PSU vs. BC: The High Five
Penn State's performance in the Pinstripe Bowl was a series of highs and lows against Boston College. Let's review them here. THE HIGH FIVE Storybook Ending: It's only fitting to have Penn State closeout its bowl victory off the oot of kicker Sam Ficken who booted not only the key field goal to send the game to overtime, but also the final point of the game to give the Nittany Lions the 31-30 victory. A fantastic closeout to an impressive career. Good Win: Ending with comeback victory by overcoming a 21-7 deficit was a great way to cap off James Franklin's first season at PSU. It certainly wasn't pretty throughout, but the squad never quit when they could have easily packed it in. Crowd Sourcing: The Penn State fans showed up in force and clearly dominated the sparse BC fans in attendance. In fact the crowd seemed to make it a home game environment, much like we saw at Croke Park to open the season against Central Florida. Power Line: The PSU offensive line deserves a lot of credit for handling an aggressive Eagle attack, which showed myriad of blitz packages. They gave Christian Hackenberg a lot of time, keeping the heat off him much of the game. Simply D Best: Yes, BC rushed for 285 yards on the backs of Jon Hilliman and Tyler Murphy, but snuffed out a lot of drives, allowing ony five of 16 third downs to be converted. They also largely shut down BC's passing attack when the zone coverage didn't cough up big pickups. Hack Attack: Yes, he had two fumbles off mishandled snaps, but you have to credit Christian Hackenberg for being instrumental in the comeback. On the day he went 34 for 50 for 371 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. Seems fitting that he opened the season with a comeback win over UCF and closed it out with a comeback win over BC. Here's hoping this is a building block for 2015. THE LOW FIVE Killers: Penn State's offense had several key third down killer penalties that put them in precarious situations on key drives. There was a streak of sloppiness with the squad that they somehow overcame. Run Out: Despite a few solid runs from Akeel Lynch, PSU's up-the-gut approach in the ground game simply did not work for the Nittany Lions. They didn't abandon the run with 29 carries, but they certainly didn't seem to have many new wrinkles added in from the three week layover. Turnovers: Surprisingly, Penn State managed to overcome two costly turnovers from Hackenberg's mishandled snaps which certainly made the comeback hill steeper for the Nits. They have nail these costly turnovers down in the coming year. Officially Weak: Not as bad as some of the referee jobs we've seen this season, but this crew certainly had its moments, like the missed block in the back on a big BC return. Granted, this is not a top tier bowl game, so you're likely not to get a top tier crew, but they shouldn't have to have a coach call a timeout to help them figure out they need to review a close key play. It's Personal: One of the points of frustration was seeing apparent frustration from some PSU players channeled through some costly personal fouls. The staff has to nail these emotional outbursts down, particularly in the last game of the season. -30-
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