Yeah, it’s a little late for a weekend recap, but I’ve been busy working remotely in the morning and making a Mike and the Mad Dog parody in the afternoon. Sports weren’t fun on Sunday, but at least there was sufganiyot.
Penn State drops Big Ten opener to Michigan
Hey it turns out that basketball games are harder to win when your shots don’t go in. Who would have thunk it? Penn State has hopefully learned its lesson after losing 62-58 to Michigan on Sunday when everyone except me was watching NFL football. Just kidding; I was also watching NFL football while streaming this game on my laptop. That didn’t make it any more easier to tolerate Penn State’s 31-percent field goal shooting, including a reverse layup in the final five seconds by Sam Sessoms that could have tied the score but did not come close to going in.
Izaiah Brockington led the Nittany Lions in scoring for the second straight game, but this time he only scored 14 points and the rest of the team struggled to create open looks. Sessoms went 4-for-15 from the field, Myreon Jones went 3-for-11, and Seth Lundy once again didn’t get the ball enough.
Penn State hung around by grabbing a ton of offensive rebounds and forcing 16 Michigan turnovers, but they were killed by Hunter Dickinson, the seven-foot tall Michigan freshman who appears to be a more aggressive version of Jon Teske who is already just as polished. He finished with 20 points and three blocked shots and hopefully he’s NBA bound, but if he doesn’t develop a three-point jumper he might just stick around and destroy the Big Ten for a few years. The Lions are now 0-1 in Big Ten play, but they don’t play their second league game until December 23.
Giants smash by reeling Cardinals
Two teams headed in different directions. That’s what the Cardinals vs. Giants looked like on Sunday morning. It looked like that again on Sunday afternoon, but that’s because the Cardinals righted their ship while Big Blue fell back into old bad habits. New York’s offense was just miserable with Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy combining to take eight sacks, including five from Arizona’s Haason Reddick, who had 12.5 sacks in his four-year career entering the game.
Jones also fumbled the ball three times, so just think of how bad the 26-7 final score could have been if he had lost more than one of them. The Giants’ defense was sturdy at first, but eventually crumbled as the offense failed repeatedly and gave the Cardinals good field position. The Jones hype squad is going to say that he kept getting sacked because he was injured, but even though his movement was limited, he still could have gotten rid of the ball sooner. Jones didn’t look comfortable and seemed unaware of where the pass rush was coming from. Not great.
Penn State wins third straight football game, gets bonus game against Illinois
Penn State’s second half defense! It’s been great all season. It should have been enough to win the Indiana and Nebraska games, but the offense kept messing everything up. Saturday was a different story, though. After allowing Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne to do whatever he wanted in the second quarter, the Lions clamped down after halftime and outscored the Spartans 29-3 to cruise to a 39-24 victory.
It always helps when Sean Clifford is turnover-free and connecting on deep throws to Parker Washington. The freshman wide receiver scored twice and Jahan Dotson pitched in with 108 receiving yards and a punt return touchdown. The Nittany Lions are finally on a roll and playing consistently well, and the best part is that there’s one last game to play. The Big Ten is allowing everyone to play one more conference game this weekend, and Penn State’s is against Illinois, a program that just fired its head coach, Lovie Smith.
If Penn State can defeat the Illini and score a bowl invite, there’s still a chance to finish the season with a .500 record. Not bad for a team that hit rock bottom last month.