Five Things: Penn State

By Chris Lauderback on November 15, 2010 at 4:00a
38 Comments
Boom ran for a career high 190 yards on 21 carries

It looked like another game-after-a-bye-week disaster might be brewing as Penn State held the Buckeyes to a field goal on five 1st half possessions while freshman walk-on QB Matt McGloin had his way with a lax secondary in buliding a 14-3 hafltime lead.

Just in time, a halftime verbal assault from Tressel, adjusted coverages resulting in a couple pick six's and Boom's continued march toward team MVP honors with 190 yards on the ground and a score combined to provide a 38-14 victory.

Now I understand why McGloin and Royster were so upset about the 17 point spread - they thought it should've been 24. My bad. Lesson learned, fellas.

From Much maligned to mvp

What a day for Boom Herron. Fresh off his first 100 yard (half-)game as a Buckeye, Boom again carried the offensive load rushing for a career high 190 yards on 21 carries (9.0 ypc) and even threw in two catches for 13 yards, one a clutch 11 yard catch/run screen on 3rd and 6 keeping alive a critical drive that would culminate with Boom's five yard TD run to open the 2nd half, cutting the PSU lead to 14-10. The 96 yard drive saw Boom carry four times for 30 yards including a sick 19 yard run designed to go up the gut that Herron bounced outside on the 1st and 10 play following his smooth 3rd down conversion allowing momentum to finally shift Ohio State's way for good.

Later, after Howard's pick six put the Buckeyes up 31-14 and McGloin followed it up with a 3 and out, Boom allowed the Buckeyes to officially salt away the game carrying five times chewing up 70 yards on a seven play, 78 yard TD drive capped by a Pryor rollout connection to Stoneburner in the back of the endzone pushing the final score to 38-14. Though the kill shot was unnecessary, Boom gashed the Lions for 10 yards on the first play then dashed 47 yards down the left sideline on the second before adding another 11 yard run.

Showing his upperclassman ilk, Boom was also one of the few offensive Buckeyes who bothered to show up the first half carrying seven times for 69 yards including three for 20 on OSU's lone scoring drive in a decidly lackluster opening 30 minutes. For the game, Boom's 203 total yards accounted for 45% of OSU's 453 total yards on the day. Not bad for a guy widely considered to be the team's 2nd best RB entering the season, and 3rd or 4th best by some fans after the first month. Now, he's not only the clear cut starter, he has scored at least one TD in nine straight games and has proven himself to be the team's MVP through 10 games. Do work, son. Three games to go.

The state of things in state college

While the Lions were certainly game and punched OSU in the mouth during the opening half, don't you get the feeling this program is teetering on thin ice? I guess I'm just not used to (or admittedly can't remember) the classy Paterno bringing in a team with a few guys flapping their gums leading up to kickoff. McGloin's act was embarassing especially the part about how Pryor's lengthy process in determining which school to attend supposedly caused the kid not to get any legit FBS scholarship offers. Me thinks the "West Scranton Gunslinger" is a little separated from reality. To watch the kid's gestures toward the OSU sideline during his impressive half (against a timid "cover soft" defense), it's just not what I've come to expect from a Paterno team.

Then, after hearing Paterno's post game interview, I was reminded why I shouldn't be surprised. The fact is, Joe Pa is so detached from this team and the in-game coaching/managing process that it's no wonder the team doesn't carry his stamp to the same degree it once did. Did you happen to catch the Paterno/reporter volley about the poor decision to pass up a 37 yard FG that would've given PSU a 17-3 lead with less than two minutes left in the half? I honestly felt sad for him as he talked about how the decision was easy because the FGA attempt would've been too long, calling it nearly 50 yards, only to backpedal a little when challenged on that blatant inaccuracy but still calling the kick too long. I was again embarassed for the guy as he obvioulsy had no idea what he was talking about. Further, if Joe Pa does have anything to do with playcalling and decision making, I'd be curious to know why, if you are going to go for it there, why you wouldn't give the ball to the more powerful Royster than Silas Redd. The decision killed what was then a 12 play drive - you have to get points there.

