Greg McElroy likes what Penn State brings to the table overall as one of the most talented teams in the B1G. However, he cautioned the Nittany Lions about their tendency to “sleepwalk” as evidenced in the game against Northwestern.

“The sleepwalking thing in college football right now is a very real thing. We are now at the point in Week 5, Week 6, Week 7… where teams are starting to run on empty,” said McElroy. “Bye weeks are coming up, some teams have played 5-6 straight opponents, 3-4 straight conference opponents.”

McElroy admitted he’s a bit concerned for the Nittany Lions, particularly on special teams after a game-opening fumble put the team behind the 8-ball. The ground game also left a lot to be desired against Northwestern.


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“Penn State, they officially now, I’m starting to be concerned about special teams a little bit… Then it takes you 2 and a half quarters really to start to flex. On a day when the offense really just kind of never found their groove, we’re talking about a (Northwestern) defense that had been one of the worst rushing attack defenses in the entire Big Ten,” McElroy explained.

“For the ground game of Penn State, which at your core, that’s who you want to be. Run-first outfit, compliment it with play-action, you can’t have just 3.5 yards per carry. It just can’t happen.”

Penn State will be off this week on a bye and will get a chance to fine-tune things in a game against UMass next Saturday. After that, it’s back into the B1G slate with a massive road trip to Columbus to face Ohio State.

We’ll see if the slow start against Northwestern provides the wakeup call James Franklins’ team needed.