2014 Pinstripe Bowl: Penn State Offense Struggling Mightily

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Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Akeel Lynch (22) runs off the field after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Penn State Offense: Looking at the Numbers

I know they’re Lions, but woof. If that stat layout was a lobster risotto, Gordon Ramsay would call it “absolutely hideous” and throw it at the wall.

In five categories, Penn State is last in the Big Ten: yards per game, rushing yards per game, points per game, sacks allowed per game, and tackles for a loss allowed per game. They do not advance the football, they lose yardage more times on a play than anyone else in the conference, and they definitely do not score many points.

When they do score, it has been slightly more likely for Penn State to come away with a field goal. Now, if they make theirs, they could find themselves with a distinct advantage over the kicking-challenged Eagles, but not if Boston College scores touchdowns.

Hackenberg has thrown for his fair share of yardage, but eight touchdowns against 15 interceptions has left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Penn State Offense: Names to Know

Aside from Hackenberg, who has been media-visible this season for the wrong reasons, Boston College fans may recognize the name Akeel Lynch. Penn State’s leading rusher this season, Lynch was a Frank Spaziani commit and subsequent decommit in 2012 who never seemed to be a firm fit for the Eagles. He has 603 yards and four touchdowns.

Bill Belton is right behind Lynch with 518 yards this season, and leads the team with six rushing scores.

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Penn State has just nine receiving touchdowns this year, and three were caught by tight end Jesse James (not to be confused with the Wild West scofflaw). In terms of yardage, Penn State’s leading receiver is DaeSean Hamilton with 848.

Penn State Offense: Pinstripe Bowl Forecast

Boston College’s defense is good. Penn State’s offense is not. This seems like it should be a fairly open and shut case but remember: Hackenberg has been able to do acceptably when it comes to moving the ball in the air. That has been a vulnerability for Boston College all season.

There is little hope of the Nittany Lions being able to run the ball effectively; they will have to win this thing through the air, or with the help of their defense and special teams in field position battles.