Bottom line, it might be fun to crack on Paterno because he's grown into such an easy target but he's quickly becoming Evander Holyfield in floods and that's not the way I want to remember him. From my seat, admittedly a few hundred miles away from State College, there's no way he's going to go out on top so he needs to consider simply going out to avoid taking any more luster off his legacy as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. I mean, the guy doesn't even wear a headset. This figure-head stuff is getting old - whether it's his right or not - isn't it?

Oh, line

Boom's big day was again buoyed by an impressive run blocking performance, specifically Adams, Boren and Brewster opening up huge holes on the left side. Highly critical of Adams for chunks of the season, I feel compelled to give him some love especially for a few seal blocks allowing Boom, Saine and TP to get wide and do some damage.

The end result was an outrageous 314 yards rushing on 43 carries, or a stout 7.3 yards per, as the line imposed their will on Penn State's defensive line. Without question, nobody is mistaking the PSU front four with the Fearsome Foursome, but the line did what they had to do, helping the Buckeyes complete the largest comeback in the Tressel Era.

The 314 yards increased OSU's rushing yards per game average to 222, good for 13th nationally. The unit wasn't called upon to do much pass blocking but though PSU did register one sack, Pryor often had plenty of time to throw. The TD pass intended for Posey that Dane scooped up was the result of Pryor having all day to let Posey get deep before unleashing the throw.

With Clayborn and company highly pissed off after losing to Northwestern, at least the offensive line should be a confident group. How well they perform next week will obviously be a huge factor as to whether or not this team is BCS bowl bound. What's your take - will the line pass the test next week in Iowa City?

second chance for the secondary

It looked like our worst nightmares were coming true in the first half as McGloin had his way with the OSU secondary completing 13/18 for 141 and two touchdowns. The cocky kid was delivering strikes underneath, taking advantage of OSU's very soft cover-3 look, specifically targeting Devon Torrence. Having already taken a 7-3 lead on a 23 yard TD pass to Justin Brown, PSU's first passing TD against OSU since 1963, McGloin's second possession saw him pick on Torrence, completing a 16 yard slant to Brett Brackett as Torrence trailed the play on 2nd and 12. Five plays later, McGloin hit Moye for 10 yards with Torrence again slow to recover. On the next snap, Torrence was flagged for pass interference giving the Lions 1st and Goal at the OSU eight yard line setting up a TD pass to Moye on a slant in front of Chekwa, as he was beaten off the line of scrimmage. To cap his pitiful half, Torrence was again beat by Moye, this time for 14 yards, on Penn State's final drive of the half that would've likely resulted in points if not for Joe Pa and company's poor decision to forgo a 37 yard field goal try.

Needing to regroup at intermission, Torrence and his mates took their verbal lashing, crowded the receivers a little more at the line of scrimmage and switched to a cover-2 in hopes of stemming the tide. The plan worked to perfection withe the aid of some well timed blitzes. On PSU's opening drive the 2nd half, McGloin was forced into attempting two incomplete bomb's with the underneath stuff covered and probably should've been flagged for intentional grounding before Jermale Hines limited a 3rd and 10 pitch and catch to five yards.

After Boom's five yard run capped a TD drive cutting PSU's lead to 14-10, Torrence conned McGloin into throwing an out route as he first dropped in a deeper coverage before closing on intended receiver Mike Zordich to first bobble the interception before racing 34 yards to the house. 17-14 Buckeyes. Flood gates watch moves to Defcon 3.

His confidence reduced from arrogant gunslinger to confused freshman, McGloin then engineered back to back 3 and outs with Travis Howard killing one possession with nice coverage on 3rd and 12 before Chekwa's tight coverage on a 3rd and 6 slant stopped the next. The offense took full advantage as Pryor's tipped bomb to Posey fell into Dane's anticipating arms for a 58 yard score and a 24-14 lead putting even more pressure on McGloin.

