A Win: It wasn't pretty, with Penn State interchanging Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin and the defense playing inconsistent at best, but Penn State cobbled together a performance good enough to get their first conference victory of 2010 to go to four and three on the season. Given the recent issues, I think most fans will take the win at this point.
Redd Light: Although the spotlight has been on Evan Royster and the pending rushing record, Silas Redd had an impressive day running 71 yards on nine carries and reminded me a bit of a smaller Arron Harris. His vision and "wiggle" is impressive.
On the Matt: He certainly wasn't lights out by any stretch, but when Penn State needed points third-string walk-on QB Matt McGloin hit two key touchdowns. Having said that it's clear why the staff gave Bolden the nod after only a few short weeks on campus.
Bolden Opportunity: The bad news is that he was injured apparently showing some signs of a concussion, however when he was in he went 11 for 13 for 130 yards and a touchdown. He opened up the game going nine for nine and hitting five different receivers. PSU will defintely miss him if he ends up being out for any significant duration of time.
Strong Reception: One the keys I mentioned for PSU's offense to have success against Minnesota was for the wideouts to eliminate the dropped passes to help out Bolden. The receivers stepped up, catching 17 balls for 206 yards, and Derek Moye, Brett Brackett, Devon Smith and Evan Royster in particular were key in mounting drives. But PSU had eight receivers who gabbed at least one pass.
No Pressure: Penn State's defensive line got next to no pressure on the Gopher pocket early, allowing Adam Weber to all day to seek out and hit targets. They managed a late safety, but the line simply has struggled getting any consistent penetration on opposing offensive lines. Pete Massaro, Jordan Hill and Sean Stanley showed flashes of brilliance on the edges.
Broken Line: The offensive line woes continued against the Gophers. Although they showed some improvement on pass protection, blocking for 206 yards between McGloin and Bolden, they still struggled opening up lanes for Evan Royster and Silas Redd, however each managed to have some big runs.
Wrap It Up: This may very well be the worst tackling Penn State squad seen in decades. The players continually arm-tackle, insist on tackling high at the torso and shoulders and regularly fail to simply wrap up. Minnesota managed to keep some drives alive thanks to some horrid PSU tackling.
Primary Issue: Despite Adam Weber having a series of miscues through the air that helped snuff out drives, he still managed to 299 yards and three touchdowns and again Stephon Morris was picked on in this game.
Disconnected Call: The Lions' play-calling on both sides of the ball was confusing at times. The offensive staff insisted on using that slow-developing lateral "flare" pass and the use of blitzing by the defense was also a head-scratcher. At least they didn't opt to line up McGloin as a split-end.