From the moment Penn State gained their No. 12 ranking to the kickoff on Saturday night, James Franklin stressed the importance of ignoring the “outside noise” and focusing on Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. His team listened and Penn State may well find itself in the College Football Playoff top ten when the rankings are released Tuesday as a result.
It’s difficult to understate the degree of complete dominance the Penn State displayed on both sides of the ball, especially against an Iowa front seven that many considered one of the best in the conference. Penn State ran for 359 yards and the Lions’ total yardage peaked above 600 before the final kneel down. Iowa gained only 30 yards on 21 rushing attempts, and only found success against Penn State’s defense with screen passes.
It was complete and utter despair for the Hawkeyes.
HYPERAGGRESSIVENESS, OR, “JOE WILL KILL YOU”
Schematically and individually, Penn State is playing hyper-aggressive football on both sides of the ball. The soaring confidence of the Penn State defense is evident on all three levels and defensive coordinator Brent Pry is showing what he can do with a healthy roster.
As for Joe Moorhead and the offense? Please recall the words of long-time college and NFL defensive coach, Larry Coyer (as related by David Jones earlier this year):
"Joe will kill you. If he sees a defense in split safeties, then Penn State is probably going to run for 300 yards. If he likes the matchups in the pass game, then they'll throw it. And it's all going to happen very quickly.
"You're going to love him. They're going to kill people but you won't hear a word from Joe. He is not like that, not a big talker.
JOE WILL KILL YOU. He’s proving that each week, even while losing both starting offensive tackles. Speaking of which, we need to continue heaping praise on Matt Limegrover. Paris Palmer and Chasz Wright have both been forced into action due to injuries this season, and the transition both times has been seamless. Limegrover has been a revelation in his first season in Happy Valley.
Hyperaggressiveness. Fast, confident football is the product of the team’s remarkable maturation throughout the last five games. Yes, sometimes that leads to a negative here and there. For example, we still are seeing too many face mask and late hit penalties. But if they can get that part of their game cleaned up? Imagine Iowa with 60-80 fewer yards last night. After the game, James Franklin alluded to cleaning those issues up. If Penn State can add “smart” to “fast, confident”, there are no limits.
INDIANA, INDIANA, INDIANA, INDIANA
Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana!— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) November 6, 2016
Point taken, so consider this just a casual exercise. Here’s what happened above Penn State in the CFP rankings:
- #4 Texas A&M lost to Mississippi State, which had difficulty putting away Samford the previous week.
- #9 Auburn briefly gagged on their dinner of Roast Vanderbilt but eventually prevailed, 23-17.
- #10 Nebraska got manhandled by Ohio State, which means they will drop way down and it makes Penn State's win over the Buckeyes look even better.
BERT helped the Penn State cause, as he guided Arkansas to a 31-10 win over #11 Florida.
Passing the Gators is obvious enough, but could Penn State jump four teams on Tuesday night?