September 13, 2011
Posted by Joe Chuba
Steve Jones analyses Penn State’s loss to Alabama, and previews the Nittany Lions match up with Temple.
Back to work for Penn State after the loss to Alabama. There were three swing plays in the game. The fake punt where Alabama needed 12 inches and got 13 which led to the lead touchdown. The Andrew Szczerba fumble where Penn State was driving, and then Alabama turned around and scored a touchdown before the end of the half. Finally the Marquise Maze punt return where he appeared to be pinned inside the five, and suddenly was out near midfield. Alabama picked up another 3 on that drive.
Rob Bolden had tight windows to throw into on Saturday. For the most part he performed well but he needs receivers to hang on to the ball better or even step up, and make a tough catch the way Derek Moye did on the 27 yard play.
I think Silas Redd squeezed out every yard he could find on Saturday. Penn State’s pass blocking was very good Saturday, but after the opening drive there were only narrow gaps to run through.
The biggest knock on the defense was the lack of a takeaway or a sack that could have changed the tone of the game. Overall they played tough. They forced three and outs four times… actually five because of the fake punt. They tackled well and went nose to nose with Alabama up front.
It was a plus to get Anthony Fera back on kickoffs and punts. He has such a big leg, and he can make a difference. The kickoff return game was slowed down by the high kicks of Cade Foster.
Temple is 2-0 with a lot of confidence. Bernard Pierce is the key to the puzzle. Last year Temple was on its way against Penn State until he got hurt. This season he has had back to back games of 147 yards and 150 yards rushing. He is averaging nearly 8 yards per carry. Mike Gerardi is the quarterback, and manages the game well although Chester Stewart may play. Evan Rodriguez has been the primary target with nine catches. Rod Streater is the deep threat.
Safety Kevin Kroboth leads them in tackles with 10 and also has a pair of interceptions. Linebacker Tahir Whitehead is very active, and must be accounted for because he already has four tackles for losses. Morkeith Brown has a pair of sacks.
Special teams have been strong so far for Temple. Brandon McManus is averaging better than 45 yards per punt, and is a very good field goal kicker. Joe Jones is averaging better than 35 yards per kickoff return, and Matt Brown is averaging better than 19 yards per punt return.
It is bounce back time against a good team playing with confidence as Penn State hits the road for the first time this season.
Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV
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