Penn State needs to clean up mistakes before showdown with Pitt

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So that was the new offense.  It looked better than the old offense I’ll give it that.  Joe Moorhead’s highly hyped uptempo offense was held in check by Kent State Saturday.  Trace McSorley looked comfortable, but also just missed on throws short and deep.  It was a close game until a third quarter pick six by Amani Oruwariye.  A close game that didn’t need to be.

“We can’t settle for field goals in the redzone, there’s no doubt about that,” James Franklin said after the game.  “I think if you look back at that game we left between 14 and 21 points on the board.”

Even with a new starting Quarterback, the Nittany Lions saw a familiar scheme.  A load the box concept designed to stop Saquon Barkley and force Trace McSorley to beat them deep.

“It’s a smart plan so when we get in that type of game you’re going to be forced to run verticals, take shots up the field and run crossing routes.  We did a lot of that today and we need to hit more of them, there’s no doubt about it,” Franklin said.

Once again the defense stepped up.  Oruwariye took the pressure off the offense with his pick six and the defensive line produced seven sacks.  A promising sign given the departures of Carl Nassib, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel.

“I thought we played well on defense,” Franklin said in his opening statement.  “It was great to see seven sacks from an inexperienced defensive line.  It’s also great to see a guy like Shareef Miller in his first game get two sacks.”

Miller was fantastic after redshirting his freshman season.  Penn State might be relying on him sooner than they thought.  Both Kevin Givens and Evan Schwan left the game with injuries.  Schwan walked off the field on his own.  Givens’ injury appeared more serious.

The day as a whole left Franklin with one clear catch phrase. Clean. It. Up.

“We have a lot of things we need to get cleaned up.  I know people say we have a big game coming up this week so we’ll look at this past week and learn from that and move on to the next one.”

That next one is kind of a big deal.  This Saturday Penn State takes on Pitt for the first time in sixteen years.  I hope they bring the cleaning supplies to practice.

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