Looking for the knockout punch, Howard played a 3rd and 8 rollout similar to Torrence, first rolling to cover one route in his zone before flashing up to grab the interception then racing 30 yards to paydirt making it 31-14 Buckeyes. The Bullets then forced the still reeling McGloin into two incompletions for another 3 and out, euthanizing his 2nd half stat line of 2/12 for 18 yards and two INT for touchdowns.

Pryor's uneven performance

Terrelle was hard on himself in the post-game, saying he played terrible, in looking back on his 8/13, 139 yard, 2 TD, 1 INT passing day. I'm not sure it was a "terrible" performance, he did carry the ball nine times for 49 yards and had another 40 yards wiped out by a Browning holding penalty (though the penalty seemed to spring the run), but it certainly wasn't his best day under center.

He simply couldn't find a rhythm early, completing just 4/8 in the first half with 49 yards coming on one connection with Posey. He tossed a poor screen intended for Saine on the second offensive series, badly missed Posey on a 2nd and 9 out route on the third, and took a sack on 3rd and 5, missing a wide open Dane over the middle, on the fourth before Tresselball killed the fifth and final possession of the half.

Pryor did manage to go 4/5 for 81 yards and 2 TD in the 2nd half but one of the TD's and 58 of the yards occurred on the fluky deep ball intended for Posey; hardly the product of Pryor's doing. He did, however, carry the ball five times for 36 yards in the 2nd half and made some good decisions on the read/option, including three times on the scoring drive cutting PSU's lead to 14-10 midway through the 3rd quarter.

Leading just 17-14 and marching all the way down to the PSU 25, Pryor's worst play of the day occurred as he was picked off on 2nd and 12, rolling left after waiting too long to hit Dane on a 23 yard out route. That's simply a throw you cannot force, especially with the offense already in field goal range.

I know one game seldom has much to do with the next but with Pryor's big game resume, I'd feel a little better if he was coming off a nice game heading into the matchup with Iowa. They sport the #4 rush defense in the country so it's highly likely Pryor's arm will go a long way in determining the outcome. What about you - any huge concerns with what we might get from TP next weekend?

38 Comments

Comments

buckeyedude's picture

Boom is playing well, indeed. Need to get him the ball early and often vs. Iowa, while still throwing 40 to 50% of the time.

Speaking of throwing, would like to see TP give a wide open Dane a little love vs. Iowa to make up for the times he missed him vs. State Penn.

The O and D-lines better not sleep walk through the first half vs. Iowa or the Buckeyes will get their asses handed to them, aka, Michigan State. Just my opinion.

 

 

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

No doubt we need to run the ball against IA, although it may be more of a 3 ypc average in that game.  We need to control the ball as I am a bit concerned about the IA receivers running free in our secondary, and Stanzi can hurt us.  If Pryor is healthy, I hope he takes off early and often to keep the ball in our hands.

As for the poll question, although Moeller is the best of the bunch, I think we need a cover guy more than a hybrid star guy at this point, so I voted for Barnett.

Is anyone going to be healthy for the bowl game?? 

Chris Lauderback's picture

Last I heard, Bryant is supposed to be back but Moeller, Barnett and Philly Brown are defintely out.

blazers34's picture

Pittsburgh Brown right?  Or do I hvae them mixed up again?

Chris Lauderback's picture

Haha...woops - Yeah, Pittsburgh Brown is out. Not Philly.

iball's picture

We really need to run the ball sideline to sideline more and not allow opposing defenses to clog the middle the way PSU diid in the first half saturday.

Pryor has to be more involved in the running game. Put away the "path to the NFL" playbook until next year and let the kid do his thing.

Also, the defense did a better job at disguising coverages, which were only made effective by the d-line finally using some stunts and delayed blitzes by the LB"S.

It finally took the refs missing a grounding call to revive the D, but we have to come out more fired up at Kinninck saturday, or we could be in trouble early again.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

Hey Tressel,

Conservative offensive and defensive playcalling = 3 points

Aggressive offensive and defensive playcalling = 35 points

 

You decide

slippy's picture

What about the 2nd half was aggressive playcalling?  Still ran on 1st down, only tried 1 deep ball.

