Analyzing Post-Central Michigan Reactions For Penn State Football

Penn State football is now 4-0 after an interesting 33-14 victory over Central Michigan at Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Sean Clifford and the Nittany Lions’ passing game stalled a bit in the middle of the game, which left some Penn State fans feeling uneasy after the game. On the other hand, Manny Diaz’s defense didn’t allow a single point in the second half.

No matter how you slice it, Penn Staters around the country left the game with many takeaways. So, we figured we might as well take a look at ’em.

Penn State’s Secondary Is One Of The Best In The Country

Frankie Marzano: It has the potential to be. I still don’t think we’ve seen enough from the group yet to declare it as one of the best. It did kind of get the work from Purdue but recovered in the fourth quarter to help Penn State seal the victory. I don’t think we’ll know the answer to this question until the team plays against Michigan.

Sam Fremin: It’s always tough to make a sweeping statement like this, but this isn’t as far off as some may think. Joey Porter Jr. has been playing at an elite level since his six-pass breakup performance against Purdue. Zakee Wheatley is proving his “Takeaway King” moniker accurate. “One of the best in the country” may be extreme, but I understand why Manny Diaz has so much faith in the unit.

Ryan Parsons: Maybe? This crew is coming off an impressive Central Michigan game, and the duo of Joey Porter Jr. and Kalen King is one of the most impressive Penn State’s had in years. It’s hard to compare the Nittany Lions’ pass defense to the rest of the country, especially before Big Ten play, but you could make the argument that Manny Diaz has his guys playing among the best.

Gabe Angieri: I would say the potential is there, but I’m going to hold off on declaring it just yet. I’d like to see the secondary go up against some legit offenses before calling the unit one of the best in the country. So far, so good, though.

Cold Streaks In The Passing Game Will Ultimately Hold The Team Back

Frankie Marzano: It could if the running game isn’t there, as well. We’ve seen it before when the offense becomes so one-dimensional that it completely relies on the passing game. If the run game isn’t there, then a cold passing game will certainly hold the team back.

Sam Fremin: Cold streaks in any team’s passing game will hold the team back. Last week, both Sean Clifford and Drew Allar made poor decisions, but Central Michigan’s coverage was noticeably strong at points. I don’t think we learned much more about the passing game on Saturday. It is what it is. It’s efficient, but not elite. A balanced offense will serve the team well, and if a better defense removes one of the elements, the Nittany Lions will likely lose. It’s not all that new.

Ryan Parsons: With the meat of the Big Ten slate coming up, this is a hard feeling to shake, especially after the disastrous second quarter against the Chippewas. Against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan (disclaimer: I’m not fully sold on the Wolverines, for what it’s worth), Penn State won’t be able to afford to make these mistakes. The all-important win over the Buckeyes has eluded the Nittany Lions in recent years, and often by a thin margin. That thin margin could be Sean Clifford’s notorious inconsistent play. But, he’s yet to make a big, game-altering mistake with the exception of Purdue — although the Nittany Lions overcame that.

Gabe Angieri: I think this could become a reality if the Nittany Lions become one-dimensional. If the run game goes away, then I think the passing game will inevitably have its cold streaks, and therefore, hold the team back from making any real noise.

At This Point, It’s Safe To Say The Offensive Line Has Greatly Improved From Last Year

Frankie Marzano: I think it’s fair to say this. The offensive line had another solid performance this past weekend after allowing zero sacks against Auburn the week before. That’s an impressive feat. Sean Clifford just looks like he has more time in the pocket to make a move, which will help him and the team immensely.

Sam Fremin: I take back my post-Purdue negativity. I was wrong. There are certainly things to improve on, but they are not last year’s unit. Egg, meet face.

Ryan Parsons: James Franklin is yet to declare victory here, but I think I am. This group is obviously much better than last year. Sean Clifford hasn’t been sacked in the last two games, and Penn State’s had a 100-yard rusher in three straight games. I’m not sure what the line’s ceiling will be in Big Ten play, but I’ve seen enough.

Gabe Angieri: I’m hesitant to make any declarations just because Penn State hasn’t reached the meat of its schedule yet. However, at the very least, I think it’s fair to say the line is much improved from last year. Let’s see how it holds up in Big Ten play.

Penn State Deserves To Be Ranked Higher Than It Is

Frankie Marzano: The AP rankings don’t matter.

Sam Fremin: Win and everything falls in order.

Ryan Parsons: Let’s focus on Northwestern.

Gabe Angieri: I think Penn State should probably be lower for now, but who cares?

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