View from the Cheap Seats: The Jitters Wore Off
Welcome back to the Cheap Seats. A lot has transpired since we last spoke. Beer has been consumed, and even more pancakes. I do love pancakes. What I don’t love are season openers. Not at all. In fact, I wish college football would implement at least one... dare I say it … preseason game. I realize that the unknown heading into a season is part of the allure of college football, but season openers make me want to run around with scissors.
That being said, today’s game with Kent State did not surprise me at all. I knew with so few seniors and so many changes in the coaching staff over the off-season, as well as replacing the starters from last season, that we would play a game full of jitters. And, indeed we did.
The game was the familiar clichéd tale of two halves as the jitters wore off and the Nittany Lions came out to dominate the Golden Flashes (Who knew that would be an eagle? Seriously, who knew?) The defense, despite their struggles with the scrambling quarterbacks, allowed just two field goals in the game and came up big in several series after Kent State drove deep into Penn State territory. They forced three turnovers and posted a shutout in the second half.
The offense did enough to win but the offensive line gave moments of concern as well as showing that they have the potential to dominate games. It is easy to point fingers at the line and say it is still an issue, and you could be right. However, you should keep in mind that it was the first game and Kent State’s strength is its defense. The line needs a chance to gel and they'll become a strength for this team. Coach Morehead has brought an offense to Happy Valley that has only been seen from visiting teams. Oh, and was Trace McSorley making his first start? He was, and it doesn't seem to matter to some people. Ugh.
It wasn't the prettiest win, but it was a win. Fans have plenty to be excited about, like Mike Gesicki catching passes, McSorley playing throwback style ball with his tattoos and Jim McMahon-esque headband (I felt like I was watching Tim Tebow when he was at Florida).
Next up is that trip to Western Pennsylvania to take on that team. It's going to be interesting to see how much confidence the Nittany Lions carry into that game from this win. Their opponent next Saturday afternoon amassed an amazing 211 yards in posting a 28-7 win over Villanova in their opener. It was an emotional win as running back James Conner returned from a knee injury and a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma. While his story is truly a fantastic one and should be told to all, the fact is that his helmet has words on it and is not white with a gorgeous blue strip down the middle. Sorry, James – I wish you well with your health but your story will not have me rooting for you or your squad next Saturday. You just happen to play for the wrong school in Pennsylvania.
Until next time. For the Glory.