OVERALL: A win is a win is a win. And we like comeback effort. But this is another one that didn't have to be nearly as close as it was.
OFFENSE: Nice to see Anthony Morelli lead the troops on a clutch TD drive on Senior Day. PSU's offensive balance (251 yards rushing, 210 yards passing) was terrific. We thought the play-calling was solid throughout, too.
DEFENSE: Things looked a little shaky early. But Sean Lee and Dan Connor rallied the unit, and it did not allow a TD on the day. We expected this group to bounce back after laying an egg against Ohio State, and bounce back it did.
SPECIAL TEAMS: OK, so there were some positives (Jeremy Boone punting, Derrick Williams returning). But Kevin Kelly missed a short field goal (he was bailed out by a roughing penalty), Boone screwed up a hold on an extra point and the entire kickoff (lack of) coverage team ought to be jailed as repeat offenders. No more Mr. Nice Grader here. Penn State's not-so-special teams kept another opponent in a game.
COACHING: If this same cast of characters were not in charge of the special teams, we'd give them a strong grade after a quality win over a bowl-bound opponent. Unfortunately, all of the good things they did on offense and defense were nearly counterbalanced by the special teams' pratfalls.
INTANGIBLES: This is the kind of game Penn State is supposed to win. And it did, despite digging itself an early hole. Good character check. Too bad it was a week too late.
OTHER GUY: Joe Tiller and company have to be kicking themselves for self-destructing time and again, whether through stupid late hits or dropped passes.
OFFICIALS: Were these guys being paid by the flag? There were 21 penalties called in the game, and it sure looked like the zebras blew the replay on the play where State's Rodney Kinlaw fumbled.
CROWD: A late-arriving group but very vocal at all of the key moments.