“View from the Philly Pressbox” Ohio 24 – Penn State 14

In College Football, Penn State Football on September 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm

After watching the season opener of the “new era” of Penn State football one couldn’t think that they saw much good on the field for the Nittany Lions. Ohio University came to Beaver Stadium with a good ball club that was expected to put up a good fight, but this was Ohio University of the MAC Conference not Ohio State University of the Big 10!!

Early in the game it appeared that Matt McGloin may have improved under the coaching of Bill O’Brien as he ran a fairly efficient offense and took PSU to the locker room with a 14-3 halftime lead. As the 2nd half started it was very evident that the losses of Silas Redd and Justin Brown were significant. When starting tailback Bill Benton went down with an ankle injury there no weapons left on the offensive side of the ball. As a result the Penn State offense was limited to 115 yards in the 2nd half. The limited talent on this team was shown early when O’Brien made the decision to use 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker Gerald Hodges returning kickoffs and punts. Hodges is an outstanding athlete but has no business returning kicks at Penn State. As a result, he returned one kickoff to the 12 yard line and fumbled a fair catch that led to an Ohio field goal. This is a clear indication of limited talent.  

More importantly was not having Tom Bradley calling the defense in the 2nd half. I’ve seen a few times over the years where the defense was beaten up by better teams, but it wasn’t often. Ted Roof’s defense had no answers for the Ohio offense that rolled up 301 yards in the 2nd half alone, converted 11of 12, 3rd   down conversions, gave up drives of 82, 70, 50 and 93 yards and turned a 14-3 lead in to a 24-14 loss. The front 7 of the Nittany Lions are considered the strength of the team. This group was pushed all over the field in the 2nd half. There are two ways to look at this, either the players were outmatched or the coaches didn’t put them in a position to be successful. Either way, the result was ugly!!

At the end of the day, this coaching staff got severely outcoached by Frank Solich and his Ohio staff. Solich has been around the block and is a quality football coach that’s done a nice job at Ohio. As for Penn State, the importance of having a staff that had been together for so long may have been taken for granted. Very rarely was a Penn State team ever outcoached. It was even more unusual for them to not make the proper adjustments at halftime.

Our analysis of games at the Philly Pressbox is not usually based on stats. Stats can be misleading and often are. After all, the only numbers that matter are the ones on the scoreboard. However, there are always several stats that tell the story of the ball game. Obviously, one is turnovers. Ohio created 3 turnovers, 2 fumbles and 1 interception, and PSU none. Time of Possession is important because it allows teams to wear the opponent down and unless you’re playing against a quick striking high powered offense, if one team has significant time of possession over the other they usually win. Ohio led in time of possession 33:10 to 25:05. This also resulted in Ohio running 88 plays from scrimmage while PSU ran 70. Last is 3rd (and 4th) down efficiency. If the defense can’t get off the field because they can’t stop the opponent in 3rd and 4th down situations they usually lose. Ohio converted 14 of 22 while PSU converted 10 of 19.

As a Penn State supporter this was a very sad day. I was very proud of the fans for their support and for the players for their dedication to the cause. However, as I watched the replay on TV and heard the comments from the ESPN broadcast team that as they worked in State College during the week they found very little indication or recognition of Joe Paterno saddens me to know end.

As far as Penn State football, the feeling here is that this is only the beginning of a slide that will be very difficult to stop. This weeks game at Virginia was going to be difficult with a fully stocked lineup. The players can say that they will be better and that what happened against Ohio won’t happen again but the real question is this; do they have the talent on the field to keep it from happening again?

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  1. The best thing I saw all day was in the fourth quarter when they showed Franco in his suite with a cardboard Joe holding the sign that said “Due Process for JVP & PSU”. My sister said a lot of people were getting their pitcture taken with Joe memorabilia at the spot where the statue used to be.

    There was less than 100K in the stadium on Sat. Crowds will continue to decrease over the next few years. My streak of going to a game at least once a year will end this year at 36 years. The people I talked to that went up on Saturday hated it and it had nothing to do with the team losing. That is enough to keep me away for a few years.

    • What’s bad is this football team is taking the hit. These kids didn’t do anything. The entire university is in trouble because they don’t have the where withall (balls) to stand up for themselves. They’re acting like if they defend theirselves people will think they’re condoning what happened. That’s not true and the entire university will suffer. It may not be this year but that stadium will be half full in the near fute. Getting beat by Ohio, Virginia and Navy or Temple won’t help that.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. PSU leadership has created the impression that if you defend the school or the football program, you are defending the abuse of children. That is not the case. Look how Franco is being perceived as a nut job because he is defending the University and Joe. I give him high marks for doing what he believes in with passion despite the criticism that he is getting for it.

    I hope the team can turn this thing around over the next few weeks. If they win or lose a close one on Saturday, I would be confident that they could stil win 5 or 6 games. A blowout loss this week (like Pitt had last night) and I think we are looking at a 2 (maybe 3) win team.

    • You have to admire Franco. He’s been a 1-man-band carrying the torch. I’m sure they’ll get blown out but they’ve got to improve quickly to win this game. The emotion part is done and now they need to just get the job done. I think 4-5 wins. To win 6 they would have to win these 3 non-conference games and 3 conference. That will be tough.

  3. […] week in the “View from the Philly Pressbox “ – Ohio 24 – Penn State 14, link is attached,, the only statistic that matters are the numbers on the scoreboard. Penn State outplayed and […]

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