04 November 2006

Final: Wisconsin 13, Penn State 3

Penn State opened the second half with a 12 play, 50 yard drive that netted nothing. Morelli passed for three consecutive third down conversions, but the drive stalled on the Wisconsin 31 and kicker Kevin Kelly pooch-punted the ball for Penn State instead of kicking a 48 yard field goal. As the Nittany Lions' luck has gone this year, the ball scooted into the end zone before it could be downed. Those three consecutive third down conversions were the majority third down conversions of the entire game for Penn State (5).

The Nittany Lions muffed a third quarter punt and Wisconsin recovered at the Penn State 20 yard line. Wisconsin responded with their signature running game. The Penn State defense stiffened and held the Badgers to a short field goal for a 13-3 Wisconsin lead.

JoePa was injured when two players from the field collided with him and appeared to hyper-extend his left knee. He also suffered a cut on his right leg. Despite much protest, JoePa was eventually taken off the field for x-rays.

Sean Lee sacked Stocco in the fourth quarter (and knocked out of the game), who fumbled the ball again. Lee recovered the fumble. The play was reviewed, as Stocco's arm appeared to be coming forward. Officials judged that Stocco was not throwing the ball, but bringing it back in, and the play stood as called. Penn State was unable to take advantage of the field position and failed to convert a fourth and one in Wisconsin territory. Morelli pitched to Tony Hunt, who lost 4 yards on the play.

Morelli ran the ball twice in this game--something we haven't seen at all since the Notre Dame game. Granted, neither of those runs were planned, but it was nice to see some mobility.

The storyline for Penn State is the same as just about every other week: stupid mistakes, turnovers, unrealized opportunities, and anemic red zone offense. More than that, the Nittany Lions were outplayed. The defense played tough, but was unable to stop the Badger running attack. That's also a result of the failure of the offense to stay on the field.

If Penn State can beat Temple and Michigan State to finish 8-4, it appears likely that the Nittany Lions will head to Orlando to play against an SEC opponent in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
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