The absence of longtime head coach Joe Paterno, the names on the backs of the jerseys — those weren’t the only noticeable differences to Penn State as they opened the season against Ohio.
Mainly, the offense under first-year coach Bill O’Brien looks far more in control than it has in the past few years. Quarterback Matt McGloin is 16-of-26 for 178 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. Most importantly, he hasn’t thrown an interception. There’s no chaos and far less frustration.
Penn State leads Ohio at the half 14-3. Considering the Bobcats were a 10-win team a year ago and the spread heading into today was just under a touchdown, this is a great start for O’Brien.
The defense is what everyone thought it would be, so there’s no concern there. But the Nittany Lions offense is operating much more efficiently already. It’s actually watchable.
Updated 2:47 p.m. ET: As per usual, the moment I dole out any praise for anything, the exact opposite happens. Ohio has taken a 17-14 lead over Penn State. The offense isn’t the only thing that’s gone awry, either. PSU defensive back Stephon Morris has been carted off the field with his ankle wrapped in ice. Doesn’t look like he’ll return.
We’ll have more from this game later.