Sunday, November 18, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Penn State 45, Indiana 22
By Josh Moyer
Allen Robinson had 10 catches for 197 yards and is opening up his own wing in the Penn State record book.
The good and the bad from Penn State's 45-22 win over Indiana on Saturday:
1. Allen Robinson couldn't be stopped. Give Matt McGloin credit here, obviously, but Robinson was really the star. He showed off a nice vertical, came down with several jump balls and really showcased his athleticism. He finished with 10 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns and was the star of the offense. On a screen pass, he faked a safety with a spin move on his way to a 53-yard score. He broke the single-season receptions record held by PSU greats O.J. McDuffie and Bobby Engram, and he could very well follow in their NFL footsteps.
2. Getting pressure and stopping the run. There's a lot of problems with the secondary, but the front seven played well and commanded the trenches. Penn State finished with seven tackles for loss and five sacks -- but the really impressive part was just how Indiana's ground game sputtered. The Hoosiers carried the ball 26 times for 24 yards. Ted Roof couldn't ask for much more in that department.
3. Overcoming slow starts. Penn State started off sloppy but really came on within the last four minutes of the first half when it scored two touchdowns. In the third quarter, it looked as if PSU might hand over its lead -- but the Nittany Lions rebounded from a shaky beginning to score the last 17 points and absolutely dominate Indiana. If Penn State could finish strong like this every week, it could be 9-2 right now.
1. Poor performance by the secondary. Indiana only scored 22 points, so this might have been overlooked ... but Penn State's secondary allowed 454 passing yards. Yes, the Hoosiers dropped more than 160 yards over their average against the Nittany Lions. Malcolm Willis' absence was easy to see, and Cameron Coffman had no problem finding the soft spots in this defense. This has been a season-long problem for Penn State, but Indiana showed just how bad it can be when one DB is out of the lineup.
2. Injury to Michael Mauti. He's the heart and soul of this team, and it took the defense -- and the crowd -- a while to recover from the loss. The severity of the injury isn't yet known, but it doesn't look good. Whenever an injury requires more than a half-dozen teammates tweeting prayer requests, you're probably doubtful for the next week. But forget the Wisconsin game; Mauti's NFL future could be in jeopardy. This might be the worst "down" for Penn State all season. Mauti's draft stock will likely fall -- and he's a great player who deserved better than this injury and the low block.
3. Holding on to the ball.Zach Zwinak came right back from a game in which he fumbled away a critical carry -- and then fumbled twice against Indiana. Zwinak also seemed to drop a wide-open touchdown pass, but it was ruled a score in a odd reversal of last week's fortunes. Zwinak atoned by recovering one of his fumbles, but he needs to get this problem under control. And those issues weren't isolated to Zwinak. Matt Lehman also bobbled a catch that led to an interception. That can't happen against better teams, like Wisconsin.