Penn State Football: Grading the Nittany Lions Through Five Games

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Sep 13, 2014; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Bill Belton (1) drags Rutgers Scarlet Knights linebacker Quentin Gause (50) across goal line as offensive tackle Andrew Nelson (59) signals a go ahead touchdown at High Points Solutions Stadium. Penn State Nittany Lions defeat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Offensive Line

There isn’t too much to be said here. The offensive line has struggled mightily. Part of that is due to the lack of experience and part of that is due to good competition.

The run blocking has been pretty awful, and when there’s no threat to run the ball, an offense becomes one-dimensional (see the loss to Northwestern). Hackenberg has been sacked 14 times through the first five games (he was sacked 21 times all last season) and has been forced to scramble a lot, which in turn has forced him to take some big hits from defenders and make Penn State fans hold their collective breath.

Things will get better for Herb Hand’s guys eventually, but the priority for the rest of this season should just be to make sure Hackenberg doesn’t suffer any major injuries.

Grade: D