Category Archives: Brett Brackett

Paterno Wins No. 400

JoePa is a true immortal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

After falling into a 21-0 hole late in the first half, the quest for Joe Paterno’s 400th win wasn’t looking good.

The Penn State Nittany Lions came out flat at home against the Northwestern Wildcats at home and fell behind early.

Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa led Northwestern down the field on an opening 74-yard touchdown drive to put his team up 7-0 before anyone could blink.

Robert Bolden struggled for the Nittany Lions including coughing up a fumble which was recovered by Northwestern. On the next possession, Bolden was replaced by sophomore Matt McGloin.

Before Penn State could even muster any offense, Northwestern had a 21-0 lead off another Persa rushing touchdown and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Persa to Drake Dunsmore.

Dunsmore’s catch was one-handed in the back of end zone and is definitely one of the most incredible plays of the year so far.

Nearing halftime, McGloin and the Nittany Lions had to put some points on the board if they wanted to stay in the ballgame.

McGloin was able to get the Nittany Lions into the red zone before he hit Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone to make it 21-7 at halftime.

On their opening possession of the second half, Penn State broke out the running game. Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains over 10 yards on the drive.

The drive ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.

Suddenly the Nittany Lions had all the momentum and were only down 21-14 with very much of the game still to be played.

McGloin engineered a beautiful 91-yard drive which featured 20-yard passes to fullback Joe Suhey and wide receiver Graham Zug. It was completed with McGloin finding Brett Brackett in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7 entering halftime.

Penn State came out in the second half featuring its talented running game. On their first possession, Evan Royster and Silas Redd combined for three gains of ten-plus yards.

The drive ended with a touchdown pass to offensive tackle Nate Cadogan who was playing tight end in the goal line formation.

Suddenly Penn State was only down 21-14 and had all the momentum.

The Nittany Lion held Northwestern to a three-and-out and McGloin hit Derek Moye for a 36-yard touchdown on their next drive to tie the game with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Penn State’s defense was incredibly strong in the second half. They forced Northwestern to another three-and-out and got the ball back late in the third quarter.

Silas Redd capped off another nice drive with a nice touchdown run where he deked out a Wildcat defender to get into the end zone.

The Nittany Lions came all the way back from being down 21-0 nothing to scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 28-21 lead.

Penn State kept the momentum going with a 13-yard touchdown from McGloin to Royster to put the game out of reach.

The Nittany Lions defeated Northwestern 35-21 to win their third straight game and climb back into the Big Ten conference race.

The real test will come next week when McGloin and the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Paterno has finally achieved his 400th college football victory. It is likely the only time such a feat will be achieved.

When asked what he kept him coaching throughout his 60 years of coaching, he said “the money.”


Bolden Injured In Nittany Lions Win


An unexpected quarterback change could be just what the doctor ordered for the Nittany Lions. (Paul Battaglia/AP)


When Penn State freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden went down on Saturday against Minnesota, many people gasped as a mediocre season could potentially get much worse.

However, sophomore Matt McGloin stepped right in and threw two touchdown passes in a 33-21 win over a dismal Minnesota team.

McGloin threw was 6-for-13 for 76 yards and two touchdowns in a little over two quarters of work. Bolden went down when he was flushed out of the pocket midway through the second quarter.

The nature of Bolden’s injury hasn’t been revealed yet. He will undergo concussion testing this week in State College.

Before exiting the game, Bolden threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brent Brackett to put the Nittany Lions ahead 7-0.

While the Golden Gophers are a team that had lost six straight games, they certainly came out playing with fire.

Minnesota answered Penn State’s touchdown with a long 75-yard drive in which Adam Weber was very effective in the passing game. Weber ended the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight to tie the game.

Early in the second quarter, Bolden led Penn State down the field early in the second quarter which resulted in an Evan Royster touchdown run to put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-7.

With 8:59 left in the second quarter, Bolden was gang tackled by three Minnesota defenders on the far side of the field.

