SYR: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's Week 2 win over Syracuse at Beaver Stadium.

Fifth-ranked Penn State improved to 2-0 with a ho-hum 28-7 win over Syracuse at Beaver Stadium Saturday. In many ways, the victory was a repeat of the 31-7 victory over Akron in the opener.

The Nittany Lion passing game clicked, the running game struggled and the defense was outstanding.

Here is some of what went down.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Linebacker Sean Lee was in top form, with a game-high 13 tackles. Three of them, including a sack, were behind the line.

CLOSE SECOND: Wideout Graham Zug had six catches for 79 yards and a score. Another Zug TD was prevented when the Orange were whistled for pass interference in the end zone, giving the Lions a first-and-goal Syracuse 2.

CLOSE THIRD: Defensive tackle Jared Odrick dominated, with six tackles and half a sack.

TURNING POINT: Penn State led 7-0 in the second quarter when Orange punter Rob Long was forced to kick from his own end zone. He flubbed a 27-yarder, giving the Lions a short field. They scored five plays later on Evan Royster's 12-yard run to go up 14-0, and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

SOLID STRATEGY: We were initially skeptical of Penn State's tight formations in goal-line situations. Had the Lions spread it out, they could have scored easily. Upon further review, though, we like the jumbo sets in this game. Even though State struggled at the goal line, we liked that the staff was challenging the offensive line to get it done.

NUMBERS GAME: Both teams averaged 2.2 yards per carry. Ugh.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Lion QB Daryll Clark was 20 of 31 for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: PSU punter Jeremy Boone is amazing. He averaged 50 yards per boot on three kicks and had two balls downed inside the 20, including one at the Syracuse 2. His net average (factoring in return yardage) was 45.3 yards.


• The Penn State ground attack. We understand Syracuse kept its safeties close to the line. But a net of 78 yards and a long gain of 14 yards? With only two weeks before the start of the Big Ten season, the O-line better get its act together quickly.

• That second-quarter pass inference call on PSU wideout Derek Moye. Was Sam Lickliter on that crew?

• Penn State's kickoff coverage. Syracuse's Mike Jones brought back five for 144 yards.

• Syracuse defensive tackle Andrew Lewis celebrating every big stop like he just won a national title. He finished with two tackles. Act like you've been there before, No. 51, even if you haven't.

• That circus by the officials shortly before halftime. It started with a bad call (an incompletion by the Orange), followed by a review (the bad call was overturned and the play was ruled a completion), a bad spot, a review of the spot and then a non-correction of the bad spot. The game was cruising along at record speed before that. It led to the final play of the first half, a missed 50-yard field goal by Jake Smith.

HIT SQUAD: Lee wiped out Syracuse QB Greg Paulus on a fourth-quarter sack that pushed the Orange out of field-goal range.

HIDDEN HERO: Linebacker Josh Hull had 11 tackles and an interception.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Andrew Quarless caught four passes for 35 yards, the most catches by a PSU tight end in a single game since he caught four balls against Temple last season.


• Guards Lou Eliades and Matt Stankiewitch were pulled in the second quarter for Quinn Barham and Johnnie Troutman, respectively. The first-teamers were back in the third quarter, though.

Nick Sukay, who wore No. 9 last week, was in No. 18 this week. That will be his number for the rest of the season.

• Linebacker Navorro Bowman did not suit up due to a groin injury sustained in the opener against Akron.

• One more true freshman played this week, wideout Justin Brown.

• The field was in incredible shape even though Happy Valley was hit with steady rain over the previous 24 hours.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Will the Lions see any improvement with the running game when Temple visits this week?


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