Monthly Archives: December 2007

Game Blog: Fourth Quarter 7:43

McGee slips on an option right on fourth down. As long as Morelli doesn’t throw a pick, this one is over despite the 7:43 remaining.

A&M just wasted 16 plays and 93 yards. Ouch.


A&M driving, but Goodson is cramping up…..though he returns to the field.


In this war of attrition, who wants it more over the last 15 minutes?

And with the Patriots up now 38-28, maybe some viewers will come back to ESPN?

Evan Royster just exploded for a 38-yard touchdown run, but credit Morelli for hanging in there on the drive. Backed up deep in his own territory, Morelli drops back and hits Williams for a 21-yard gain to keep the drive alive, after what appeared to be a costly penalty.

I was of the notion that the coaches should go with Clark the rest of the way, but honestly, Morelli showed me a little something there hanging in there.


TEXAS A&M 17, PENN STATE 17. Szymanski 38-yard field goal. 18 plays, 78 yards in 8:45. Key Play: McGee hits tight end Martellus Bennett for a critical first down on a two yard gain to keep the drive alive.


A.J. Wallace just comes up with the turnover the PSU defense needs…..then Morelli just throws it right back to the Aggies on a HORRIBLE throw into double coverage trying to force the ball into Derrick Williams.

Worst pass of the night, period. Aggies are on their own inch line.


Is anyone watching the Alamo Bowl with the Giants up by two scores on the Pats???

Some numbers.

Kinlaw has 13 rushes for 90 yards, Morelli is 10-of-21 for 100 yards and a touch. PSU has 244 total offense.

For A&M, McGee is 8-of-12 for 64 yards, Goodson is the leading rusher with six carries for 23 yards. A&M has 128 of offense.


Nittany Lions go into the locker room with at 17-14 lead, 17 unanswered points and one consuming drive to end the half (16 plays, 78 yards in 3:48 to be exact.)

One point of order though, if you are going to have the ball down inside the opponents 10-yard line, it might be wise to throw the ball to the endzone at some point. Only one pass to the endzone???

MVP of the half is clearly Daryll Clark who has yet to throw the ball, but is running so effectively. A&M clearly has not schemed for Clark’s ability. At some point they need to pull Morelli out of that set and let Clark throw the ball.


Aggies are somewhat falling apart with a personal foul penalty (gift call).

The tempo is in PSU’s favor right now and with six minutes to go, they’d be wise to work the clock, get a score and get into the locker with the lead and control the last 30 minutes.


We have a ball game.

On defense PSU gets pressure on a third down and capitalizes on a Mo Evans hit on Goodson. Wallace recovers. One play, Dayrll Clark slices through the Aggie defense.

Different ballgame and getting Clark out on the field is the way to go it appears. A&M has no clue on how to defend him.


On fourth down, Anthony Morelli possibly rescues the offense with a fourth down 30-yard lob to Deon Butler who makes an absolutely amazing snag. The play was reviewed, for really no reason. He caught it. Plan and simple.

Nits are back in it.


If PSU loses this game, you can’t blame Rodney Kinlaw who is running with a purpose and being very patient, waiting for lanes to develop and then at the same time, asserting himself physically.

While I like the use of Derrick Williams tonight, I have to question early why Chris Bell is on the field so much……

Also, why is PSU playing conservative down 14-0??? Throw the ball.


Boone just punted.

Penn State’s timing and play calling is flat out atrocious at this point. Where they took chances and moved the ball down the field early in the quarter, now they are getting gimmickey and out of sync.

An option to Williams was ill-timed by Clark, and they are basically playing 10-on-11 with no respect for Morelli as a receiver. If Clark is going to be out on the field, Morelli needs to be off of it and let Clark run the actual offense, not some jaded ill-constructed facsimile of one.


On the next possession, they go to the Clark-Morelli package. Why?


And so it goes from bad to worse. A.J. Wallace fumbles the kickoff, it appears he’s down, but the crew gives the ball to the Aggies (note: of course they do, we’re in Texas afterall).

One play, Goodson scores, thanks for coming PSU, game’s over.


TEXAS A&M 7, PENN STATE 0. Mike Goodson 1-yard run (Matt Szymanski kick). 9 plays, 70 yards in 4:29. Key Play: McGee reads a blitz by PSU and scrambles right for 18 yards. On the next play he catches PSU’s defense napping with a quick hitter to tight end Martellus Bennett. Javorskie Lane and Mike Goodson do the rest.

A&M driving off the legs of Stephen McGee who scrambles for 18 on a busted PSU blitz.

McGee then hits Martellus Bennett for 24 on a quick strike, which caught the PSU defense out of position.

Lane gets his first two carries of the game on the second and fourth play of the drive. The second going for nine yards to the PSU 15.

