Penn State took care of business against Georgia State on Saturday night to the tune of 56-0 in front of 102,746 screaming fans in a packed Beaver Stadium. It was the final nonconference game of the season for the Lions as they prepare to head out to Iowa City next weekend, and they passed this final test with flying colors.
There were many notable performances from this one that we'll break down in detail as we move forward in the week, but for now, here are our five key takeaways from a truly dominant night of football.
- This Penn State offense can score from anywhere, with anyone, in any way
Tommy Stevens. Saquon Barkley. DaeSean Hamilton. Miles Sanders. Trace McSorley. Brandon Polk. Saeed Blacknall. Andre Robinson.
Penn State had eight different players score touchdowns on Saturday night, and didn't even get one from their most prolific touchdown-scoring receiver so far in 2017, Mike Gesicki!
This offense has so many different weapons, and so many different ways to use them. It has to be a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten.
Through the first three games of 2016, the Nittany Lions forced 6 turnovers. Through three games so far in 2017, the Lions have forced 9 of them. The Penn State defense has been very good for multiple years now, but the thing holding them back from being one of the very best in the country was a lack of turnovers. If the nonconference slate is any indication, that won't be the case this season. The eyes of the secondary seem to collectively light up every time the ball goes in the air and the defensive line appears to be hungrier than ever when getting after the quarterback.
Giving their offense a short field makes the Lions all the more dangerous, and Brent Pry's unit is doing just that in 2017. And the best part is when they're not turning the offense over...
- This team does not allow opponents to score. Like, at all
Through three games, the defense has surrendered 14 total points on just one touchdown. No, Akron, Pitt, and Georgia State are not very good. But it still takes a special defense to allow almost zero points in 180 minutes of football. The true test starts next week against Iowa, and you can bet the defense will do everything they can to keep their dominant run going.
- There are a lot of backups on this team who could start elsewhere
Tommy Stevens, Miles Sanders, Andre Robinson, Tariq Castro-Fields, Shane Simmons...the list goes on. Penn State is starting to see the fruits of James Franklin's recruiting efforts more and more with each passing game. The talent waiting in the wings is at a higher level than it's been in years. When those guys get into the game, they waste no time. They have talent and they want to prove it.
- The offensive line still needs work
It's not all positive though. Georgia State is a very poor defense against the run, but the line struggled to open up holes for Barkley and friends most of the night. There was one big Barkley run where the left side of the line gave him plenty of space to run through, but the other big runs of the night (Miles Sanders and Andre Robinson) were more individual efforts until they got into the secondary, where great receiver blocking took over.
The Iowa defensive line, and the Ohio State and Michigan defensive lines, will be even tougher to block, so these guys have lots of work to do between now and then.
Stay locked in on Roar Lions Roar as we put on our snorkels and take a deep dive into this game over the next few days.