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Penn State Football: Handing Out The Grades Following A 63-24 Win Over Illinois

by on September 22, 2018 8:20 AM

I've been awake for just about 24 hours and I'm sitting in a Chilis at the Chicago O'Hare Airport at 6:30 in the morning, so grades are going to be to the point this week. Not that I will suddenly be less tired because of it, but in the very least the chances I write complete sentences, or at least somewhat ones will increase greatly.

Offense: A

Penn State scored 63 points and had over 500 yards of offense. Miles Sanders ran for 200 yards on 22 carries while Juwan Johnson caught all four passes that were sent his way. This is pretty simple math. Ricky Slade ran for 94 yards, Trace McSorley ran for 92 and threw three more touchdowns to extend his streak to 32 straight games with a touchdown pass.

Was Penn State perfect? No. Is perfect fair? No. But this group has yet to face a real challenge and in turn you can't knock it for doing its job over and over again.

Defense: C

Seventeen first half points, seven second half points. There was good and there was bad. This group was average. For every good moment there was something Penn State will want to fix before it faces Ohio State. Have I mentioned that I am tired? Penn State's defense is probably tired too after rotating units throughout the game. The good news for everyone, it's a rest day today. Assuming my flight leaves.

Special Teams: C

A missed field goal into the wind from 44-yards out isn't good but the decision to kick it was probably tougher on the grade than the kick itself. Nobody was super impressive in the return game but both DeAndre Thompkins and KJ Hamler ripped off 20ish yard returns. Blake Gillikin punted far but a few kickoffs out of bounds hurt the cause here. Add in an illegal formation on an extra point and this is a good and bad day for a unit that has shown a bit of everything so far this season.

Overall: B

I mean, 63 points, giving up 24 points. Big plays, bad plays. But 63 points. Just to let you know, that's a lot of points if you aren't an expert in these things. Hard to knock the result.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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