It didn’t take long for McGloin to get acculumated to the Penn State offense. On his second play as quarterback, he threw 42-yard bomb to hit Derek Moye in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Nittany Lions up 21-7 with 4:16 left in the half.

Penn State seemed to have steady control of this game, but Minnesota just would not go away. The Adam Weber-Da’Jon McKnight has absolutely lethal in this game.

Weber hit McKnight for a four-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 21-14.

McKnight had eight catches for 108 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. The loss of Nick Sukay is proving to be more and more crucial to the Nittany Lions defense’s success.

The Nittany Lions answered a 49-yard field goal from Colin Wagner, who has been very accurate this season.

Seven points was as close as the Golden Gophers would get. McGloin connected with Moye once against for a nine-yard touchdown to make the score 33-14.

Weber hit McKnight one more time for a touchdown. Minnesota’s defense was really the downfall for them in this game.

McKnight had a huge game, but it wasn’t enough as the Nittany Lions came away with the victory.

It will be interesting to see how Bolden reacts to concussion tests this week. It would be premature to rule him out, but it is unlikely to play with concussion syoptoms.

His progress will be monitored throughout the week as Penn State prepares to host the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

NCAA Week Six: Illinois vs Penn State


The offense has to step it up in the red zone and put points on the board! (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


PSU: 2010 record – 3-2
ILL: 2010 record – 2-2
Spread: Penn State by 8
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2
Last time met: Oct. 3, 2009 – Evan Royster and Stephon Green combined for 225 rushing yards as the Nittany Lions rolled 35-17 on the road.

Opposing player to watch – RB Mikel LeShoure: LeShoure is enjoying a nice season so far averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He ranks second in the Big Ten averaging 119.5 rushing yards per game. LeShoure also ranks 13th in the country in rushing yards. He didn’t play against Penn State in last year’s contest. Robinson has carried for over 100 yards in three out of four Illinois games this season.  He is a decent size back who is getting more carries this season. The Nittany Lions sometimes struggle stopping the run so LeShoure could be a huge asset for the Illini.

Offenses: Scoring points continues to be a huge problem for the Nittany Lions. They could only manage three measly points against the Hawkeyes last week. Once again they struggled in the red zone. Penn State went three-and-out on their first three drives and weren’t able to gather any rhythm. Part it could be part of the fact that the Nittany Lions didn’t run the ball hardly. Evan Royster only had ten carries and he really needs to be a part of the offense for Penn State to be effective. Bolden struggled going 20-for-37 with an interception and was constantly stifled by the Hawkeye defense. There were a few small bright spots for the Nittany Lions in the receiving core. Brent Brackett hauled in a huge 49 yard pass from Bolden towards the end of the first-half. Devon Smith also continued to show how quick and effective he can be. Smith caught five passes for 58 yards and looks like he could be a great asset to the Penn State receiving core. Bolden just simply needs to put the ball into the end zone. He has shown flashes of brillance but just seems to struggle once he enters the red zone. Maybe it’s the pressure getting to the freshman but he needs to improve in the red zone if Penn State is going to be successful.

The Illinois Fighting Illini has averaged 332 yards of offense per game this season which is last in the Big Ten. In their first four games this season, the Fighting Illini have scored only 89 points. Nathan Scheelhaase has struggled so far this season. He is 43-for-79 for 489 yards and only three touchdowns. Scheelhaase has also thrown four interceptions. Illinois hasn’t exactly played against elite competition. Their two wins were against Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. This game will certainly be a challenging one for them. The Fighting Illini will be depending heavily on LeShoure in the running game if they want to pull the upset. Their top two receivers have only combined for 29 catches on the season. A.J. Jenkins and Jarred Fayson have combined for 335 yards in four games. The next receiver only has four catches, so Illinois just doesn’t seem to be having much success this season.

