September 27, 2010

LBU Staff Reactions: Penn State 22, Temple 13

Updated, 11:15 p.m. (Nick's reaction)
Updated again, 9/28 1 p.m. (student section photos)

Penn State had a more-dramatic-than-necessary win over in-state foe Temple. Here are some thoughts from the LBU folks...

Pete Massaro pressures Chester Stewart into an interception
Pete Massaro (59) pressures Temple QB Chester Stewart into an errant pass.
Nate Stupar was waiting on the other end...

Sorry we missed last week, we will make this a weekly thing from now on.


Am I happy Penn State had to use a late touchdown drive to put away Temple? Absolutely not, but I’m not about to push the panic button yet. Penn State has yet to play a complete game this season and when they do I think they can beat anybody. Bolden continues to get better and better and Royster is finally on track. The red zone issues are a worry but I think they were more of bad play selection than player execution, if Jay Paterno can get his head out of his ass Penn State will be ok (a BIG if, I know). I think Penn State is going into conference play about where they should be, they took care of business against the teams they should beat and lost in a tough night game to the top-ranked team in the nation. I like Penn State’s chances this weekend.


You're all probably sick of my optimism (h'nya and h'nya) following this win, so I'll try to keep it pessimistic for this time around. Penn State is an eight-win team. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not something to get excited about. Is this team capable of winning more than half its Big Ten games? I think so. But anything more than that will be a very pleasant surprise. The win over Temple showed there are a few things still in dire need of improvement.

-The defense needs to start showing up at the start of the game, not a few drives into it. If Penn State was as aggressive from the start, Temple may not have run right down the field twice. But even more scary is the though of what would have happened if it was Ohio State or Michigan State. Penn State can't just wait around for the other team to slow down.

-The offensive line has to run block better. This one is obvious. Yes, there were bigger holes this week for Evan Royster, but those holes were still pretty small and hard to come by. Only by Royster's pure will did he gain 187 yards.

This week will be very stressful. Although, I'm already starting to reach the acceptance-phase for 2010. So that's something, I guess.


Mike already addressed many of my post-game thoughts in an earlier post. As I had mentioned before the game, when it came to the youth on this team people are going to need to have patience and if that's too much to ask then go cheer for Notre Dame or some other bandwagon team that you can come and go as you see fit. If Penn State converts any of those FGs into touchdowns, the game really starts to match how it felt watching it. At no point after the first quarter did it feel like Temple was going to pull this game out. They essentially did nothing and once the RB Pierce went down, that was the last bullet in their gun. Penn St. moved the ball well, but couldn't close drives out. Bolden looked like he was guiding the ball instead of his natural motion as if he was afraid to throw an interception. The defense just needs to play from the beginning of the game like they should and the offense needs to finish drives with 7's instead of 3's, but I expect that will come as the season progresses with a freshman QB. Are they ready for Iowa? Not with the effort displayed against Temple, but you never know what you might get with a young team.


My first reaction from the Penn State Temple game, is where the heck were the students? Three-fourths of the stadium was essentially filled to capacity at kickoff, with the remaining quarter essentially vacant. It was well into the second quarter before the students started showing up, putting another dent in their claim to being the "best student section in the country." If they thought that Temple was not a worthy opponent, then they weren't too educated either.

On to the game, the Nittany Lions should be very thankful that Bernard Pierce was forced to leave the game early. Sure the backups were able to gain yards and move the ball, but Bernard Pierce essentially is their offense. It was clear their offense was completely different once he left the game, and was uncomfortable putting their trust in quarterback Chester Stewart.

Flip to the Penn State offense, and well at least one complaint can be put to rest. Royster was an absolute monster. 186 yards? Wow. But I don't think he gained any of them in the red zone. I don't think it is a good thing that Collin Wagner is tied for the most field goals in the nation. This team has to learn how to move the ball in the red zone, and I think that starts with the offensive line and ends with the play calling. The two both need to step up their game, and Lou Eliades' injury is definitely not going to help matters next week in Iowa.


After the game was over, I proclaimed it the "ugliest fucking win" in all of my years of following Penn State football. Upon further review, I'll rescind that comment. PSU dominated several key categories including Total Yards (439 to 202), Turnovers (1 to Temple's 4), and Time of Possession (by nearly ten minutes). However, those stats don't amount to jack squat if all PSU can continue to manage are 3-pointers from Collin Wagner every time they set foot in the red zone. I know some people are brushing it off as a 'learning experience' and that the team will figure out how to finish drives in the end zone but I'm just not seeing it. I'm having flashbacks to the Morelli years when we had similar problems settling for field goals when we should've had touchdowns. This isn't an issue that will fix itself in a couple of games and it's likely to be a lingering problem throughout the rest of the year.