The depth problems are becoming evident on Penn State’s defensive line as Phil Taylor looks gassed and really poorly conditioned. The entire Penn State defense is getting pushed around and physically beaten up and down the field.

Nice use of Lane by A&M


Couple things go wrong late on the drive.

First, Morelli misses a wide-open Chris Bell underneath on his deep throw to Jordan Norwood, then Terrell Golden can’t handle a 5-yard out, forcing Penn State to turn to the inconsistent Kevin Kelly, who proceeds to push his kick way right.

We’re still scoreless.


Penn State is mixing up formations with broken I, empty sets, they run Williams inside on a draw, Kinlaw for power and Morelli has mixed up his throws early on with short hooks to Williams who made a nice move, then Butler.

For simple purposes, Dan Lawlor just carries on a fullback trap.


Couple of early notes.

The starting D-tackles for PSU were Taylor and Koroma. Mark Rubin started in place of Tony Davis.

A&M just missed a sure touchdown after Justin King blew an assignment in zone coverage. A&M has come out in empty sets twice early.


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Tonight, tonight, tonight

The San Antonio Express labels tonight’s contest “Searching for Redemption” in their bowl preview out today.

I agree to an extent. Both teams need to win this game to set up possible success in the future. The key to me is simple. And it goes back to something Sean Lee said the other day.

PSU talked before the season about winning a national title, they talked and talked and talked. Now that’s over. If they want to be serious about becoming a contender again, they must show it.

From a redemption standpoint, tonight is all about the younger Nittany Lions showing they want to be taken seriously in 2008.

I don’t believe that redemption is reachable for Anthony Morelli, because if he wins, people will suggest he should have. If he pulls out a comeback, people will suggest that it was because of something else and if   he goes ripping through the A&M secondary and throws for three bills and a couple of scores (which is VERY possible, IMO) people will say “where was that all along.”

His legacy in the eyes of many down here, is already sealed.

A&M on the other hand is looser, it seems like we see their players out more, less business like, almost lacking a sort of discipline because their leader is not yet here. In fact we hear through various sources that A&M players have been taunting PSU right and left, throwing obscenities at them and tried to start a fight at the banquet the other night.

When you factor that into what  happened with the Yell Leader, and how some of the PSU players took that, it could be a very long night for the Aggies.

Many have talked about how A&M played against Texas, the spread ’em out style of offense and I believe they can go that route against PSU, sure. But I think they will try to control the tempo early with Javorskie Lane, which to me, isn’t the best move despite depth concerns along the PSU defensive front.

Prediction:  Lane goes up the middle early and gets cracked hard by Dan Connor, setting a very physical tone to the game…..PSU plays with a chip on its shoulder and doesn’t have to worry about winning the game late. Morelli is your game MVP and the first guy in  the interview room afterwards.  Nittany Lions 30, Aggies 13. 

WHAT: Alamo Bowl

WHERE: Alamo Dome, San Antonio Texas

WHEN: Tonight, 8 p.m. (eastern, 7 p.m. central)

TV: ESPN has the call with Chris Fowler, Craig James, Doug Flutie and Erin Andrews

RADIO: The Penn State Sports Network with Steve Jones and Jack Ham has the call, check local listings for pregame start time. ESPN Radio also has live national coverage.

LINE: PSU is favored by 5.5

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We report, you decide

The highlight of the afternoon’s joint press conference between Joe Paterno and Gary Darnell…..what you make of it is totally up to you.

(note, this is taken from the offical edited transcript from the Alamo Bowl staff)

The question came from an elder statements who writes a weekly column for a paper up 81 north. I say no more.

Reporter: Joe, I’m six weeks older than you are.

Joe: I know you are.

Reporter: My girlfriend said you can still do it.

Joe: Said what?

Reporter: You’re in great shape and you can still do it. I think you can still do it. You have been doing it and will continue to do it.

Joe: What are you talking about doing?? Holy smoke, I’m not Hugh Hefner, you know…well…

Gary Darnell: I didn’t know things were that personal.

Joe: Should we bring wives to these things? No. Sure. I can do it. I enjoy it. You know, we were talking last night about….one of the staff girls came with us from Tim Curley’s office and she’s going to be working 35 years and she’s going to retire and I said, ‘What in God’s name do you want to retire for? You’re such a young woman.’ And she said ‘You know, I’ve been 35 years. I said ‘What are you going to do?’ She doesn’t know what she’s going to do. Why retire. What am I going to do. Why are you working?

Reporter: It’s fun. I enjoy it.

Joe: Well, I enjoy it. So why are you throwing rocks at me, huh?

Reporter: I’m going to keep going as long as you do, which will be a long time I guess.

