09 September 2006

Notre Dame 41, Penn State 17

My prediction: Penn State 24, Notre Dame 21
Final score: Notre Dame 41, Penn State 17

First of all, I give credit to Notre Dame for playing a solid game. The didn't run the ball all that well, but the short passing game absolutely killed Penn State. Their defense was solid and seemed to prove that last week was not a fluke. The special teams (including kicking) were stronger than I anticipated. And most importantly: they did not make any mistakes.

Penn State actually ran the ball well (Tony Hunt, 12 rushes for 74 yards, and the team outrushed ND) and averaged well over 4 yards per carry. Anthony Morelli started off well but started forcing throws, very similar to last week. He played very well in the 4th quarter though, which bodes well. A nice TD drive where he was 10/11 and threw a frozen rope to Deon Butler in the back of the endzone. He ended up 21 for 33 for 191 yards (63.6%), 1 TD and 1 INT. Jordan Norwood looked solid as always. He's one of the best possession receivers in the country. Finally, backup QB Daryll Clark looked sharp in mop-up time for Penn State.

The defense played well against the run but couldn't get much of a pass rush against Brady Quinn. They rushed only 3 much of the time, which gave Quinn plenty of time to go through his progressions. He often checked off to his second or third option, but Penn State practically gave him these as they doubled up in the wideouts. If the offensive line was the biggest weakness last week, the defensive line was the problem this week.

Total yards were actually pretty close: 373 for ND and 362 for Penn State. Some of those came in mop-up time for Penn State, but ND also threw the ball unneccesarily into the 4th quarter.

Stupid mistakes were absolutely the downfall: penalties, dropped passes, fumbles. Penn State's speed was nowhere to be seen. The entire game was embarassing. The only saving grace? It's early in the season and if you have to lose, might as well do it now.

We get an easy one next week vs. Youngstown State, but two weeks from now is Ohio State in Columbus. Better start working on those mistakes.
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