Advantage: Penn State has a significant advantage. Bolden has struggled but overall he hasn’t looked bad. There are just more playmakers in the Nittany Lions’ offense and the Illini won’t be able to put enough points on the board.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense struggled last week on the road in Iowa. They gave up ten points before anyone could even blink. They had problems with experience signal caller Ricky Stanzi. The Penn State defense should have a nice rebound game against the Fighting Illini. Illinois doesn’t have a pass heavy offense and should be looking to run the ball quite often. The Nittany Lions front seven will have to stack the box and try to shut down LeShoure. If they can force the Illini to start throwing the ball, it could pose an advantage for Penn State. Defensive back Nick Sukay is enjoying a great 2010 season so far leading the team with three interceptions. The Nittany Lions need to step up the pass rush. They only sacked Stanzi once last week and the lack of pressure was one of the main reasons they fell on the road.

The Fighting Illini defense does possess a solid pass rush. They are tied for third in sacks in the Big Ten with ten. However they are tenth in the Big Ten in interceptions with only two. Junior safety Trulon Henry has both of the Fighting Illini interceptions on the year. Middle linebacker Martez Wilson leads the charge on defense. Wilson missed 11 games last season and is one of Ron Zook’s most prized recruits since coming to Illinois. Wilson was one of the few bright spots in Illinois’ loss against Ohio State, in which he had nine tackles and a sack. Wilson ranks in the top five in the Big Ten averaging 8.5 tackles per game. The Penn State offense will have to know where Wilson is at all times on Saturday. Defensive tackle Corey Liuget will also bring a physical edge to the Fighting Illini defense.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge with a talented secondary that thrives on takeaways. Stopping the running game will be very key for the Nittany Lions.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season, LB Gerald Hodges (Leg injury) *Out for at least two more weeks, TE Garry Gilliam (torn ACL) *Out for the season
Illinois: S Supo Sanni (ruptured Achilles tendon) *Out for the season

Prediction: Penn State handles Illinois 24-10 with Bolden having a solid day through the air.

Hawkeyes Roll At Home

Another devastating loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes. Robinson gave the Nittany Lions fits on this night. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The Iowa Hawkeyes have just had Penn State’s number the last few years. 

The Nittany Lions went into Kinnick Stadium and were dominated once again by the Hawkeyes 24-3 to open up Big Ten conference play.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi was very efficient for the Hawkeyes, going  16-for-22 for 227 yards and a touchdown pass.  He added a touchdown run of his own as well.

Iowa dominated this game from the start.  The Hawkeyes marched down the field on the opening possession and notched a 20 yard field goal courtesy of Michael Meyer, who replaced the injured Dan Murray.

Running back Adam Robinson rushed for 95 yards in the game and was very tough to bring down.  Robinson added 21 yards on just the first drive alone.

The Nittany Lions went three-and-out on their first three drives and found themselves in an early hole.  Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos in the back of the end zone to give the Hawkeyes a 10-0 lead.

Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt combined for nine catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.  They were clearly Stanzi’s favorite targets all night.

The first half was downright awful for the Nittany Lions on both sides of the ball.  The offense couldn’t sustain long drives and the defense couldn’t get off the field.

With 1:52 remaining in the first half, Ricky Stanzi rushed for a one-yard touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a commanding 17-0 advantage. 

Freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden was able to run the two-minute drill and drives the Nittany Lions down the field late in the first half.  The drive ended with a 25 yard field goal by Colin Wagner.  It was set up by a 49 yard completion to receiver Brent Brackett in which he snuck behind the secondary.

Penn State was 0-for-5 on third down conversions in the first half.  Bolden couldn’t pick up first downs and that caused the Nittany Lions to be down such a large margin at halftime.

The second half didn’t turn out any better for the Nittany Lions.  Defensive back Shaun Prater added a 33 yard interception return for a touchdown to make the score 24-3.

The inept offense was the main concern throughout the game for the Nittany Lions.  Bolden could not move his troops down the field at all aside from the drive at the end of the first half.

