Monday, October 20, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

Honestly, what more could you ask for out of a weekend? Penn State absolutely crushed Michigan in the second half on Saturday to improve to 8-0, and the Rays and Red Sox went all the way to 7 games, with the young Tampa Bay squad eventually coming out victorious to meet the Phillies in the World Series.

Friday night truly made me miss Penn State more than any other time I've been there this year. Why? Because once we entered The Phyrst, I remembered just how cheap the drinks in State College are. Three beers, $5. Two pitchers, $10. Awesome.

The trip out to Penn State was pretty good as well … once we got out of the clusterfuck that is the Schuylkill Expressway. From there it was smooth sailing, and we managed to grab a few drinks right outside town, head on over to the bar and get pretty, pretty drunk. Also, there's now a Five Guys Burgers on College Ave. where the Wendy's used to be. Those are some pretty good burgers.

Anyway, Saturday morning came, and for the first time all season, it was actually football weather. The air was brisk. The sun was shining. Fall had officially arrived. After an awesome tailgate with more food than you can image, it was time to finally destroy Michigan.

Except things didn't exactly go according to plan. The Nittany Lions received the opening kickoff, and on the first play, A.Q. Shipley and Daryll Clark had a little problem. In the shotgun, Clark either didn't expect the snap or Shipley simply soared it over his head. Either way, it was a fumble that Penn State recovered for a loss of 16. Great start.

After a three and out, Michigan got the ball on its own 14 and marched right down the field. Michigan. Like, 2-4 shitty Michigan. Brandon Minor did most of the damage, steamrolling Penn State players, especially abusing Anthony Scirrotto. Needless to say, I was pissed.

Then things got worse. On the next possession, Clark fumbled again, and this time Michigan recovered. They drove down the field again and put up a field goal. Less than 12 minutes in, Penn State was down 10-0. They did answer with a 44-yard touchdown run by Evan Royster, the only Penn State player that looked like he gave a damn early on.

But Michigan came right back as Steven fucking Threet was giving Penn State fits and Brandon Minor powered in for his second touchdown. It was horrible.

I was absolutely killing Penn State, Tom Bradley and losing my mind. I was yelling at Arkansas Fred, telling him I was canceling my season tickets for next year if they lost the game, which seemed like a real possibility. I mean, the No. 3 team in the country was losing to a 2-4 Michigan squad—the worst Michigan team ever. I was livid. Josh Hull, Tyrell Sales, Mark Rubin and Scirrotto were all too slow and too weak to deal with this stinking spread offense.

Bradley had to get three corners in the game, even though he refused, and he needed to wake the fuck up and get Maurice Evans in the game more. Oh yeah, and the offense needed to get its head out of its ass.

Well, it did. Clark hit Jordan Norwood—who had a horrible game up until that point with two key drops—with 23 seconds left to bring the score to 17-14 at half. I felt a little better, but I was still pissed they were losing to a terrible team. I mean, Notre Dame kicked the shit out of Michigan. Dumb.

But then, then, the second half happened. Finally, Penn State looked like a team capable of making a serious run at the National Championship. The defense stepped it up big time. With Scirrotto out of the game with a concussion (thanks to Minor), the Lions brought it Drew Astorino and started playing three corners a lot more, with A.J. Wallace, Tony Davis and Lydell Sargeant manning the field. And Bradley started playing Mo Evans a lot more. And he pulled Josh Hull and Tyrell Sales for most of the second half, opting instead to keep in Navorro Bowman, paired with redshirt freshman Mike Mauti for most of the second half. And Mauti actually played really well.

With those great adjustments by Bradley, the Penn State defense dominated. And the offense followed suit. They tied the game on their first possession, and then, Jared Odrick forced a safety with a little help from Mo Evans. At that moment, the game was essentially over.

From there, Penn State steamrolled the Wolverines, extracting 11 years of frustration on Rich Rod's Michigan squad. Evan Royster continued to be the quietest best back in the nation, rushing for 174 yards on 18 carries. Daryll Clark remembered Deon Butler was all sorts of good, and connected with him 8 times for 105 yards.

And on defense, the Lions were phenomenal in the second half. They gave up no points at all, and forced a fumble thanks to Aaron Maybin, who has had himself a tremendous season thus far.

And Stephfon added insult to injury with an 80-yard screen pass touchdown. It was glorious.

Now all that stands in Penn State's way of a trip to the BCS title game is a visit to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes next week. Needless to say, it is huge.

And as always, LET'S GO PHILS!!

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