Recap: Paycheck Game #1
Writing commentary and analysis after getting blown out in a game that was supposed to be a blowout is not the most appealing exercise. I take some solace in the fact that my predictions for this game pretty much played out as scripted.
1) Eastern has no downfield passing game, and is reliant on a moving pocket/rolling out the QB for short passes. Check.
2) Allen Robinson would be too much for Eastern to handle. Seven receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. Check.
3) EMU, after having trouble establishing the run against Howard, would be unable to move the ball on the ground and would have trouble scoring. Check.
Really, my only prediction that fell short was that Penn State would have multiple touchdowns of over fifty yards. They did not, PSU had one touchdown for 51 yards and one touchdown of 45 yards. That, and my predicted score of 49-9 were just off the mark.
I deserve no accolades for predicting the obvious. I also agree with Carter’s analysis that the coaching strategy seemed to be to not let the game get away and have Eastern get embarrassed. That particular strategy held up for a little over a half. The team did play well for a quarter, especially on defense, but I fear that this was partially due to PSU freshman QB Christian Hackenberg coming out with too many butterflies (something I also predicted). Once he settled down, however, he picked apart the EMU secondary.
Beak of the Week
There was a display of badassery on the field that deserves the Beak of the Week, and that is the performance of sophomore LB Hunter Matt. On the road at Linebacker U, Matt collected seven tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery, and Eastern’s only touchdown. Eagles quite often act as scavengers, collecting prey that is there for the taking – much like Matt’s scavenged fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter to give EMU a 7-0 lead. Congrats to Hunter Matt and to EMU’s linebacker corps, recipients of the first two BOtW awards of the season.
- I’m not as ready to condemn Ron English for failing to try more offensively, Eastern had no chance of success in a downfield passing game. The only chance Eastern had was to use the clock and hope for PSU mistakes. Yes, it is conservative, but having Benz chuck up a few 40 yard passes downfield to get picked off serves no purpose. Having said that, the playbook needs to be opened up against Rutgers, as the athletic difference will be less pronounced against the Scarlet Knights.
- I’m still pleased with the performance of the EMU receiving corps. At this point in the season, Tyrese Russell is playing better than Garrett Hoskins did last year.
- Eastern’s kicking game, however, gets a failing grade. Bad holds and a pushed FG attempt by Dylan Mulder negated what should have been early points.