Penn State vs. NU: The Low Five
It was a game chalk full of frustration and one that had reflections of the 'dark years' at Penn State where the offense could do nothing despite some heroics of the defense. Let's look at the lows: NO PASSING ZONE: Christian Hackenberg had the worst game by far in his early PSU career. He was flat, dazed and seemingly lost during spurts of the game. He forced passes (even when he had loads of time) and made a slew of bad decisions, none bigger than his pick-six to put the game out of reach to open the fourth quarter. Franklin probably should have opted to give him a break to mix things up with his continuous struggles, particulary when he got blown up for the fumble. The Oline had issues, but Hackenberg played horrible in this game. EARLY TAILSPIN: Penn State's defense came out flatter than flat with horrid tackling and no answer for the hurry-up, soft zone coverage and looked completely inferior to Northwestern to open up the game. They did buckle down but the early two scores created a big mountain for the Nittany Lions. PILLOW SOFT: Penn State's defense had some major secondary problems in the middle of the field. Zones were left wide open for Northwestern to pick up big third and long gains. NOT SO SPECIAL: A blocked kick, some poor punting and ill-advised kickoff returns all posed major challenges for PSU. The special teams were anything but today. BROKEN LINE: To say the offensive line struggled would be an understatement. That's not to say Hackenberg didn't have time on many, many occassions, but this unit has been a disaster on the run. I am not sure how they improve the cobbled unit going into the heart of the Big Ten schedule. This offensive line can't pick up ONE yard on fourth and one. Pathetic. DISCONNECTED CALL: The staff has to scrap the swing passes and wildcat which rarely seem to work. The play-calling had old school reflections when they would pass three yards on third and five. Come. On. The fact Hackenberg had to run so often shows the offensive play-calling was more than lackluster. #CrossingRoutes #Slants BONUS LOW: BROKEN RECORD: Between "superback" and "strong hands" the BTN announcers were quick to run out of unique angles and story lines to talk about in this one. NOTE: If you can think of any highs about this game feel free to drop me a line.
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