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Penn State Grades Vs. Indiana State

Who played well and who struggled for the Nittany Lions?

Penn State took down Indiana State 41-7 on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium to get its 2011 season off to a good start. Today, we take a look at who played well, and who has some work to do as the Nittany Lions prepare to host Alabama in Happy Valley this weekend.

Quarterbacks. Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden posted a combined line of 12-for-20 for 114 yards on Saturday. If that tells you they had an unspectacular afternoon, it should. Bolden threw a couple nice deep balls that were dropped by receivers and McGloin was 6-for-8, so it wasn't all bad, but more is expected when the opponent is an FCS-level program. The good news is they didn't turn the ball over, something that you like to see from a pair that tossed a combined 16 interceptions last season. Grade: C

Backs. A great day for this group all the way around. Silas Redd showed flashes of the brilliance many hope he'll bring to the Penn State backfield in coming years, and fellow running backs Curtis Dukes and Brandon Beachum had nice days as well, both eclipsing the 40-yard mark for the afternoon. Fullbacks Joe Suhey and Michael Zordich also made a major impact, scoring a pair of touchdowns and coming through in several short-yardage situations in the game. All this happened in the absence of veteran tailback Stephfon Green, so it's hard to give this group anything but the highest marks. Grade: A

Wide Receivers. These guys didn't really get a chance to show much with the struggles of the pass-blocking and quarterbacks, but when they did, the results were uninspiring. There were drops on a couple of deep balls, and with only Derek Moye posting multiple receptions, none of the other receivers really established much momentum heading into the Alabama game. It's not all their fault, but the receivers were very average against the Sycamores. Grade: B-

Offensive Line. On one hand, we got to see the offensive line push Indiana State defenders all over the field in the running game. Even against weaker opponents, that's something we've rarely seen a Penn State line do in recent years, so the progress in that area is fairly obvious. On the other hand, though, the offensive line really had trouble blocking for the pass, something that contributed to the struggles of the quarterbacks. This obviously isn't good news, especially with the controversy behind center, so even with the big rushing yards, it's hard to score this unit very high. Grade: B

Defensive Line. Jordan Hill and Jack Crawford both had solid games, posting nine combined tackles and earning half sacks each. The unit as a whole got a decent push all day and looked like it's pretty close to having its act together. The Sycamores had trouble blocking Devon Still all day, too, so that's another encouraging sign heading into the Alabama game. Grade: A

Linebackers. Mike Hull led the team with seven tackles. He looked a little unsure of his reads at points, but any time you lead Linebacker U in tackles for a game, you're doing something right. Gerald Hodges picked up a sack, and Penn State held Indiana State to 65 rushing yards. for the afternoon, a solid number. Not a bad way to kick off a season.. Grade: B+

Secondary. These guys were all over the place against the Sycamores. Drew Astorino had an interception and a pair of deflections while freshman Adrian Amos announced his presence with authority by picking off a Ronnie Fouch pass in the fourth quarter. Indiana State earned only 105 yards through the air, a true testament of just how far this unit can go as the season moves along. Grade: A

Special Teams. Aside from Chaz Powell's touchdown off the opening kick return, it wasn't a good day for the Penn State special teams unit. Kicker Evan Lewis missed two field goals and a pair of extra points and Sam Ficken was pressed into duty perhaps a little sooner than the coaching staff had been hoping for. Kicker is a serious area of concern heading into Alabama. Grade: D

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