Low Octane Panthers: The Panthers for the second straight week were unable to close out a winnable game and head into Big East Play, 2-2 and on a two game losing streak.
Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees Rees rebounded from a horrible start to lead the Irish to a game winning 4th quarter drive, hitting tight end Tyler Eifert on a 6-yard touchdown pass with less than 7 minutes to go and lifting Notre Dame to a 15-12.
Rees went 8-for-8 on the game-winning drive as coverage breakdowns remain an issue for the Panthers.
However, for the first time this season, the defense played with the type of aggressiveness they need to and forced two turnovers and kept the Pitt in the game, even though they were bailed out by eight Notre Dame offensive penalties. The defense bullied Rees for much of the game.
The defense did enough while the offense gained just 268 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per pass.
Tino Sunseri just isn’t going to get it done in this type of system but whether he’s a fit or not, most disappointing about Sunseri’s game is his decision making.
Trailing by three with just under 4:00 minutes to play and plenty of time remaining, Sunseri was sacked by Aaron Lynch for a loss of 9 yards on a 1st and 10 player at Notre Dame’s 40-yard line. Sunseri continues to hold onto the ball too long and he should be at the point in his development where mistakes like don’t happen in those situations.
“I just need to get rid of the ball,” Sunseri said. “I need to make sure I’m seeing everything and need to make sure that I’m putting the ball on people, and if they’re not open I have to throw it away.”
Even with Ray Graham rushing for 89 yards (132 all-purpose yards) and averaging 4.2 yards per carry, Sunseri and the passing offense were unable to develop any kind of big plays and struggled for most of the game. The up-tempo, high octane offense Todd Graham preaches has yet to take off and likely won’t this season as the players just aren’t there, most notably the quarterback.
However, Sunseri’s not the only issue offensively. The O-line is a big weakness and mental mistakes were an Achilles heel today with 5 false start penalties, including 3 from Lucas Nix. Something that is also keeping this team from developing a tempo is the group of receivers are not getting enough separation.
The big thing moving forward is whether tweaks begin to happen with the system to suit this offense.
“We’re so close, we can touch it,” Sunseri said after the loss. “But that’s the thing that’s so frustrating right now. We feel like we are inches away from really busting this open and really being in that up-tempo offense and understanding it and really being able to put points on the board.
Nittany Lions throw a TD!!!!: Penn State needed Eastern Michigan to pop up on the schedule in game 4 of the season to finally throw a touchdown pass. After 13 quarters, Matt McGloin (14/17 – 220 Yards – 3TD) hit Joe Suey for a 27 yard touchdown pass, the first of the season for Penn State. Regarding the quarterback situation, McGloin continues to show more promise, going 14 of 17 for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns.
McGloin averaged close to 13 yards per attempt, while Robert Bolden averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, going 7 of 13 for 115 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Positives for WVU to take out of blowout loss : West Virginia was overwhelmed and overmatched at times in Saturday night’s blowout loss but one thing that I kept going back to in this game was the amount of skill West Virginia has at key offensive positions.
The Mountaineers skilled players were able to match LSU and surprisingly caused problems all night for LSU’s vaunted secondary that was expected to cause West Virginia major problems.
Quarterback Geno Smith was 38 of 65 for 463 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the loss. Smith has the potential to be a dynamic player in Dana Holgorsen’s offense and he did an excellent job at getting the ball in his receivers to hands to make plays after the catch.
This is a receiving core that fits well with the uptempo offense. Tavon Austin led the way with 11 receptions for 187 yards.