Penn State’s football game appeal, neglect of running game factors in a bad second half | Reviews | Penn State Football News


Two Penn State running backs returned to Florida for the Nittany Lions’ Outback Bowl game with Arkansas.

Keyvone Lee and Noah Cain, who played their high school football in the Sunny State, have been separated since the start of the season. However, neither has been able to pull off a feat, probably deemed relatively achievable by most newbie backers in the world of football.

“I would like to have 100 yards or more before the end of the season,” Lee said in practice Thursday.

Unlike most performances this season, by the end of the first half it looked like Lee could actually hit the 100+ rushing yard mark for the first time this season.

Entering the locker room with 36 rushing yards in just four carries, Lee was on course for a successful performance on the field if he got the chance in the second half.

When Penn State returned to the field for the second half, maintaining a fragile 10-7 lead, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich seemed to have other ideas in mind on how to extend the three-point advantage.

Unfortunately for Lee, those ideas didn’t include him.

In the third quarter, he received no postponement, the Nittany Lions having allowed 17 unanswered points to fall behind 24-10.

Lee finished with just one run in the second half for five yards, bringing his game tally to 41.

As Yurcich tried to get a feel for Penn State’s offense in his first few games as coordinator, it was clear the running game wasn’t working.

Even still, Cain, the leader in rushers at the time, still averaged almost 16 runs per game in the first three games of the season, although he failed to register more than 69 rushing yards in a game during that time.

On Saturday the racing game – for once – actually seemed to have found a rhythm.

But in the second half, Yurcich oddly stopped calling on the Nittany Lions to lead the game, ultimately not making much noise in the air with Sean Clifford struggling to complete more than 44% of his passing attempts – a new career low.

Running back Keyvone Lee (24) carries the ball during Penn State’s football game against Arkansas in the 35th Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday January 1, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. The Razorbacks beat the Nittany Lions 24-10.

Even James Franklin seemed bewildered by the appeal of offensive play, holding a Lee blocked just five staves.

“We have to run the ball more consistently. There’s no question about it, ”Franklin said. “You can’t get away from it. We did some good things in the first half. We have to keep these things mixed up, and we haven’t.

What the Nittany Lions did in place of a consistent rushed attack was questionable to say the least.

Highlighted by a false punt that found punter Jordan Stout smashing a tackle in the backfield and then throwing a 43-yard hail attempt, Penn State’s play call at the end of the first half. sparked the age-old question: “What? “

“We had a fake in the game plan,” Franklin said of the thought process behind the fake. “I was under the impression that in this situation we would either receive an interference call or [Arkansas] would catch the interception.

In the third quarter, as Arkansas began to build up a significant lead, Penn State did not respond aggressively on the offensive end, opting instead for quarterback rushes and short-range passes.

In the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions faced a 14 point deficit.

Has it never occurred to Yurcich to do some reading at Parker Washington?

Most people will probably remember Washington’s performance at the Outback Bowl in his one-handed grab in the first quarter, but it was just one of three receptions for a double-digit distance over the two. first quarters.

At the end of the first half, Washington already totaled 77 yards on reception.

Clifford then found the second wide wide receiver two more times before leaving the game for true rookie Christian Veilleux.

The statistics don’t lie, and neither does the film.

Washington was targeted eight times on Saturday afternoon and walked away with seven receptions.

Once Veilleux stepped in and hit Washington twice more, it was too late.

Franklin, Yurcich, Joe Lorig and company had already wasted too much time with questionable and upsetting gambling calls.

The Nittany Lions will have to wait until next fall to catch up.


Penn State defensive end Smith Vilbert steps out against Arkansas to tie Outback Bowl sack record

Not much went well for Penn State on Saturday afternoon after a lackluster second-half effo …

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