STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- After another turbulent week in the lead up to a Penn State game, the Lions were finally able to play some actual football. Here are some in-game observations from up here in the press box:
1. In case you missed it, on ESPN's College Gameday Live this morning analyst Kirk Herbstriet went off on Penn State's players after three were linked to a marijuana investigation and another was kicked off the team for an alcohol-related incident. Herbie went off on the players -- who we called "clowns" at one point -- for soiling the reputation of their iconic coach, Joe Paterno. Herbie made some sense, but his colleague Lee Corso was completely out of touch when he said that Paterno-coached teams used to never get in trouble for off-the-field indiscretions. Not so fast, my friend. The Penn State teams of yonder did plenty of knuckle-headed things off the field. The difference between now and then was that Paterno was able to keep the minor incidents mostly under wraps.
2. What happened to Hurricane Hanna? There hasn't been a drop of rain in the game and it pretty much stopped raining two hours before kickoff. The field was covered up until an hour before game time and was its immaculate self once it was revealed.
3. Who's Stephfon Green? The freshman running back may have been the talk of pre-season practice, but Evan Rosyter is the starter and, boy, is he good. The sophomore had one of the better first halves for a Penn State tailback in recent memory. He ran for 121 yards and three TDs on 12 carries and showed not only his great vision and smoothness, but flashed some Green-like speed.
4. Andrew Quarless dressed, as we noted in the post below, but even if the in-the-doghouse tight end gets back into Paterno's good graces, he may still never see the field. That's because Mickey Shuler has been playing splendid thus far. The sophomore had a great first half with three catches, two of note. The first was a 5-yard TD reception that Shuler caught in the corner from quarterback Daryll Clark, managing to keep both feet inbounds. He had another nice grab for 19 yards in the second quarter.
5. Safety Drew Astorino was the nickle defensive back the first time Penn State went to that defense. Cornerback A.J. Wallace had been the nickel last week. The junior didn't play defense, but was out for Oregon State's one kickoff, although he didn't return the kick. Wallace was exonerated by Paterno in the drug incident and wasn't suspended for the game. Looks like the coach is still delivering a message.
6. Defensive Josh Gaines was all over the field in the first half, rushing the passer, stuffing the run and batting down passes. It was almost as if the senior captain was single-handedly trying to make up for the losses of end Maurice Evans and tackle Abe Koroma. Gaines had four tackles, one sack and one knocked-down pass.
7. Clark finally had his first run of the season when he avoided a pass rusher and darted 11 yards on the Lions' first drive. One play later, Royster scored from 15 yards out thanks in part to a Brett Brackett trap block. Clark's first designed keeper was on a sweep that the junior took 24 yards down the sideline. He had 46 yards on four tries in the first half. Clark also displayed a deft touch passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 11 of 17 passing.
8. This may be the most obvious statement of the day, but Oregon State is completely overmatched. The Lions just have too many weapons on offense and too many veterans on defense for the Beavers to compete. I'm not going out on much of a limb, but this game is over. Book it. Mark it down. Write it in ink. Seal it. Postmark it. And mail it in. Over.
9. On their lone score the Beavers were able to ram it down the middle of the Lions' defense by sticking to their run game. This had much to do with Penn State's lack of depth along the line. When Jacquizz Rodgers scored from 12 yards out -- breaking what looked like three tackles -- the Lions were gasping. Tackle Tom McEowen, of Neshaminy High, saw his first significant action of the season, but looked a little out of step.