Game Day Observations: Kent State
David Jones called this game a “necessary errand,” which is an apt term, both on the field and in the stands. I think I’m still a bit waterlogged. In any case, here are my observations from the last game at Beaver Stadium for three weeks.
- You knew this already, but it was wet. So. Wet. I had on rain gear with multiple layers and still went home soaked. Seriously, the rain never stopped. I must have slipped off the bleachers a dozen times (Zombie Nation was particularly difficult). There was something awesome about the player entrance and singing the Alma mater in the downpour though.
- The obvious observation is “Sweet Caroline is back!!!!$@#@!!!!” but I’m rather unfazed, and besides…
- The Blue Band playing the “Look Down” theme to Les Miserables (like at the end of this clip) when Penn State was on defense was so much better. Maybe I just missed it the first two games, but this addition to the Blue Band arsenal is much welcomed and a bit more intimidating than the piped in heart pounding sound.
- I would be remiss if I didn’t call out @psupj for the premature “WOOO HOOO” on the Kent State fumble in the first quarter while the play was still going on. He made up for it with some CCR later in the game, though.
- Sam Ficken is just an incredible story, and one that Penn Staters should treasure. His 54-yard field goal was the longest at Penn State in 34 years. It’s hard to remember last year when he was missing 25-yard chip shots consistently in warmups. As our own Drew Balis put it:
- The Blue Out, at least palpably, was a failure. I don’t think students really remembered it in the first place, but the plethora of white rain ponchos and other off-color rain gear just ruined the effect. It made Bill O’Brien’s halftime video thanking everyone for participating in the Blue Out all the more awkward. I’ll be interested to see how much money was raised, but the rain had to take its toll on this event.
- Playing T.I.’s Bring Em Out when the team came out in the second half was pretty cool. This isn’t a knock, but it’s funny to imagine Joe Paterno running out of the tunnel to a T.I. song. Times have certainly changed.
- I’m not going to fault Christian Hackenberg for his 13-35/176 yard performance. The rain was horrible and it was just sloppy all around. What I will fault though is Bill O’Brien’s dubious play calling. Hack should never have been in the position to throw the ball 35 times. Heck, he shouldn’t have needed to throw 25 times. And yet, O’Brien insisted on trying to squeeze it in to Allen Robinson on a fade in the corner in the endzone over and over again. If you’re up by more than two scores in the second half in a downpour, why isn’t someone from Penn State’s three-man running back corps getting the ball every single play? It was just baffling to watch.
- The crowd wasn’t actually too bad considering our recent average and the weather. Paid attendance was about 500 less than the first two games — actual attendance was much less — but the student section was over half full and the upper bowls weren’t doing so bad with alumni, either. Maybe everyone’s raincoats just made the crowd look bigger, but I was surprised to see the stadium well over half full on a day like Saturday.
- It’s still surreal hearing Dean DeVore say “Christian Hackenberg’s pass complete to Adam Breneman…FIRST DOWN Penn State!” I think I can get used to that.
- Christian Hackenberg might be a better punter than Alex Butterworth. Seriously, how sad is this line?
- All in all, Penn State did what it needed to do. With two weeks to prepare for Indiana, and Michigan barely squeaking by lowly UConn on Saturday, it isn’t unrealistic to think Penn State could go into the Ohio State game at the end of October 5-1, which is what most people thought was the best case scenario anyway.
That’s all for this week. We’ll see you in two weeks in Bloomington, which is definitely one of the nicer towns in the Big Ten.