Defensive showing the reason for 2 of 3 Penn State losses
Penn State’s defense played great for the first 58 minutes this season. It’s been flat out awful ever since.
There’s no question the Nittany Lions’ offense has had major problems, and Neil points them out.
But the offense did enough to beat Indiana.
The defense collapsed at the end with that game on the line, setting a bad tone for what has turned out to be a very bad start for Penn State.
We all can gripe about James Franklin not making sure that Devyn Ford or anyone else went into the end zone with a one-point lead inside of two minutes at Indiana. The game would have been over had PSU not scored, but instead, the Lions were up by eight points and just needed to stop the Hoosiers from driving down the field to tie.
The defense failed.
Indiana’s offense hadn’t done much of anything up to that point in the game. But with everything on the line, the Hoosiers drove 75 yards in the final 1:42 to scored a touchdown, then burned PSU’s defense with a 2-point conversion to force overtime.
Penn State’s offense did what it had to do in OT to win the game, getting a TD pass from Sean Clifford to Parker Washington.
But again, PSU’s defense wilted under pressure and allowed Indiana to score a touchdown.
Now, as I’ve stated repeatedly, I believe Penn State stopped Michael Penix Jr. from scoring the 2-point conversion, since it looked like the ball was out of bounds. However, history will show that Penix did indeed get 2 points on “the reach,” and Indiana walked away with a historic victory.
No matter how you slice it, Penn State didn’t have a great chance against Ohio State. But when the defense gave up a 62-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage before allowing a touchdown, well, what does that tell you about how unprepared the unit was to play?
After the offense failed on fourth down in its own territory, the defense gave up another touchdown, and the Buckeyes were up 14-0. It was game over, and the offense had had the ball just one time.
Against Maryland, Penn State’s defense was atrocious, giving up two long TD passes on the same crossing pattern to fall behind 14-0. Then the Terps got a 38-yard TD run — on second-and-20! — to make it 21-0. Game over.
Penn State has allowed 30 or more points in four straight games for the first time EVER, going back to last year’s Cotton Bowl. Clearly, a program that has been superb on defense forever is having all sorts of problems.
Losing Micah Parsons was enormous. Because that guy is awesome. But this defense still was supposed to be very good.
It’s not even close.
Cory Giger is editor of NittanySportsNow.com and host of “Sports Central” weekdays from 3-4 on WRTA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.