Job Ranks: Maryland – Black Shoe Diaries
I had certainly forgotten how much more fun these posts are to put together after a win. We’re doing it again next weekend in Michigan, okay? In any case, make way for the notes!
Normally, throwing for 363 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions would give you an A rating here. However, there was something that seemed a bit out of step with Sean Clifford at times when it came to accuracy and escaping the pressure of the Maryland pass rush. I have a feeling this rating will be the most controversial in the comments section, as you could argue that this rating is higher or lower, depending on your perspective.
Running back: C
Note this one on a curve, given that Keyvone Lee’s eight 50-yard runs (including a 15-long) weren’t too shabby, as he and Noah Cain were able to interrupt a handful of decent runs at times to move. the chains. Other than that, it was the same old story with running backs in 2021.
Wide receiver: A
Let’s not think too much about it, guys: Jahan Dotson had the greatest one-game receiving performance in Penn State history with 11 catches for 242 yards and a TD hat trick, bringing the offense to his shoulders in the process. This alone earns the reception hall an A rating.
Tight end: C
Theo Johnson has had a few takes, including one that moved the chains, but it was an otherwise calm day for this unit after making some noise in Columbus last weekend.
Offensive line: D
It was as if the Penn State offense was able to move the ball despite the offensive line. Even the pass protection was rather suspect overall, but good enough to give Cliff a chance to hook up with Jahan almost a dozen times.
Defensive line: B
Arnold Ebiketie and Derrick Tangelo both offered a sack, but the ability to pressure Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa sometimes seemed to be lacking. Still, this unit helped keep Maryland’s racing game in check and made enough big plays to get a good rating (but not a great one).
Linebackers: B +
Brandon Smith was all over the place with nine leading tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, and two breakouts. Ellis Brooks and Curtis Jacobs (who was back in his home country) also fought. Although Taulia threw for 371 yards, linebackers (as well as the secondary) rarely allowed yards after the catch with Maryland receivers (when Maryland receivers weren’t shooting each other in the foot with multiple drops).
Secondary: B +
Jaquan Brisker was solid in containment, turning what easily could have been over 10 yard gains for talented Maryland players into just 2-3 yards with his closing speed and had what should have been an interception from seal of play with four minutes left to play canceled by a defensive detention penalty. Joey Porter Jr. picked up a few pass interference flags in what wasn’t one of his best performances, but still did enough to get the job done. Big kudos to Ji’Ayir Brown, who despite being picked in the passing game came up with the game’s two biggest defensive plays by recovering an absolute derp from a fumble when Maryland marched into the zone red from the PSU and later with the pick-six that seals the game.
Special teams: B
When Jordan Stout is involved in two of the three phases of his kicking duties, it is usually the field goals that are at issue. Not this time though, as it was actually his punt where he struggled, as he had a much shorter torque than expected, averaging just 35 yards over his six punts. Stout has, however, pinned Maryland twice in its own red zone. More importantly, he placed all of his kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks and scored a critical field goal in the fourth quarter to ultimately put PSU up two scores, which, along with the way PSU’s defense had played, seemed just enough of a cushion to stave off a late Terrapin rally.