The first home game of the 2013 Penn State football season is in the books. For the most part, I think most Penn State fans were pretty pleased with the Nittany Lions’ performance against Eastern Michigan. This was a bittersweet game for me because it was my last first home game of the season. I’m just thankful that it ended with a Penn State win. So now let’s get to this week’s Notes from Nittanyville:
- Like I said last week, this was the first Nittanyville campout of the season. And even though the opponent was Eastern Michigan, this campout actually set records for the most tents (43) and campers (332) for the first campout of the season. So major props to Nittanyville president Allen Sheffield and the other Nittanyville officers for spreading the word to the student body. The atmosphere for the campout was great and as someone who has camped out since freshman year, it was great to see so many new faces and so many students passionate about supporting this Penn State football program.
- So for pretty much every home game, there is usually a decent amount of late-arriving students who are too busy tailgating to show up for kickoff. But on Saturday I was relatively happy with the student section for kickoff. Plenty of students still showed up late like usual, but considering who the opponent was, the students did a pretty good job with showing up on time, staying and being loud.
- Even though my face got a little sunburnt, that was some great weather. It wasn’t too hot (I sweated almost the whole Syracuse game) and it was perfect early season football weather.
- Considering what we saw last week against the Orange, it was great to see the running game flourish. Obviously Syracuse’s defense is significantly better than Eastern Michigan’s defense, but the offensive line looked much better in the run game and all three running backs looked good. Bill Belton was moving north and south instead of east and west, and it was awesome to see Akeel Lynch get his first touches. By the way, his reactions after his touchdown were fantastic. You could see how pumped he was and he even gave three chest bumps in a row to Jonathan Warner, Geno Lewis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong.
- How about DaQuan Jones? After a great performance last weekend in MetLife Stadium, the senior followed it up with another excellent game against the Eagles with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. He looks more and more like Jordan Hill every game. Also, the defense as a whole was a lot more consistent with getting pressure on the quarterback. That needs to continue, especially next week against UCF.
- I’m not sure what the injury was specifically, but when Miles Dieffenbach briefly left the game with a hand injury, my friends and I heard him yell in pain all the way from where we were in the student section. And we heard him pretty well, so it must’ve hurt really badly. Fortunately it wasn’t too serious and he went back into the game shortly after.
- Like I said last week, there will be growing pains with Christian Hackenberg this year. We saw that for the majority of the first quarter and on the fumble that resulted in Eastern Michigan’s only touchdown. But after that, he looked very sharp. He spread the ball to a bunch of different guys and looked like he had very good control of the offense. The interception he threw was a bad mistake, but it’s the kind of mistake that he can and will learn from.
- It was great to see lots of young guys get some playing time. Brandon Bell, Malik Golden, Jordan Smith, Wendy Laurent, Evan Schwan and Adam Cole were just some of the names that we saw take the field. Whenever guys who don’t normally see a lot of playing time get in, I get really excited because I know how hard they work in practice.
That’ll do it for this week’s Notes from Nittanyville. Next week’s game against UCF is a 6 p.m. kickoff and it should be a good one. UCF is no joke and I really hope Penn State fans, and more importantly the team, don’t overlook the Knights. A night game always provides for an even crazier atmosphere and hopefully the Nittanyville campout this upcoming week will rise to the occasion.