Defense in the Box - While the Nittany Lions did surrender a first half goal on a header inside the 18, the defense held strong against a fierce Spartan attack throughout the game. Michigan State came close to extending its lead on several occasions, but the defense, led by Andrew Wolverton’s six saves, made several key stops that kept the Lion’s hopes alive.
Finishing Plays - It took a while for Penn State to get anything going offensively and falling behind 1-0 certainly didn’t help. However, the Lions did start to create chances late in the first half and throughout the second. The problem seemed to be the connecting on the final touch, as the Lions couldn’t put a great shot on net. Despite not scoring, Penn State can look at those plays as something to build on. If the Lions can find ways to finish those plays, their goal production will increase.
Balance with the Spartans - The scoreboard was not the only place Michigan State held an advantage on Penn State. The Spartans recorded more shots and corner kicks, and they controlled most of the game. If the Lions hope to change their fortunes in their upcoming games, they will need to create chances like their opponents.
A Look Ahead:
The Lions schedule does not get much easier, as they will travel to play defending national champion Akron on Wednesday. Fortunately for Penn State, the team still has a chance to make up some ground in the Big Ten with two of their three remaining conference games at home.