It was not a good start to Big Ten conference play.  Penn State will face Illinois at Beaver Stadium next week.  Illinois may be 2-2 but they hung tough with Ohio State this week only losing by 11 points. 

The Nittany Lions are really suffering without an experienced quarterback.  But maybe Bolden can learn and turn into a great signal caller in a few years and led Penn State to the promised land.

NCAA Week Five: Penn State vs. Iowa

The ground game is back. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 3-1
IOWA: 2010 record – 3-1
Spread: Iowa by 7
Where: Kinnick Stadium
When: Saturday, 8:05 PM on ESPN
Last time met: Sept. 6, 2009 – Penn State was upset again by the Hawkeyes 21-10.  The Hawkeyes blocked a Jeremy Boone punt and Adrian Clayborn ran it in for a late Iowa touchdown.

Opposing player to watch – RB Adam Robinson: Robinson is having a great year so far averaging 5.5 yards per carry.  He gashed Penn State for 88 yards and a touchdown in last year’s contest.  Robinson has carried for over 100 yards in three out of four Iowa games this season.  He is a very small back but has a good amount of power and always keeps his legs moving.  Robinson could pose a problem once again for the Nittany Lions front seven.

Offenses: Penn State’s red zone efficiency was a huge problem last Saturday against Temple.  Robert Bolden drove the Nittany Lions deep into Temple territory many times during the game.  Following the Youngstown State game, Penn State has only scored in two out of their last 11 red zone trips.  The offense has plenty of talent to put the ball into the end zone.  Evan Royster showed the nation that he is still one of the best backs in the country.  Royster ripped off 187 rushing yards on the Temple Owls defense.  Brett Brackett and Derek Moye have also been huge so far this season.  The duo combined for eight catches last week.  However the offense only managed one touchdown last week, coming on goal line carry by fullback Michael Zordich.

The Iowa offense has put some a lot of points this season.  In their first four games this season, the Hawkeyes have scored 144 points.  Ricky Stanzi has looked great and is back on top of his game.  Stanzi has thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception so far.  Now three of these games were against the likes of Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, and Ball State.  Stanzi threw three touchdowns and one interception in their only challenging game against Arizona.  The Hawkeyes fell short but Stanzi was certainly not the reason for that.  Adam Robinson will have to have a big game if the Hawkeyes want to upend the Nittany Lions again.  The Hawkeyes also have a nice receiver trio of Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Allen Reisner, and Marvin McNutt.  The trio has combined for 41 catches and six touchdowns this season.  They benefit from the elevated play of Stanzi.

Advantage: Iowa has the advantage in the passing game due to Stanzi being a veteran signal caller.  Both teams have good running games but the Hawkeyes have a slight edge overall.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense gave up two touchdowns to Bernard Pierce last Saturday and didn’t play very well overall.  Penn State is giving up about 155 passing yards per game this season.  The defense will be challenged this week facing a good signal caller in Stanzi.  The Nittany Lion defense challenged Temple quarterback Chester Stewart to beat them with his arm last week.  It resulted in a late interception for Penn State and led them to the victory.  They are fourth in the Big Ten in sacks with seven.  Getting pressure on Stanzi will be a huge key for the Nittany Lions this week.  Jack Crawford and Ollie Ogbu will have to be active for the defense to be effective.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a shutout but it was against Ball State.  They have only given up four touchdowns so far this season and an average 227 yards per game.  As the same for the Nittany Lions, the Hawkeyes haven’t faced a very high level of competition.  They are tied with Penn State for fifth in the Big Ten in interceptions with five.  The Hawkeyes always have a solid defense that gives Penn State problems.  Penn State will have to watch out for senior Adrian Clayborn on the defensive line.  Clayborn was huge for the Hawkeyes in last year’s contest.  The last two years they have upset Penn State and ruined their National Championship hopes.  This has been behind a strong defense that stifled former quarterback Darryl Clark.  It will be interesting to see how Bolden performs under the lights at Kinnick Stadium.

