SYR: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the overly humid from Penn State's beatdown of the hapless Orange.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — No. 17 Penn State improved to 3-0 with its third straight blowout, this one over outmanned Syracuse in the Carrier Dome Saturday.

The Nittany Lions powered out to a 38-6 lead at the break before cruising to the 55-13 victory before a decidedly pro-PSU crowd of 45,795.

Here is what went down in the hot, humid dome.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Wideout Jordan Norwood opened the scoring with a career-long 55-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The team's leading receiver added five more grabs for 113 yards and a pair of TDs in the game. Norwood was the first Lion to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Bryant Johnson in 2002.

CLOSE SECOND: Fellow wideout Deon Butler had seven catches for 110 yards and two scores. Neither Butler nor Norwood played in the second half.

TURNING POINT: The teams swapped early fumbles before PSU quarterback Daryll Clark hit Norwood for the aforementioned score. After Norwood broke a tackle and started heading for the end zone, one got the sense the game was already over.

SOLID STRATEGY:

• Getting backup quarterback Pat Devlin into the game early in the second quarter was a good move by the PSU staff. Devlin looked good. And it was great to see Clark hustle over to congratulate Devlin when the latter threw his first career TD pass, to Butler.

• We also liked PSU using timeouts on defense late in the second quarter in an attempt to give the offense a chance to work on the two-minute drill. Things went a bit haywire then the Lions fumbled the ensuing punt (see below). Yet they eventually got a field goal out of the situation.

• Speaking of which, nice move bringing Clark back in to run PSU's last series of the first half. The Lions got the ball with 45 seconds left and Clark calmly led them to a field goal.

• Also, was good to see PSU open the second half with its second- and third-team wideouts. Good idea to get the young guys work with the first-team line while giving the vets a break.

NUMBERS GAME: Norwood and Butler combined for 12 catches for 223 yards and four TDs in the first half.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: The Penn State offensive line beat up another defense.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Kevin Kelly was booming field goals from beyond 50 yards in the pre-game. It proved to be foreshadowing, as he drilled a 52-yarder that counted just before the half.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• Syracuse — or anyone for that matter — trying to single cover Norwood and Butler.

• Penn State sending two men back to field punts, with safety Anthony Scirrotto serving as a deep blocker for Derrick Williams. We have no issue with the formation. But Scirrotto should never be fielding the ball for anything other than a fair catch. In the second quarter, he attempted a return on which he was stripped and lost the ball, leading to a Syracuse field goal.

• Syracuse laying that kind off egg the day after the movie “The Express” premiered here. Really a disservice to the subject of the film, the great Ernie Davis.

HIT SQUAD: Butler, all 170 pounds of him, cleared out Syracuse safety Bruce Williams (200 pounds) on Norwood's long catch and run.

HIDDEN HERO: Got to love Mike Lucian. Penn State's top backup offensive guard moved over to defensive tackle during the week to help the depleted area. He got snaps behind Ollie Ogbu and Jared Odrick, and looked good before spraining an ankle.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Linebacker Navorro Bowman led the Lions with eight tackles, six of them solo stops.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Suspended Lions Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma did not make the trip.

• No shockers among the Penn State true freshmen who traveled. They included running back Brandon Beachum, defensive lineman Jack Crawford, defensive back D'Anton Lynn, linebacker Mike Mauti and offensive lineman DeOn'tae Pannell.

• All of the rookies except Lynn played. Crawford was back at defensive end after playing tackle in the first two games.

• Among the players not on the travel roster: CB Jesse Alfreno, WR Kevin Cousins, WR Jon Ditto, OT Nerraw McCormack, CB Shelton McCullough and OT Ako Poti.

• Injured Lion linebacker and team captain Sean Lee made the trip.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: What's going to happen when the Lions finally find themselves in a game in the second half?


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