And don't get me started on the offensive line. Nothing infuriates me more than their inability to block on 3rd and short situations. I lost count of how many times Temple's defensive line blew up our O-line in such situations. I can only imagine how brutal things will be when they go up against an Adrian Clayborn-led Iowa defensive line this upcoming Saturday. The D-line is still a concern, even though they seemed to be doing a better job getting to Chester Stewart in the second half, they still have trouble consistently pressuring the QB which gives the opposition a chance to carve up our zone defense. I'm glad to see Pete Massaro starting as he has been the only guy on the D-line who's truly impressed me so far and the linebackers finally started playing up to their potential and were hitting with a purpose. Still, this PSU team is looking very much like an 8-4 squad, perhaps 9-3 if they can learn to finish in the red zone. There's far too many issues that still need to be addressed.

Update: Since Ryan's student section comments have become a topic of discussion on their own, I thought these photos would help things...

PSU vs Temple - 30 Minutes before Kickoff
30 Minutes before kickoff.

PSU vs Temple - 3 Minutes before Kickoff
3 Minutes before kickoff.

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  1. I don't understand the shot at the student section. I arrived at 3 and was designated to the 42nd row. I'd like to know what you are basing that on Ryan?

  2. I know you don't want anonymous comments, but I feel obligated to respond to Alex.

    On TV, the student section looked empty every time the camera panned in that direction. It has for each home game this season.

    I live in Maryland. I watched all three games with non-Penn State friends. I got tired of being asked why the stadium looks empty "in that corner".

    Get out of bed, put down the Natty Lite, and get to the game.

  3. @Anon - Thanks for the comment. We're not going to delete it because it wasn't in bad taste. But next time, just "Comment as" the "Name/URL" option. You DON'T have to put a URL, your first name (or nickname) will work just fine.

  4. Alex, were you a freshman or sophomore? To be fair, it is mostly the upperclassmen who fail to get to the game in time for opening kickoff...or the start of the second quarter for that matter. It was blatantly obvious how empty the student section was at the start of the game.

  5. I have to wonder how much of the lack of a full student section at game time has to do with this fairly new electronic ticketing system holding everything up? I've also noticed that the entrance to Gate A these days looks like a fucking internment camp compared to how it used to be when I was in the student section (2002-2006). Even back then, it was like the DMV. I can only imagine how much worse it is now.

  6. I posted those two photos from Saturday's game. Funny, because I was thinking how I mentioned the student section in my game preview, so I wanted to take shots of how full the student section was.

  7. I am a sophmore. I guess you are right, but it's the junior and senior section that wasn't filled up. The freshman, sophmore section was packed. Part of the problem is a lot of students buy the tickets and try to sell them to make money. I know that a few hundred tickets were still available for the game. It's not as much the student's fault for not filling up the stadium as it is the University's. Also, a lot of people go with friends to the game and you have to meet up outside the gates. Sometimes you may be waiting for someone into kickoff. It's the process that is flawed. I apologize though Ryan, you were correct. I just love football and get offended when people question our student section and I take it more personal rather than a reflection of us all.

  8. Alex,
    No worries, I'm sure there are no hard feelings we want people to argue with us, that's why we are here. If you haven't figured out by now the "best student section in the land" moniker kind of perturbs us here at Linebacker-U for this very reason. We really appreciate the students that show up and take pride in cheering for our Lions but it’s the students that buy tickets and then don’t get out of bed to get to the game on time that piss us off. You just want to say to them if you can’t answer the bell in the morning don’t go out partying until 2:00 AM the night before. The lions need a full student section making the opposing team miss the snap count like they are capable of doing.

  9. I posted this comment on the Collegian's website as well, but wnated to share it here as there seemed to be some good discussion.

    I think that this article is well thought out. I think there are other things that can be done even if the ticket is not listed on the exchange.

    Expanding on Mike's idea:
    -One line for claiming tickets that were on the exchange and not sold (based on availability).
    -Once the opening kickoff has taken place all those still waiting in line can get in using their tickets.
    Then any student can join the line (starting with those that tried to claim leftover tickets from the exchange).
    -If they do not have tickets they can purchase them for the walk-up price of $35 price ($25 face/$10 processing charged to their LionCash+ account)
    -If they do have tickets they will be let in on a space available basis, meaning their ticket is not guaranteed after kickoff.
    -Tickets would continue to be resold or accepted until the total number of student tickets possible have passed through the gate.

    Athletics can then keep track of those that do not put their tickets on the exchange (and do not use them) and that information can be used to "rank loyalty" in future season ticket purchases.

    The goal of this would be to have the stadium as full as possible as soon a possible by the fans willing to go out to the stadium.