Penn State's offense is reaching a level of ineffectiveness that is truly baffling. Sequon Barkley is as good a back as any in the country, Christian Hackenberg is among the best pure passers in college football, and Godwin, Hamilton, and Geno Lewis have all displayed All Big Ten caliber talent at times in their careers. How a coaching staff can put just 10 points on the board with all those weapons on a night when Barkley rushes for 196 yards is simply beyond me. Third downs are apparently a hurdle we will simply never leap, and if there are lessons being learned re: which play calls are effective, I have yet to see the evidence of it. John Donovan continues to make the most predictable calls since Andy Reid wore midnight green. I take it back: sometimes he calls a passing play on 4th and 2, while Saquon Barkley gathers dust.
The defense did their best against Ohio State, but once the ineffective Cardale Jones was replaced by J.T. Barrett there was no stopping Urban Myer's run-first, spread option offense. Simple, effective, and completely tiring to play against as a defender. With an elite running threat at both the QB and RB position, making the correct read at the snap virtually guarantees positive yardage on every play unless a blocker completely whiffs. Nassib picked up a pair of sacks and made his presence felt, and Zettel was his usual impressive self. However, with Hackenberg hobbled and the offense floundering, there was no way that even a top defense like Shoop's could slow down the onslaught of Big Nuts.
There will be more wins for the Lions this year, and we will surely go bowling. And we never really expected to beat the Buckeyes. But surely we expected to be a better team than last year, with so much returning talent and so many highly recruited underclassmen. But with every game that passes, showing the same weaknesses, it seems more and more like the current offensive coaching staff is doing what the NCAA sanctions never could: caging the Nittany Lions.