Call Penn State’s 3-TD win over Villanova a personal day and let’s all move on | Jones

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STATE COLLEGE – Admit it. You don’t break your ass 100 percent every work day. When it comes down to it, show yourself with sharp focus and full of vigor. You have completely delivered the most important order of the financial year.

But did you take full notes on Barnicke’s dreary PowerPoint review of things that already happened? While half of the workforce was on vacation in July? No you have not.

Everyone deserves a break every now and then. The Penn State Nittany Lions earned one on Saturday when they played for the first time in seven decades … Villanova. And they definitely took the opportunity.

From here on there will be no more siesta. Not at this year’s Big Ten East. So, the Penn State Nittany Lions had a little nap, sombreros leaning to block out the blinding sun on a Saturday postcard in Happy Valley. It worked well.

Despite the generally blasé after the mincer game against Auburn last week, the Lions have gotten many of those explosive games that their head coach James Franklin is always obsessed with, scooping a 38-17 win. It wasn’t that close; They led 38-3 before Franklin removed most of his frontline athletes.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s offensive line kicked off a mental health day on their season tickets. The PSU running game was next to nonexistent against a Football Championship Subdivision outfit. The backs behind them weren’t much more energetic with starter Noah Cain being attacked by Auburn and having most of the day off.

For most of the first half carries, the Nittany Lion Backs had neither many holes nor their own, and by half time they had 18 yards on 17 carries. The final numbers including garbage time weren’t much better – 34 carries for 80 net loyards.

So what should you make of that? I say: not a lot. Indiana and @Iowa are expecting the next two weeks. Then the line and everyone else have to prove something. This was a scrimmage.

On the other hand, I’m not the man who gets paid to make this team turn every game on and off properly, regardless of the opponent. So I asked Franklin: In the middle of what is possibly the most demanding top-to-bottom schedule any of their teams have played in their eight seasons here, does it? he Do You Believe in Mental Health Days?

Franklin, of course, had to act as if he were repulsed by the concept itself:

“First a couple of weeks ago [against Ball State], you’re talking about ‘load management’ and this week it says – I’m not even saying it. And I have a degree in psychology from Harvard of the PSAC, East Stroudsburg. “

Lots of reporters giggle.

Yeah, well, except that load management was exactly what Cain benefited from, and rightly so. He wasn’t needed; he started but hardly played.

Admitting that he might tolerate a short break against the FCS opponent, which he would otherwise not have, was a bridge too far:

“I don’t believe what you said. … No, we train hard on Sunday [during review]. Meetings will be tough on Sunday.

“For me, when we have the team I think we have, them want that. They want us to train them hard and make the corrections. I don’t want to do that after a win. But there are things that we have to fix quickly and quickly. “

All true enough. O-Line trainer Phil Trautwein will have a nervous week ahead of him preparing for a physical Indiana team whose defensive front was shaped by longtime DC Tom Allen.

But first the bright spots must be recognized. Though occasionally holding the ball longer than necessary, Sean Clifford threw a collection of very nice balls that helped generate long gainers and touchdowns for all three of his main wideout goals – Parker Washington (5 catches, 148 yards, 2 TDs ). ) Jahan Dotson (7-117-1) and KeAndre Lambert-Smith (2-88-1).

And the recipients did a lot of the work themselves after Clifford calmly met them. Of the 429 passing yards in the game, Lions receivers collected a whopping 276 after the catch.

On the most beautiful of these catches, Washington caught his 52-yard touchdown at Villanova 36 and ran through all four members of the Wildcats secondary class. You can do that against FCS Defensive Backs.

The problem is that when it becomes self-evident that Penn State can’t take the ball when it has to, the air-game resistances charge up, forcing the power supply’s ground attack to prove itself. Franklin knows this and he’s not kidding about it:

“You can’t maintain that it’s one-dimensional. There will be times when we have to run the ball on a 4-minute offensive; it will increase these problems. We have to find a way to improve in these areas, because we can’t be that one-dimensional. “

For his part, Clifford was unsurprisingly radiant after his 401-yard, 4-TD day. So he rationalized for his front, although he felt some pressure himself and was fired three times:

“You can’t throw over 400 yards and your offensive is having a bad day. No, I thought these guys did a great job. “

But he did acknowledge that a Wednesday workout that Franklin isolated as unacceptable was exactly what the trainer put it:

“That didn’t meet our standard. You can’t let a day just go by. “

But you can let go of a game like this if it clearly wasn’t as challenging as everyone else around it. Do you think players will be fooled when second- and third-rate subs spend the week preparing to go into the race for a game like Villanova, which they don’t do the rest of the season?

It was a week of rest for the tired and the suffering, an experience for those who might use it later in the year.

If the games against Villanova aren’t there, I don’t know why they’re scheduled. And they are placed where they are for a reason.

If the preparation is different and the rationale is sound, the outcome cannot be treated like any other game. The more important Lions rested. The team got away with no significant injuries.

That counts as a success. We can override the severe judgment for another time when it is justified.

More coverage of Villanova @ Penn State:

• PennLive’s Dave Jones and Bob Flounders discuss Penn State’s win over Villanova.

• Penn State Quick Response: 38 Nittany Lions, 17 Villanova (Beaver Stadium).

• Penn State’s running performance may be disruptive, but the passing play and defense have been great so far.


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