Burn the Game Tape: Penguins Thrash Flyers 10-3, Force Game Five

Burn the Game Tape: Penguins Thrash Flyers 10-3, Force Game Five

Well, the Flyers scored first. They also held a 3-2 lead at one point. Quite simply, it just completely unraveled from there. The Penguins took full advantage of an undisciplined and unorganized Flyers team and embarrassed them to the tune of a 10-3 score.
I give full credit to a Penguins team facing elimination. They could have folded down 3-2, but instead they poured it on. And then poured it on some more. And then they went ahead and just kept on pouring. 
For a couple of reasons I am going to spare you the video highlights. First, I am guessing you'd rather not relive double digit Penguins goals. Second, the cumulative running time of the highlights would exceed that of the entire Rocky franchise. 
In light of what happened in Game Three the players had to know that the officials would call anything and everything tonight. The guys in the black and white striped shirts did not disappoint. The Flyers were the beneficiaries of a 5 on 3 power play in the first period. The Pens enjoyed 9:37 of power play time in the second period. Both teams took advantage of their power play opportunities. The Flyers were 3/5 on the power play. The Penguins were 4/9 with the man advantage. 
I don't know how much you can take from a 10-3 hockey game, but if you're a Flyers fan there were some concerning developments. First, Evgeni Malkin, who had been kept relatively quiet through the first three games, picked up his first two goals of the series. Penguins goaltender Marc Andre Fleury, who seemed lost the first three games, made a number of confident saves. The Flyers have to hope that he has not regained his regular season form.
On the flip side, Ilya Bryzgalov looked very shaky early on. He was spilling rebounds, did not seem able to push off and go post to post, and generally looked lost prior to being pulled by Peter Laviolette during the second period. True, the defensive coverage was awful, but Bryz didn't really help things either. Matt Carle had an awful turnover which led to a goal. Matt Read did too. It was a forgettable night for the Flyers blue liners (stating the obvious).
Speaking of the defensemen, Nik Grossmann did not play in the third period. He was shaken up after absorbing a Tyler Kennedy hit, but briefly returned to the ice during the second period. It remains to be seen whether in light of the score he was held out as a precautionary measure, or if he suffered a dreaded upper or lower body injury.
It's not too often you see a team concede eight unanswered goals, but the Flyers somehow managed to do just that. This is a game where you just burn the game tape and move on. The Flyers still enjoy a 3-1 series lead. It's not time to panic. The Penguins still have a long road ahead of them. 
Game Five is in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline, US Presswire

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Jordan Matthews will not play Sunday against the Bengals after missing practice all week with an ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Matthews is the Eagles' leading receiver with 57 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns. The team has called him a game-time decision.

Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor will reportedly be inserted back into the lineup. If Matthews doesn't play the Eagles will have only four healthy receivers active on Sunday: Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and undrafted rookies Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.