PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

After Maryland Penn State’s Offense Seems To Have Turned A Corner

Gone are the days of the John Donovan offense of barely scoring 20 points a game. Joe Moorhead and Co. are here, and boy do things look different.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem that this was the case for a while this season. During the summer, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the offense, and just like everything else in the Franklin era, it was over-hyped. Joe Moorhead was bringing his up-tempo, no-huddle, spread-offense and our offense was going to be a huge threat. We all expected 30+ points a game, a Heisman season out of Barkley, multiple 1000 yard receivers, and an offensive line that could block.

Fast forward to the first four and a half games of the season, reality hit. Gone was all the hype, and it seemed like we were back to the John Donovan-Era. Fans all thought the O-Line was going to be at least average this season, and it looked like that was too much to ask for. The offense looked one-dimensional, the play calling was poor, and despite scoring 30+ in three of those four games, there was still a lifeless feel surrounding the offense, especially heading into half time against Minnesota.

Then the second half started, with Penn State starting with the ball, and it seemed like a completely different offense was on the field. Penn State’s second drive of the half was three plays for 80 yards for a touchdown, and the team showed life again. The offense would go on to score 19 more points that game while Trace McSorley threw for 335 yards, a touchdown, no interceptions, and ran for 73 more and a touchdown. He was making better decisions throwing the ball, and finally showed us what he could do with his legs. The running game was virtually stopped but the offense adjusted and won it through the air which Minnesota couldn’t stop. And most importantly, they never turned the ball over. This was the first time all season, and it looked like the offense wasn’t as bad as we all thought after Michigan.

Trace McSorley Penn State Football vs. Maryland 2016

During Maryland, the hype seemed to become reality. The offense started fast, driving down the field very quickly (which had yet to be seen up to this point) and scoring on the first drive just two and a half minutes into the game. The drive frequently used the read option, a play which had not worked so far this season. But something was different this game where it was the biggest offensive threat. Up until the Maryland game, Trace was virtually always giving the ball to Barkley, and he was swallowed up at the line of scrimmage. But this game, Trace was waiting longer to read the defense, then pulling it to run it himself for a first down quite often. This also opened up the running game for Barkley who had a ridiculous 202 rushing yards on the day.

Everyone got involved with Mark Allen, Miles Sanders, and even Tommy Stevens contributing for first downs. The attack was perfect. Moorhead tested his limits to see if he could run the ball easily, and he could, so why change? That’s all he needed but even then, he threw the defense off with a big shot downfield to Thompkins for a 70 yard touchdown. The play calling was less predictable and Moorhead even threw in a few special plays like the fake read-option play during which Barkley embarrassed Will Likely.

Trace McSorley has been the key to the recent offensive success. I had my doubts about him earlier this year, but he has shown off his talent recently, all while eliminating stupid mistakes. He’s been making better decisions, throwing the ball with more accuracy, running more frequently but in better scenarios, and he is turnover free in his last two games.

Not to be forgotten, the offensive line has made massive strides since last year and since the beginning of the year. It was a big question mark how they would perform going into this year, and there are definitely some question marks going forward after Andrew Nelson’s season ending knee injury, but the main thing to be considered is how much progress they’ve made. Matt Limegrover has simplified their roles, and started young talent like Connor McGovern and Ryan Bates which has resulted in a much better overall offensive performance. Running backs are getting holes to run through and Trace is finally getting time to throw the ball and make better decisions. It also doesn’t hurt that they have a mobile quarterback to protect who can easily maneuver out of pressure, but these guys have stepped up when they needed to.

The offense will not be putting up 50+ points every game like Ohio State and Michigan, and you shouldn’t even expect 30 next week against Ohio State. But the progress is clearly there, and gone are the days of bubble screens and jet sweeps. The offense is finally a weapon for this team and if they can manage a balanced attack next Saturday, who knows, the Lions may even have a chance.

About the Author

Robbie Rockwell

Robbie is a sophomore from Frederick, Maryland majoring in History and minoring in Spanish. He was born and raised a Penn Stater and cares way too much about Penn State football. He's also die hard Pittsburgh sports fan despite living in Maryland. In his free time he enjoys watching basically any sport and loves to play soccer.

Comments

More by Robbie

James Franklin And Staff To Host Spring Chalk Talk March 24-25

The Penn State Football staff will host a Chalk Talk open to high school and middle school coaches from March 24-25 that includes instruction, dinner, continental breakfast, and a social.

THON 2017 Color Wars Competitions In For An Exciting Finish

Men’s Basketball Defeats Illinois 83-70 With Big Performance From Payton Banks

Athletics

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

This year’s sneaker is available to purchase online for $109.99.

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Fall Move-In Traffic & Construction Changes

When 40,000 students need to move back to State College over the course of four days or so, things are bound to get crazy.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend