Thursday, December 18, 2014

Penn State in-game updates

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Here are a few first-half observations from the press box:

Penn State in-game updates

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Here are a few first-half observations from the press box:

1. On the run out from the tunnel, coach Joe Paterno ran with a noticeable limp and stopped "sprinting" around the 35-yard line. He didn't look as swift as he did in last year's opener, but nevertheless, that's better than most 81-year-olds can do.
2. Wide receiver Brett Brackett earned his first career start. The Lions went with four wideouts in place of a tight end and handed off to Derrick Williams for a seven-yard gain. Brackett then left and was replaced by tight end Mickey Shuler. Still, it looks like Brackett has won the fourth receiver spot.
3. Running back Brandon Beachum was the first true freshman to play this season. He was in on the Lions' opening kick.
4. Jared Odrick (broken ankle) and Jerome Hayes (torn ACL) saw their first action early in the game since suffering injuries last season. Both the defensive tackle and the stand-up defensive end came in off the bench. Odrick picked up a sack in the first quarter.
5. Aaron Maybin is still one of the backup defensive ends despite the fact that he was missing from this week's depth chart. He, too, had a sack in the first half.
6. Quarterback Daryll Clark looked sharp in the early going, completing five of his first six passes for 79 yards. Most were of the short variety, however. In the second half, he made two very nice throws to wide receiver Jordan Norwood -- first on a third-and-19 for a 23-yard pick up and then on a 5-yard TD throw in the corner.
7. Evan Royster looks like he's picked up right where he left off last season. The running back ran for the Lions first two TDs, from seven and two yards out.
8. Williams' 89-yard kick return for a touchdown showed flashes of the Williams we remember as a freshman. He said a few weeks ago we would see the "real Derrick Williams" this season. This is a good start.
9. Running back Stephfon Green saw his first career action when he ran 22 yards midway through the second quarter. He scooted through the line and downfield for 22 yards. He finished with 68 yards on a TD on six carries.
10. Quarterback Pat Devlin checked in with 7:31 left in the half and the Lions ahead, 28-7. The Downingtown High product promptly tossed a 40-yard strike to Norwood. The Lions went on to score after Green scored from 7 yards out. On his next series, Devlin missed a screen, but twirled a 27-yard strike to wide receiver Derek Moye on an out. The drive ended with a Kevin Kelly field goal when tight end Mickey Shuler dropped an over-the-middle pass from Devlin.
11. As good as Clark and Devlin looked it makes you wonder how they both sat behind Anthony Morelli last year. Granted, it's still early and this is Coastal Carolina, but ...

About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

Joining Joe this season will be John Stuetz, an intern for The Inquirer and senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and marketing. This is John's third season covering the Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A native of Glenside, Montgomery County, John graduated from Cheltenham High School.

For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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