Winning in the Big Ten on the road is proving near impossible this year.
Winning in the Big Ten on the road is proving near impossible this year.
Penn State had three first-and-goal series.
They threw zero passes to Pat Freiermuth.
Fire Ricky Rahne out of a cannon.
Jarrod: Lewerke looked like Joe Montana against Penn State at time, but at others he’s looked more like Joe Mantegna.
This is the best Waterboy reference I've ever seen.
Fire Ricky Rahne.
An easy rule of thumb: DST ends the first weekend after Halloween. The idea was to make it safer for kids to trick-or-treat by extending daylight hours.
I'm firmly on the side of permanent DST, though.
I love the idea that Penn State and Maryland are equals, chasing such historic powerhouse programs as... Minnesota, Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin?
Thankfully, the Nittany Lions have ... Trent Buttrick all back for another run.
Can someone please explain why Fries and Wright continue to rotate? I'll admit that my focus is often elsewhere, but in games, it seems that Fries is an asset and Wright a frequent liability. The bigger issue is the middle of the line, isn't it?
Why has Pat's recruiting so seemingly stagnated? Off the NIT championship and putting Carr into the League, you'd think Penn State could at least wait for top-rated guys to decide before giving a guy like this a committable offer. There's been a whole lot of questionable recruits Pat's brought in lately - Buttrick, Kasatkin, even Patrick Kelly still doesn't have another P5 offer. I get that we've had success getting guys before they blow up, but what happened to Pat's confidence of pulling in high-3 or even 4 stars?
It's a real shame that Pat didn't hold this scholarship. You'd think that off the NIT Championship and picking up some momentum, he'd have been better off regrouping and either filling it with a grad transfer or just waiting until 2019. If this kid turns into a contributor, feel free to call me out in a year or two, but it seems like every time Pat takes a chance on some unheralded kid, they turn out to be pretty definitively not B1G-level players. (See, e.g., Isaiah Washington or Davis Zemgulis, or Devin Foster, or Akosa Maduegbunam; but cf. John Harrar.)
Easy for me. McSorley, Barkley, Godwin, Brown, LaVar, Zemaitis
Wait, am I reading that Vegas line right? Penn State is favored? Against the #8 team in the country? That's lost one game since Christmas?
We're either going to win a nailbiter, lose by like 2 in a brutal defeat, or get blown the fuck out.
Come on, man. The dude has half as much raw basketball ability as you do. He's a stiff. He's a seven-foot tall stiff, and that has some value, but he looked in that vid like he'd never so much as seen a basketball game before. And Penn State's history developing big men is, uh, not promising.
If the kid ends up being a contributor, pull up this post and call me out on it. But I'm going on the record, a year before he ever sets foot on campus, and calling this yet another wasted Pat Chambers scholarship. Chambers has not even remotely earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the lesser-recruited kids, and it's incredibly disheartening to follow up on Carr and Stevens with recruiting classes replete with players who'd be lucky to crack the rotation at Colgate.
I like the statistical analysis. Yes, it's generally better than the "eye test." But with McSorley, the stats lie. Someone who hasn't watched the games simply doesn't understand the extent to which he's been uncomfortable in the pocket, relying on Barkley to turn nothing into something, missing wide open receivers, and making poor decisions in the read and run-pass option. He's padded stats against garbage cupcakes and looked mediocre at best against even middling P5 teams. McSorley is the classic case of a guy whose numbers don't tell the story.
I also sincerely dispute Bil's contention that the offense has been efficient and steady. Has there been a single game against a P5 team where we didn't have a quarter (or longer?) where the offense didn't just shut down?
My recollection is that QBR is calculated based on WPA; that is, on a play-by-play basis based on how much the QB helped his team win the game. A ten-yard pass in the fourth quarter of a tie game is more valuable than a 40-yarder late in a blowout. Granted, Penn State was up big from the jump, but my guess is that a lot of this comes down to weighting.
Ha, I just mentioned this above. Good call.
Editing to add: I looked at Callahan's "Tale of the Tape" for the other four games. Let's look at how much Saquon is inflating McSorley's stats:
Against Akron: 18/25 for 280 yards; behind LOS: 4/4 for 2 yards. Removed: 14/21 for 279 yards. Great game!
Against Pitt: 15/28 for 164 yards; behind LOS 6/6 for 29 yards. Removed: 9/22 for 135 yards. Yiiiiiiiikes.
Against GSU: 18/23 for 309 yards; behind LOS 4/4 for 32 yards. Removed: 14/19 for 277 yards. Great game!
Against Iowa: 31/48 for 284 yards; behind LOS 11/13 for 66 yards. Removed: 20/35 for 218 yards. Not great, Bob!
Takeaway: McSorley has been okay-to-bad throwing downfield against P5 defenses. That's worrisome, especially after he carved them up last year. The results themselves aren't the problem, the regression is.
Nobody is criticizing Trace for checking down to Barkley often. They're simply saying that being able to do that isn't some skill, and shouldn't be a check in the "pro" column. There isn't a quarterback in America who couldn't make those dump-off throws (at least, not since Rob Bolden moved to WR). It's the throws down the field where Trace has struggled, far more than in the past, and to the point where it's worth wondering whether Tommy Stevens would be an improvement.
