Seems every time I tune in to a Penn State game this year, they're throwing deep passes on 1st down, and completing several for touchdowns. That can't be the norm, of course, but I figured there was something to that.
So, I did some digging and came up with these numbers. FWIW. I have no idea how they compare against any other Penn State team, or any other 2010 team, or any other team that ever has suited up in a football uniform at any level.
With that backdrop, here are Robert Bolden's passing stats so far:
* On first down, Bolden has a 15.4 YPC (and 8.2 YPA), while on other downs combined he has an 11.5 YPC (6.8 YPA).
* McGloin's first playing time of the year came Saturday at Minnesota, in relief of the apparently concussed Bolden. McGloin's positive stats were even more heavily weighted to 1st downs than Bolden's. On 1st downs he was 4/7 for 66 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT, and on other downs combined he was 2/6 for 10 yards and 1 TD and 0 INT. Check out McGloin's long TD pass on the Tube. Very Sheridanian in the throwing effort and motion -- and appeared to be his throwing-distance max. Several of his incompletions were ugly, and the pick was a ridiculously bad decision. Shades of Utah.
* Oh. And Kevin Newsome has played only in garbage time, except Saturday at Minnesota, when he was in for one drive and wasn't asked to throw. On the year he is 2/4 for 15 yards on 1st down, and 3/9 for 34 yards on other downs. He has thrown neither a TD nor a pick. That is, Newsome has not been called on to throw one important pass all year. Smile, M fans.
* By my numbers, 44% of Penn State's passing yards (606 of 1,363) have come on 1st down. As have the majority (4/7) of its passing touchdowns.
* Based on these stats, occasional watching of PSU games, and poring over their play-by-play sheets this year, this Penn State team throws deep almost exclusively on first down, and has found success that way for TDs in three of the past four games (1 vs Temple, 0 vs Iowa, 1 vs Illinois, 2 vs Minn [Bolden and McGloin].
* The last time -- and the only time all season -- Bolden has thrown a TD NOT on 1st down was in the opener against I-AA Youngstown State, when he tossed two.
* Throwing on 1st down gives Penn State the best chance to protect its green QBs. And its best chance to move the ball through the air.
* PSU generally throws only short or very short passes on 2nd down. Hello, Ben Chappell.
* Good things generally don't happen when Penn State passes on 2nd or 3rd down, especially 3rd down: ergo the <40% 3rd-down conversion rate.
* NOTE TO GERG AND STAFF, AND ESPECIALY CAM GORDON: This is just a hunch -- but I suspect they've been passing more on 1st down against those defenses that cheat against the run on 1st down. Iowa doesn't, of course, so it's no surprise Bolden was highly ineffective passing on 1st down against the Hawkeyes (less than 50%). For UM this Saturday night, it might be wisest to either rush only 3 on 1st down, or bring the house occasionally on a suspected 1st-down pass, while always keeping Gordon deep -- eg, after a sudden change, or after two successive 1st downs on the ground, etc. Bolden isn't slow, but he's about as unsavvy/unaware in the pocket as any other true frosh. Sacks are there to be had, especially on long passing downs.
Agree? Disagree? Does this all amount to two-thirds of four-fifths of Eff-all?