THE HIGH FIVE
Clark Hits the Mark: Once again Daryll Clark had a big day, completing 20 of his 31 attempts for 240 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. He hit eight different receivers on the day. Through his first two games, Clark has passed for 593 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Front and Center: Once again the front seven of the defense came out swinging, led by Jared Odrick, Sean Lee and Josh Hull all of whom had big plays. Odrick and Lee punished Paulus with some brutal sacks, including a 13-yard loss and Hull grabbed a late interception off a deflection. The defensive front for Penn State never allowed Greg Paulus to get comfortable and had him panicking on several occasions.
Zug Burn: Wideout Graham Zug was a go-to guy for Clark through the air, grabbing six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Zug is a clutch receiver who had some vital grabs for the Lions to keep drives alive, including a 20-yard pickup for PSU. Last week it was Moye who took over the game; don't look now, but this may be another balanced unit that teams simply cannot double up on.
Mr. Versatility: Evan Royster's rushing ability is well documented. Against the Orange he had 12 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. However, he also had two receptions for 61 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown catch-and- run that put PSU on the scoreboard. Royster may not have had the rushing performance he had hoped for, but he put on a show with his hands for the several NFL scouts in attendance during the Syracuse game.
Tick, Tick...Boone: Punter Jeremy Boone had three punts for 150 yards, averaging 50 yards per punt and pinning Syracuse back inside their ten yard line during some key points of the clash. Boone has become a quiet weapon for the Nittany Lions in the vital battle for field position.
Bonus High - Welcome Back Quarless: Tight end Andrew Quarless made a rare appearance in the Syracuse game, pulling in four passes for 35 yards. Welcome back, stick around awhile AQ.
THE LOW FIVE
Broken Line: For the second consecutive week Penn State's offensive line showed up to pass-block, but had a series of miscues, including short blocks, missed assignments and all-around sloppy play for the ground game. The staff tried different variations, including swapping guards Matt Stankiewitch and Lou Eliades for Johnnie Troutman and Quinn Barham, but the line has a lot of work to do to build up their consistency all-around to start opening up lanes.
Wake Up Call: Penn State won this game easily and while the contest was never really in doubt, the Lions staggered through periods of the clash, with little effort and enthusiasm on some early drives. The good news is that they stepped it up as the game progressed. The bad news is this is the second consecutive game where the squad has had bouts of flat play. Get it out of your system now guys.
Inside Out: On short-yardage, rather than going to your work-horse Royster or your sizeable back in Brandon Beachum or even your fullback Joe Suhey, the coaches opted to have Stephfon Green carry the load. At 192 pounds Green isn't exactly a bruising back, and he's also a guy who has struggled running between the tackles. So, why did the coaches opt to go for their light carrier? Stay tuned. The result was two stuffed short yardage drives before Clark hit Suhey on a roll out touchdown.
Nothing New New: OK, so freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome got in the game a bit earlier this week, but to basically handoff and run. Sure, Paterno isn't a fan of running up the score, but at least let the guy toss out a swing, screen or slant to give him a feel for the passing game. Newsome ended the day with zero pass attempts, four carries for -14 yards and a fumble.
Lost Call: In a phase; what a horrible officiating crew. Between the phantom pass interference call on Derek Moye and the replay debacle toward the end of the first half, this crew, apparently from the Big East, made us actually long for the Big Ten guys.
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