You linked Andrew Callahan's piece on Indiana's D. Well, it also showed a breakdown of Trace's passing numbers: on passes behind the LOS, he was 6/6 for 60 yards. Frankly, turning nothing into that much something is insane, and shows just how freakishly good Saquon is. But the point is, it shows how McSorley's numbers are inflated. On passes that crossed the LOS in the air, he was 17/30 for 255 yards - and this was one of his better games of the season. Indiana's got a solid defense, and those aren't bad numbers, but it's hard to argue that McSorley's stats are being padded.
He's basically like the guy who hit before Barry Bonds. Rich Aurilia was a fine player, but he got more pitches to hit than anyone in baseball. Bully for him for taking advantage, but put him on another team, without that safety blanket, and you'll see he's not the same player.
Sure, but it's not exactly great quarterbacking to sail a check down five yards over a running back's head, only to have Saquon make a ridiculously one-handed leaping catch, juke five defenders out of their cleats, and scamper for 35 yards.
This is totally disingenuous. Penn State as a team improved so much over the course of the season that it's ludicrous to use the first few games of 2016 as a benchmark against which anything can be measured. And, you know, Trace was making his first few starts as a college QB - of course he's going to struggle a bit. Not just that, but Penn State played Michigan's buzzsaw of a defense (#1 in the country in Pass D), a much better Pitt team in Pittsburgh, and a Temple team (#3 in Pass D) that won 10 games and the AAC. Hell, even Minnesota had the #21 scoring defense in the country.
We talk about 2016 being a building block for 2017. So why not look at the last 5 games of 2016? I'd take out the Rose Bowl, because that was essentially a glorified exhibition and neither team seemed to be playing defense. Here's Trace's numbers in those games:
83/144 (57.6%) for 1542 yards (10.7 YPA), 13 TD, 2 INT.
That's one whole hell of a lot better than what he's done this year, and it's why we're doing the whole gnashing of teeth. You offer absolutely no expectation why his end to 2016 shouldn't be the baseline, and why, unlike last year - when he was a rookie making his first five starts - we should expect the same sort of rapid improvement now. Chris Godwin wasn't the only receiver we had last year, and I object to the idea that his absence somehow makes guys like Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton, and Saeed Blacknall, all of whom have had major success in this offense, somehow middling targets who can't get open against mediocre defenses.
And all of this isn't just to mention that Trace has looked visibly uncomfortable in the pocket and has regularly missed wide open receivers. You seem to explain away Trace's troubles by blaming it on "the mechanics and the decision-making" of the read-option and RPO. But that's Trace's mechanics and Trace's decision-making, and pretending as though that's somehow divorced from his quarterback play is inane.
He's been not good this year. You know that's the case. It's okay. You can admit it.
We have the best offense in the conference by a mile
I don't see how you can say that with any confidence? Oh, we beat the pants off Akron and Georgia State? Maryland put up 51 on Texas, Minnesota put up 48 on Oregon State, and Indiana put up 52 on Georgia Southern. The only games that matter are Pitt, Iowa, and Indiana. And our offense has been middling in those three games.
We got 33 on Pitt, including 1 safety, a 8-yard touchdown drive, and two other scoring drives starting in plus territory. And Pitt went out the next week and gave up 59 to Oklahoma State.
Against Iowa, we moved the ball well, but the red zone offense was heinous. We scored 21 points: 3 fewer than Wyoming, 20 fewer than Iowa State, and 4 more than Michigan State. And why did we struggle to finish off drives? Because Trace McSorley was poor in the red zone.
45 points against Indiana sounds great, doesn't it? But 14 of those were special teams scores. Between the second and third quarters, Penn State had the following series of drives: three-and-out, three-and-out, punt (after negative yards), interception, three-and-out, missed field goal (after starting at the Indiana 21). That's an impossibly terrible sequence, and it speaks to McSorley's massive struggles this season.
Where it really becomes clear, though, is in the offense Moorhead is running. It's clear, comparing the play calls from the end of last season until now, that's he's lost a lot of faith in McSorley. The downfield passes have been replaced by dump-off after dump-off, the read-options are now straight handoffs. This isn't an offense that leans on Barkley, it's an offense that knows it has little else, despite the vast number of weapons at WR and TE. Mike Gesicki got hurt, but before coming out, he had 12 catches for 83 yards in the three games against P5 opponents. This is your matchup nightmare, your down-the-field threat, and he's catching passes in the flat and short routes along the sideline. That's heinous misuse of an exceptional talent.
It's just as intellectually dishonest to pretend that rolling up big numbers against Akron and Georgia State are in any way indicative of how he'll perform against OSU and Michigan. And, let's be clear, his passing stats are ludicrously inflated by Saquon Barkley. Barkley leads the team in catches and yards, and how many times did McSorley check down, only to have Saquon turn it into a 10, 15, 30 yard gain out of nowhere? The fact is, when throwing downfield, McSorley's been straight-up bad this year. He's missing open receivers left and right, having absolutely zero feel in the pocket, and either unwilling or unable to scramble to extend plays. I don't know that Tommy Stevens would be any better, but I think a more reasonable read than "he's pressing a bit" is "he got hot and played way over his head last year and just isn't that good." He's serviceable, especially for a team with Saquon Barkley. But if this team doesn't win the B1G, it's probably because he wasn't good enough to get them there.