Joe: Well, I don’t know how long I’m going to go, you know? The good Lord’s got some rhyme and reason for some things. I’ve been very fortunate. I enjoy it. I really thoroughly enjoy it. I said to somebody last night, a couple of people were over at the hospitality suite at our hotel with, said something like that….I said ‘Now, if I wasn’t going to, wasn’t coaching, what I do this Saturday? Cut grass? No. You can’t cut grass in State College (now). Shovel snow? I don’t like to shovel snow.’


I mean what are you going to do? I don’t play golf, I don’t fish. I don’t hunt. Now, maybe some of the other things you’re talking about, can I still do?

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A&M Yell Leader = Jackass

I don’t care one way or another who wins tomorrow nights Alamo Bowl. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect either team or their coach.

Especially an 81 year old legend named Joe Paterno. I don’t always agree with what he says, what he does, how he coaches, but I’d never use a public forum to do what the idiotic Texas A&M Yell Leader did last night along the river.

I didn’t see it personally, was working on other stories, but last night at the pep rally on the Riverwalk, the Aggies Yell Leader, whatever that is, rambled on in Budd Dwyer-esque fashion, making no sense at all, talking about some stupid password and a guy in a maroon smokers jacket, saying Joe Paterno was on his “deathbed and someone should buy him a casket.” (What, you don’t like the reference to a guy who also shot his mouth off, really for no good reason as well???)


Unless someone paid him to do that, this guy might just be the idiot of the year. KSAT, the ABC affiliate down here filmed it, it’s very good quality, you can check our Senor Bonehead right here.

As if PSU needed any more motivation, I think they just got it.  And I think playing for Paterno means more to these PSu players than we’ll ever know or understand. And for that reason alone, because they were so rudely, unprofessionally and immaturely smacked in the face by a guy who has already been sent home and should fall to the lowest rung of society, A&M might be done before kickoff tomorrow night.

Joe and coach Gary Darnell speak at 11 am (noon eastern)….it’s Starbucks time and then over to the dome for the presser.

I seriously doubt anyone from PSU will use a public forum to say Darnall should be in a pinebox, but you got to think that some type of statement will be issued by Darnell or a rep from Aggie-Land officially to the media.

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When Morelli speaks, we listen

Anthony Morelli made a surprise appearance at the Penn State defensive media session earlier today. He talked at length repeating that he doesn’t have a problem with the media, that we all do our job and we have been fair to him.

Among the other issues, he said that he thought it was a little unfair to criticize him for skipping the session yesterday, but he understands and apologized for it.

Justin King talked at length about a possible move to the pros, his progression in the PSU system and how his individual workout might improve his draft stock a little.

Also adding that he hasn’t talked to his stepfather, Terry Smith, or Joe Paterno about a possible move to the NFL just yet.

Tom Bradley said flat out he has NOT been contacted by West Virginia (directly, I am assuming he means) and that he never contacted them about the vacancy there.

He also said whatever King does, he will support, but hinted that it would be really nice to have him back for one more year.

By the way, the Collegiate Athletic Travel groups just arrived moments ago, and oofah, there are a TON of PSU people coming down here. The early word is that a lot of fans were coming today to get here in time for the pep rally at 6pm and then to make it a four day weekend and head home Sunday.

A&M still outnumbers PSU fans (obviously) but those PSU fans that are indeed here, you’ll hear them Saturday night.

5:42 p.m. (eastern) update

Got some email from a reader who is making the trip asking what the update was all about last night and the person spotted down here. Can’t really get into details, but it doesn’t appear to be what it was thought to be at the time.

And still no Erin Andrews, as of yet. Is she hiding with David Wright somewhere?? Or is there a Florida Alumni party somewhere around here this weekend??

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Riverwalk = A-W-E-S-O-M-E

So far the Riverwalk is incredible….it’s all lit up for the holidays and the food is amazing.

By the way, the Hooters down here is amazing too.

Thursday we talk to Tom Bradley and the PSU defense as well as the Texas A&M offense and there has been a VERY interesting siting down here tonight….dunno if we can say anymore, but it’s interesting to say the least.

No Erin Andrews as of yet, but we’re confident we’ll run into her.

Pat O’Brien’s is AWESOME….best place I’ve been so far. Ask Josh Reed of ABC 27 about the night we had there…….

Thursday we talk to Scraps Bradley and the PSU defense and the Texas A&M offense. Should be interesting.

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NFL jumps all over Saturday night

The Alamo Bowl has a little bit of competition Saturday night as the NFL announced Wednesday that both CBS and NBC would pick up the feed of the Giants and Patriots game from NFL Network.
With a record crowd filing into the Alamo Dome, and a likely ratings boost because of Penn State and their following, the ratings could take a hit with the highly anticipated NFL game now on free television.
Thanks Congress. Joe Paterno and ESPN send their love too.

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