PENN STATE vs. MICHIGAN: The Low Five
Penn State's game in Ann Arbor was a painful affair again st Michigan that honestly had reflections of 2004 where the offense could do nothing despite some heroics by the defense. Somehow a gimpy Devin Gardner outplayed Christian Hackenberg and Penn State showed that their issues, which James Franklin "promised" to fix after Northwestern are far from being rectified. THE HIGH FIVE Quick Start: Penn State came out putting together some solid early initial drives, moving the ball consistently to grab three quick scoring drives. D Boys: Penn State's defensive front once again carried the team. Zettel's interception leading to the touchdown was a huge spark to the Nittany Lions and the unit provided a lot of opportunities the offense simply could not take advantage of. Raising Hull: Linebacker Mike Hull was all over the field tonight grabbing 11 tackles (8 solo) with 1 sack, 2 TFLs and nearly a pick-six. His play was Herculean at times. Kick It: Sam Ficken made his field goals and got some nice touchbacks. Punting on the other hand? More on that later. I'm Out: I'm tapped out for a fifth high for this game. I guess that they got out of Ann Arbor without any major injuries. THE LOW FIVE Mildcat: Why this staff insists on using the wildcat in key situations, like inside the redzone is baffling. Aside from it consistently not working, it takes the ball out of Hackenberg's hands and essentially makes it 11 vs. 10 as they split him out. Luckily they scrapped it after it blew up early. Broken Line: The cobbled PSU offensive line is showing reflections of 2004 where they can't keep the heat off resulting in sall out after stall out drive. Sad. Holy Gaps: Penn State's secondary continues to leave wide open gaps that made Devin Gardner look like a Heisman candidate at times. He'd just throw it up to a 10-yard spot and the wideout, with minimal coverage, would make a play. Case in point, Gardner's opening 43-yard touchdown pass. Tick Tock: Miscommunication continues to plague the Lions at times, like burning a timeout when Franklin overruled Donovan's decision to go for it on fourth down on their second drive. The staff needs to hammer out these issues which have reflections of the Galen Hall/Jay Paterno days. The timeout burned early in the fourth didn't help the case either. Tick Tock Two: Christian Hackenberg's mental clock still seems to be running slow as he waits too long for plays to develop and takes unnecessary sacks. Along the same lines, Hackenberg forced a pass that resulted in a key interception that gave Michigan team points and a major boost, just like in the Northwestern game. An injured Devin Garner looked better than Hackenberg. BONUS LOWS Fake Out: Poor call on fake punt, particularly in the 20-yard east-west run. If you're going to run it on fourth and 11, you have to get north-south faster than that. Punt It: Punting is simply horrible. Enough said. Officially Horrible: As much grief the Big Ten refs get allowing the Michigan player to run in for a touchdown off a dropped ball by Geno Lewis is simply pathetic and reaches a new low for the conference zebras. And honestly did you have any doubt Dave Witvoet's flag would come out on the late recovered on-sides kick?
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