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Penn State Grades Vs. Wisconsin

Who played well against the Badgers, and who still has some work to do?

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Penn State fell to 9-3 on the season and 6-2 in the Big Ten Leaders Division on Saturday with a 45-7 loss against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. Here's a look at who played well and who has some work to do as the Nittany Lions prepare for a possible bowl trip this holiday season.

Quarterbacks: Penn State's inconsistent quarterback play finally caught up to it as starter Matthew McGloin finished just 9-for-17 passing for 97 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The pick, a poor, underthrown ball to Derek Moye with Penn State still in the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, was a real killer. It set the Badgers up with great field position and a golden opportunity to take the lead and never look back, and they took advantage. McGloin was unable to recover all day, and so was the team. Grade: D

Backs: Silas Redd and Curtis Dukes finished with a combined 91 yards on 18 carries, good for a 5.0 yard per carry average. Redd's fumble early in the third quarter just as Penn State was beginning to get a bit of offensive steam going down 28-7 took the Lions completely out of the game, however, undoing most of the good this duo produced. Grade: C

Receivers: Curtis Drake's 44-yard touchdown catch early in the first quarter was the highlight of a poor all-around offensive effort, while Moye and Devon Smith added a combined five catches for 42 yards on the day. There weren't a whole lot of other plays these guys could have made, so it's hard to hang too much of the defeat on them. Grade: C+

Offensive Line: There was nothing this group could have done about Penn State' four turnovers but the linemen didn't exactly rise to the occasion, either. They opened up few running lanes as the offense averaged just 4.2 yards per carry and tight end Kevin Haplea's chop block penalty nullified an 89-yard run by Stephfon Green in the second half. Grade: C

Defensive Line-Wisconsin picked on an injured defensive tackle Devon Still all afternoon, and without Penn State's disruptive force in the middle at full strength, the Badgers ran right through the Lions' front to the tune of  264 yards and four touchdowns by running back Montee Ball. It's really that simple here. Grade: C-

Linebackers: These guys failed to get to Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson all day, both in the pocket and on the run. This allowed the senior to make a number of big plays with his feet that completely undid the good work the secondary did in coverage at times. They also weren't much of a force in slowing down Ball and Co. in the traditional running game. Not a good day for this unit. Grade: D

Secondary: Wilson was able to hit the passes he needed when he needed to. His numbers weren't spectacular, but when the secondary needed to make a big play to stop him and change momentum, it didn't. Then there was Ball's stiff arm of Sukay in the first half. That was ugly. Grade: C

Special Teams: The fumbles from this unit, especially Michael Zordich's at the end of the second quarter, were simply devastating for Penn State. Not much else to say. Grade: F

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.