From Bob Flounders-Patriot News, Best Seat Contributor
DEFENSELESS. Not many saw this one coming. Penn State's defense, the front seven in particular, was supposed to be the team's strength. But the Nittany Lions couldn't do anything against Ohio and quarterback Tyler Tettleton during a surprising second-half fade as the Bobcats pulled away to win 24-14. PSU surrendered 499 total yards, 301 after halftime. Head coach Bill O'Brien must rally these troops in a hurry with a road date at Virginia looming Saturday.
SLOWED TO A CRAWL. To be fair, O'Brien's offense did its fair share to lose the game, too. Ohio shut out the Lions in the second half, limiting the PSU rush game to 92 total yards and more important, slowing down PSU receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Kyle Carter in the final 30 minutes. The duo combined for 10 catches for 125 yards in the first half. After the break? Just 5 catches for 46 yards. Is that the game plan for opposing defenses moving forward? Limit the run and clamp down on Robinson and Carter? It should be until some other PSU receivers start making plays.
PENNSYLVANIA'S FINEST? After one week, the Keystone State's top college team is definitely not Penn State. And you can forget about Pittsburgh at the moment, after Paul Chryst's Panthers were roughed up at home by FCS program Youngstown State, losing 31-17. Pitt allowed 381 total yards, 204 on the ground. That leaves … Temple? Yep, for now. The Owls, who visit Beaver Stadium Sept. 22, easily dispatched of Philly rival Villanova, 41-10. The Owls' offense is built around a strong rushing game, and Temple pounded 'Nova for 301 yards. Should be interesting up in State College in a few weeks.
COMMITTEE APPROACH: Speaking of a strong ground game, Mike London's Virginia Cavaliers spread the running chores around in their easy 43-19 win over Virginia. The Cavs averaged 4.4 yards per rush and three runners had at least 10 carries. The top running option for UVa. is Perry Jones, who ran for 52 yards and a touchdown last week. He ran for 915 yards last season. But remember the name Khalek Shepherd, who added 52 yards and a touchdown on only 10 carries. Shepherd had a strong preseason camp and is a favorite of Cavs offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
SUPER SUB: The Cavaliers have some enviable depth at the quarterback position. Returning starter Michael Rocco tore up Richmond for 311 passing yards and Virginia turned to talented transfer Phillip Sims in the fourth quarter. Sims, a blue-chip recruit who began his career with Alabama, is a dual-threat who completed five of six passes for 50 yards. Rocco is London's guy, but it's nice to have a talent like Sims waiting in the wings if the starter gets injured.