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

I was speaking more defensively than offensively.   However...the two minute drill before the half was not a two minute drill.  down 11 and two minutes to go at your own 35 and they showed no urgency at all.  If that isn't conservative, I don't know what is.  Everyone in the stadium agreed with a chorus of boos.

IMO, the second half showed a much more aggressive and risk-taking defense.  If you notice that PSU has scored when you were giving them soft coverage...why would you continue to do so...even after they scored the second TD?  Why did it take 2 quarters to figure it out?

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer...I just wish that Tressel would see that this team can score some points if he would loosen his grip a little bit.  I know it is wishful thinking.

Kansas City Buckeye's picture

They threw the ball more in the first half.  Your statement proves that no matter what Tressel does fans will twist it.

nickma71's picture

They threw the ball into coverage.

nickma71's picture

This is why the comments about using Boom all the time against Iowa are incorrect. Breaking the tendencies (except the first half) is what will take the team. Don't run it when they have 8 in the box. They all know Dave is coming, and no audible is made. Conversely, if they are in a "nickel" OSU shouldn't be in a shotgun. Which brings me to another point. And that is how good Pryor is playing. Sure, he stunk up the joint in the first half. But it was PSU sticking with the plan of shutting down the passing that let the run game go wild. I don't care what the analysts think of Pryor. I do care how OSU reacts to opposing coaches. They know he can torch them if he is any kind of a rythm and they don't have 5 backs to cover.

slippy's picture

Few things.

 

Boren seems to be the real key to the run game.  He reminds me a lot of Rehring in this effect (not in skill).  Whenever a play gets blown up, it's generally because Boren got beat and is sitting on his butt.

 

Their first TD would and has work against us all the time.  Clear out the edge receiver, run someone in behind.  USC in '08 did it with the wheel route, and I remember Illinois doing something similar (can't remember which year).

BacknBlack's picture

Boom again is the offensive spark, the man brings it! TP should have been hard on himself that game was a huge step backwards. NO EFFORT TO WORK THROUGH A PASS PROGRESSION, Just throw it at #8. I have never been so mad w/ touchdown pass as the one Sanzo caught. Thrown into double coverage that was no better than a hail mary. 

TLB's picture

Pryor is still the biggest concern I have for this team.  I really wish I saw improvement from him but he still has trouble with screens and outs and overall timing.  Still hasn't learned how to throw a reciever open.  If running is the best thing he does, let him do it.

BacknBlack's picture

Amen Brother. TP needs 3-4 carries in the first series to wake him up.

ATL Buckeye's picture

After all the losses in the secondary this year, it is easy to forget that we had a burner in Travis Howard getting playing time. He sort of got lossed in the shuffle, so it was great that he was able to get that 'pick-6' to help his confidence. Also, my buddies and I are still struggling to find a game whereby we made such an adjustment at halftime. All the top coaches in CFB make either in-game or major halftime adjustments that can turn around lackluster performances.

As usual, this all could have been averted if the offensive play calling was aggressive, and we stop playing that stupid soft zone that gets us beat in big games. Driving me nuts that we continue to do this.

Finally, El-dub is correct on the JoePa figure head act being old. We too noticed that he no longer wears a headset, but he neither carries a clipboard or barely coaches up players when they are botching up plays. Meanwhile, I see assistants behind him making all the personnel substitutions and hand signals for plays on the sidelines. I agree, this act is getting old. You got your 400 Joe Pa...its time to go...with honor.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I think the Buckeyes come out ready at Kinnick Stadium and do to Iowa what Wisconsin did to us. Maybe not a Kickoff return for a TD to start the game, but 2 TD's on the opening drive. And based on what Northwestern did to Iowa last week, I believe they are totally beatable. And props to the offensive line and Boom. He was a warrior out there last Saturday and reserves Big Ten Offensive POTW recognition.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I firmly believe in the coaching staff to exploit Iowa's weaknesses too. If any staff can key in on what made NW and Wiscy successful against the Hawkeyes, it'll be ours. 

