A near loss to an above-average MAC team almost sent the Penn State community into a severe tailspin on Saturday, but a late touchdown salvaged a poorly-played game by the Penn State offense. What can fans take away from this game? Not too many positives, unfortunately.
What quarterback controversy? Oh yea, that one. Three games into the season, after an entire spring practice season, followed an entire fall practice season, and Penn State still does not have a quarterback. Rob Bolden started the game against Temple but both he and Matt McGloin would split snaps throughout the game. McGloin's numbers (13-for-19, 124 yards) were better than Bolden's (9-for-17, 92 yards, 1 interception), a reversal from the prior week's quarterback carousel against Alabama. The problem, though, is the continued lack of identity for the entire offense. Choose a quarterback, stick with that quarterback, and get ready for what promises to be a difficult Big Ten schedule if the offense continues to sputter.
Derek Moye is as bad as he wants to be. When the offense was actually gaining ground through the air, it was usually Derek Moye on the receiving end, putting up a career day with seven catches for 112 yards. Justin Brown added six catches for 62 yards. The two receivers were quite impressive after their drop-filled day a week prior. Moye, a senior from Rochester, Pa., is climbing the all-time receiving lists at Penn State. With uncertainty under center, here's to hoping that Moye, and Brown, have become the reliable receivers many fans had expected.
The view from the cheap seats. If you saw the game on television, you saw no less than 10 cuts to a nondescript press box window, where nothing was revealed except the reflection of Lincoln Financial Field. This window, we were led to believe, is where Joe Paterno was sitting, once again in the box and not on the field. And that's fine, given the man's health issues, but once again the playcalling and strategy suffered. Play calls were delayed, timeouts weren't called quickly enough, and the general sense of confusion that seemed to permeate the sidelines a week ago remained. Adding to this, the ESPN announcing team made numerous references to the advantages of having a coach on the sidelines, firing players up and getting in their faces when the situation warrants.
The best for last, part one. This Penn State defense, once it hits its rhythm, is really, really good. The defenders missed a couple of tackles early in the game, but rebounded to hold Temple under 150 yards after the first possession. The linebacking unit is filled with studs, and the interior line is made up of grown men. Devon Still will be playing on Sundays next year and Jordan Hill is a space eater that allows the linebackers to wreak havoc. I said the same thing last week, but this team will go as far as the defense will carry them.
The best for last, part two. With the game on the line, Penn State put the ball in the hands of fullback Michael Zordich, who pounded it in for a one-yard touchdown. Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum get the carries the majority of the time, but Zordich is an absolute beast in short yardage. Given the choice on a fourth-and-one, I'm giving the ball to Zordich every single time.