Look! A ground game!
After a week of Joe Pa hounding the offensive line at practice, the line responded with an effort that allowed the dormant running game to show its face again. Evan Royster ran for a 134 yards and a TD in a game that showed the Lions balance with 2 rushing and 2 receiving touchdowns. A few questions still remained to be answered going into the days contest against the Temple Owls, and for the most part they were answered. Despite the positive outcome for the Lions there is always room for improvement, and as always lets take a look at the The Great, The Less Great, and Room for Improvement.
The Great:The running game is here. Even if the numbers weren’t amazing (186 yards, 2 TDs), the balance was there. When it comes to games that Clark doesn’t his A++ game, it’ll be on the legs of Royster and Co to get the job done. If they improve on today’s effort as expected, this should lead to a better all around offensive performance. Powell also had a good game if it’s possible to even have a good game when you only carry the ball once. His 24 yard run showed another set that the Lions will be running out of. Recently it has been too easy for teams to sniff out the run when the Lions only showed 2 or 3 different running sets, the more sets the Lions out of should equal better rushing production.
The Less Than Great:It’s hard to have an issue with a guy who passes for 2 touchdowns but Clark didn’t look as sharp as usual. Sometimes it seems like he is forcing throws but for a good part of the second quarter Clark was hurting. I’m not sure if it got any airtime on TV but Clark hit his arm in mid throw and had been holding it funny for a while. The second half it seemed fine so I dont think that it was a serious injury, but it was more than likely the reason behind 4 or 5 incomplete passes. Either way Clark shouldn’t force every throw, but so far this season he is on pace for 1000 more yards passing than last year and about 12 more touchdowns. I would expect Clark to be in full form come Iowa, but today was an off day for a player who is used to throwing 3 TDs and 350 yards a game.
The Room For Improvement: The defense plays great every game, but they can’t sit back and let people pass into the holes in zone like the Rose Bowl. Temple passed for 251 yards, most of which came in the final seconds of the game while the Lions had most of the second team in. Take away those yards and the Owls leave Happy Valley with about 200 yards of total offense. That is great from the Lions standpoint, but there were glimpses of defensive weaknesses that should be addressed for the Big Ten season. In a game you win 31-6 you have to pick on the details as what you can improve, but then again the details are the foundations of championships.
Speaking of details—Penalties: Penn State has always been known as a team that doesn’t commit them, but today they commited 6 for 55 yards. Maybe I’m just not used to seeing the flags fly, but a bad penatly in a bad part of the game can cost you the game.