02 September 2006

Penn State 34, Akron 16

My prediction: Penn State 35, Akron 14
Final score: Penn State 34, Akron 16

Offense

Anthony Morelli looked sharp, but forced a few passes in the second half. He'll learn from experience. He should have similar success next week against Notre Dame's porous secondary.

The offensive line protected Morelli (no sacks), but couldn't make any running lanes for Tony Hunt. Fullback Matt Hahn delivered a nice block on Tony Hunt's TD run.

The receivers were awesome as expected. More touches for Derrick Williams. And how about the true freshman A.J. Wallace, a big run on the reverse and two big kickoff returns (albeit one fumbled). Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood were solid as always.

We need a tight end who can catch the ball. The TEs were absent all day.

Defense

The defensive line pressured Getsy all day. Ed Johnson looked solid at tackle.

Tim Shaw and Dan Connor picked up two sacks a piece. Posluszy was solid too, but Connor was even better: 13 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble. That's worthy of Big Ten defensive player of the week. You heard it here first.

Brand-new secondary all looked good: Tony Davis was sharp, Nolan McCready and Donnie Johnson as well. Justin King got ran over once but otherwise played a good game. Anthony Scirrotto played well at nickel.

Special Teams

D-Will running back punts is better than I expected. I thought JoePa would go with Scirrotto but he proved me wrong (a good thing!).

Kevin Kelly was solid but the weather can be blamed for the botched holds. Jason Ganter is better than that. And a couple of touchbacks were a bonus.

Jeremy Kapinos only punted a couple of times. There should be no concern here, he's one of the Big Ten's best.

Overall

Some mistakes, but overall a nice start for Penn State. Yes, some mistakes are to be expected during the first game, but we can't afford to miss opportunties next week against Notre Dame. It will be a score-fest back and forth, and whomever's defense can come up with the bigger stops will win. Look for more in the coming week on the renewed PSU-ND rivalry.
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