White Out Weekly: Penn State v. MICH Recap | Dissecting a Season Gone Horribly Wrong
An extremely somber crowd was seen departing Beaver Stadium on Saturday as Penn State dropped their 4th contest of the season, losing 21-17 to the hands of the Michigan Wolverines.
The Lions find themselves in the “upside-down” compared to last season as they are in the midst of a downward spiral dropping 4 of their last 5 matchups after a magical 5-0 start (started 0-5 in 2020 before winning their last 4).
Dreams of hoisting the B1G trophy once again in Lucas Oil Stadium or potential Alabama/Georgia CFP semifinal matchups have since been squashed, and Penn State fans now find themselves searching their preferred ticketing platform for New Era Pinstripe Bowl tickets (sorry Lucci).
THE GOOD: Sheck Wes has a knack for knocking Michigan out of rhythm as “Mo Bamba” was once again echoing through Happy Valley on Michigan’s first play from scrimmage, causing a yellow flag against the offense. However, Michigan, and more specifically Cade McNamara, was eventually able to get into a groove and begin to dissect the Penn State defense.
The only real pressure that Penn State was able to apply to McNamara was standout transfer Arnold Ebiketie as he recorded 2 sacks and a forced fumble, leaving him just 1.5 sacks shy of double digits for the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, Clifford was hurried, pressured, and seemed to be getting hit on almost every snap. Giving credit where credit is due, Clifford once again proved his worth and kept them in this game, especially with the late clutch TD pass to Tyler Warren and 2-pt conversion to Jahan Dotson. However, at the end of the day, it just wasn’t enough.
THE BAD: On the flip side, Michigan was able to apply an immense amount of pressure — 7 total sacks, 12 TFL. It all started with their stand-out stars Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo tallying 5 sacks between the edge rushers. Caedan Wallace continues to show that he is out of place at the right tackle position.
An early injury to Mike Miranda forced OL coach Phil Trautwein to move Juice Scruggs to the center spot, and pull Bryce Effner back into the mix. Eric Wilson isn’t quite meeting expectations when it comes to B1G offensive line play, a B1G necessity if you are going to compete for championships. Rasheed Walker seems like he’s already picking out his outfit for April’s NFL draft.
The offensive line problem is one that has existed for numerous years now, as Penn State has not produced a top tier offensive lineman in quite some time. The only ones that come to mind in recent memory are Super Bowl Champions Donovan Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Stefen Wisniewski (Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs).
Penn State moved on from short-tenured OL Coach Matt Limegrover, and find themselves stuck in the mud with Phil Trautwein.
THE UGLY: IT’S A FAKE! Penn State was successful on a nicely timed fake punt as do-it-all kicker Jordan Stout showed he has a powerful arm to go along with that moon-targeting leg of his, hitting former high school wide receiver and current 5 star LB Curtis Jacobs down the left side.
The joy from the trickery was quickly clouded by Franklin’s decision to go back to the well, attempting a fake field goal (again to Stout) on a 4th & goal from the MICH 2 yard line. Franklin’s response after the game, “I’d call it again”, blaming the poor execution of the play as the main reason it was not successful.
For as talented as this running back room was hyped up to be (Lawn Boyz) the coaching staff continues to show they have zero interest in giving Keyvonne Lee or Noah Cain a chance to get 2 yards or to put the ball in your QB’s hands to find the best playmaker in the country (Dotson) which on all accounts is a TOTAL headscratcher.
One word that Franklin loves to use in his post-game pressers is “obviously. “Obviously we left some plays out there on the field, obviously we didn’t execute in crunch time, obviously we need better playmaking other than Jahan.” There is something to be said if everything that needs to be done to fix this mess is “obvious”, yet here he is sitting with a 10-9 record over the last two seasons.
On this week’s episode of WhiteOut Weekly, we recap yet another heartbreaking defeat and discuss the rest of the season’s outlook. Trivia is back after I completely stumped first ever WOW guest Reid Kellam last week, as I look to continue to leave Matt absolutely dumbfounded on Penn State 2000-2010 facts.
Penn State welcomes frequent B1G Betting Bonanza favorite Rutgers to town for Senior Day, as we preview the Scarlet Knight’s key players and preview a matchup that the Lions SHOULD win. Lastly, BBB is back as the boys went 2-1 last week and continue the hot streak.
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