Game Grades: Penn State vs. Temple

Story posted September 6, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Jack Milewski

Quarterback: D

Christian Hackenberg’s sophomore slump lasted for at least one more game. Just when you thought he had figured something out in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, he quickly digressed to the Hack we saw much of last season. He missed multiple open receivers, was not wary of the Temple rushers and at times seemed like he could care less if he was in the game or not. For someone who is garnering talk of being picked in the first round, 11-25 and a measly 103 yards is not going to cut it. Hackenberg has to be a thousand times better if the Nittany Lions want to improve on last season.

Running Backs: C+

 Dare I say this was a bright spot? We all know how terrible the Nittany Lions’ run game was last season. And this season, while it certainly wasn’t jaw-dropping, got off to a much better start. Akeel Lynch rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown while Brandon Polk rushed for 50 yards, albeit most of them coming in one play. Obviously the unit can be better, but hey, they did much better than just about anyone else on the Penn State side of the field.

Wide Receivers: C 

It’s hard to grade this group when they really had limited opportunities to make plays. However, there were a few key drops, most notably by sure-handed Geno Lewis early on in the game on a drive that looked like it was headed for the end zone. Instead, the Lions had to kick a field goal. Other than that, the receiver’s couldn’t do much as Hackenberg was under pressure and barely got the ball down field to them. Chris Godwin was by far the best Penn State receiver and should mold himself into the number one guy down the line.

Offensive Line: F 

Wow. We thought they might be slightly better right? I mean, at the very least they would be just as bad as last year right? But worse? No way. Except for the fact that it happened and it was painful to watch. The offensive line turned in their worst performance in quite possibly the last two seasons. 10 sacks in inexcusable, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. There was disarray from almost the moment the game started. They looked solid on a few plays, but once Temple started to up the pressure, they crumbled. At one point, they let up a sack on a two-man rush. That should sum up the performance right there.

Defense: C

First off, the biggest loss in this game wasn’t due to the 27-10 score at the end of the game. Rather it was Nyeem Wartman-White, who was going to be filling the shoes of Mike Hull this season, and was playing well early on, is lost for the season due to a leg injury. This is a big-time blow for Penn State and one that they will have a hard time recovering from. As far as the rest of the defense is concerned, they were just alright. Again it was like last season, where they just seemed to be on the field for too long and by the end of the game, they were worn down and that’s when Temple took advantage. The Owl’s certainly don’t have the best offense and Penn State probably shouldn’t have allowed 27 points, but that is also a bi-product of the offense giving Temple great field position.

Special Teams: B-

 Joey “Big-Toe” Julius blew up twitter within 20 seconds of entering the game and made his first field goal. Koa Farmer looked good on kick-off returns for the most part. Mark Allen was solid as a punt returner and Daniel Pasquerillo averaged 39 yards per punt, right where you’d expect him to be.

Coaches: F-

 Can somebody please explain to me the play calling? Because if there was a logical explanation for how this game was called, I am completely missing that point. In a season where Penn State seemed poised to improve mightily on last season’s efforts, they digressed and no more so than in the play calling department. When you have a gunslinger at quarterback and you fail to take shots down the field, its unacceptable. I don’t care if you have no offensive line at all, (which frankly it looked like yesterday) you still find a way to get that ball 15-20 yards down field. Enough with the bubble screens and five yard outs. Take. A. Shot. They also utilized the jet run to the outside about four times too many. It worked the first time, but why keep trying it when it doesn’t work the next six? It was an awful day of play calling and the only reason it wasn’t worse is because someone had the brilliant idea to eliminate the wild-cat.

Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email jbm250@psu.edu.