Welcome to the latest installment of FightOnState.com's Monday Morning Fullback, where former Penn State football player Matt Hahn breaks down the Nittany Lions' most recent game. You've heard of Monday morning quarterback. Well, in covering PSU football, we think hearing from a fullback is more appropriate. And who better to chime in than Hahn, one of the more versatile, intelligent and selfless power backs in school history.
GENERAL THOUGHTS: It was the first time all year where Penn State faced adversity, starting off sluggish on both offense and defense. But like all great teams, the Lions overcame and dominated the second half in all aspects of the game.
GAME MVP: Evan Royster was fantastic. He ran over, through and around people. Royster finished with 18 carries for 174 yards and a TD. Royster may be the most underrated player in college football. No one seems to bring him up in conversation when speaking about the elite backs in the country. But he maybe the best overall back regardless if people know about him or not.
KEY PLAY: Jared Odrick's sack in the end zone was without question the biggest play. After that momentum swing, Penn State took the lead and never looked back.
WHAT I LIKED: There are a couple things I liked in this game. For the second week in a row Kevin Kelly's kicking impressed me. Kelly nailed three field goals and the all time leading kick scorer in the Big Ten. I loved Michael Mauti getting significant playing time at linebacker. He has been a standout on special teams all year, but Saturday he really served as a sparkplug for the defense. His natural athletic ability and nose for the ball was evident. It's obvious Mauti has a bright future due to his athletic ability. It's easy to see why the coaches toyed with the idea of him playing safety in the spring because of the speed with which he plays.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Penn State's slow start along with the inability to stop the spread early on. This against a not-so-nimble footed quarterback. Tackling was poor early in the game, as well.
DID YOU NOTICE: Mike Lucian's short-lived career at tight end?. He was back at offensive guard Saturday and wearing number 50.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Next week Penn State faces it's biggest challenge of the season heading to the Horseshoe in primetime. The key to this game for the Lions is going to be hitting Terrelle Pryor in the mouth early and often. The freshman was impressive last week against a good Michigan State team. As the game progressed, Pryor outwardly gained for more confidence and teetered on the side of being cocky toward the Michigan State fans. Penn State must be physical with Pryor early.
Matt Hahn was a four-year letterman at Penn State, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per catch in his career (2004-07). He was one of the key blocking backs for 1,000-yard rushers Tony Hunt and Rodney Kinlaw. He is one of the few players in school history to register touchdowns on the ground, through the air and after recovering a blocked punt.
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