The ‘Cats are sitting squarely at the bottom of the ESPN B1G Power Rankings and head to Happy Valley where they have only won once. Penn State is 4-0, and with the sanctions relieved early, they are playing with a new purpose for this season. Things look dire for the ‘Cats, but we all hope they can somehow find a way to win…we just don’t have any faith that will happen.
Game Summary: So… this one isn’t very hard to predict. We’ve had an historically difficult time against Penn State in the past….even when they’re bad. Unfortunately, they’re not bad. We’re bad.
Full disclosure, I don’t actually have the slightest idea what’s going to happen, but predicting that we will score a TD (at least on a sustained drive) against PSU is not grounded in any logic. I just flat out don’t see us getting in the end zone unless it comes off of a defensive score or some sort of fluke special teams play. Our offensive line is an absolute disaster. Even if Siemian is poised to have a reasonable game (gigantic IF there), he won’t…. because we won’t be able to protect him. Especially given that this is far and away the best team we will have played.
I don’t necessarily think Penn State is going to light up the scoreboard. They have their own issues on the offensive line. But, one thing that is being overlooked here is that James Franklin isn’t a stubborn asshat (please note, he definitely is an asshat… just not necessarily a stubborn one) like our coach and he has found an alternative to the traditional running game since they have such serious line issues. Penn State will throw bubble screens and 5 yard patterns on us ALL DAY. There’s no reason for me to believe that we’ll adjust to that, so we’ll continue to play 10 yards off of their receivers and let them pick up at least 5 yards every play. Thankfully, this isn’t the home run threat offense from the air that you see from the likes of Oklahoma State or Baylor, but their methodical movement will make this game a laugher.
Game Score: Penn State 34 – NU 9
Game Highlight: Color man J Leman gets in on the criticism of the ‘Cats coaching staff. While Leman points out issues that we, as Wildcat fans, all find blatantly apparent, it’s reassuring to know that the rest of the educated football world is finally starting to see that our emperor has no clothes.
Player to Watch: None
Prediction from the Wacky World of College Football: Maryland destroys Indiana in Bloomington and Missouri beats South Carolina in Columbia. One would wonder how on earth that’s possible after Indiana just won at Missouri, but it is. It’s college football. Crazy shit happens. It may even happen in our game. But I’m not getting my hopes up.
Game Summary: The ‘Cats travel to State College to take on the Nittany Lions and this one doesn’t look good on paper. It unfortunately probably won’t look very good on the field either. I like to be an optimistic NU fan and think, even in our bad times, we are capable of a big upset or so every year however I don’t think this is our game though. Last week we got outgained heftily by an FCS team so call us Dorothy because Toto, I’ve a feeling this isn’t Kansas anymore – it’s the B1G Ten. Trevor struggles, we get down at least two scores, and I think Oliver comes in for some action because they won’t want to injure Siemian even more. Hackenberg, PSU’s QB, is experienced enough to not make mistakes and PSU just out-physicals the ‘Cats en route to an easy victory.
Game Score: Penn State 31 – NU 7
Game Highlight: Zack Oliver gets in the game and runs for a first down. Probably the best play we’ll have all day!
Player to Watch: None
Tailgater to Watch: As the only WLW in attendance, I’ll be wearing a purple suit in a sea of blue. Hope that works out well for me and I make it out alive.
Game Summary: Everyone’s been waiting for it, so I figure why not give ’em what they want. The GIF predictions are back! These gifs are all my reactions before, during, and after the game.
When Trent declared that the ‘Cats will win last night:
During the 1st quarter:
During the 2nd quarter:
During the 3rd quarter:
During the 4th quarter:
After the game, my message to Mick McCall:
Game Score: Penn State 27 – NU 6
Game Highlight: Jack Mitchell remains perfect for the year, knocking in two ~30 yard FGs.
Player to Watch: Justin Jackson/Solomon Vault – How many touches will these guys get this week against the best run defense in the country? My guess is a lot. How will they fare? My guess is poorly.
Game Summary: There’s no easy way to put this. The Cats’ (read: Fitz) are going to come into the game thinking we have a shot, but we do not. We are going to get man handled by Penn State and will not score a single TD. Those that got in on the line at -10.0 and -10.5 for PSU are sitting pretty right now as the line has been increased up to -11.5. In reality, all those are great bets as the Cats’ won’t even come close to making this an interesting game. I see a few FGs due to the defense getting us some good field position a couple of times, but other than that Siemian won’t do much and will likely get replaced by Ollie in the 2nd half.
Odds that we switch to the Arsenal game in the 2nd half: 3:1.
Game Summary: The Cats are the worst, I fully expect them to lose to this squad.
Game Score: Penn State 45 – NU 6 (Ed. Note: If I’m watching the game with you, no were not.)
Game Highlight: Nothing big is going to happen on the offensive side of the ball this game. Most excitement the Cats’ will elicit from its loyal followers is a mediocre kickoff return (we’ll have a lot) to the PSU 48 yard line.
