Penn State report card
Following is Neil Rudel’s report card from Penn State’s 38-3 victory over Maryland on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
POSITION GRADE COMMENT
Quarterback B+ Considering recent injury, McSorley played well, hitting 12-22 for 230 and 1 TD. Also ran for 64 and two TDs. Missed couple high throws. Stevens 2-2 for 25 and ran 3-35 with an 18-yarder.
Running back A- Sanders had 128 on 14 carries but he fumbled again. Best showing for freshman Slade (11-64 with a catch for 12). Got into holes quicker. Journey Brown (3-17) saw action.
Offensive line A With Menet out, McGovern slid over to center, where he played last year, and Miranda made first career start at guard. Backs averaged 7.0 yards per carry (on 44 tries) and none thrown for loss. McSorley sacked just once.
Wide receiver C Hamler had 3-90 but dropped a pretty deep out, one of his two misses, and Thompkins added a pair of drops. Slippery ball. Johnson (2-45) surfaced to snag 38-yarder. Best play from group was frosh Daniel George’s 17-yard catch and leap.
Tight end B Not overly targeted but sure-handed frosh Freiermuth (2-27) did add his seventh TD and made at least one catch in 11 straight games, impressive considering he started season as backup behind Jonathan Holland.
Offensive coaching A Stayed committed to run against a worn-out defense, and it paid off. Went deep early and healthy McSorley makes any OC look better. Better use of backup RBs along with Stevens, despite snafu on one route. Didn’t like end zone fades.
Defensive line A Gross-Matos had 3.5 TFLs, upping total to 20, most since Maybin’s 20 in 2008. And how about Altoona’s Givens, who added a career-high two sacks and is finishing season strong. Miller had personal foul for second straight game.
Linebackers B+ Brown had strong game with five tackles, 1.5 for loss and his third forced fumble. Parsons had four stops and TFL, and Brooks got three. Farmer tackled better in open field.
Secondary B+ Terps broke one long play (48 yards) that looked like mixup between Castro-Fields and Scott. Otherwise, pretty clean effort with few Terps open. Taylor had five tackles, Amani three.
Defensive coaching A Pry and staff have had one heck of a year, especially considering how it started. Allowed just two TDs in last three weeks. Spencer’s D-line much improved over course of season.
Special teams C- Still leaky. Muffed (Thomas) opening kickoff. Didn’t field punts, then (Thompkins) made fair catch at 5. Eight Md. punts, no PSU punt return yards. Checa kicked off out of bounds.
The other guy D Terps out of gas from 52-51 OT loss to Buckeyes. Manhandled up front, hurt themselves with pre-snap penalties, personal fouls and ejection of best defensive player (Watson) for targeting. Outscored 104-6 in last two meetings with PSU.
Officials D Long confabs. Flipped two calls — Maryland’s early catch and Terps’ pick. Allowed chippy stuff but had targeting right. Running into punter vs. Sutherland was blatant roughing, costing Terps first down. Announced foul vs. PSU but meant Maryland.
Atmosphere D Crowd listed at 98K but was most poorly attended game in memory. Weather a factor, but PSU needs to address parking mess. Press box bathrooms inoperable, making entire corps, including ABC, troop to troughs downstairs. That’s elite?
Overall B+ PSU played most complete game and avoided pre-bowl angst with Sunday’s news that USC has retained Clay Helton. CJF’s name was tossed around in connection with that potential opening.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will respond to brief comments and questions in Gameday.