Game Grades: Penn State vs. Maryland
Based on the stats test, Christian Hackenberg passed with flying colors. He threw for over 300 yards for the first time since the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and he was also good for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, based on the eye test, Hackenberg wasn’t that good during this game and that is why he is bumped down to a B. Hack was inconsistent and is still plagued by the fact that he cant’ complete the shorter passes. He started the game 4-10 for over 100 yards because his shortest completion was 37 yards. Thankfully, Maryland’s secondary is nothing to write home about and they aided Hack in producing big play after big play.
Running Backs: C
It was the Saquon Barkley show, as he received all but two carries. He had 65 yards on the ground and scampered into the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the season. However, the show that is the true freshman was not as electric as in weeks past as Maryland made it a point to shut down the run game, as Barkley found it hard to find holes. Still, this kid is the future for Penn State and if we didn’t expect such great things from him, 3.3 yards per carry might not actually sound that bad. Still, the fans expect more and Barkley will certainly deliver later this season once again.
Wide Receivers: A
Anyone who reads my game grades knows that I am a tough grader, but the wide receivers deserve every bit of this A. We mentioned how Penn State took shot after shot down the field, well the athleticism of the receiving corps is a big reason why the Nittany Lions have this luxury. Saeed Blacknall, Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis all made spectacular grabs on long balls. At times, Hackenberg just threw the ball up and let his receivers make a play on it. It’s surprising that Penn State hasn’t tried this more with the athletes they possess on the outside, but it definitely worked against Maryland and it should continue to work if they implement those play calls right.
Tight Ends: D
I’ll keep it short. I understand that the tight ends don’t get as many targets because of the fact that they stay on the line to block, but when they are targeted, they have to make the plays. There was one pass completed to a tight end all game, which was to Kyle Carter. Mike Gesicki had another couple of drops and he needs to start catching balls because he is the Nittany Lions most athletic option as a tight end, but he just cant seem to put it together.
Not at all what we’ve come to expect from the Nittany Lions unit. Granted, Maryland isn’t the worst team offensively, but they certainly aren’t 30 points good against a team like Penn State. This is the second week in a row that the defense has given up 30 points or more. They get a pass the first week because it was Ohio State, but Maryland shouldn’t have scored that much. The mobile quarterback continues to plague the Nittany Lions and they have to figure that out sooner rather than later. They did have multiple turnovers, which saves them here.
Special Teams: D
Big Toe was one of two on field goal attempts. The punting continues to be an issue. Penn State won this game, but lost the special teams battle big time. They also gave up big chunks on the kick returns. It wasn’t a good afternoon for that unit at all.
Not a bad game for the staff, but it wasn’t Indiana either. The Nittany Lions are starting to figure it out offensively though, by letting Hackenberg take shots down the field. The next step is to figure out how to get his short passing game going and that may be partially on Hack. Either way, its better, but not where it needs to be for Penn State.
Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism
Jack Milewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a member of com radio’s sports team and helps to produce broadcasts as well as announcing multiple sporting events. He also produces written content and podcasts for the website. To go along with his involvement in com radio, Jack is also an intern at gopsusports.com. He covers the women’s hockey team and produces written content for the website. Jack is also the voice of Penn State Women’s Volleyball and travels with the team to cover all of their matches. Jack hopes to become a play-by-play man for a big market hockey team in the future.