Penn State Report Card

November 13, 2017

Quarterback: Not sure there’s much to complain about with Trace McSorley’s play lately. He led the Nittany Lions with 44 rushing yards, then completed 16 of 21 throws for 214 yards. He accounted for three touchdowns and calmly got Penn State on track after a slow start. GRADE: A- Running back: Saquon Barkley had his big moments, as he always seems to have. He also scored two touchdowns, which he always seems to get. But he gained just 35 yards on 14 carries, with little room most plays. Early on Miles Sanders seemed to have some room to go and had a 14-yard carry. GRADE: B- Receiver: There weren’t many down moments for this group against Rutgers, especially for Juwan Johnson, who kept the chains moving with five catches for 78 yards. Mike Gesicki broke wide open for a score, and DaeSean Hamilton had a big catch to get Penn State the last lead it would need. GRADE: A- Offensive line: So-so effort overall, even against a less-than-dynamic defensive line. Penn State struggled at the tackle spots, with freshman Will Fries and veteran Chasz Wright giving up several pressures of McSorley. C Connor McGovern had a strong second half, but run game still needs more room. GRADE: C- Defensive line: Didn’t start well, as Rutgers’ running backs had plenty of room to run. But that changed behind NTs Parker Cothren and Tyrell Chavis in the second half, holding the Knights to 56 yards after the break. And, 50 of those came against the backups on the final drive. GRADE: B+ Linebackers: With Manny Bowen suspended, Brandon Smith came in and gave the Nittany Lions a better approach against the run, piling up 10 stops. Jason Cabinda had 11 and may have played his best game of the season. Lions might have found something with a Cam Brown/Koa Farmer platoon. GRADE: B+ Secondary: Difficult to judge the Lions against the pass, because Rutgers does it so poorly and infrequently. But they held the Knights to just 43 yards. Biggest impact here might have been Marcus Allen’s tackling, as he had several big stops against the run that set a tone. GRADE: B+ Special teams: Botching possession on the opening kickoff could have been disastrous. Penn State also committed an offside penalty on a surprise onside kick attempt, and Tyler Davis booted two kickoffs out of bounds. But, Blake Gillikin controlled field position with his punting, and the Lions forced a turnover on the opening kick of the second half to make up for it. GRADE: C+ Coaching: Penn State played hard and recovered from a tough break early to play as complete a game as they’ve played in a while. Started the slow process of getting some of the issues of previous weeks straightened out. GRADE: B