4-Down Territory: Halloween Nights, Big 10 Frights, Southern Fights & Ultimate PSU Season Rolls On
1st Down: Big Ten Frights: #17 Indiana at Rutgers: The only battle of Big Ten unbeatens in week two –if that ain’t 2020. Both teams earned their underdog wins by playing solid defense and turning turnovers into points. Keep an eye on Hoosier LB Micah McFadden, maybe the best player in their win over Penn State. Rutgers has improved their pass rush and at quarterback....Michigan State at #13 Michigan: Michigan’s offense was one of the real surprises of the first week in the Big Ten. If they maintain that same level for seven more weeks they are a scary contender. As for Michigan State their 7 turnovers last week were the nail in the coffin. Against the Wolverines ball control will be vital……#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska: Covid-19 claims its first Big Ten game and given the surges in cases across the Midwest it may not be the last. The "no contest" raises more questions about what comes next.
2nd Down: Southern Fights: Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M: The Razorbacks are a surprising 2-2 this season and this will be the 4th different ranked team they've played in five games. To win they will need to do a better job scoring points on offense. On defense turnovers have been key but don't expect A&M to comply. For A&M this is a must-win for a number of reasons. A loss here would be a big setback in both the perception of the program’s long-term trajectory and in the short-term expectations fans had for this year…..Mississippi State at #2 Alabama: Mississippi State’s defense will provide another test for Alabama’s offense, but if there is a class Valedictorian among this year’s college offenses Alabama is it……LSU at Auburn: One oddity about the conference -only schedules is that a 3-2 Auburn team is unranked while a 5-0 Coastal Carolina is ranked. That said, Auburn needs a big game from quarterback Bo Nix. In three wins he's thrown zero INTs while in the two losses his completion percentage has dropped into the low fifties and he's thrown 4 INTs......Texas at #6 Oklahoma State: For the Longhorns to get back in Big 12 contention they will need to win out. Heading to Stillwater will be no easy feat. Oklahoma State’s offense looks to feast on what has been a forgiving Longhorn defense.
3rd Down: Games in Other Haunts: Boston College at #1 Clemson: BC’s defense has been solid this year, but Clemson’s offense has been exceptional.....BUT (and this is a HUGE BUT) Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is now out with Covid. Expect RB Travis Etienne to carry the ball more into the teeth of a defense that will force the new Clemson QB to beat them throwing the ball. Clemson LB James Skalski is out with an injury for this game and that is another big loss for the Tigers….Memphis at #7 Cincinnati: Now that the Bearcats vanquished SMU let the Cincinnati college football speculation begin. The Bearcats have a lot of business to finish before they can even entertain those thoughts and it begins with a Memphis offense that can score on anyone……..#15 UNC at UVA: Surprising stat for this one: In eleven years at UNC Mack Brown is 3-8 against UVA and has never beaten Virginia in Charlottesville.
4th Down: Halloween Night White Out Game: #3 Ohio State at #18 Penn State: The past 4 years against Ohio State, Penn State's quarterbacks have accounted for 62% of the Penn State rushing yards (66% if you eliminate sacks). OSU’s defensive scheme is vulnerable to running QBs as Nebraska showed last week. This is one of the younger OSU teams in recent memory—young but certainly talented. After one game it remains to be seen if the pass rush and secondary will be what Buckeye faithful are used to. On offense the RB positions for both teams are question marks. The offensive lines are both solid. The biggest difference may be OSU QB Justin Fields and the OSU WR corps which is deeper and more talented than almost anyone else’s in the country. Last year three Buckeye turnovers helped Penn State threaten late. If OSU ends every drive with their kicker or punter on the field they should be fine in a silent White Out at PSU. Warning: For those viewers in the battleground states of PA on OH expect to see plenty of political ads during this one.
Ultimate PSU Season Rolls On: For those just joining us--this began before the Big Ten decided to play this fall as a way to fill the football void for PSU fans....and we are determined to finish what we started with the Best Week 8 win from 1966-2019. This one would surprise a lot of people but for those who know the program’s history this was one of the bigger wins in the program’s history. It pushed Penn State and Joe Paterno onto the national stage.
November 11, 1967: Penn State 13 (3) NC State 8: After starting 5-5 in his first season and suffering an opening season loss to Navy the questions were starting about what kind of a head coach Joe Paterno would be. The team won four of the next five games (the lone setback a 17-15 loss to #3 UCLA) before 3rd-ranked NC State came to town. The Wolfpack was led by ACC Player of the Year (and future Georgia head Coach) quarterback Jim Donnan. A sold-out crowd of 46,497 fans were on hand to see if Penn State could get over the hump and defeat a top-10 opponent. Penn State scored first on a one-handed grab by All-American (and Sports Illustrated All-Century Team) TE Ted Kwalick. Penn State widened the lead to 13-0 on a 67-yard Pick-Six by future All-American LB Dennis Onkotz. Late in the game NC State closed to within seven and faced a 4th and goal from the Penn State one. On that play NC State running back Tony Barchuk was stopped short of the goal preserving the PSU upset win. Barchuk become a long-time New Jersey high school coach and worked Penn State’s summer camps for many years. This game was the 5th game in a streak of 31 games without a loss stretching into the 1970 season.. Also of note: NC State’s head coach Earle Edwards played at PSU from 1928-30 and was a PSU assistant coach from 1941 through 1948. Penn State and NC State played a long home and home series playing 13 times in 16 years, the last game being in 1982. The two teams have not met on the field since.
The Ultimate Penn State Season:
Pre-season 1996 (11) Penn State 24 (7) USC 7 Watch
Week 1 1999 (4) Penn State 41 (3) Arizona 7 Watch
Week 2 1977 (10) Penn State 31 (9) Houston 14 Watch
Week 3 1978 (5) Penn State 19 at (6) Ohio State 0 Watch
Week 4 1982 (8) Penn State 27 (2) Nebraska 24 Watch
Week 5 2002 (21) Penn State 34 at (15) Wisconsin 31 Watch
Week 6 1994 (3) Penn State 31 at (5) Michigan 24