UVA: High (and Low) Five

It was a tough loss, but the Nittany Lions seemed to show marked improvement in many aspects of their play against Virginia. See the highs and lows here.

Penn State came close but victory was just out of reach for the Nittany Lions who were held off by Virginia 17-16. Here are the highs and lows:

HIGH FIVE

Open it Up: PSU opened with a slashing 17-play, 75-yard drive that had solid balance of 10 runs and seven passes. It was impressive to see them come out swining on the road after such a deflating loss in the home opener.

Passing Grade: He wasn't lights out, but Matt McGloin particularly stood out by leading the final drive down the field 73 yards with 1:28 left in a driving rain. On the day he went 19 for 35 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and came back from a dinged up elbow.

Flip It: The defense had some ups and downs, but on the take had an impressive four takeaways - three fumbles recovered and one interception. This is an area the coaching staff has stressed and the unit certainly delivered in that regard this game.

Catching On: Although he had a few that went throiugh his hands, including a touchdown pass from freshman QB Steven Bench, but Allen Robinson again emeged as the go-to target in the passing game. On the day he grabbed 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

Crowded House: Nittany Nation fans showed up en force to this road game. It was impressive to see hear the roar of the PSU crowd throughout the game when PSU made a play.

BONUS HIGH

Off the Bench: Steven Bench deserves a nod for coming in for an injured Matt McGloin and playing solid, particularly with the decisiveness of some of his runs (three for 18 yards). If Robinson catches the pass he put on his hands it gives PSU a big boost.

LOW FIVE

Not So Special: Not much more needs to be said than going one for five on field goals. To say Sam Ficken struggled would be kind. And unfortunately he was unable to redeem himself on the final kick. But the staff has to figure something out with even pedestrian results in order to help put points on the board and take the pressure off the offense.

Nuttin' Honey: Where the defense came up with four turnovers the offense could not capitalize on major opportunities. A lot of that falls to Ficken, but not all of it. I suspect missed opportunities will haunt this team.

Nice and Fluffy: I understand that there are concerns with the secondary, but it seems like the current staff took a page out of the previous crew's defensive playbook; having the defensive backs play 10 or so yards off their assignments on key third down passing downs throughout the game.

Broken Line: Granted they helped pave the way for 330 yards, but the offensive line seemed to bite on Virginia's stunts and allowed too much backfield pressure on the quarterbacks and running backs.

Third World: Again PSU's offense was inconsistent when it comes to third downs going 10 for 23. Sure, they managed to go three for four on fourth down conversion attempts, but they should not have to depend on fourth down conversions that often to keep their drives alive.

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