There was no getting around it: Penn State's running game was not that impressive early in Saturday's game.
"It was terrible," Joe Paterno said. "But overall I thought we finally settled down and picked out a couple of things we could handle with their blitzes, and we were able to run the ball."
The Nittany Lions rushed for 35 yards in the first half against Florida International's defensive front that players said was stunting and blitzing on almost every play.
In response, Penn State passed the ball almost twice as many times as it ran in the first two quarters. While Anthony Morelli broke a school record for passing yards in a half, starting running back Austin Scott averaged a paltry 2.3 yards per rush during the same time.
It took until halftime for Penn State's revamped offensive line to understand what was going wrong.
"The defense is going to come to you, they're going to slant, they're going to move to you. But if you know your role, you should be good," center A.Q. Shipley said.
The running backs found holes easier to come by as the Lions extended their lead to an eventual 59 points in the second half.
Scott scored on an 8-yard touchdown scamper on his third carry of the half, and broke a 20-yard run on the first play of the next offensive possession. In total, the offense finished the game with 210 yards on the ground, led by reserve running back Evan Royster's 70 yards on eight carries. Kinlaw ran eight times for 67 yards, and Scott totaled 11 carries for 47 yards to finish with 4.2 yards per rush.
"We sat down, talked about it, and we came out and ran the ball a lot better," left guard Rich Ohrnberger said.
Ohrnberger is among four players starting at new positions along theoffensive line, the others being left tackle Gerald Cadogan, right guard John Shaw and right tackle Dennis Landolt.
Redshirt freshman Lou Eliades was listed as the left guard starter on a depth chart released by Penn State in the middle of last week, but didn't see the field until the third quarter of the game on Saturday.
The youth, coupled with FIU's constant movement was an anticipated concern.
"I expected them to have problems," Paterno said of the offensive line.
"Once we got some things put together, and we had some kind of pattern to their stunts, we could pick out a couple of plays that could handle most of it and I thought they did a good job."
After the game, Shipley said the running backs didn't have too many opportunities to run free.
Scott, who said he would have liked to stay in the game a little longer, agreed by saying he was often, "putting a head down and trying to make something happen out of nothing."
"We'll definitely have to run the ball better and we will," Scott said.
"It's the first game, and guys out there were a little bit nervous. For some guys, it's their first time starting and stuff like that. We just gotta work out the kinks."
Offensive notes & quotes: Royster, a redshirt freshman and former All-America high school lacrosse player from Fairfax, Va., followed his impressive Blue-White Game performance by leading the Lions in rushing Saturday.
It was his first action since high school, and Royster said he wanted to throw his hat into the position battle at running back.
"I took today as the opportunity to show my ability," Royster said.
"If they [the coaches] want to get my ability in the run game more often, then so be it. If not, I respect their decision."