Advantage: Penn State has the slight edge with a very effective pass rush.  Pressure on Stanzi will be a very big key.

Injury Report:
Penn State: OT Lou Eliades (Torn ACL) *Out for the season
Alabama: K Dan Murray (hip flexor) *Could play on Saturday

Prediction: Penn State finally shrugs off the past disappointments against Iowa and wins a close battle 24-20.

NCAA Week Three: Kent State vs. Penn State

Penn State's receivers held their own against #1 ranked Alabama(John Raoux/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 1-1
KSU: 2010 record – 1-1
Spread: Penn State by 21
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2
Last time met: Sept. 20, 1990 – Penn State dominated Kent State on its way to a 32-10 win at home.  Freshman Austin Scott rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Last Week: The Nittany Lions were plagued by turnovers against Alabama in a 24-3 loss.  Kent State fell to Boston College in a 26-13 loss on the road.

Opposing player to watch – QB Spencer Keith: Any team needs a solid quarterback and the Golden Flashes seem to have one in sophomore Spencer Keith.  Keith is a very accurate passer going 47-for-71 for 476 yards so far this season.  He has also tossed four touchdowns along with three interceptions.  Keith led the way in their season opener against Murray State throwing for three touchdowns in an easy win.  He struggled a bit against Boston College throw two interceptions but still went 23-for-36 proving he can still be accurate against a tough defense.

Offenses: Penn State never could seem to punch the ball into the end zone last Saturday against Alabama.  Robert Bolden led the Nittany Lions down the field several times but the drives ended with turnovers once they entered the red zone.  It was the first national test for Bolden and he proved his youth against the Crimson Tide defense.  He should have a much easier time against Kent State.  It is one of the easiest games on Penn State’s schedule next to the opener against Youngstown State.  Bolden show be able to throw for 250 yards and three or four touchdowns.  The Golden Flashes are allowing 238 passing yards per game this season.  Derek Moye and Brett Brackett should continue to excel in the receiving game and should be solid games.

Kent State looks like they have a solid offensive team.  They waxed Murray State in their season opener but only managed one touchdown against Boston College last week.  Quarterback Spencer Keith has still managed to keep his quarterback rating relatively high due to his solid accuracy.  The Golden Flashes are clearly a passing team.  Their top two running backs only rushed a combined 35 times for 88 yards.  Look for Kent State to struggle if their passing game can’t solve the Nittany Lions’ defensive backs.

Advantage: Penn State has the advantage and should be able to mix up the pass and run with Royster and their slew of wide receivers.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense wasn’t at its best last Saturday against Alabama.  They could not seem to stop Trent Richardson on the ground.  They also were picked apart by quarterback John McElroy.  But this isn’t number-one ranked Alabama: it’s the Kent State Golden Flashes.  Aside from Spencer Keith being a decent quarterback the Kent State offense isn’t going to pose too many problems for the Penn State defense.  The pass rush should be able to get to Keith.  If they are in the backfield like they are capable of being, the Nittany Lions should tally a few sacks and bring the pressure.  Penn State should be able to get a few turnovers and should see the same results as the 2003 contest.

The Golden Flashes have their hands full with Penn State.  While Bolden is a freshman, he sure has looked very impressive aside from his turnovers last week.  Kent State is giving up an average of three touchdowns per contest against opponents Murray State and Boston College.  An AP Top-25 team should be able to steamroll the Golden Flashes.  They only have one interception so far this season so they aren’t making their living on takeaways.

Advantage: Penn State will bring the pressure and be in Keith’s face all game long.

Injury Report:
Penn State: LB Gerald Hodges (bone bruise in left leg) * Could miss up to five weeks
Alabama: RB Eugene Jarvis (groin) *Out for Penn State game

Prediction: Penn State has just too much firepower and blows out Kent State 38-10.