 

What is interesting to me is that opposing defenses are finally selling out on the run to defend the pass. Both Wisconsin and Penn St were concentrated on stopping Pryor's arm rather than the running backs, leaving Boom able to find big holes and gash the D. I think this goes back to the beginning of the year with unprecedented passing attempts/game. The playcalling was designed from the beginning of the year to pass a lot and make teams down the late October/November stretch fear the pass, so that we could run and control the clock in our big November games. 

Buckeye Black's picture

The only thing that worries me is the o-line.  They struggled against Wiscy and Iowa's d-line is the best they will play.  I hope Pryor decides to run instead of looking for a pass and getting sacked.

Denny's picture

Just hanging out, doing cartwheels because of this. Good work, Alex.

Taquitos.

bdegroff's picture

The interesting thing about the Iowa NW game was how tired the Iowa d-line was. While I was watching the game there was multiple times Clayborn was on the sideline sucking air. OSU needs to take a little bit of what NW did and add it to their game plan. They need to spread the offense. Run a lot of option with TP and Boom.

Lining up with double tight is playing into what Iowa defends best. I think if Tressel spreads out their D, the O will be much better off. Tressel should also try running his O at a faster pace. By doing this the D-line gets tired quickly and eventually will open up more holes.

NW won the game by not allowing Iowa to sub players in and out with their quick paced O. I really beleive Tressel should take some notes.

Also, our coverage cannot be as bad as it was the first half of the Penn State game. Stanzi can be wild, but is a lot better than McGloin. I have concerns with Checkwa going up against Koulianos. Hopefully, our D coaches stick with the same coverages utilized in the second half. I am tired of seeing the DB's 8 yards off the receivers.

Of course, I am not a coach. I do not know what they plan on doing Saturday. Hopefully, when they watch game film this week they take notes. Pryor and Boom can run the option and if OSU spreads out Iowa's D i like their chances. Plus I'd really like OSU to win on my B Day

Buckeye Black's picture

Run the no huddle!  Neutralize the power with speed.

BucksfanXC's picture

I love this argument: "because he won't amount to anything after he helps my team win 10+ games a year, I don't want him on my team ever."

So you're saying you never wanted Larry Johnson, LaVar Arrington, ...I can't think of any other good PSU players that helped their team win 10+ games much less went on to amount to nothing.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Michael Robinson, Daryl Clark, Curtis Enis, K-jana, Courtney Brown....

 

could go all day...

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

TLB's picture

Don't forget Blair Thomas

Matt's picture

Here's what BSD had to say about Pryor:

"So sorry, no, I'm still not a Terrell Pryor believer. And no, sorry again, I am not saying this because I secretly wish he was in a Penn State uniform. Get that out of your Buckeye-sized brains. The kid is just overrated and will never amount to anything in life after Ohio State."

I happen to agree with BSD's initial discussion of Pryor's game, in which BSD pointed out that, with the exception to two flukey plays -- a great catch by Posey and a miracle bounce to Sanzenbacher -- Pryor had an awful day throwing the ball.  The come back throws to Posey were dangerous as well, as they could have easily been pick-sixed by a more athletic secondary.  However, BSD also overlooks the fact that Pryor was breaking off big chunks of yardage to gain first downs. 

But BSD shows PSU's true colors with its ad hominem attacks against TP when it says he won't amount to anything after OSU.  I don't understand the venom.  Michigan was in better position to get Pryor than was PSU and arguably should be more bitter about not signing him, but UM fans by and large don't bash TP as a human being.  I will never understand the PSU inferiority complex.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Couldn't agree more. Its honestly not the fact that they think he sucks or he's overrated, that's whatever in my opinion. What pisses me the hell off is their personal attacks on him. They're so cynical and hateful it gets ridiculous.

DarthSweaterVest's picture

The first pass to Posey was in no way flukey, perfect deep strike.  The second, while not the best idea in the world, actually ended up right on Posey's hands and took a play by the secondary to knock it out to Dane.  So 1 excellent pass to a single covered top wideout and 1 questionable decision but still on the money pass.

