Here's a look at the highs and lows from Penn State's comeback loss to the Panthers in Pittsburgh. While it's easy to focus on the loss, there are some positives that should be taken away from this one.
THE HIGH FIVE
No Quit: Sure some folks will simply look at the final score and chalk it up as a poor outing for Penn State, but the team deserves some credit for not quitting. That's not to absolve them from the hole the dug (more on that later), but a lot of teams could have easily quit falling 21-7. Ending on an upswing in this one is a positive.
Passing Game: Spreading the ball around to eight different receivers was a nice addition to the offense for Trace McSorley. DaeSean Hamilton led the way with eight grabs for 82 yards, while Mike Gesicki and Chris Godwin each had four receptions for 47 and 36 yards, respectively.
Trace It: On that note, I give Trace McSorely credit for how he overall the game and spread the ball around. Granted he tossed a key interception, but as a young quarterback, he showed tremendous heart and will learn from that mistake. On that note the offensive line is better, but still has work to do.
Kicking It: Blake Gillikin had five punts for 233 yards (46.6 yard average). With a long of 69 yards and three inside the 20-yard line. One of which pinned Pitt at the 1-yard line. He's proving to be a nice developing weapon for PSU's field position.
Return to Me: Shout our to John Reid who has seemingly given Penn State a dynamic punt returner. On the day he grabbed four punts, returning them 61 yards, an average of 15 yards per punt. A nice added dimension to the Lions' battle for field position.
THE LOW FIVE
Digging Out: While Penn State made a comeback, they dug a pretty deep hole to climb out of. The defense showed some early struggles, which didn't help, allowing the Panthers to gash them for 99 yards on the ground in 10 plays early in the first quarter to go up 7-0. The did manage to decent adjustments as the game progressed.
Grounding Out: Allowing Pitt to roll up 341 yards on 51 attempts on the ground was a major factor in this game. The Panthers had eight ball carriers ground out yards with James Connor leading the charge with 117 yards on 22 attempts; youth still a factor that Penn State is coping with.
Running Flat: It's surprising that a game, by all accounts which was circled on the calendar all off-season, had the team come out flat. While the coaches deserve a nod in getting the guys fired up for a comeback, it's curious that they didn't have them come out hot from the get-go.
Turn, Turn, Turn: Four turnovers is a big hill to overcome. Granted that Pitt only managed three points off of them, and managed to get 14 points from two turnovers of their own, but the loss of possession is key when you're trying to pace a comeback.
Read This: While Penn State's offense has some exciting elements to it, the read-option doesn't seem to fit with the current state of personnel. While Coach Moorehead likes the read-option as a foundation of his scheme, it at least needs to be tempered or modified based on where PSU's offense is.