October 12, 2010

Review: Illinois 33, Penn State 13

This is a tough one.

Penn State hasn't looked this inept in years, if not decades. Illinois came into Beaver Stadium on a mission. Compounding the issue was Penn State not showing up at all. The injuries haven't exactly helped matters, either.

We all knew this wouldn't be Penn State's year; everything was gearing up for a monster 2011 campaign. That's still my bet. But did this year have to be this bad?

The rest of the season will be addressed later this week. Right now we're focused on the Illinois loss. This should be the last time we speak/write of this, so let's get it over with.

Rob Bolden
Rob Bolden was bound to come back to earth at some point this season,
but did it really have to happen on Homecoming Weekend? (Photo: Mike/LBU)

Here are some things I liked from Saturday, and some things I wasn't crazy about...

Tip of the Hat

Khairi Fortt -- The true freshman linebacker got his first career start, and lived up to the hype as best he could. Sure, Fortt was caught flat-footed or out of position a few times, but that's about the same as some of the seniors and juniors out there Saturday. Fortt finished with 11 tackles and a TFL.

Nick Sukay -- He didn't get very far in the game, suffering that torn pectoral. But Sukay was at it again this week, forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff. It's really, really a damn shame Sukay's season ended prematurely. He looked like the kind of developing leader this team needed, especially on defense.

Chris Colasanti -- Statistically, he belongs here. Colasanti logged 18 tackles, courtesy of a porous defensive line, and an Illini offense that chewed up the linebackers' zones. This isn't a full-throated "yea" for Colasanti's performance, but I'll give him some credit for at least making any kind of stop on the Illinoi offense.

Rob Bolden on one play -- You know which play. Otherwise, we'll talk about Bolden in the next section.

Derek Moye -- Not only does Moye get kudos for being the only offensive player to step up when called upon against Illinois, he scored the only touchdown in two weeks, and the only touchdown through the air in the last three. If this were Moye's senior season, I'd actually shed a tear for him, as his draft stock would be thrown out the window thanks to the rest of the offense.

Anthony Fera -- Eh, sure, why not? Fera had a very good 44-yard average on punts, and continued to boom away on kickoffs.

Collin Wagner -- Another reliable day for Wagner. One has to start wondering when his leg will get tired.

Mike Zordich -- For being the only member of this team to actually show ANYTHING RESEMBLING EMTOTION on the field of play...

Mike Zordich recovers an Illini fumble
(Photo: Mike/LBU)

Wag of the Finger

The Offensive Coaching Staff -- Joe Paterno even admitted such after the game. He, and his staff, didn't do a good job before, or during the game. I was really close to lumping the defensive coaches in here, and call out the entire staff. But the offense can't blame anything on injuries. Losing Lou Eliades and Garry Gilliam was bad, but it wasn't at all comparable to what the defense has gone through, injury-wise. The offense's performance against Illinois was inexcusable. Had Penn State been able to hold onto the ball longer, or score a touchdown--ever--inside the red zone, it'd be tough to argue the defense wouldn't have done better.

Stefen Wisniewski -- No way I expected to send Wiz back to this part of my reviews. But he was supposed to be the leader of this offensive line, if not of the offense as a whole. A consensus All-America pick coming into the season, he'll be lucky to make All-Big Ten honorable mention. I get it that the rest of the line has been so terribly awful that Wiz can't even breathe without worrying about the guy next to him missing a big block. But by season's end, he could end up being just another shell of a formerly great player on this team.

Rob Bolden -- Sorry, kid. The coaches haven't been helping you out too much lately, but this one is on you, too.

Everything else... -- Everything that wasn't mentioned in my "Tip of the Hat" section gets lumped in here. Everything else sucked, royally.

Misc. Observations

-The student section failed to fill up, again. That's pretty pathetic on homecoming.

-Fans booing. Yup, it started.

-Eh, screw it. I don't feel like talking about this game anymore. Notice how it kind of just ground to a halt? Think of this crappy game review as the crappy game's appropriate counterpart.


There is nothing else to say. Time to move on...

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