Just like the 2010 season during my freshman year, Penn State recorded a shutout against Kent State. Despite the weather, I still had quite a good time watching the Nittany Lions get back on track before conference play begins. Let’s get to this week’s Notes from Nittanyville from my final non-conference game as a student:
- The weather obviously played a big factor in the attendance and in the actual game. Regarding the student section, it slowly but surely filled up as kickoff approached and throughout the first quarter. And it eventually became almost completely full for the majority of the second quarter. But after halftime and going into the fourth quarter, lots of people left (not only students, but other fans too). That wasn’t really surprising so it’s nothing to get worked up about.
- During pregame warmups, Deion Barnes was one of the first Penn State players on the field. It looks like he was working on his stance and get-off. That was good to see. Garry Gilliam, who made the switch from tight end to offensive tackle this offseason, was with the tight ends catching some balls (that doesn’t mean anything, I just wanted to point that out). Also, I guess former Penn State defensive end Sean Stanley got a job with the team because he was out there with them (dressed like a coach) for this game and the UCF game. He was working with C.J. Olaniyan a little during pregame.
- In my prediction for this game I said that the score would be 34-17 in favor of the Nittany Lions (at least I got one part right). I also said that the defense would come out and play aggressively after last week’s loss to UCF. I think we can all agree that that’s exactly what they did. Granted Kent State struggled on offense big time and the wet conditions made it even harder to execute, but Penn State’s defense was flying around, wrapping up on tackles and just had a better overall nose for the ball. That needs to carry over into the next game against a high-powered Indiana offense.
- Going along with the defensive theme here, Ryan Keiser had a great game. He was all over the field and had an interception, a few pass breakups and he played his usual roles on special teams as well. In my opinion, he’s one of the most under-appreciated players on the team, considering he does so much. His versatility to play safety also allows Adrian Amos to play some cornerback if need be.
- I guess this is the first time we can say that Christian Hackenberg actually struggled. He just couldn’t consistently complete passes in the second half. And credit to the Kent State cornerbacks. They really locked down on Allen Robinson in the second half. Nevertheless, the trio of Zwinak, Belton and Lynch were more than capable of carrying the load on offense. As they should have, the offensive line made lots of big holes for those three to run through. Just like the defense, the solid play of the guys in the trenches needs to carry over into Big Ten play.
- One concern that I have is the tight ends. Penn State’s tight ends have zero touchdown receptions through these first four games (they had three last season). I trust that Bill O’Brien will figure this issue out sooner than later.
That’ll do it for this week’s Notes from Nittanyville. Penn State is off next weekend and then they travel to Bloomington, IN to open Big Ten play against the Hoosiers. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be making the trip out there. But after that game comes the highlight of the 2013 football season: the weeklong Nittanyville campout for the Michigan game. So stay tuned for Notes from Nittanyville from what should a very eventful week/game.