It’s hard not to be cynical about September non-conference games. It’s an ever-present fact of Beaver Stadium economics that Penn State will continue to schedule teams that are willing to get beat up in exchange for a healthy paycheck so that Penn State can get a 7th home game.
And it’s not just Penn State that does this. Look around at the non-conference schedules of any Big Ten or other major FBS team and you will see some sort of “cupcake” scheduled for a September game.
Such was the case yesterday with Kent State, a MAC team that many view really doesn’t belong on the same field as a Penn State team.
Or at least that’s what people believe about such games. The reality yesterday wasn’t exactly so.
I didn’t envy Kent State coming into Beaver Stadium yesterday. After all, Penn State might be a bit frustrated after losing to #1 Alabama the week before, and decide to take out its vengeance on an under-manned team.
Fortunately for Kent State, the game didn’t exactly go that way.
Tailgating Excels at Fantasy Football Camp Tailgate
There is one thing to be said for games like Kent State. If you want to plan a tailgate and get people to join you, it’s easy to get tickets to the game for your guests.
All they have to do is show up and look around the parking lot at the available tickets. Heck, they could even call the Penn State ticket office and get some for this game!
Yesterday, it was a picture perfect sunny day, 76 degrees. Not too hot as in Alabama the week before, not too cold as it will be later in the season. Perfect for a tailgate!
After the game, we were invited to a Fantasy Football Camp Reunion Tailgate. This tailgate, sponsored by Global Football Inc. which runs both the men’s fantasy football camp and the NEW ladies’ X’s and O’s football camp, was conveniently located in the same parking lot as our car, only two rows away.
We were asked to invite friends, especially friends who might be interested in next year’s football camp. So we did. Terry and I brought three friends who were interested. And so did everyone else. A great time!
For those reading this who might be interested in a phenomenal football experience, there are tentative dates set for next year’s camps: For women, two sessions will be held, one each on June 6-7 (and a 3rd session on June 8 if there’s enough interest). For women, it’s a one-day event that costs $490 (with $100 donated to Breast Cancer Research). Each session will accommodate 60 women.
And most of us from this year’s inaugural ladies’ camp plan to return to play each other again! So if you’re interested, plan to sign up early.
For men, the ever popular men’s fantasy camp, a much more intense experience, is June 8-12 and will cost $4490.
The dates are tentative and might change due to a construction conflict at Beaver Stadium. To get on the email list for further announcements about these camps and to learn how to register, contact Patrick Steenberge at Patrick@globalfootball.com
We didn’t exactly overwhelm Kent State. This game was not really decided until Collin Wagner kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:11 left in the third quarter to make the score 17-0.
Until then it was possible for Kent State to score two touchdowns or more, especially when Penn State’s offense was kind enough to hand Kent State the ball in great field position through fumbles or interceptions or a missed field goal in the third quarter.
Terry, who gets a bit hyperactive at times about Penn State’s mistakes, kept declaring in the third quarter, “We could mess around and lose this game.”
I wasn’t too worried, as Kent State’s score was still one large goose egg. But I knew what he meant.
Penn State wasn’t playing well, and you can’t just hand a team – any team – the ball and not expect them to score eventually.
Fortunately the offense settled down and the defense secured the shutout.
Credit also the defense for two key interceptions that stopped Kent State’s drives, and also for their consistenly keeping Kent State out of the red zone.
Kent State’s only scoring opportunity came on a 47-yard field goal attempt that they missed.
The defense did seem to step it up a bit. Overall there were ten tackles for losses, for a total of 29 yards.
Stephon Morris (9), Michael Mauti (7), and Chris Colasanti (7) were the tackle leaders for this game. Jack Crawford and Devon Still each recorded a sack. D’Anton Lynn and Derrick Thomas each achieved an interception.
Penn State’s rushing game remains a concern. Senior Evan Royster had only 11 carries and achieved a net 38 yards with one fumble. He did achieve a milestone of 3000 career yards, one of only six Penn State running backs to do so. He’s got 371 yards to go to beat Curt Warner’s all-time rushing record of 3,398.
But so far this season Royster has not been tremendously impressive. Perhaps it’s because he’s not carrying the ball enough to get into some sort of rhythm.
In fact, it almost seems as though Coach Paterno is equally favoring Stephfon Green, who also had 11 carries and achieved a net 59 yards.
True freshman quarterback Rob Bolden continues to impress, even with some freshman mistakes (two interceptions). He passed for 217 yards and one touchdown, completing 17 of 27 passing attempts.
He has an arm and can make a quick strike deep pass to favorite receiver Derek Moye or to up and coming receiver Devon Smith. He also seems to spread his passes around. Numerous players caught at least one pass.
Most importantly Bolden doesn’t seem to get rattled easily. Terry and I keep talking about how much fun it will be to watch him develop over the next 3-4 years. Assuming he doesn’t get injured or decide to leave early!
Bolden also showed some running ability, although Coach Paterno didn’t seem too happy about that! However, they were not illogical plays – the field was wide open. Coach Paterno didn’t seem too concerned about injuries, stating in his post-game comments that Bolden is a tough kid.
Overall, a 24-0 shutout should be satisfying. But it really wasn’t. It felt more like an ugly win. I suppose it’s partly a matter of expectations…we expect to have a blowout against a MAC team and it didn’t happen!
But mostly it disappointed because there were too many mistakes made. These mistakes would have been much more costly against a different opponent.
Now on to Temple next week – a team that is dangerous and is 3-0 for the season after a great win this week at Connecticut.
This one might be tougher than anyone expects!
Perhaps with a 3:30 p.m. start the student section will finally show up and give us some 1st quarter noise!
We might need it next week!