The High Five
Runnin' Fun: Penn State had a powerful and versatile rushing attack led by Silas Redd with 104 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. The Lions also had Curtis Dukes roll up 47 yards on four carries and Brandon Beachum grabbed 41 yards on seven carries. The fullbacks Joe Suhey (six carries for 29 yards, one TD) and Michael Zordich (five carries for 15 yards, one TD) also played an important role.
Fast Lane: The offensive line deserves credit for opening up some running lanes for the rush attack; enough for the ground game to roll up 244 yards, however their pass protection had issues, but more on that later.
Road Blocks: ISU managed a mere 65 yards rushing on 30 attemps for 2.2 yards per carry. The defensive front four did an impressive job plugging up lanes and giving the Sycamores little room to run all day. Devon Still and Jordan Hill in particular had impressive outings for the line.
Spark Plug: Tip of the hat to Chaz Powell for opening up the season with a 95-yard kickoff touchdown return. Powell's gotten a lot of criticism for his returns, so it was nice to see the senior take it to the house and give PSU a nice opening spark.
Get Down: The offense had some nice downfield blocking, something that was a focus this preseason. That opened up opportunities for extra yardage, which will be key next week against the Crimson Tide.
The Low Four
Passing Lane: Where the offensive line was able to open up running lanes, they flat out struggled at times with their pass protection, allowing significant pressure on both McGloin and Bolden which could have easily ended up with some turnovers for ISU.
Special Teams: The Lions struggled in the kicking game. With Anthony Fera suspended, Evan Lewis had some short kickoffs, two missed field goals and a missed extra point before true freshman Sam Ficken got a shot. PSU has get their kicking game squared away as Anthony Fera is expected to miss the Alabama game next week as well.
No Answer: The coaches gave the first quarter to Rob Bolden and the second to Matt McGloin and split drives into the third quarter. McGloin ended going six for eight for 77 yards (9.6 YPA) and Bolden went six for 12 for 37 yards (3.1 YPA). However, both QBs struggled with pressure with some poor decisions, so the staff did not get the answer they were hobing for, so the debate will continue.
Grab 'Em: Although the receiver unit had 114 total yards and managed to spread the ball to eight different targets, veterans Derek Moye and Justin Brown dropped some big passes early on that would have set up or resulted in scores. Granted it was the first game of the year, but the veterans have to tighten those bolts for next week.
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