Tag Archives: James Franklin

Revisiting a Five-Part Penn State-Ohio State Series I Did Two Years Ago

(Photo credit Dave Cole/Onward State)

In what seems like a bit of an anticlimactic buildup compared to past seasons, Penn State plays Ohio State at Beaver Stadium this Saturday night.

It will mark the first 8 p.m. kick time in State College in nearly four years, and it will be my first time back in Happy Valley in more than six months.

My first few trips back as an alum felt a little weird, but I am looking forward to being reunited with some real life friends and turning Twitter friends into real friends, something that has sort of become a regular activity for me. To be honest, I have barely thought about the actual game.

Unlike the past two seasons, Ohio State does not enter undefeated, and Penn State does not head into the matchup with any momentum as the underdog. Most folks — myself included — are expecting a comfortable Buckeyes victory, but this matchup has featured its share of classics and will again someday, even if that is a few years away.

Back in 2012 when I covered the team for Onward State, I did a five-part series leading in to the Ohio State game that counted down the top five games in the rivalry from a Nittany Lions perspective.

The stories featured extensive game summaries and interviews with fans in attendance who were present for the trilling moments in both State College and Columbus. I thought it might be fun to look back on that series if a little college football history is your thing.

You can read all five parts linked below:

Counting Down the Most Memorable Penn State-Ohio State Games: 2001

Counting Down the Most Memorable PSU-OSU Games: 1997

Counting Down the Most Memorable Penn State-Ohio State Games: 1994

Counting Down the Most Memorable PSU-OSU Games: 2008

Counting Down the Most Memorable PSU-OSU Games: 2005

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Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton Are Still Absolutely Crushing It

Real quick before we push out some Eagles content.

We promised you an update once the stats came in, and here they are:

Lewis is eighth in the country in receiving yardage while Hamilton comes in close behind at fifteenth. Both guys could probably be a couple spots higher had they played the entire game yesterday, but neither had many opportunities in the second half with Penn State running the ball in a blowout victory.

The Nittany Lions remain the only FBS program with two receivers in the Top 15 for receiving yardage. They were both in the Top 10 after Week 1, Top 14 after Week 2, Top 13 after Week 3, and still holding strong.

Full stats here if looking at them is your thing.

Penn State still has some issues to work out on offense, but Lewis and Hamilton have crossed off replacing Allen Robinson on the list of concerns.

Penn State Has Replaced Allen Robinson Quicker than Almost Everyone Expected

(Photo credit to Dave Cole/Onward State)

Perhaps one of the biggest — and most pleasant — surprises on Penn State’s young season is that the offense does not ‘miss’ Allen Robinson nearly as much as many folks anticipated.

That lede is not at all intended to be a knock on Robinson. He would be having another great year catching passes from Christian Hackenberg had he elected to stay for his senior season, but the Nittany Lions passing game is operating just fine with him in Jacksonville.

The two Nittany Lions responsible for this almost seamless transition are true sophomore Geno Lewis and redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton.

Lewis’ breakout goes back to the season finale against Wisconsin last year when he posted a career-high 91 yards and two touchdowns in an upset win. Lewis has been in full beast mode since then, recording no less than five receptions and 82 yards in every game since.

Hamilton was lesser known than Lewis a month ago, but that held true for all of about three minutes into the season opener when he burst onto the scene against Central Florida. Since then, Hamilton has posted at least 65 yards in all four games.

After Week 1, both receivers were in the Top 10 in the nation for receiving yardage. After Week 2, both of them remained in the Top 14, and following last Saturday, the duo was still right there after playing an instrumental part in Penn State’s comeback against Rutgers. We will provide a current update here when all of the statistics come in following tonight’s games.

As I have pointed out before in those posts, Penn State was the only FBS school with such a distinction, and Hamilton was one of only two players who did not see any snaps in 2013 to rank that high.

Before the season got underway, many believed that the majority of Penn State’s production would come from the tight ends even with Adam Breneman injured. Jesse James has been very good so far, but as of me typing this, 55 of Penn State’s 96 receptions have come via Hamilton and Lewis.

Chart breakdown below:

Opponent Hamilton/Lewis Total Receptions
Central Florida 19 32
Akron 13 22
Rutgers 14 25
Umass 9 17

What. A. Duo.

The way Lewis has progressed has impressed me even more than his raw numbers. He had his moments last season, but I thought he was a bit one-dimensional in terms of running go-routes. When he wasn’t on the receiving end of a perfect deep ball from Hackenberg, he had his share of quiet games including getting completely shut out against Central Florida, Kent State, Illinois, and Minnesota.

The Nittany Lions have not faced the toughest schedule so far, and Hamilton and Lewis will be tested in the coming weeks, but so far, things are going about as well as anyone could have imagined.

The Nittany Lions were able to get the running game going today in a rout against overmatched UMass, but were it not for Hamilton and Lewis, they might be 2-2 rather than 4-0 for the first time since 2008.

Thanks to the recruiting work put in by Bill O’Brien and James Franklin’s staff coaching them up, the Nittany Lions were much more prepared to replace their stud receiver than many folks realized.

Does Penn State miss Allen Robinson? Of course they do, but things are just fine without him right now.

Update: Working on the fly but two more thoughts for you in tweet form:

Lewis and Hamilton Post

Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton are Both Really Good

I am not exactly sure what I watched last night.

Seriously, I’m not. I missed the first half, and the final 30 minutes still feels like a blur with interceptions and holding penalties galore, but what I do know is that Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton were both really, really, good again.

Lewis hauled in six catches for 109 yards while Hamilton went for eight and 103. Both receivers had key receptions from Christian Hackenberg on Penn State’s game-winning drive including a 53-yard gain off a slant pattern for Lewis to escalate the march into Rutgers territory.

Lewis is fifth in the nation with 380 yards while Hamilton holds down the thirteenth spot with 337.

Penn State is the only FBS school in the country with two players in the Top 20 on this list.

Both were Top 10 after Week 1 and Top 14 Saturday morning, so things are holding up well here.

I never really covered Hamilton, but here is a piece I wrote about Geno Lewis for Onward State following the 2013 Blue-White game when I was around the program. Ever since the season finale against Wisconsin last year, Lewis has just been on an absolute tear with no less than 91 yards in every game.

Geno Lewis Screenshot

To say I love this team right now from a football standpoint would be a big lie. From run-blocking to play-calling, they have a lot of issues to fix, but replacing Allen Robinson’s production does not appear to be one of them.

Penn State is 3-0 for the first time since 2009. The next two games are at Beaver Stadium against opponents that are a combined 0-5. They have a chance to get on a roll as the top two receivers continue to roll.

Enjoy these statistics while I run a few miles, get coffee, and potentially make Internet during NFL games.