Grade Card: Penn State

The game is now behind the players and staff, but Bearcat Insider stilll has to hand out the grade cards. While the team suffered a loss, the grades are really not that bad.

OVERALL: While the team didn't earn a victory, the youth of this team was tested and never gave up. That will only help as this season goes on and next season when many of these players will be sophomores. Because of effort and knowing the youth on this team I'm giving an overall grade higher then most. Grade: B-

OFFENSE: Give Dustin Grutza credit for being tough as nails and not letting his team or himself to give up. Dustin is the leader and will be for many years to come. With two interceptions and a fumble it would have been easy for the redshirt freshman to tuck his tail and give up... But it's not in his makeup and that will provide great dividends down the road. Receivers played a bigger role and stepped up and performed but they still had a few drops that should have been easy catches. Running game didn't get on track and slowed the offensive game plan. Now it's just a matter of getting all to work together and things will stat to click. Grade: C-

DEFENSE: Coming into the game you could only guess what may happen. With Mike Mickens, Terrill Byrd, Corey Smith and Trevor Anderson all playing big minutes you knew things could get ugly. In fact they didn't. Yes, Penn State got two big plays on Mickens, but the "True Freshman" was within inches of making a play on the ball. The team missed Horton when all was said and done. Take away the turnovers that placed the defense on short fields and the couple of big plays and the defense held up very good against a veteran team. Grade: C+

SPECIAL TEAMS: The punting game returned just as Chet Ervin did also. I'm sure the staff didn't want to see Ervin punt six times and would much rather seen Kevin Lovell make six kicks. But the offense didn't get the job done to make it happen. On punt returns Mike Daniels only had a total of 21 yards and kickoff returns saw an average of just over 20 yards on the 4 that were returned. Lovell was good on his one attempt from 24 yards. When the Bearcats were kicking to Penn State they didn't do a bad job. On two punt returns they only gave up an average of 14 yards. That means Ervin did a good job on hang time to allow for tight coverage. On kickoff returns they gave up an average of 20 yards on the three returns. Grade: B

COACHING: The staff had a game plan in place to provide the team a chance to win. The early interception and score by PSU didn't slow that plan. The team didn't seem in awe of the Beaver Stadium crowd or the team they played. This year is one of growing and this game provided several positive steps towards the future. It was also nice to see some of the younger players get playing time. Connor Barwin and Nick Davila showed why the staff is high on both. Grade: B-

INTANGIBLES: This team could have folded early. It didn't and for that they will grow and become a better team in time. Will they still have a couple of games where things don't go well? Yes! They are that young. But overall they didn't fold when the going got tough: Grade: B

OTHER GUYS: This game allowed for several players to see that field at their positions. Cedric Tolbert, Nick Davila, Connor Barwin all got a chance to lineup at their positions. A total of 57 Bearcats took the field in this game. Grade: B

OFFICIALS: The call on Hoke during the option play hurt the team and was clearly a terrible call. Add in a couple of calls not made and a few that shouldn't have been and this crew didn't have a great game. Grade: D+

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