Matt's picture

I re-watched the game last night, and the deep ball to Posey was no perfect deep strike.  The ball was underthrown and Posey had to slow down, turn his body, and fight off the corner with his backside.  A perfect deep strike would have been caught in stride out in front of Posey, over his shoulder -- not over the shoulder of the corner.  Posey made one of his best catches of the year on that ball.

And you are being very generous on the Sanzenbacher TD.  That play came on 2nd and 23 after we had just been knocked back by penalties and bad plays.  TP did his classic "fuck it, go long" stand up in the pocket and tossed the deep ball into double coverage that had Posey hemmed in from both sides.  Posey wasn't trying to catch the ball so much as he was trying to knock the ball away from the PSU defenders.  Sanz said he trailed the play intentionally because he believed he might get a tipped ball.  Heads up play by Posey and Sanz, but Pryor showed more bad judgment after he had just got done throwing a recent pick.

Bottom line, this was not a good throwing game for TP.  On plus side, he ran with the most conviction I've seen since the Rose Bowl.  With Iowa's green LBs, I like the matchup of TP on the corner scrambles.

Buckeye Black's picture

It is hard to get in a rhythm when you only pass it 13 times, but his performance in the 2nd half was much better.

btalbert25's picture

The guys had rust in the first half, the bye week had a lot to do with that I'm convinced.  Not to mention, the kid QB'ing on the other side had a phenominal first half.  Even when they were able to pressure him some, he threw a perfect ball.  The 2nd half was great, there is no doubt in my mind this team is going to go into Kinnick and be ready to play.

I watched that Iowa/NW game and must say, I don't see what's so great about Stanzi.  There hasn't been one game that I've seen him play and thought to myself, oh man that QB is scarry good.  To be sure he is very capable of putting up big numbers, but I just don't see the OMG Stanzi is so awesome he's going to kill us mentality that some have had all year.

Is TP over rated?  I don't really think so.  Infact, I think nationally he may be a bit underrated as a QB.  Other than Troy, what Ohio State QB has been better than TP?  You probably have to go back to Joe Germaine.  That's been a long time.  Sure there haven't been some legendary names in that mix, but still, I may even take TP over Germaine even. I'm not defending how TP played this weekend, it wasn't good, but overall the guy has been a pretty good option for the Buckeyes, and I for one am very happy he'll be back.

I'm glad the O-line was leaned on a lot this game.  It's good to get them a tough, physical game in before Iowa.  They are definitely going to have to bring it, and I think Saturday really got them poised for a good game next week. 

I must say I was impressed by this win.  Things weren't going well at all.  They shook off the rust, bounced back well and realy beat Penn State worse than anyone else did if you look inside the numbers.  This also coming at a time when Penn State was playing better than it has all year.  A think secondary that had been picked on badly in the first half bounced back and made some huge plays.  This was a fun one to watch, and I really like this team.  They have really overcome a lot of adversity this year.  If you think of all the injuries, redshirts of guys we all thought were going to contribute, and academic casualities, it's pretty impressive the Bucks are sitting in pretty good shape right now.

Buckeye Black's picture

I think this win puts TP at 28-4 as a starter.  So with 3 games left this year plus the 13 he hopefully will be playing in next year, that could amount to 44 wins and be one behind Colt McCoy for most wins.  TP would do it in 48 games, while Colt would did in 52 if they played 13 games every year, but I'm not sure on that one.

 

So, I don't care what you say, if you lead your team to that many wins you are not overrated no matter the stats.

ScarletGrayMnA's picture

If your numbers are correct then I think he could actually tie McCoy (I believe you are forgetting about the big 10 champ game)

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

OOOOOOOOOO HHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Its so sadly obvious that Paterno is left with only the label of head coach at this point. PSU fans are dillusional on this subject. I read on BSD that during the week in his pressers he called Bolden "Blocker" and McGloin "the other guy."