White Out Weekly: Indiana-PSU Recap // B1G Top 5 Showdown Preview
Revenge is a dish best served….in a stripe out. State College, PA was in the prime time spotlight once again as the Nittany Lion faithful coordinated a masterful looking stripe out to aesthetically please another national audience with their unmatched pageantry. We were also treated to a long, lost friend….the running game which showed some long to be desired signs of life, and helped propel Penn State to a 24-0 shutout. The first time the Hoosiers had been left off the scoreboard in 246 games!
QB1 Sean Clifford didn’t have his best outing, completing just over 50% of his passes as he went 17/33 for 178 yards while tossing 3 TDs and 1 INT. Clifford missed some key throws on the evening, but was able to connect with his favorite target (and for good reason) Jahan Dotson 8 times for 84 yards, and Jahan found himself on the receiving end of 2 of the 3 TDs. We even saw Jahan, once again giving Clifford a run for his money for highest QBR as he once again completed a pass attempt, this time a 21 yard strike to his running mate Parker Washington.
With his performance against Indiana, Jahan is starting to climb the ranks in the Penn State record books….as he has moved into the Top 10 all time for receptions, 7th in receiving yards, and 4th in receiving touchdowns. Clifford and Dotson also moved into the top spot for most touchdowns by a duo with 18, surpassing Todd Blackledge (who was calling the game) and Kenny Jackson.
Including the QB in the mix, Penn State had 3 players with at least 10 carries, Keyvone Lee tallied 8 carries on the evening but was the high man with 74 yards and a 9.3 YPC….including a 44 yard scamper that was a breath of fresh air for Penn State fans. Noah Cain was effective in spots, but did not quite look himself as he appeared hesitant and not as aggressive as we’ve seen in the past, whether it’s scheme or nagging injuries. They will certainly need the Noah Cain we saw back in Kinnick in 2019, along with continued growth from the rest of the group this week to be able to convert on 3rd and shorts, to keep the chains moving against a very opportunistic Hawkeye defense.
Lastly, the defense was nothing short of stellar as they pitched a shutout…continuing they’re unbelievable red zone stop percentage, as opponents have now come up empty on 7 of 15 trips! They also ended up knocking Michael Pennix Jr out of the game after going 10 for 22 for 118 yards, and 1 INT….forcing in junior backup Jack Tuttle as he was welcomed with open arms by none other than Arnold Ebiketie (video below). Joey Porter Jr. notched his first career INT, and the rest of the secondary held the Hoosier offense in check, limiting top WR Ty Fryfogle to just 5 catches for 48 yards.
Next on the agenda, the Iowa Hawkeyes as the Nittany Lions travel to Iowa City…a date with the #3 team in the country, in Kinnick Stadium where dreams go to die. This will pose the most significant test to date, as they will be facing a Hawkeye defense that has done exceptionally well with setting their offense up in plus territory, forcing 12 INTs (6 last week vs Maryland) and 3 fumbles recovered. However, this Penn State team is walking into Kinnick with a very different mentality than they may have had during their 2019 trip (which still resulted in a 17-12 win).
Clifford speaking on the tenacious, turnover happy Hawkeyes, “It doesn’t change our philosophy. We’re a take-care-of-the-ball type team, so it goes right along with what we do”. Clifford, with 12 TDs and only 3 INTs through 5 games, is a much more confident, battle tested QB than he was back in 2019 where he looked like a deer in the headlights during that prime time bout vs the Hawkeyes. Further comments from Clifford regarding the impact of his new OC Mike Yurcich, “It starts with respecting the football and protecting the football, making sure that I’m making decisions in a timely manner, and being confident in what I see”. The Nittany Lions look to continue to protect the football, while putting all 3 phases together to allow them to head back into the “pink” visitor’s locker room with another huge win to add to their CFP resume.
This week on WOW, we recap the primetime stripeout and who/what contributed to pitching the revenge shutout against the Hoosiers. Weekly trivia enters week four as Matt is back on the hot seat, putting his 2000-2010 Penn State history knowledge to the test. The anxiousness is already settling in but we dive in to this weeks 4:00PM EST showdown against the #3 Iowa Hawkeyes covering both sides of the ball and what to expect from the B1G West foe. Finally, I’ve taken a commanding lead in B1G Betting Bonanza, forcing Lucci to start taking some major hacks.