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Heading into the Wisconsin game, my mind wanders and for some reason I am pulled to think about this season on the whole, my fantasy football team, and a late season recap so to speak.
Questions come to mind like are we better or worse than expected, how is this team different from the Paterno era and have there been any surprises compared to pre-season expectations for the 2012 squad.
Since this blog is the most recent post the Nebraska and Indiana games, I guess I should comment about those games first.
Let’s start with Indiana, you have to be pleased with the offense, they continue to put up big yards and lots of points. And the usual suspects continue to produce, McGloin, Robinson, the Tight-Ends and RB’s whose last name start with Z.
The defense on the other hand continues to be a concern (which I will talk about more later) giving up way too many yards and allowing bad teams to hang on to hope way to too long and good teams to eventually wear us down late in games.
And of course the biggest bummer coming out of Indiana is the loss of the team leader, Michael Mauti. What a shame, the kid just seems to be struck by the injury bug over and over. I guess the bright side is we got him for 10 games this year, many more games than previous years when he was injured much earlier in the season.
As for the Nebraska game, man what a heart breaker. Yes, we could complain about the bad call on the fumble / TD play late in the fourth quarter but instead let me focus on what we can control.
What we can control is not having key turnovers deep in the opponent’s red-zone. Zwinak’s fumble in the first half, when we were dominating the game was huge, that cost us 7 points.
And in all reality the bad call on the TE dive into the end-zone should have never happened. Our TE’s are big and strong enough where they need to tuck the ball into their rib cage, put their head down and barrel into the end-zone; not get cute by stretching the ball over the line.
And in all honesty, even if we got the TD call, I have little confidence our defense would have held the 4 point lead and not allowed the Huskers to score a go-ahead TD with little time left on the clock (they were running at will during the second half and would of methodically marched down the field for winning score).
We should of beaten Nebraska, but we lost because our own mistakes, not the referees.
Now, onto my quick season recap:
**Are we better than expected? I thought the over/under on wins was 8. And after the 0-2 start, I revised that to 5-6. So we still have a chance to hit the original number, so I would say we are about as good as I expected. Any more detailed ROI Analysis on the season would probably yield the same results.
**How is this team different from those of the Paterno era? We are the exact opposite. Under Paterno we tried to win by playing good defense, with an offense that was pretty pedestrian. Now, we try to win by having an explosive offense. And our special teams are about the same between era’s (rating of average to poor). But it seems the records will end up about the same. Under the past years of Paterno we were a 7-9 win team, and this year will be no different.
**Have there been any surprises compared to pre-season expectations for the 2012 squad? You have to say McGloin and Robinson are big surprises. In fact the explosiveness of the offense is a surprise. I figured they would be better than Paterno teams (how could they not), but probably not this good and not this fast under a new coaching staff.
My biggest concern going into the year was our defense. I was and remain unimpressed with the Ted Roof hire. He has never had a really strong defense at any of his previous coaching stops and thus figured he would not here at Penn State. Our defense is more aggressive, which is fun to watch but they give up way to many yards and points. We need to make changes if we really want to compete for a Big Ten crown.
All in all, I have been pretty pleased with this year. The only real disappointment was UVA (and Ohio to come degree). But UVA is horrible and we should not have lost that game.
As for the Ohio loss, I explain that due to O’Brien being a first time head coach, in his first game and these players feeling way too much pressure to restore Penn State pride.
In summary, for the most part, we won the games we should of won and lost the games most predicted us to lose.
As for Wisconsin, if we look at history as an indicator of the future, I think it will go similar to the Ohio State and Nebraska games. We will compete, we will even lead for times in the game, but the offense will make some critical mistakes and the defense will eventually crack.
Penn State 27 and Wisconsin 32
We Are Penn State
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