said clowns — like Screamin’ A. Smith and Max Kellerman can go on TV and yell at each other with fake outrage over various sports issues of the day. Does anyone truly believe those guys disagree about everything with such fervor that it warrants a TV show every weekday?
No. It’s all contrived, orchestrated.
They’re arguing for the sake of arguing.
And our hot take society loves it.
It’s boring to just say, “I agree with you” and move on.
On this particular issue, I agree with everything Neil wrote in his column. He nailed it in all aspects, including James Franklin’s peculiar decision to complain about the criticism he received for last week’s failed 2-point conversion attempt.
It was petty. And Franklin should be above it. Why the heck should he care if the media and fans are criticizing his decisions? That’s what we (the media) and you (the fans) always have done and always will do.
There is every reason in the world to believe that Penn State will have trouble putting the Minnesota loss behind it. History tells us that.
But I do believe Saturday against Indiana will be different.
I see the Nittany Lions coming out and playing well, taking it to the Hoosiers and winning comfortably, 37-20.
Indiana is not an overly physical team. It’s a finesse team.
The past two years, when PSU followed up losses to Ohio State with another loss, both games were against Michigan State. The Spartans always have a tough, physical team, so they could line up and punch Penn State in the mouth.
Indiana isn’t built that way. That matters a great deal here because PSU’s players won’t be in for the kind of challenge that comes with squaring off against a demanding, grind-it-out opponent.
Don’t get me wrong, the Hoosiers do present problems. Their passing game is always good, and the Lions were flat out awful defending the pass in the loss to Minnesota.
But Penn State should be able to control both lines of scrimmage, and on defense that means getting to the quarterback. That will help out the secondary, unlike what happened at Minnesota, where the DBs were vulnerable because the quarterback never faced pressure.
So, that’s the football side of my argument.
The intangible side is easy: We’re all talking this week about the possibility of Penn State having another letdown, and you can bet the players are hearing it and/or reading about it.
We are all, in essence, giving the PSU players bulletin-board material by having this discussion. That will help motivate them even more to bounce back from last week’s loss.
Which they will, in convincing fashion.
Cory Giger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.