Player to Watch: The O-line is going to either make this a brutal game for NU fans or just a slightly painful one. If they can’t handle the PSU D-line we’re screwed.
Tailgater to Watch: With ZVon repping the Warriors in Happy Valley I expect to see him get on the B1G broadcast at least once. And yes, he’ll be pretty hammered. (Ed. Note: SB2K10)
Game Summary: Pat Fitzgerald has never beaten Penn State as a coach. Pat Fitzgerald has also never lost to James Franklin, and also probably hates him after Vandy backed out of their agreement to play the ‘Cats. One of these two things has to give on Saturday.
No one is giving the ‘Cats a prayer in this game. The line opened at +11.5, and somehow moved down to +10 during the week. I know some of our own Warrior brethren would love to put their life savings on the opposing side (cough, traitors, cough).
The ‘Cats have looked brutal thus far. Just terrible. Nothing we’ve seen so far this season should give us any glimmer of hope that we have a chance in this game, especially at Beaver Stadium – a house of horrors for our team over the years.
Here’s the thing – these Nittany Lions aren’t world beaters. They’ve beaten a few average teams, and haven’t looked great doing it. There’s a reason they’re undefeated, but still not ranked in either poll. Their quarterback is already being worshipped as the second coming of Peyton Manning, but they have struggled to score this year.
I think the ‘Cats are going to benefit from going on the road to a rowdy PSU environment, instead of playing in a dead Ryan Field as they have for the first three games this season. Us Warriors always talk about Pat Fitzgerald as an emotional coach, as opposed to a tactical one. I think he gets the players fired up for this one, and they up their game in an adverse environment. Having Tony Jones back will also help.
Bill Simmons (#FreeSimmons) has a “nobody believes in us” theory – basically his point is that this sentiment is one of the biggest motivators for teams. I think Fitz has been in his players’ ears all week talking about how nobody thinks they have any shot in this match-up. My experience with the ‘Cats is that they pretty much every year win one game they shouldn’t, and lose one game they shouldn’t. I’m not sure you could say there are any games they shouldn’t win this year #doublenegative. But hey, maybe there’s one upset in them?
Is there any intelligent reason to pick the ‘Cats in this game? No. Am I doing just that? Yes.
Game Score: NU 21 – Penn State 20
Game Highlight: Fitz and James Franklin come to blows on the sideline.
Player to Watch: Miles Shuler – I’m feeling the Rutgers transfer is going to do something good in this game. What that is, I don’t know.
Tailgater to Watch: Shout out to Pat Grayhack. Hope all’s well down in Ole Virginny.
Game Summary: The time has come to admit a few things. First, the union forming episode did not help this team in any way. Second, Pat Fitzgerald is not a great x and o’s head coach. He was appointed to the job before he was ready, and never had time to develop into the great coordinator that I think he could have been, and instead has spent his time on image and program building, which he has done extremely well. However, what he has failed to do as a leader is surround himself with the best possible minds to make up for his weaknesses.
I have two thoughts on why this could be either he is too loyal to his guys to change or he wants a staff that will never overshadow him. I have always believed the former and I think Coach Fitz is the right guy for this team, but I believe if we are to move forward changes must be made. Mick McCall has lost his ability as a play caller. I’m not sure how this happened as the team currently boasts the best athletes on O that it ever has, but it happened. We no longer have an offensive identity and I place the blame on him.
Additionally, Fitz needs to pull the plug on Trevor Simeon, who is at his healthy best a fringe Big Ten starter. This season is lost, so let’s let the kids play. While this may seem unfair to the Senior quarterback, it isn’t as he has had his chance to shine and failed miserably. It’s time to turn the page in Cats football history and T dog and Mick need to go the way of a Stark in Game of Thrones.
Game Score: Penn State 35 – NU 2
Game Highlight: The other Hack throws 5 touchdowns in the first half. However an errant second half throw hits DB Coach Jerry Brown in the head and knocks him unconscious after which the PSU QB is shut down like a drunk Freshman on the Keg Dance floor.
Player to Watch: None
Tailgater to Watch: Z Von – Will he make it out alive if the unthinkable happens?
Game Summary: This isn’t going to be fun. Penn State is an okay football team. Northwestern is not an okay football team. Penn State has a coaching staff who will adjust the game plan as the play dictates. Northwestern will not do that.
Let’s just get this game over with.
Game Score: Penn State 35 – NU 10
Game Highlight: Zack Oliver getting several drives to strut his stuff.
Player to Watch: I want to watch the PSU O-Line. Penn State’s line has issues of their own. If NU has any shot in this game, it’s going to be by disrupting the heck out of the O-line, not ‘bend-don’t-breal.’
Tailgater to Watch: I fear for ZVon this week. The team has very little shot of winning in enemy territory. I hope he survives.
Let’s all hope that Trent makes us looks stupid. Go ‘Cats!