A dense fog shrouded Beaver Stadium Saturday morning, hours before Penn State's homecoming kickoff with Northwestern. While the sun eventually burned away the low clouds, the Nittany Lion offense spent the afternoon performing as if it had been fogged in.
Penn State was held without a touchdown in a home game for the first time in a decade. This against a Wildcat outfit that entered the day ranked next to last in the Big Ten in total defense.
You know the rest. NU (2-2, 1-0) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. PSU (4-1, 1-1) righted itself on the strength of sound defensive play. But the offense never came around in what became a 29-6 loss.
Here are our grades for the game.
OVERALL: The offense was a disaster and the special teams were just plain awful early.
OFFENSE: It all starts up front. Five games into the season, Penn State's rebuilt offensive line appears to have regressed. The troubling part is the guys who are playing are by far the best (healthy) offensive linemen on the teams.
DEFENSE: After some dicey play early, this unit kept the Nittany Lions in the game. NU's final three scoring drives came on a pick six, a four-yard march following a PSU fumble and 28-yard series after the Lions failed to convert a fourth-and-1.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Penn State had enough miscues in the first half to lose a game.
COACHING: Credit James Franklin for blaming himself for the loss. But the entire offensive staff and the special teams leaders did not exactly put their best feet forward, either.
INTANGIBLES: Some poor body language from the Nittany Lions, especially in the second half. That's never good.
OTHER GUY: The one knock on the Wildcats is that they bungled a few chances to score even more. This one could have been blown open much earlier.
OFFICIALS: Nothing serious to gripe about here, at least not from Penn State's perspective.
CROWD: The season-best crowd of 102,910 was treated to a dud.