Defense Wins Second Wyoming Scrimmage

Aug 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Shane McGregor (2) prepares to throw a pass during practice at the Lasch Football Building practice fields. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

The second scrimmage is in the books and there was definitely some progress made today. Not the huge leaps and bounds most fans were looking for, still there was improvements made by the offense. The defense remained strong and made it two in a row with their 55-34 victory.

While the offense is still not back to the 2011 production level, they did improve their execution and helped eliminate many of the mistakes that plagued them last week. No interceptions were thrown by the quarterbacks and only six penalties for 37 yards. Once again it took awhile for them to get in the groove of things. Brett Smith was 14-22 for 184 yards passing and one touchdown, he also gained 23 rushing yards. Obviously he has the starting job locked up. Unfortunately no one seems to really want the backup job at this point.

Colby Kirkegaard was 7 of 18 (38%) for 35 yards and one touchdown. Jason Thompson completed 7 of 22 passes (31%) for 40 yards and no scores. Thompson ran for eight yards while Kirkegaard finished with seven. Neither has been able to complete over 50% of their passes in either of the two scrimmages. Thompson has shown some nice physical skills but has been limited by his lack of experience. Kirkegaard hasn't shown a big boost from all those spring reps he took. I would still give him the edge at this point, but the backup spot is up for grabs.

The running backs lost Kody Sutton this week but no one really shined like the first scrimmage. Zaquoya Parham had 50 yards rushing but that was all against the third string defense. Brandon Miller ran for 27 yards, Shaun Wick 22, Tedder Easton 16 and D.J. May finished with 8. The running backs totaled 127 yards on 43 carries for an average of 2.95 yards per carry. Coach Christensen still feels very happy with the group of running backs and their work ethic.

Robert Herron is still showing that he wants to be #1 receiver this year, he caught four passes for 89 yards including a 69 yard touchdown where he made a great adjustment and broke away from his defender. Dominic Rufran caught five passes for 40 yards, Josh Smith had four receptions for 20 yards and Jalen Claiborne looked good again with three catches for 34 yards.

All of the freshmen wide receivers were able to contribute this scrimmage. Nico Brown caught two passes for 13 yards including an 8 yard touchdown pass from Kirkegaard, Jake Maulhardt caught two passes for 14 yards. Trent Sewell and Eric Nzeocha each caught one pass for seven yards.

Even though the defense didn't have interceptions they still looked quite sharp. As a unit the defense totaled six sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Jeff Rouche had two sacks while Korey Jones and Sonny Puletasi had one each. Kenny Browder, Mike Purcell, Alex Borgs and Kurt Taufa'asua tallied .5 sacks. Puletasi and Taufa'asua led the team with three tackles for loss.

Tackle leaders:

Stuart Williams may be running away with the field goal kicking job. On the day he was a perfect 9 for 9 on field goal attempts with two makes from 40 and a long of 48. He also hit all four of his extra point attempts. Daniel Sullivan went 6 of 9 on field goals with a long of 48, misses: 40, 36, 40. He only converted two of four extra point attempts. Obviously he is behind the rest of the field in practice time and has been dealing with plenty over the last several weeks.

Here are the full stats from the second scrimmage.

YOUR TURN

What were your impressions from the second scrimmage? Surprises and/or disappointments? Let me know.

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