THE HIGH FIVE
The Clutch Crew: Jordan Norwood picked up where he left off in the Oregon State blowout, scoring the first touchdown on a cross-field cut and later converting key third and 17 to keep the second scoring drive alive. If that weren't enough, Deon Butler managed to break away for his own 100-plus yard, multi-touchdown performance.
You're Simply "D" Best: Penn State's defense came out swinging on the Orange, shutting down 'Cuse to minus-5 yards in the first quarter, including no first downs. Although the Orange later managed to pick up a few first downs and put some points on the board, a tip of the hat to the guys who have been overshadowed by PSU's high-flying offense early this season.
Ignition ... Blast Off: Despite playing arguably one of the worst teams in the nation, Penn State played inspired ball, with a lot of excitement and energy. A dramatically different approach from recent years where the team would sleep-walk through road contests. For this the coaches deserve a lot credit; all week they preached to the players about the rivalry and what this game means to the season — and it seemed to work with the team coming out swinging. In fact this is the first season since 1994 where Penn State has scored 35 or more in three consecutive games.
Runnin' Royster: Once again, despite a team stacking the box, Evan Royster ripped off some very smooth runs on his way to 92 yards on 10 attempts in the first half. OK, he didn't have the touchdowns he put up during the last two games. But he looking like one of the most reliable rushers PSU's had in several years.
Dynamic Duo: Both Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin came out mounting drives, looking sharp (for the most part) and passing for multiple touchdowns. Certainly can't hurt to have two quarterbacks who can get it done.
It's tough to find a lot of low points in this game, but here are a few.
THE LOW FIVE
Is it Basketball Season Yet?: Clearly that is what the Syracuse fans must be asking considering the enthusiasm they showed from the outset. Even the reaction on their team's run-out would have been outdone by most church services.
Rushin' Roulette: The consistency of the defensive line's penetration was off in this one. Although the trenches were generally dominated by PSU, the Lions' D-line could not get a consistent rush into the pocket, which you'd expect in a dominating game like this. Certainly this is an area the team will have to focus on for future clashes.
ABC Movie of the Week: Apparently ABC had some announcers call in sick this week and had to fill in the announcer slots with a couple of interns from the "Movie of the Week" department. Bob Wischuen and Brock Huard were tripping over themselves interviewing Dennis Quaid, star of the new movie about Ernie Davis called "The Express." In fact, they were so enamored with the movie star they basically missed a Butler touchdown.
Slip Slidin' Away: Although it generally did not matter, the PSU has to shake the butter fingers displayed by Clark, Scirrotto and Powell. Better teams will capitalize on those opportunities, so they need to be minimized.
Orange Opportunity?: You have to scratch your head and wonder where is Syracuse heading, with seven total wins over the past three years since Greg Robinson took over. This is a team that booted Paul Pasqualoni, who regularly brought the Orange to bowls, including the Orange and Fiesta. The PSU grad was fired after a pair of .500 seasons. I bet those .500 season look mighty good now.
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